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Turmoil still grips USOC

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2003

DENVER -- As members of the U.S. Olympic Committee gathered this weekend at a Chicago hotel to work toward fixing the troubled organization, former president Marty Mankamyer was home cleaning out her office and struggling with a malfunctioning Palm Pilot.

Mankamyer resigned under pressure last Tuesday after colleagues blamed her for working behind the scenes to oust chief executive Lloyd Ward and further fracturing the USOC. Although she is no longer a part of the decision-making process, the 69-year-old real estate agent says she has no regrets.

''I'm home working toward the stuff I should be working toward,'' Mankamyer said from her home in Colorado Springs, Colo. ''Life is a series of events, and whatever it is, it is. I am at peace right now.''

The USOC's executive committee met this weekend after weeks of bickering and infighting led to intervention by Congress.

The flap started in December when Ward was accused of trying to steer Olympic business to a company with ties to his brother. Since then, five USOC members have quit, Mankamyer resigned and a major sponsor threatened to back out of a $10 million deal unless the organization shaped up.

Congress, which has the authority to yank the USOC's charter, called the organization's leaders to Washington on Jan. 28 and another hearing is slated for Thursday. Members of the executive committee agreed Sunday to create a task force to examine the USOC's structure and streamline the organization's operation.

Much of the turmoil within the organization has been played out in public, with accusations and finger pointing coming out almost daily. For that reason, Mankamyer says she is done talking about the organization she put nearly 20 years of her life into.

''It's interesting to kind of sit back and watch and listen to what everyone has to say, but I'm not going to express any kind of opinion,'' Mankamyer said. ''I'm not going to say anything. We are trying to make the USOC better and the way I think I can make it better is by not saying anything.''

Mankamyer first became involved with the USOC in 1984, when she was chairman of U.S. Youth Soccer and a member of the USOC's games preparation committee. She has been a member of the board of directors since 1990 and was a member of the executive committee from 1992-96.

Mankamyer was vice president-secretariat from 2000 until she took over for former president Sandy Baldwin in April of last year, and was the assistant Chef de Mission for the 2000 Sydney Games. She also the soccer delegation supervisor in Atlanta in 1996 and the soccer liaison for the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina.

Mankamyer said she plans to keep working on the board of directors -- USOC bylaws allow the past president to stay on -- but isn't sure how long it will last since Congress has discussed trimming the 123-member group.

''It sounds like there's going to be a lot of changes,'' she said.



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