Podcast (Episode 58): Center Back/Dr Jence Rhoads and Team USA are Ready for the PANAM Games

USA Center Back successfully defended her Doctoral dissertation then headed off to Europe for a 3 week training camp. Now she and her teammates are in Lima, Peru and they can’t wait for the PANAM Games to begin on Wednesday.

Jence Rhoads had a stellar basketball career at Vanderbilt University and then played hoops professionally in Iceland and Romania.  But, in 2004, after her mother, Melinda Hale Rhoads, attended a reunion with her 84 Olympic Team Handball teammates she decided to take a road trip to Auburn, Alabama and tryout for the Women’s National Team.  The tryout went well and she has been a key player for the Women’s side ever since.

Rhoads, however, says that it wasn’t an immediate decision to switch sports, “I went back and forth for a while, because I wasn’t sure I was done playing basketball, but the opportunity arose to start my Master’s. And, with the opportunity to continue playing a sport at a high level, particularly on a national team I decided to move to Auburn… Now here I am in Lima, Peru with my Doctoral degree.”

But, learning a new sport over the past four and half years has had its ups and downs, “It’s funny to think about myself five years ago as a young handball player and think about myself now and what I’ve gotten better at and what I still need to improve upon.”

One aspect of her game that she’s taken with her from basketball is her unselfish style of play.  She notes that it receives a lot of praise, but also some criticism, “I don’t want to say it’s something that I struggle with because it’s sometimes a very good thing.  Sometimes I maybe wait too long in the game to turn on an ‘attack mode.’  I have a tendency to try to get the play to develop and get everyone involved before I look for my own shot.”

Jence and her teammates are coming off a 3 week training camp in Europe where they played a lot of matches against different levels of competition in preparation for the PANAM Games.  First up, on Wednesday night in Lima will be group favorites, Argentina, a team the U.S. hasn’t beaten in 20 years.  They will then play the Dominican Republic on Thursday afternoon and then finish up Group Play vs hosts, Peru on Saturday.

Team USA is raring to go and ready for the challenge.  Even at the prospect of facing world handball power, Brazil in a possible semifinal matchup, “I love those kind of games… That’s part of the reason why you play the sport.  To have that chance to topple the giant.”

For more on Jence’s transition to handball, her experience playing professionally in Spain, the conditions on the ground in the athlete’s village and her perspective on their opponents Team USA will play in Group Play check out the podcast.

The Next Olympic Hopeful: NBC with a Reality Show on Cross-Over Athletes: Handball not Included

The 8 athletes selected for NBC’s Next Olympic Hopeful. Rugby 7s, Bobsled, Skeleton and Track Cycling were the chosen sports. (Handball Not Included… this time around)

As previously reported, NBC was considering the possibility of a handball based reality show that would see former athletes in other sports try handball with the hopes of making the U.S. National Team and eventually the Olympics.  Unfortunately, the handball reality show has been shelved for the time being, but NBC and the USOC have given some air time to a similar concept: a scouting combine focused on identifying athletes for Rugby 7s, Boblsed, Skeleton and Track Cycling.

I saw the 2 hour show this past weekend and a rebroadcast is scheduled for the NBC Sports Network on Tuesday night at 8:30 PM ET.  90 athletes were identified for participation through multiple channels to include a partnership with 24 Hour Fitness.  Over 3 days the USOC conducted a series of physical tests to measure raw athlete performance, as well as introduce athletes to the basics of the sports involved.  These tryouts/sporting combines appeared to be somewhat similar to what USA Team Handball periodically conducts at Auburn.

As entertainment, I found the show lacking, as it’s pretty hard to manufacture much drama out of such tests of speed, strength and endurance.  Old timers might find it nostalgic as it takes place at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs, even if it’s hard to recognize the place.  About the only drama I found interesting were the end of the day conferences which featured coaches and representatives from each of the Sport NGBs discussing the athletes and in one instance trading a prospect from Rugby to Bobsled.  In the end 8 athletes were selected, 1 male and 1 female for each sport.

As to why handball wasn’t included, Mike Cavanaugh, the CEO of USA Team Handball indicated to me via email that just about every other NGB had asked the USOC the same question.  The USOC response was that they wanted to maximize the chance of success and that’s why the 4 sports, 3 of which are already medal producing were selected.  Indeed, one of the athletes chosen for Bobsled even has an outside chance for making the 2018 Olympic Team.

