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USOC CEO joins Roe, Masback in Opening USATF Annual Meeting


Jill Geer
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field
(508) 520-1529

MOBILE, Alabama – President Bill Roe and CEO Craig Masback recounted USA Track & Field’s (USATF) unprecedented successes of 2001, highlighting the people and events that have made brought new opportunities to the sport Wednesday morning at the Opening Session of the 2001 USATF Annual Meeting.

Special guest Lloyd Ward, the new CEO of the United States Olympic Committee, drew a standing ovation with his inspirational talk on his plans for the USOC and the Olympic movement under his leadership.

Highlighting the 2001 Annual Meeting Theme, “A World of Opportunities,” Roe noted that opportunities present themselves constantly. He charged USATF with making as its goal “to take advantage of the ones we should … and to create opportunities where none exist.”

Masback spoke to the many opportunities that were seized by the organization in 2001. Looking back to 1997, when Masback took the job one year after the Atlanta Olympics, USATF’s world “was a world of survival, not a world of opportunities.” With revenues cut in half from those of 1996, the organization was near financial ruin.

The post-Olympic year of 2001, by contrast, was USATF’s most successful ever. All major sponsors were re-signed, and SoBe Sports System and Verizon came aboard as new sponsors, helping to build USATF revenues to an all-time high of more than $12 million. Among the other highlights of the year: USATF will finish the year with a surplus for the third straight year; the Golden Spike Tour featured record crowds and television ratings; more than 25 national television shows – half of them owned and promoted by USATF – aired on national television; Team USA was once again the World’s #1 Team; and USATF membership grew 10 percent over 2000.

“We’ve faced brutal realities,” Masback said, “but now it is our time to be idealistic, because only then will we realize our athletic potential and our organizational potential in 2004 and beyond.”

USATF realized some of its fundraising potential when it joined the New York Road Runners (NYRR), Runner’s World, Running USA and the Road Runners Club of America to organize the Run for America on November 4 to raise money for victims of September 11. Masback, Roe, NYRR CEO Allan Steinfeld, Running USA Executive Director Basil Honikman and RRCA President Freddi Carlip presented the Mobile fire and police departments with a symbolic check for $30,000, which will go to charities benefited by the Run for America.

USOC’s Ward inspired the audience with his presentation on his plans for the USOC. The former Maytag CEO and eloquent public speaker took the floor after proudly donning a Team USA Olympic warm-up jacket, presented to him by Team USA athletes. Describing the USOC’s goals as “winning medals in Olympic competition” and “winning hearts and minds in everyday life,” Ward displayed the inspiration, charisma and vision that landed him the top job at the USOC.

“This movement is not about me. It’s about me serving the moment,” said Ward, rallying the crowd to its feet.

Roe awarded 12 President’s Awards during the course of the Session, in recognition of people who have made extraordinary contributions to the sport. The 2001 President’s Award winners are: Walter High - USATF Member Services Chair; Ed Levy (posthumous) - coach, meet official, club founder and Olympic team manager; Scott Davis – statistician, Mt. SAC Relays director, former USATF Southern California Association president; Peter Alkalay – USATF counsel; Anne Phillips – former executive assistant to USATF executive director; David Greifinger – counsel to USATF Board; Sharon Couch, two-time Olympian and Athletes Advisory Committee secretary; Bob Larsen – USATF Men’s Long Distance Running Committee member and coach; Kountez Moore – Associations Treasurer and Hall of Fame Screening Committee member; Victor Sailer – contributing photographer to USATF and New York City fireman; Mike Scott – Vice Chair of USATF Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Development Council and Director of CanAm Track & Field High Performance Series; Kenny Emerick – meet official, USATF Rules Committee member.

USATF also presented its annual “Year in Review” video, featuring the sport’s 2001 highlights, and a photo/slide show tribute to the heroes and victims of September 11. After a moment of silence, Masback called on the audience to sing “God Bless America” during the slide show. The result was a moving, uniting moment that brought many to tears as poignant images from September 11, as well as uplifting moments from the track- and running-related events that have taken place since then, flashed on two oversized screens.

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