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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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"We had access to intelligence on how the votes were going. It came from our embassies all over the world. Whenever we needed any input from them, all we had to do was ask, and they would give us a head count. At our suggestion the State Department sent American coaches to Africa to hold symposiums and clinics. We had people all over the world those last months."

Many U.S. athletes have been critical of the L.A. '76 campaign, saying that it might have been successful if there had been some Olympians included in the sales force, such as Jesse Owens. Kilroy scoffed at this. He said, "Now what would an athlete have done with those IOC members? Jesse can't sit down with people like King Constantine and talk with the kind of men who are on the IOC. No, we had the right people."

Kilroy then recounted how Moscow had entered the competition late in 1969 and how Montreal stayed in regardless of its troubles raising money. "There was a kind of dress-rehearsal presentation before several sports federations in Munich early in the winter of 1970. We were told that Montreal fell on its face and that Moscow had no feel for making that kind of presentation."

Thus, the American delegation was very confident when the crucial IOC meetings began in Amsterdam on May 9, 1970.

"Our input indicated," Kilroy explained, "that we had 36 votes on the first ballot for sure. We counted the Soviet bloc with 27 votes and the Commonwealth bloc with seven. But the timing was not the best for our bid and the White House was worried. There was the Cambodian problem, and the kids had just been killed at Kent State. Oh, it was very touchy. But we were prepared to face it. We were prepared to talk about it. Vietnam, too.

"Now let me set the scene. In Amsterdam we were housed in a downtown hotel quite a long way from the IOC hotel so there wouldn't be any last-minute pressure on members. When we arrived, I went to see Avery to tell him our plans, to show him our guidelines. I told him that we were prepared to talk about Cambodia and Kent State and Vietnam—and that we welcomed any questions. Avery slammed his fist on the table and he said—oh, he was livid, in a rage—he said, 'There will be no politics in this! I will not permit a word to be said about Vietnam or Kent State or any other discussions along those lines!'

"Well, I was surprised," said Kilroy, "but I said O.K., Avery, fine, if that's the way you want it, that's fine. And now look what he did when he got home...."

Kilroy held up a clipping from the Cleveland Plain Dealer dated June 2, 1970. The four-column headline said: WHY LOS ANGELES LOST OLYMPICS, with a subhead saying "War, Kent State Killings...." And Mr. Brundage was quoted as saying that, indeed, the war and the killings in Ohio had influenced the vote against L.A. '76.

Kilroy flushed beneath his tan. "We were prepared to talk about all the conditions in the U.S. We were ready to talk about the black situation. We had blacks on our committee and we were going to let them speak. We had an Administration man and he was going to talk about Kent State. We said we were delighted to talk about our problems. Sure, and we would also be delighted to have the Russians talk about what they had done in Prague. The Russians tried to attack us about our smog. And we said, sure, we have smog, but so do you Reds. What about the Fiat plant in Moscow.

"Oh, there was plenty of infighting going on. You think you've seen politics? Try an IOC meeting. The Russians were threatening to boycott Munich if the Germans didn't vote for Moscow. General Clark [the late Jos� de J. Clark of Mexico, an IOC vice-president] told us he had to vote for Russia on the first ballot because they had promised to vote for him to replace Avery as president next year.

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