The good news is that the USOC is already planning for another edition in 2018. And, who knows, maybe the USOC and NBC will throw a bone to USA Team Handball and include Handball next time.  Interested hopefuls can apply here: Link


AUDIO: Interview with USOC Executive, Rick Adams

Rick Adams, The USOC’s Managing Director, NGB Organizational Development

At the USA Team Handball National Championships in Reno, I had the opportunity to interview Rick Adams, the USOC’s Managing Director for NGB Organizational Development.  Topics discussed include the USOC’s level of support for Team Handball and what USA Team Handball needs to do in order to potentially secure more financial support from the USOC.  (Audio runs approximately 12 minutes)

USOC Profile Page for Rick Adams:  Link

USOC 2012 IRS Form 990: Link (pages 40-62 includes information on how much funding the USOC grants to sports federations and other oogranizations)


Gazette Telegraph reports on USA Team Handball financial struggles

The Gazette Telegraph highlights a funding fight between USA Team Handball and the USOC. Is USA Team Handball the guy in the water?

This past Tuesday, the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph posted an article highlighting USA Team Handball budget woes and the decline in funding grants the Federation has received from the USOC.  For those that follow the sport closely, the controversy regarding what funding the USA Federation receives or doesn’t receive from the USOC is a long standing issue.  What was striking to me (and others), however were some of the quotes in the article which called out the USOC.

Here’s a sampling of the article:

The USOC is primarily “going to fund sports that are going to win medals in London,” Pastorino said, maintaining that “there ought to be some credit given for building a long-term development program, a grassroots program, to get us to our ultimate goal. … The message we got this past winter completely counteracted that.” He claims the USOC told NGBs, “Forget about what we said in 2008. Medals talk. Make do with less.”

My reaction was, “Wow, looks like General Manager, Steve Pastorino was even more forthcoming then he was at the Press Conference a couple of weeks ago.  He must have had a follow up interview with Brian Gomez, the Gazette Telegraph reporter.”  Email follow-up with Steve Pastorino, however, indicated that this had not been the case, and the article quotes were based on the press conference from a couple of weeks ago.  And sure enough, a review of the press conference audio shows that those quotes are transcribed pretty accurately.  (You can hear for yourself (see below).  At around 44:20.  Christer Ahl asks the financial related questions.)  In the context of an hour long press conference covering a lot of topics the comments were significant; in the context of a short newspaper article that focused on financial issue, though, they were even more so.

As I highlighted before, these financial troubles weren’t new “news” for most American Team Handball followers.  Christer Ahl’s follow up article on the press conference had already touched on many of the key points from the press conference and Christer and I were both a little surprised with the candidness of some of Steve Pastorino’s comments regarding USOC support.

But, while Team Handball News might be a significant player in the Team Handball world we are, but a bit player in the sporting world (although, it should be noted there are a significant number of Colorado Springs visitors to our site).  What we report reaches a smaller audience.   The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph isn’t the New York Times either, but Colorado Springs is still a decent sized city, and most importantly it’s the home of USOC HQ.  You can bet that every single USOC executive read the article with interest and a little frown as it doesn’t paint the USOC in the best light.  Additionally, the story has also been picked up by other outlets like MSNBC and Sports Business Journal Daily.

It remains to be seen if there’s any fallout from the article.  If there is, it can’t be because there’s anything incorrect in terms of content.  I’ve had my disagreements with how USA Team Handball has spent the money it’s received from the USOC and other sources, but you’ll find no disagreement from me regarding the inadequacy of the paltry sum Team Handball receives in comparison to other sports.   For some time I’ve been working on a series of articles which breaks down just how inconsistent, non-transparent and arbitrary the USOC process is.  Looks like it’s time to dust off the draft, clean it up and post it.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph (30 Aug 2011): USA Team Handball in financial fight with USOC: http://www.gazette.com/sports/fight-124178-financial-handball.html

THN (18 Aug 2011): USA Men’s Team getting ready for PANAM Games: http://teamhandballnews.com/2011/08/usa-mens-team-getting-ready-for-panam-games/

THN (19 Aug 2011): AUDIO: USATH Press Conference: http://teamhandballnews.com/2011/08/audio-usath-press-conference/

THN (3 Jan 2011):  The Budget Shell Game: http://teamhandballnews.com/2011/01/the-budget-shell-game/



US says no to 2020 Olympics Bid: No free ticket for U.S Team Handball until 2028?

