Military leadership for USOC

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on March 10, 2018. It can also be found online here.

Want to fix the USOC? Draft a general.

“Why is he sad?” my 6-year-old asked about the young man walking out of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s entrance, whose downward, despondent gaze was as identifiable as his “Team USA” backpack. We were next to USOC headquarters a few days ago, stopped at a red light. “It’s complicated,” I said over my shoulder, as her younger sister listened in.

The troubles weighing down that USOC employee could have come from several places: the shocking news that hundreds were abused in the USA Gymnastics system, the emerging awareness that similar violations were widespread in other sports, or the sudden resignation of USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, who officially stepped down last week for health concerns; others attribute his leaving to the recent scandals. Continue reading “Military leadership for USOC”

Can’t separate the Olympics from global politics

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on February 19, 2018. It can also be found online here.

I love the Olympics, in part because they seem to defy reality as a place where dreams really do come true.

But geopolitics doesn’t stop while the Olympics are on – countries always use the Games to jostle for power, position, and prestige. Hitler’s 1936 Games come to mind, or the U.S. decision not to attend the 1980 Games in Moscow, and the subsequent Soviet decision to skip the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

The geopolitical maneuvering continues at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang – not surprising considering they’re so close to the DMZ that separates the North from South Korea. Tensions are high, as the North’s missile and nuclear tests have grown in number, range, and quality, poised to threaten not just Seoul and Tokyo, but the U.S. homeland as well. Continue reading “Can’t separate the Olympics from global politics”