Feb. 11

 

Mike Plant, USOC Board Member and Chef De Mission

Mike English, Chief of Sport Performance

Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer

Larry Probst, Chairman

Anita DeFrantz, Senior IOC member for the United States

Lisa Baird, Chief Marketing Officer

Rana Dershowitz, General Counsel/Chief of Legal and Government Affairs

 

 

Lisa Baird, Chief Marketing Officer

On whether the athletes’ use of social media is restricted:

"Within the rules established by the IOC, we are working with our athletes to do the proper amount of communication on social media. It is the way particularly to reach the youth of today. It is really important to us. Our athletes have a number of individual sponsorships, and that’s the way our sponsors are looking at activating their programs. So we’ve got a number of them across different media."

 

Mike Plant, USOC Board Member and Chef De Mission

 On what is the appropriate amount to use social media:

"I know that in the last session we had with each one of the athletes is through processing here, so just a matter of the last couple of days. We spend about an hour with them, and as Lisa said, the rules of the IOC and it’s not prohibited. They all understand it.  Certainly haven’t’ had any issues or concerns. Still lets them do what they need to do with blogging, Twitter, within the rules."

 

Patrick Sandusky, Chief Communications Officer

On restrictions regarding athletes using social media:

"The rules are clear and they’re allowed to do it with no restrictions from us."

 

Larry Probst, Chairman

On international relations with IOC members and plans for future discussions:

"I think the discussions that we’ve had so far with not only with President [Jacques] Rogge but with other IOC members were very constructive, very cordial. We met with President Rogge for about half an hour on Monday. Scott [Blackmum] was present at that meeting as was Anita [DeFrantz] and some other folks. There was some discussion about how we can engage more productively with the IOC going forward. We’ve had some follow-up discussions with other IOC members and I suspect that we will have another meeting or two while we’re here. I think both sides want to move forward in a positive direction. We’ve talked about being committed to doing that, and we’re going to walk the talk."

 

Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer

On international relations with IOC members and plans for future discussions:

"I guess the only thing that I’d add is that there is a lot of history and complexity surrounding the discussions; I’ve only been on the job a couple weeks. I think the main message that we wanted to send is that we’re looking forward to sitting down at the table and proactively and constructively find a way to add value for both of us meaning the USOC and the rest of the world.

 

 

 

Anita DeFrantz, Senior IOC member for the United States

On if she feels the door is open with IOC members:

"The IOC members know very well the dedication of the Americans people to the Olympic movement. We’ve supported the Olympic Games not only by the number of athletes who come to the Games, but through the support of our sponsors. I think it’s fair to say they understand that the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Team is important to the Olympic movement. So of course the doors are open."

 

Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer

On what has changed since he left the Olympic movement and returned about how the U.S. is perceived:

"For me personally, one of the biggest differences is that there are different people. If you look at the IOC and the people I was dealing with in 1999 and 2000 are for the most part different than the people that are there today. In terms of what’s different internationally, I think there’s a lot at stake here and there’s a significant pool of revenue that is ultimately always going to be going to the athletes and the NGBs, federations and the NFCs. Because there’s a lot at stake, it’s not always easy to come to closure on that. We made an agreement in the 1990s. I don’t think it’s inappropriate to take a look at whether that agreement is still appropriate and the changes that have happened in the last 10 or 15 years.

 

Lisa Baird, Chief Marketing Officer

On facing the tough economy:

"The economy is the economy. It’s certainly been challenging, but we’ve also looked at it as one of opportunity and tried to have the right partner style. We were pleased earlier this year we announced a new partnership with Proctor & Gamble, market-leading company in consumer packaged goods and it was a broad deal across a number of their categories. And we’re also pleased we signed up Deloitte, not a traditional sports marketing company, but filling an important role and looking to activate some pretty important programs. We’ve announced renewals with a number of important sponsors including AT&T. I think the thing we try to look at that is a little different is when you engage in sponsorship in the Olympic movement, you’ve got to do it with a long-term perspective. This year we’ve renewed with Omega and Visa through 2020, and these are companies that are going to be with us through the long term. We’re not opportunistic in a way where we feel like we have to go out and fill every category. We want to get with market-leading companies that are going to activate our programs and support our athletes. We’re pleased where we are and we’re in active discussions in several categories and hope to have some good news soon.