2012 London Olympic Tickets: 2028 might be the soonest we'll see Summer Olympic tickets with a U.S. City .



The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) recently announced that the U.S. will not put in a bid to host the 2020 Olympics.  Still stinging from two back to back losses (New York’s 2012 and Chicago’s 2016 bid) the determination was made that the USOC needed to first renegotiate the revenue sharing agreement between the USOC and IOC.  The USOC currently receives 20% of the IOC’s Global sponsorship deals and 12.75% of the U.S. TV rights.  Several members of the IOC Executive Committee aren’t too happy with this arrangement as their nations don’t get any of this money. And as these are the same guys that vote for host city the calculated decision was made to not compete until that issue is resolved.

This decision to forgo 2020 could very well mean that the U.S. might not host a Summer Olympics until 2028 at the earliest.  This is because there is already some strong talk of Denver, Reno and other cities putting together a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.  There’s no guarantee that a U.S. bid would win, but assuming that the funding differences are worked out, I’m guessing the U.S. would be the odds on favorite.  A successful 2022 bid then would make a 2024 bid in the same country a very unlikely prospect.  Which means that 2028 could be the next realistic opportunity for a U.S. based Summer Olympics and the automatic qualification it provides for team sports.

So, if you’re a U.S Team Handball athlete with Olympic dreams it should be pretty clear now that the only way you’re likely to fulfill that dream is to earn it via qualification.   17 years is a long time to wait unless, you’re around 12 years old now, an extremely durable athlete or a goalie.

For the U.S. Federation this reality means that  in addition to no qualification, there will be no host city looking to give the sport a boost like Atlanta did in the 1990’s.  At least not until around 2021 when the U.S. might be gearing up for a 2028 bid.  It also means no easy sponsorship deals (relatively easier, anyway) as an ancillary benefit to hosting either.  And it goes without saying, that there will be plus up from the USOC. (In past Olympics, the USOC has provided more funding as while they know medaling is unlikely, they still want to put forward a respectable performance on home soil.  Not to mention the fact, that they’ve got more sponsorship funding to throw around anyway.)

But while this is a blow, it at least makes long range planning simpler.  For instance, there’s certainly no need to factor in Olympic host city prospects into your resident program location decision.  And it makes it very clear that the only way to move way forward is with a better team and overall program.  This may seem like an obvious reality no matter where the Olympics is located, but I saw firsthand how guaranteed qualification for Atlanta 1996 resulted in at least some level of complacency in the 1990’s.   It’s human nature to ease up a bit and even great teams get a little concerned that not having to worry about qualification might make them a little soft in terms of preparation.  On the other hand, if you know that you’ve got to win to qualify, that all but guarantees greater effort.  And for the foreseeable future Olympic qualification will either mean PANAM Games Gold or knocking off two European teams in a qualification tournament.  Anything less will mean staying home.

Associated Press (22 Aug 2011): US pulls out of bid for 2020 Summer Olympics: http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news?slug=ap-usoc-no2020bid


Olympic Notes: Next U.S. Summer Games could be 2028

A couple of recent news reports are worth highlighting. At the end of September, the U.S. Olympic Committee held its annual assembly. During that time, USOC CEO, Scott Blackmun noted that it was highly unlikely that the U.S. would bid for the Olympics in 2020. At the same time, Lake Tahoe and Denver are planning to bid for a 2022 Winter Olympics. With the U.S. putting forth a lot of effort to repair international relationships a 2022 victory for an American city could be more likely in a few years. Should that occur it would then be unlikely that the IOC would grant a summer Olympics bid two years later to the same country. Hence, if this scenario plays out it could be 2028 at the earliest before the U.S. hosts the Olympics and get an automatic qualification in Team Handball.

On a more positive note more Handball could be shown on TV during the 2012 Olympic Games as NBC Chairman, Dick Ebersol indicated that NBC’s will broadcast 100 more hours on their cable channel partners than they did in Beijing. This translates to about 6 or 7 more hours a day and surely an additional handball match or two will be part of that equation.

