Fellow athlete nominees Roland Baar and Charmaine Crooks then sat in the lobby of the Savoy Hotel with Ctvrtlik and Koss, strategizing until 3 a.m. On Saturday morning the athletes learned that their names were being proposed for immediate IOC induction in Lausanne rather than at the Sydney Games next September. Samaranch, who unlike the executive board supported eight-year eligibility for athlete members, postponed a vote on athlete representation until after lunch, while the athletes pleaded their case with board members Richard Pound and Anita Defrantz. The board assented. In the future athletes would be allowed to serve up to eight years, but the athletes named in Lausanne would have shorter stays in office; their terms would be considered retroactive to the last Olympics in which they participated.
For those who retired after the Atlanta Games, it meant their IOC service could end in Sydney, scarcely nine months from now. "They're scared of us because we're bright, energetic, gender-equal people who welcome change, and we're not on the outside anymore," said Ctvrtlik.
Samaranch's fierce campaigning for reform left little room for dissent. Asked last Thursday what he foresaw in the Saturday session, one IOC member said, "Unanimity. I don't like some proposals, but I vote with the president." On Friday morning an internal document obtained by SI was placed under hotel doors of IOC members. In bold letters it read, "If reform proposals are rejected, the risk of media crisis is high." Atop the priority list was the highly contentious renouncement of visits to bid cities.
In a brilliant stroke of parliamentary maneuvering on Sunday, Samaranch took comments from 36 members, many of whom spoke in favor of visits, and then altered the wording of the recommendation so that members would have to raise their hands to vote in favor of visits (read: in opposition to Samaranch) rather than against visits as in the original wording. In the end a measure that would have passed anyway—though by a far closer margin—was adopted with just 10 dissenting votes. British IOC member Princess Anne, who voted for the visits, said the measure was "unenforceable" and told reporters, "This is what you lot have asked for."
The assent strengthened Samaranch's mandate as he headed to Washington, D.C., to testify on Dec. 15 before a House Commerce subcommittee, which could still strip the IOC of tax-exempt status in the U.S. The IOC's commitment to reform will remain on public trial long after the transparent covers have been discarded.
Athletes on the IOC
Having Their Say at Last
Last week in Lausanne, 10 athletes were named to the IOC. Here are the new players and what each is likely to bring to the Games.
?Roland Baar, 34, Germany. Silver-and bronze-winning rower wants the IOC to be subject to an independent supervisory board.
?Hassiba Boulmerka, 31, Algeria. Barcelona 1,500 meter winner was chastised by Muslims for her running; she'll push for athletic rights for Third World women.
? Sergei Bubka, 36, Ukraine. History's greatest pole vaulter, the 1988 Olympic champ wants the IOC to be more involved with introductory-level youth sports.