IOC president Thomas Bach meets in Sochi with Russian president Vladimir Putin

IOC president Thomas Bach meets in Sochi with Russian president Vladimir Putin

IOC

The IOC president as Action Man

SOCHI, Russia — There are apples. And there are oranges. The International Olympic Committee this week put out a news release, amid the provocation launched by SportAccord president Marius Vizer, that all but begs any and all to make the comparison.

IOC president Thomas Bach, the release noted, enjoyed “another full week” that included meetings around the world with world leaders and dignitaries — and kids! — “championing the importance of sport in society and its ability to spread peace.”

SportAccord president Marius Vizer moments after Thursday's news conference

SportAccord president Marius Vizer moments after Thursday's news conference

IOC

Marius Vizer: “I don’t give up”

SOCHI, Russia — If you thought Marius Vizer, the president of SportAccord, was going to go gently into the Russian good night as the convention wound down here Thursday, you might also believe that Vladimir Putin paid for the 2014 Winter Games with $24 worth of, like, beads and matryoshka, those Russian stacking dolls.

“I don’t give up,” Vizer said after an incredible news conference Thursday in which he asserted repeatedly that the attack he launched Monday on the International Olympic Committee system, with IOC president Thomas Bach right up front, was assuredly designed to be “constructive.”

SportAccord president Marius Vizer in the halls of the convention

SportAccord president Marius Vizer in the halls of the convention

IOC

Game of Thrones, Olympic style

SOCHI, Russia — Lost for almost everyone in the provocative speech that SportAccord president Marius Vizer delivered here earlier this week was a Latin phrase at the very end, one that — now that the Assn. of Summer Olympic International Federations predictably rallied on Wednesday around the International Olympic Committee — sums up the contentious state of world sport politics.

Fine primo tempo, Vizer said in closing his remarks Monday: “the end of the first season,” or, better, the end of the first chapter. If this were television drama, the second, or even the third, will surely make for even better stuff.

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.