Inside the Games (24 Sep 10): America rules out bid for 2020 Olympics: http://insidethegames.biz/summer-olympics/summer-olympics-2016-news/10590-america-rules-out-bid-for-2020-olympics
Inside the Games (25 Sep 10): NBC network to televise 200 hours plus from London 2012: http://insidethegames.biz/summer-olympics/london-2012-news/10594-nbc-to-televise-over-200-hours-from-london-2012-

The USOC vs. IOC dispute: a pile of money goes a long way…

It has been well known in international sports circles for a long time now that the US Olympic Committee and the IOC have been caught up in a serious dispute over money, partly the lack of USOC contributions to an administrative fund and, more fundamentally, the sharing of the income from Olympic sponsors and from the U.S. television rights. It was generally assumed that this state of affairs was either the real reason or an excuse for depriving New York and Chicago of any chances to win the rights to host the Summer Olympics.

It has now been announced, however, that the short-term, or one-time, issue of the U.S contributions to the IOC administrative budget for the running of various IOC Commissions, the anti-doping efforts and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, has been resolved. http://www.teamusa.org/news/2010/09/08/usoc-ioc-successfully-reach-financial-pact/38442 An agreement to pay about US$ 18 million over the next two years seems to have satisfied the IOC demands for what would constitute an adequate settlement of accumulated obligations.

Of course, this is probably the easier part of the agenda. The real sticking point has been the impact of a 1996 agreement under which the USOC receives 20 % of the revenue from the IOC’s global sponsorship programs and 12.75% of the television rights fees for the U.S. These proportions have been seen as excessive, or even unconscionable, by a majority of the IOC member federations. Exactly what constitutes ‘a fair share’ can always be debated, but there is a sense that the USOC arguments are seen as irrelevant by many; the fact that the USOC is virtually the only national Olympic committee that has to make do without government funding is seen in the rest of the world as an internal U.S. problem, and not as a legitimate excuse for grabbing a bit extra of the overall IOC revenues.

It seems now that the impasse that has existed over this issue, is thus being removed through the good faith effort and gesture to make a one-time payment to the IOC administrative budget. A constructive dialog should now be feasible on the broader topic of the revenue sharing, with the goal of working out a mutually acceptable formula. And once this process gets underway, perhaps, just perhaps, the standing of the U.S. and any future Olympic hosting bid may be seen in a different light.

Recent reports on the matter in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090906809.html?nav=emailpage http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/2010/09/hoist-a-cold-one-18-mill-taking-chill-out-of-usoc-ioc-relationship.html

USOC selects new leader

This past week the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) selected a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the organization. Scott Blackmun is a lawyer by trade and was the interim CEO at the USOC in 2001. Several articles and commentaries have been written indicating that he was a good choice and links to those articles are below.

Commentary: From a Team Handball standpoint it would certainly have been better to have had Mark Lewis (husband of former Handball Olympian, Dawn Allinger Lewis) get selected to the top job. Blackmun doesn’t have that strong of a connection to the sport, but having worked at the USOC from 98-02, he’s surely familiar with it. In a press conference after being selected he noted his previous experience at the USOC developing plans for USOC resource funding of National Governing Bodies (NGBs). This experience should mean that he’s cognizant of the challenges a smaller federation like USA Team Handball has fighting for attention and funding against better known and resourced sports. With the caveat of not knowing much about the other finalist, Chuck Wielgus, the CEO of USA Swimming, I think Blackmun’s selection is better for a minor sport like Handball. I say this only from the standpoint that Wielgus may have been inclined to think that other NGBs simply need to emulate the successful practices of his sport. What works for swimming, though, doesn’t necessarily apply to Team Handball.

