With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) starting its annual Session today in India's economic capital Mumbai, will the usual pomp and ceremony disguise the sizable challenge currently facing the Olympic Movement, or will it just be another rearranging of the deck chairs?
I have been reading with interest David Owen’s assessment of the current financial state of the Olympic Movement and reflecting on how so many things have changed since West Nally responded to the desperate financial plight the IOC faced in the 1970's that resulted in us establishing the Olympic Partner programme, widely referred to as the TOP programme.
Our initial involvement was with Lord Killanin and the all-powerful Monique Berlioux during the period when the IOC suffered significant setbacks at both Munich 1972 and again in Montreal 1976. The organisation was close to bankruptcy when Horst Dassler co-opted me to join the campaign launched by Juan Antonio Samaranch to run for IOC President at the election in Moscow 1980.
For a number of years, we planned and plotted, looking at separating the Summer and Winter Olympics hosting, what high profile sports should be added to the calendar, how do we get control of the Olympic Rings to support our exclusive marketing approach.
One thing that was clear and essential at that time was to keep matters, especially finances, at a manageable level.
Despite our attempts to move the IOC to Monaco, Samaranch, and specifically Berlioux, wanted to stay in Lausanne and advocated quite strongly that the then Olympic House could only house 100 staff, a level deemed more than sufficient for their future needs.
Even back then, there was fear of the administration getting distracted from the primary objectives as documented in the Olympic Charter and taking on superfluous roles.
Samaranch was a great strategist and a skilful politician and quickly saw the relevance and need of our marketing approach and the need to secure both the Olympic Rings ownership, the change of event...
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Author: Patrick Nally