Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin was appointed interim president of the United States Olympic Committee. Former USOC President Marty Mankamyer turned in her letter of resignation, which put the burden of curing the ailing committee on Vice President Martin, who was next in line for the unenviable position.
After a few rocky years marked by scandal and accusations of unethical practices, USOC can finally begin its healing process.
But Martin said he will serve as the temporary leader of USOC. “This job was not something that I was anticipating or desiring,” Martin said. “I intend on acting as president only for a short time.”
One of Martin’s primary duties in his new office is dealing with congressional challenges to USOC’s structure. “Working with Congress will be an emotional and trying process,” Martin said.
Martin has a difficult road ahead of him, but despite the turmoil he will now be forced to deal with, he said he will not compromise his loyalties to Michigan. “U of M will always be my top priority,” he said. One might think that juggling these two weighty jobs would be impossible, but Martin said he is up to the challenge. “It’s going to keep me hopping for a little bit,” he said. “I am just going to have to keep organized.”
Martin also plans on heightening the involvement of and giving additional responsibility to other members of USOC. “I’m going to let others help,” he said. “That will be my leadership style.”
Though he is only planning on acting as president for a few months, Martin has high hopes for getting USOC back on track. “Right now, we’re working on healing those hurt by all that’s happened with the committee and getting the facilities ready for Athens 2004 in 14 months,” he said. Martin also intends to restore the United States’ faith in the integrity of the Olympic Games.
“We want to worry about winning medals and keeping them polished,” he said. “People used to consider the Olympics to be pure and good. We want to get the games back to where they were.”
Martin’s involvement in USOC began in 1995, when he served on its board of directors. This past November, he was elected to the executive committee when Mankamyer stepped up to the presidential spot. Mere months later, the committee, unsatisfied with Mankamyer’s work on the ethics investigation of the USOC’s chief executive, Lloyd Ward, called for her resignation.