The International Olympic Committee on Sunday extended until September the deadline for the U.S. Olympic Committee to explain USOC oversight of anti-doping practices in the 1980s and 1990s.
The IOC asked for the report last month. Since then, both the USOC and IOC have been consumed by a number of issues, including the negotiation of U.S. television rights to the 2010 and 2012 Games, won by NBC earlier this month as part of a $2.2-billion package.
Thus, IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said, “It’s only fair that [the USOC] should have more time to pull that report together,” until the next meeting of the IOC’s policymaking executive board, in September at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The action on the long-simmering dispute with the USOC over its anti-doping practices capped a day filled with wide-ranging developments in advance of the IOC’s selection Wednesday of the 2010 Winter Games city.
IOC officials said:
* The national Olympic committee of Afghanistan is once again a member in good standing. The IOC had suspended it in 1999 because of the then-ruling Taliban regime’s discrimination against women.
Afghanistan brings the number of nations in the Olympic movement to 200. The forthcoming admission of East Timor and the Pacific island group of Kiribati will take the number to 202.
* French will remain an official Olympic language, along with English. Eliminating French might have saved the cost-conscious IOC money in translation and other services but those savings were deemed not worth the price.
* The dates of the Beijing Olympics were changed to Aug. 8-24, 2008. They had originally been set for July 25-Aug. 10. The change was made in hopes that August will bring less oppressive heat and humidity, the IOC said.
* Russian cross-country skier Larissa Lazutina, one of the most decorated athletes in Winter Olympic history, was stripped of her remaining medals from the 2002 Salt Lake Games, two silvers, because of positive doping tests.
* Operations of the IOC’s marketing agency, Meridien, and its in-house marketing department will be combined into a single unit within Meridien. Chris Welton of Meridien, which has offices in Atlanta and Lausanne, will be in charge. The IOC’s marketing director, Michael Payne, will focus more on “strategic” matters and step back from day-to-day operations.
“We don’t need several bosses,” IOC marketing chairman Gerhard Heiberg, an IOC member from Norway, said. “We need one.”