The IOC executive board meeting in session Thursday in Rio de Janeiro // photo courtesy IOC

The IOC executive board meeting in session Thursday in Rio de Janeiro // photo courtesy IOC

IOC

$50 million profit on $51 billion is 0.098 percent

With so many positive stories to tell, it can be so mystifying to read what the International Olympic Committee considers the most important bits of its news in its releases.

The IOC likes to say that athletes are at the core of everything it does. On Thursday, at a meeting of its policy-making executive board, it modified provisions together known as Rules 40 and 50 so that athletes can sport “generic” or “non-Olympic advertising” during the Games. If ultimately approved by the full IOC, this will likely amount to a major step forward for athletes, especially in track and field, who had protested over prior restrictions that had stopped them from mentioning their sponsors.

That's how close the ski jump is to the hotel the IOC evaluation commission stayed at // photo Almaty 2022

That's how close the ski jump is to the hotel the IOC evaluation commission stayed at // photo Almaty 2022

IOC

See that Almaty ski jump: why no visits?

The International Olympic Committee evaluation commission visit to Almaty that just wrapped up underscores powerfully the problem with the one element that is sorrowfully missing from the new Agenda 2020 reforms.

If all 100-plus IOC members could actually visit Almaty, or for that matter Beijing, this shambles of a 2022 race might be totally different.

Mexico's Mario Vazquez Raña // photo courtesy OEM

Mexico's Mario Vazquez Raña // photo courtesy OEM

IOC

Mario Vazquez Raña dies: the passing of an era

Mario Vazquez Raña of Mexico died Sunday. He was 82. With him goes an era.

Don Mario was indisputably the most important man in the Olympic movement in the entire western hemisphere. His ways may have been old-fashioned but his love for the movement and the so-called “Olympic family” were unquestioned. His counsel served International Olympic Committee presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge. His jet, too.

IAAF president Lamine Diack, left, alongside vice-presidents Robert Hersh and Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad at the 2013 world championships in Moscow // photo Getty Images

IAAF president Lamine Diack, left, alongside vice-presidents Robert Hersh and Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad at the 2013 world championships in Moscow // photo Getty Images

Track and field

Why Stephanie Hightower is up for IAAF council

Political and organizational culture can be a famously difficult thing to articulate. But as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said in a very different context, you know it when you see it.

What’s coming this summer at the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, is a “climate of monumental political change,” according to a memo sent out Saturday from the USA Track & Field board of directors. And that, it says, is why Stephanie Hightower, not Robert Hersh, is unequivocally “the best candidate for 2015 and beyond” to be nominated for the U.S. seat on the ruling IAAF council.

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Track and field

USATF and the notion of homework

For years, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field were the two reliable punching bags in the American Olympic scene. The problem at both was much the same: constant management turnover and an unwieldy governance structure, each encumbered by a board of directors numbering in the triple digits that created an environment rife with petty politics.

Over the past several years, both have turned it around. But with USATF in particular, there remains a dissident cohort for whom seemingly nothing seems to be good enough. Case in point: there’s a new, professionally produced commercial featuring several track-and-field stars, and it’s even airing on network television. This has to be a huge win, right? Exposure for a sport that needs it? For some, apparently not.