 

Mike English, Chief of Sport Performance

On how athlete performance and Lindsey Vonn’s injury:

"One of our concerns this year was to make sure the athletes stayed healthy, that they made it to the Games in the shape that they could. They’re still competing heavily up to the point of the Games start so it’s always a concern. With Lindsey we’ll certainly assess where she’s at and then move forward from there.

 

Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer

On potentially losing a medal from 2004:

"On that issue, what we’re concerned most about is being empathetic and sympathetic to the athletes on that team who were not involved with doping. The rules are the rules and if those rules say the medals go back then that’s what’s going to happen, but we have a lot of athletes on that relay team that didn’t do anything wrong. Our hearts go out to them."

Anita DeFrantz, Senior IOC member for the United States

On potentially losing a medal from 2004:

"For those athletes that did nothing wrong, it changes their lives. It’s a very huge thing for them, so we’ve been careful to let them understand what it is."

 

Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer

On meeting with Jacques Rogge on the 2004 issue:

"I think one of the things that made it more difficult for us in the past was some of the negotiations were taking place in the press. We made a commitment to the IOC that we weren’t going to do that and we asked them not to do that. Like I said before these are complex issues with a lot of history. The sooner we reach agreement with them on a full array of issues that we’re talking with them about the better off we’re going to be and the easier it will be to make progress on important fronts and specifically on our participation in the worldwide movement, the IF level and the IOC level. I hate to dodge the question, but we’d love to have agreement as soon as possible and we’re going to stay in a dialogue with them as long as we need to make that happen."

 

Larry Probst, Chairman

On timetable of the Games cost issue:

"What we’ve talked about coming out of Denver, we talked about our acknowledgement of it being appropriate for us to participate in the Games cost. In addition we talked about getting together in December but that didn’t happen so we’re getting together here. We didn’t set any time frame last March about resolving the Games cost issue. Yes, we’re meeting. Yes, we’re talking. We hope to make some progress here. I suspect there will be some follow-up meetings after the Games. At this point, it really is about the Games and about the athletes."

 

Larry Probst, Chairman

On discussing what went wrong with the Chicago bid:

"We’ve had lots of discussion around that. That’s the topic of a lot of conversations that are taking place here in Vancouver as we interact with IOC members and get their feedback and their perspective and their input so that we can be more knowledgeable and smarter about the next time around. We continue to gather information and get feedback and get input from people. We’ve had multiple discussions internally about what went right and what went wrong."

 

Anita DeFrantz, Senior IOC member for the United States

On the Games in big cities versus smaller cities:

"I believe that it’s the events, the venues, that are important. And in some cases the events are surrounded by a larger community than a small, and in other cases it’s the opporsite. I know someties what I think of the Winter Games is everyone huddling before the fire place and so forth, but it’s important to have a lot of people experience the Games, and that’s what happens when we have the opportunity for a larger city to host the Games. But the basic thing is can we make the venues correct for the athletes? I think they’ve done an excellent job here. Large or small, we’ve had wonderful experiences with cities since I first became an IOC member. The first Games I attended which was in this country interestingly enough [Calgary]."

 

Larry Probst, Chairman

On the American TV deal:

"I think it’s inappropriate for us to comment on when those negotiations may start or when they may conclude. It’s up to the IOC to initiate those conversations. It isn’t our place to comment. The other part coming out of Denver was to initiate those conversations in 2013. Having said that, I think that everybody knows that the sooner we resolve those differences, the better off everyone’s going to be. I think it’s possible to have productive discussions before those negotiations are concluded."

 

Mike Plant, USOC Board Member and Chef De Mission

On the quality of the American team:

"If you look at this team, like a lot of teams in the past, the support that our organization and working closely with the NGBs and not just the direct funding to athletes but all the programs we provide with training centers and various resources is giving teams and athletes the opportunities to stay in the Olympics sports a lot longer. You see a great deal of experience, not just learning how to train better, but how to compete better, but also just understanding yourself as an athlete that yhou can prepare and take those results to get into bigger events like this. So if you look at our 216 athletes, we feel that we’ve got one of the strongest teams here because of the quality of across all the sports. If you look at our team here, we’re starting to see a lot of the benefits of programs that we have and working with the NGBs because some of the sports we haven’t traditionally been strong in, and Mark’s [Grimmette] being one [luge]. We’re starting to see some great results in biathlon and Nordic combined, bobsled, luge, skeleton. We’re certainly proud to have athletes in all of those sports."

