USOC Executive Quits Over Ward Decision

Times Staff Writer

Brian Derwin, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee's policy-making executive committee, has resigned in apparent dismay at the decision Monday to take no action against Chief Executive Lloyd Ward in connection with an ethics-related controversy.

Derwin, a former member of the USOC's ethics committee, had walked out of the meeting Monday at a Denver-area hotel well before the session was completed, offering no comment while striding through the lobby en route to an airport shuttle.

He said in a resignation letter sent later Monday that has since circulated throughout the USOC, "I thought we had an opportunity to hold ourselves to a higher standard and we did not."

Reached Tuesday by phone, Derwin declined to comment on the letter. He confirmed his resignation and added only, "I left because I could not support the decision."

The executive committee voted Monday to take no action against Ward after an inquiry into whether he had used his influence to help a company with ties to his brother and a childhood friend bid for a contract for the 2003 Pan American Games. A USOC ethics board report said Ward had "created the appearance of a conflict of interest" but did not recommend disciplinary action, and the executive committee took none.

Derwin has long been affiliated with USA Weightlifting and has served the U.S. Olympic movement in a variety of roles. His other recent positions have included chair of the anti-doping policy committee.

He said in his resignation letter, which was sent originally to USOC President Marty Mankamyer that it was with "great sadness" that he was stepping down from all his USOC positions.

"It's a tremendous loss to the USOC, because Brian has long been our conscience," Mankamyer said.

Derwin said in the letter, "I think there was a clear conflict of interest violation," adding that while "the process became complicated by the press," the motion that carried Monday's meeting to take no action against Ward "did not address the underlying distrust and dysfunction within the USOC."

He added, "I cannot in good conscience ask the athletes to hold themselves to a higher standard than the executive committee would hold itself."

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