SI Vault
William Johnson
July 24, 1972
His detractors have said he is a traitor, a liar, a windbag, a hypocrite and a fool, but Avery Brundage sleeps the sleep of the just
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July 24, 1972

Defender Of The Faith

His detractors have said he is a traitor, a liar, a windbag, a hypocrite and a fool, but Avery Brundage sleeps the sleep of the just

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Hal: You know, our guys are competing in Europe this summer so they can make enough money to help them train next year for the Games. They'll bring home anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 from a summer on the European circuit. The fact is, under Rule 26 [the IOC rule defining Olympic eligibility] I don't know any amateur.

Olga: We don't want charity, but it is so foolish now. Bill Schroeder, who runs the Helms hall of fame, had a very funny idea—except maybe it's not so funny. He said there's only one way to have a U.S. Olympic camp and that's to have the whole team spend two or three hours a day in a U.S. Olympic cannery. You see? We'd spend our time growing our own strawberries, then can them and sell them and call them American Jam and then we could afford a training camp and everyone could be honest.


The notion that amateurism is in that much of a jam probably has not occurred to any of the 74 members of the IOC. Although the IOC lays down all rules, policies, bylaws and eligibility procedures for the Olympics, its members often have the air of just having come down from some elegant attic. The IOC is the most exclusive, blue-ribboned and blue-blooded organization in the world, utterly self-perpetuating and accustomed to operating in total privacy.

"If you took a poll, you'd find the favorite sports of the IOC are yachting, fencing and equestrian, the high society sports," says Arthur G. Lentz, executive director of the USOC. "They are not athletes, as a rule." Nor are they men likely to know many athletes, at least modern athletes.

Avery Brundage presides. His three executive vice-presidents are: the ebullient Lord Killanin, 58, of Ireland, who was once a journalist for the London Daily Mail; the self-effacing Jonkheer Herman van Karnebeek, 68, of The Netherlands, a board member of Esso Netherlands and of Heineken Breweries; and the suave, black-haired Count Jean de Beaumont, 68, of France, whose family dates to the first Crusade and whose financial holdings in Rivaud and Co. (his father-in-law's firm) make him one of his country's wealthiest men.

A sampling of the remaining members:

Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, 66, of Nigeria, is the eldest child of His Highness Ademola, Yorubaland's wealthiest and most influential ruler. Sir Adetokunbo was the first Nigerian to serve as a chief justice.

Hadj Mohamed Benjelloun, 60, of Morocco, is enormously rich because his father owned 60 acres of real estate that became the center of Casablanca.

Syed Wajid Ali, 60, of Pakistan, is chairman of two companies, managing director of a third, executive director of a fourth and a director of three others.

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