AUDIO: USOC Press Conference: http://www.teamusa.org/assets/documents/attached_file/filename/20210/010610_Scott_Blackmun_Press_Conference.mp3
Alan Abrahamson Blog at Universal Sports: Scott Blackmun: Arguably the USOC's last best chance (6 Jan 10): http://www.universalsports.com/blogs/blog=alanabrahamsonsblog/postid=387006.html
Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph: GUEST COLUMN: USOC has chosen the right CEO to restore credibility (7 Jan 10): http://www.gazette.com/opinion/mike-91944-ceo-moran.html
Washington Post: Scott Blackmun says fixing the USOC is 'not a short process' (6 Jan 10): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/06/AR2010010604011.html
LA Times Olympics Blog: Lengthy deal, less money for new USOC boss sends right message to IOC (7 Jan 10): http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/2010/01/lengthy-deal-less-money-for-new-usoc-boss-sends-right-message-to-ioc.html
Reuters Canada: IOC keen to see where Blackmum steers USOC (6 Jan 10): http://ca.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idCATRE6055QA20100106?sp=true
Colorado Springs Independent: Blackmun: perfect for USOC (7 Jan 10): http://www.csindy.com/colorado/blackmun-perfect-for-usoc/Content?oid=1574263
LA Times Olympics Blog: USOC critics hail choice of Blackmun: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/2010/01/usoc-critics-hail-choice-of-blackmun-as-ceo.html

Washington Post reports on USOC challenges

The Washington Post is currently running an informative series on issues currently facing the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). The first part in the series focuses on the USOC-IOC relationship (or lack thereof) and the second part addresses USOC reforms and the search for a new CEO. A third part of the series to be published at a later date will tackle the question of whether the USOC should be funded by the U.S. government.

– PART I: RIFT WITH THE IOC: Deteriorating USOC-IOC relations threaten both organizations: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/21/AR2009122101900.html?sid=ST2009122602221
– PART II: LOOKING FOR A LEADER: USOC seeks answers: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/12/26/ST2009122602221.html?sid=ST2009122602221

USOC Narrows CEO field to 6: 1 candidate has a big Handball connection

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has reportedly narrowed the field of potential Chief Executives to 6 candidates. The unconfirmed candidates are:

– TD Ameritrade chairman Joe Moglia
– Former baseball executive Sandy Alderson
– Current chief operating officer Norm Bellingham
– Former general counsel and interim CEO of the USOC, Scott Blackmun
– Jet Set Sports president Mark Lewis
– USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus

The candidate with the big Handball connection is Mark Lewis, who’s married to former USA Olympian, National Team Coach and NBC Olympics commentator, Dawn Allinger Lewis. Obviously, the selection of Lewis would result in a CEO very, very much in tune with the trials and tribulations of USA Team Handball. According to a report in the Seattle Times, Lewis is a very strong marketer, bringing in record sponsorship for the Salt Lake City Olympics and later growing Jet Set Sport’s corporate hospitality business. The same article, however, implies that Lewis has also benefitted substantially from the revolving door that is part of what the expose calls the less than transparent “Olympic Family.”

The USOC hopes to select the new CEO in January just prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

LA Times Olympics Blog (11 Dec 09): U.S. swim boss, ex-Padres CEO among finalists for U.S. Olympic Committee CEO: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/
AP (14 Dec 09): Ameritrade chairman USOC CEO finalist: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jD8XlqyUijfWqsZWC8jupreOTmwQD9CJE7VG0
Seattle Times Olympics Insider (11 Dec 09): Report: Jet Set president Lewis a finalist for top USOC job: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/ronjuddsolympicsinsider/2010486875_report_jet_set_president_lewis.html
Seattle Times (17 Nov 09): Olympic business stays in the 'family': http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/olympics/2010284615_olytickets17.html
Seattle Times Special Report: Freezing out the Fans (4 part report on Olympic ticketing): http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/olympicticketing/

USA Team Handball Veteran with seat on USOC Reform Group

Former USA National Team Goalie, Matt Van Houten has been selected to be a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) reform advisory group being headed by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The reform group has been tasked to assess the current USOC board and committee structure and make recommended changes.

Van Houten told Team Handball News (THN) that the panel has a good balance of objective outsiders and representatives from the USOC’s key constituent groups. He also believes that it will be a positive step towards improving the overall position of the US Olympic family both domestically and internationally. Van Houten, who is no stranger to the challenges a smaller National Governing Body (NGB) faces within the USOC structure indicated that a less influential NGB like team handball can only benefit from this process.

This is the second key appointment for Van Houten, who is also a member of the committee that will select the next USOC CEO.