 

Larry Probst, Chairman

On whether waiting on NBC-Comcast deal affects TV network opportunities:

"I think it’s probably reasonable to presume that the acquisition by Comcast with NBC, that’s probably going to have to go through the review and approval process before any substantive progress can be made on that."

 

Larry Probst, Chairman

On regard to future Games bids:

"Clearly, there is some work that has to be done before we’re in a position to make another bid for a Summer Games or a Winter Games. I think we’ve talked about that previously. We need to fix some things with our relationship with the IOC. We’re hard at work doing that and we hope we can make a significant progress on that in a relatively short period of time. We’ll decide at some point and time when we’re ready for the next bid."

 

Anita DeFrantz, Senior IOC member for the United States

On IOC members on the Chicago bid:

"When it was announced in the room, there was an audible sound made. There was a great surprise that Chicago was left out in the first round. It’s commonly known that the U.S. can host the Games and do a good job at them, so there was nothing wrong with the bid. It was about, in my opinion, the situation of having a competitor that had a compelling reason for hosting the Games. Chicago did an extraordinary job with their bid. Never forget that. In the meantime, the IOC members who are participating in a notion that we can help the world through the Games, that it would be better to go to a part of the world where the Games have never been hosted. That’s to me the true story of what happened. Will they allow us to host the Games again? Of course. They come to the United States all the time. There are international federation events, a lot of sport happening. There are athletes from all over the world that train in our facilities. So timing is an issue sometimes, making the best case, and who your competition is also an issue sometimes. I’m absolutely confident that the U.S. is a place that can host again and again."

 

 

Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer

On whether the U.S. can take on world championships in smaller sports such as luge:

"I think it’s important for a couple reasons. One, it’s important for us to demonstrate that we’re willing to make that kind of commitment. Secondly, it also provides a way for us to be spending more time with them. This is a relationship business, so I think going forward the most significant part of our strategy, our international relations strategy, is to support our NGBs as they try to bid for events like that. I know we’ve had a number of discussions since I’ve arrived a couple of weeks ago in what kinds of things we can do in that regard so suffice to say it was clearly a priority for us and I think the president’s advice was good."

 

Lisa Baird, Chief Marketing Officer

On ambush marketing:

"We’ve been actively responding to a small number of companies that are employing ambush marketing practices, and what they do is associate with our marks and that hurts our athletes. As you guys know, the way we help the Olympic movement is we use the marks to raise revenue for our athletes, and when a company crosses that line, and I’ll name Subway as one of those companies that has the crossed the line and hurts our athletes were going to be active and strong. The U.S. government is in agreement with us.

 

"We disagree with them. I think having the U.S. government behind us says where we are.

 

"They are allowed to do things in terms of advertising and using Michael Phelps. Part of what we do is ensure that they use Michael Phelps in an appropriate fashion. We do communicate with them that if they are adhering to the strict guidelines that we have as an advertiser on the broadcast Versus, what the rights of what a sponsor would have. I would say we’re being very vigilant about what they’re doing.

 

"As far as I know they are still airing the 30 second spot. They need to know that we feel they’ve crossed the line and we’re going to continue to be right after them."

 

On Michael Phelps endorsing Subway:

"We have no problem with U.S. athletes like Michael Phelps and other athletes appearing in ad campaigns for non-USOC sponsors. We support them. They’re great role models. It’s important to know they’re spokespeople. But there’s a difference between what a company like Subway does which is use Phelps to talk about their products and then imply there’s an association with our Olympic marks and our athletes. What that does is hurt the greater U.S. Olympic Team."

 

Rana Dershowitz, General Counsel/Chief of Legal and Government Affairs

On Subway disagreement:

"We’re continuing to monitor the situation. We’re exploring all of our options. Nothing is off the table in terms of what we may choose to do. We’re looking at our legal rights. And we’ll explore and follow up on any actions we feel appropriate at the right time."