Olympic Committee Chief Steps Down After Failed Bid

"I think we miscalculated on the network," Streeter said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Stephanie Streeter was in charge just long enough to tank an Olympic bid.

    Just days after helping to submarine Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid, Stephanie Streeter announced that she would step down from her post as CEO of the United States Olympic Committee.

    "I had made this decision prior to the bid and clearly it makes sense to announce it as soon after as possible," she said. "It makes sense to announce it at this time so the USOC has a clean slate when it goes into the search process."

    Streeter, who replaced Jim Scherr after he was forced to resign in March so that the USOC could be run more like a business, said she wanted to get back into the corporate world.

    Many blamed Chicago’s failed bid on an absence of solid leadership at the USOC.

    One sticking point that International Olympic Committee voters never got over was the USOC’s quest to launch its own Olympics television network, a plan that was floated and then quickly shelved when it met with resistance from the IOC.

    "I think we miscalculated on the network," Streeter said when asked if she had any regrets from her seven months on the job. "We miscalculated the reaction from the IOC and our TV partners at NBC. I still think it's a good idea. In retrospect, I would've altered timing on the announcement."

    But it wasn’t just the TV network.

    Streeter was under heavy scrutiny almost immediately upon moving into the job from her position on the board of directors. The switch came as a surprise to many in the Olympic movement, in part because the USOC had been functioning relatively smoothly with Scherr at the helm.

    Her arrival never was accepted by key leaders of the country's national governing bodies — the organizations that run the individual Olympic sports — who felt blindsided and wondered about the transparency of a move that elevated a volunteer board member into a paid position.

    They found more to complain about when the board approved a pay package with a base of $560,000 — about 30 percent more than what Scherr earned.

    There were some successes — a handful of sponsors did come on board, and the USOC was able to increase funding for Winter Games athletes by one-fifth, partly by exceeding projected budget revenues.

    Those successes, however, were barely a blip — overshadowed by the perceived missteps and criticism.

    In the aftermath of the 2016 vote, there was debate over how damaging revenue-sharing — and the USOC's internal politics, in general — were in the eyes of IOC voters who awarded the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro last week.

    Regardless, Chicago's elimination in the first round was universally viewed as an embarrassment and one of the biggest surprises ever handed down by the voters. One IOC member, Denis Oswald, went so far as to call it "a defeat for the USOC, not for Chicago."

    Streeter thought, as many did, that the lure of bringing the Olympics to South America for the first time was too big a lure for any city to overcome.

    "And there were many factors that played into the Chicago showing," she said. "The network was one of them, and there were dozens more that others speculated on."