LA Times Olympics Blog: Latest USOC reform group shows promise by avoiding usual suspects: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/2009/12/latest-usoc-reform-group-shows-promise-by-avoiding-usual-suspects.html
Associated Press: USOC critic, Chicago bid chief join advisory panel: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hYxUVXZza67KgwSXEchGtHqh7AHgD9CGU8B00
Associated Press: Ex-NFL commish looks for solutions at USOC: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hxeQCi82qvrlBhEIu2tbfA9yzvAgD9CHKH9O0

USOC Update

Several recent news reports on the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) have elements of interest for Handball followers in the U.S.

The USOC has hired a search firm to find a new CEO. The firm will also work closely with a 9 member committee which includes former national team goalie, Matt Van Houten.

Colorado Springs Independent: Good USOC news, finally: http://www.csindy.com/colorado/good-usoc-news-finally/Content?oid=1498367

NBC Chairman Dick Ebersol, however thinks that they don’t need to spend money on a search firm: http://www.portfolio.com/industry-news/sports/2009/11/17/nbc-universal-sports-chief-dick-ebersol-mad-at-usoc/

In a related article, 1984 Handball Olympian and former USOC VP Mike Lenard, also had a few choice words on the current state of the USOC:

"The USOC's international standing is not only abysmally low, but now engulfed in crisis,"

"We have squandered our opportunities over the last decade to take farsighted leadership positions on initiatives that would be important to many national Olympic committees," Lenard said. "Instead, we have steadfastly maintained our 'U.S. exceptionalism.'"

Associated Press: 100 days from Vancouver, USOC looks for a leader: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gmPIzDo4lVn02w9ga9G9XB6QtLkwD9BO8QF00

Comcast and NBC Universal are engaged in merger talks which by default could resolve the controversy surrounding the launch of the U.S. Olympic Network (USON). This past summer plans for the USON were put on indefinite hold to quell IOC complaints concerning devaluing TV rights. Not coincidentally, NBC was not pleased with the USOC partnering with Comcast at the expense of the NBC universal platform. A merger would put them on the same team.

ESPN: Merger would unite USOC network rivals: http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=4661427

Finally, the USOC has selected Paul Tagiabue to lead an independent panel that will examine whether the USOC Board of Directors should change its governance structure. In 2003, a similar panel made the recommendation for the board to be smaller and for it to have more independent members. The new panel will assess if perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in that direction and that more board members should have Olympic sports experience. To USA Handball devotees that followed the By-Law controversy that led to the decertification of the old federation and the birth of a new one this argument will seem familiar as the governance documentation for USA Team Handball mirrors the USOC governance. It will be interesting to see if the pendulum also swings back for USA Team Handball to add board members with a background in Handball.

NY Times: Paul Tagliabue, Former N.F.L. Commissioner, Selected to Lead U.S.O.C. Panel: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/sports/olympics/13usoc.html

USOC delays Olympic Network plans

Following discussions with the IOC last Sunday, the USOC issued a press release indicating that would delay further development plans for an Olympic Network channel until after all issues related to the network have been resolved with the IOC.

According to multiple news reports and commentaries, the USOC grossly miscalculated the reaction of the IOC and NBC to the launching of a rival platform to NBC’s Universal Sports. In turn, this miscalculation was seen as hurting the Chicago 2016 bid and hence the decision to sheepishly abandon the network until issues with the IOC have been resolved. Although, the LA Times Company Town blog goes further to say that the delay will be permanent, declaring the channel “dead in the water”.

While minor sports like USA Team Handball were hugely supportive of the network and the exposure it would give their sport, more established sports like swimming and gymnastics questioned the move and the impact it would have on their ability to sell TV rights.

THN: Olympic TV channel set to launch after 2010 Olympics: http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?default.0.20
USOC Press Release: http://usocpressbox.org/usoc/pressbox.nsf/6272c9a938d3a5cb8525711000564abd/a78a3b9a98c6f6a485257614004de0ae?OpenDocument
LA Times: Bungled U.S. Olympics Channel Collapses: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2009/08/bungled-us-olympics-channel-collapses.html
LA Times: Olympic Network was doomed to flame out: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2009/08/olympic-network-was-doomed-to-crash-out-of-the-gate.html