Officials of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the U.S. Olympic Committee are asking Congress to authorize the minting of a series of special commemorative coins to raise money to support the 1984 Games and a variety of projects of the USOC.
The plan could raise as much as $200 million, according to Peter V. Ueberroth, president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and Col. F. Don Miller, executive director of the USOC.
Under the proposal, the Olympic Organizing Committee would purchase the coins from the U.S. government at a 15 percent markup over the costs of minting and then sell them worldwide to coin collectors and other interested purchasers.
"It would provide a source of funding for the 1984 Games and for American amateur athletics at no cost to the American taxpayer," says Ueberroth in testimony prepared for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today.
As proposed in legislation pending on Capitol Hill, the Treasury would be authorized to mint up to 30 million alloy $1 coins, up to 22.4 million silver $10 coins, up to 2.4 million gold $50 dollar coins and up to 1.6 million in gold $100 coins.
The bill also provides for a single issue of the $1 coins with five different designs, four issues of the silver coins with four designs per issue, four issues of the $50 coins with one design per issue and four issues of the $100 coins.
To distribute the coins, the Olympic Organizing Committee has entered an agreement with an organization called Olympic Coin Program, a joint venture of Lazard Freres and Occidental Petroleum, which will market the coins around the world. Olympic Coin Program has guaranteed the Organizing Committee a minimum of $50 million if the program goes forward.
If sale of the commemorative coins does raise $200 million, current plans are to divide the money evenly between the Olympic Organizing Committee and the USOC. Miller said the USOC will use its share of the money to support its training program for Olympic athletes at Colorado Springs and to support amateur athletic programs in a variety of individual sports around the country.
"When we didn't send a team to Moscow last year, most of our funding sources dried up," Miller said.
"It was a real body blow," added Ueberroth.
Ueberroth and Harry Usher, executive vice president of the Organizing Committee met yesterday with President Reagan who named his deputy chief of staff, Michael Deaver, to be his liaison for the 1984 Games.