2008/2012 OLYMPIC TRIALS BIDDING PROCESSES

Recently I was asked by an interested party in the Northern California chapter of USATF about the bidding process that went on for the 2008 Olympic Trials.
He had been persuaded that the process was flawed and unfairly influenced by people trying to enrich themselves in the process. Nothing could be further from the truth. This grossly mistaken impression had been enriched and embellished by a member and officer of the board of directors of USATF for her own personal and political purposes. This disinformation campaign by this person is part of a larger and more malevolent  mosaic to accomplish three things:
1. Settle old political scores through slandering those who opposed her.
2. Set up a scenario to continue herself in some sort position of power with
the restructured board, since she can not, on her own, win an elective
position.
3. Disenfranchise volunteers and volunteer committees from having final
decision-making power over their areas of activity and expertise. With final
word and authority resting with the new CEO ( who literally, and self-
admittedly has no expertise when it comes to USATF’s basic mission and
mandate ) . Under the new restructuring, the president of USATF would
have to be first elected by the volunteer body and popular vote, and then
elected again by the board of directors to be its chair.  In order for this
convoluted lunacy to take place, the previous USATF structure and
volunteer regimes have to be made to seem corrupt, inept, and grossly
ineffective. There is coercive use of the USOC threat of decertification as
the stick to beat everyone into accepting the travesty that much of the
restructuring represents.
Here is the scenario that took place as regards the bidding process for the 2008 Trials, which in turn bear directly on the 2012 bidding process as well.
As the time approached to select the site for the 2008 Olympic Trials, John Chaplin, Chair of Men’s Track and Field, proposed a committee of nine (9) people to start the process. The committee had three (3) athletes, Women’s Chair, High Performance Chair, LDR Chair, and Craig Masback . There was almost unanimous support for Sacramento, California because of the two prior( 2000 and 2004 ) successful Olympic Trials hosted there. It was decided that based upon USATF by-laws that allow the Olympic Trials to awarded as a “business decision” in some cases without a bid process, that Sacramento would be the likely choice made by the committee based upon the previous contract terms of the 2000 and 2004. There was one very critical and pivotal caveat that centered around the need of the Athletes Advisory Committee to have another major track meet in the U.S. for open and elite athletes to use for qualifying performances. There was/is a special need for such a meet in most of the throwing areas and some jumps. These meets over the next quadrennium were to be funded by a $500,000.00 budget carve out for just this use. The athletes, who after all generate the money in the first place, would have control over how these funds were going to be dispersed and used. The High Performance Division had agreed to fund transportation and housing for the top six “A” qualifiers in each event, assuming the AAC funds were used as prize money for athletes in attendance.
The committee had settled on making this decision the Thursday following a Monday meeting between John McCasey representing the Sacramento Sports Commission and Craig Masback, CEO of USATF. They were to meet to iron out details of the contract for the 2008 Olympic Trials, report back to the committee for approval of the terms. Prior to Mccasey’s trip to Indianapolis, I was contacted by a person close to him asking about the process.. I outlined what I sensed the mood of the committee was as regards Sacramento. I also emphatically stated several times that the deal maker or breaker was the funding for the meets that the AAC wanted make sure got funded through them. He agreed that he understood this as being critical and pivotal and advised me that he would have John McCasey call me to make sure there was not any misunderstanding about what was required.
John McCasey called on the Friday before he was to leave for Indianapolis.
I advised him about the non-bid circumstance based a “business decision” that could be made in behalf of Sacramento the following Thursday. Again, I emphasized that the AAC wanted and needed funding in order to support a meet that was solely needed by several of its constituent groups. I advised him that there had been a reluctance by the national office to have that funding go directly to the control of athletes. He was told that anything less could possibly be a deal breaker and that the athletes’ direct votes and votes they influenced would be the deciding factor in the award process.
McCasey indicated that he was very comfortable with that arrangement and he would gaurantee that he would make sure the meet was at Sacramento, or even have the Save Mart people in Modesto host the event. Bottom line, at the end of that conversation there was absolutely no confusion about the need to have the funds go directly to the AAC for them to disperse for the meet(s). He advised me that he and his finance guy were heading for Indianapolis on Sunday and would meet with Craig Masback on Monday to present the contract and budget arrangements. The agreement that came back to the committee did not have the funding for the meet(s) being in control of the AAC, but was rather included in the “general funds” segment of the 2008 Olympic Trials budget, meaning that the national office could distribute the funds as it saw fit, rather than the athletes. This came as a shock and surprise and since the basic request of the athletes had been ignored, it was decided to open up the 2008 Olympic Trials to a bidding process.
Once the bidding process started, I was approached by someone close to Oregon Track Club interests and I advised them of the above scenario and told them that the athletes’ request for the funding and the meet was absolutely essential to any successful bid. Having advised both sides of what was crucial and critical for success in the process, I excused myself and appointed Vince Peters, Race Walking chair in my stead.
There are several truths that should come out of the 2008 Olympic Trials process:
1. Sacramento had the 2008 bid if not allowing its bid to be influenced in
the wrong direction by the national office.
2.   Having won the 2008 bid, they could/would have done exactly what
Eugene did with it, convert it into the 2012 bid ( business decision ) if that
was their wish.
3. John McCasey had the necessary knowledge and advice to assure the bid
for Sacramento, he simply chose not to implement it.
4. The assertion that people connected with the AAC or PAA were
attempting to use the bidding process to create a “slush fund” for their
personal use is simply malicious slander and serves the perverted political
and power purposes of people who can not win with legitimate means.
5. The idea that Eugene/NIKE has some insider advantage is totally false as
each s
ide had the same deal making/deal breaking information. The 2008
bid process was basically athlete centered because they carried the day in
terms of votes. However, since the Olympic Trials are to select athletes
onto the U.S. Olympic team, then who better to have such influence as it is
their sweat and efforts that generate the dollars in the first place ?
I Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion and consternation over the 2008 bid. There are those who are using it for their own political and professional purposes. They are spreading slanderous slime at innocent people and engaging in malicious misinformation. This kind of action should not be allowed to win the day. Delegates to the upcoming USATF convention need to be keenly aware of what they are being asked to give up in the name of restructuring. The decertification stick is the same as the ruse of Weaponse of Mass Destruction (WMD). We have the USOC and some self-serving members of USATF who would have USATF volunteers stampede into making ill- considered changes with the threat of decertification. Among other things they would like for America to belive that we “lost” the Olympics. There were more than 200 countries represented in track and field in Beijing. Every last one of them would exchange places with us as regards medal count. The mission and mandate of the U.S. Track and Field Team in Beijing was to win the qualitative ( gold medals ) and quantitative ( total medal count ) competitions. We won both the gold medal count and we won the total medal count. The USOC had the exact same mission and mandate charged to it. They were only 50% successful. They won the quantitative count, but lost the qualitative count to the Chinese. Who is threatening them with decertification ?  Who are they to threaten USATF with decertification when we were 50% more effective and successful than they were ?
Some times we are to be measured as to how really good we are by what gets done on “off” performances. There is absolutely no question that we could have won more gold medals in Beijing if things had gone better. But they didn’t. But we still emerged as the “The World’s #1 Track and Field Team ”  The previous year at the World Championships, with 215 countries competing, we won 26 total medals and swamped the rest of the world.. The same support team that was in Osaka for 2007, was in place for the Olympics in 2008. Did all these people all of a sudden become ignorant and ineffective in 2008 ?
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