DALLAS — U.S. Olympic Committee officials on Sunday defended the apparent slow pace of revenue-sharing talks with the International Olympic Committee, saying getting a good deal remained a greater priority than a hasty one.
The issue is a critical because the USOC has tied the resolution of talks directly to bidding for future Olympic Games, saying it will not put forth any U.S. bid cities until it has a deal that redefines how Olympic monies are distributed.
There have been no Olympics on U.S. soil for 10 years, when the Winter Games were held in Salt Lake City in 2002. The last Summer Games took place in Atlanta in 1996. Occasional U.S.-based Games are considered essential to generating public and sponsor support for the U.S. Olympic movement.
The USOC declined last year to submit a U.S. bid for the 2020 Summer Games, which will be awarded in 2013. The site of the 2022 Winter Games will be decided by a USOC vote in 2015.
“It’s really, really important to get this right and secure the financial future of the USOC and our athletes,” USOC President Larry Probst said during a press conference. “If it feels like it’s taking a long time, so be it.”
Probst said the USOC had taken positive steps in resolving the issues since intensifying talks in Jan. 2011.
“It’s a complicated endeavor,” Probst said. “We haven’t gone backward.”
Probst and USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun declined to reveal any details of the talks citing a confidentiality agreement they had made with the IOC. The USOC currently receives 20 percent of the funds from the IOC’s top sponors and 12.5 percent of the U.S. Olympic television revenue.
The 200-plus other national governing bodies split the rest, and there has long been international resentment at the large portion given the USOC. That resentment has been largely blamed for the embarrassing finishes of New York and Chicago in the international races for the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games, respectively.