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THE IOC LOSES A RIGHTHAND MAN BUT MAY GAIN AN INSECT REPELLENT
Shortly after his 1980 election as president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch paid a sly compliment to administrative assistant Monique Berlioux: " Madame Berlioux is my righthand man." Well, she's not any longer. Last week at the 90th session of the IOC in East Berlin, Berlioux resigned as director, having lost a protracted power struggle with Samaranch. Whereas Samaranch's immediate predecessors, Avery Brundage and Lord Killanin, had paid only infrequent visits to IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Spanish diplomat had relocated there after his election. He fought with Berlioux over matters large and small, and their feud became so heated that some observers even tried to make something of the fact that Samaranch favors Barcelona, his birthplace, as the site of the '92 Summer Games, while Berlioux, an Olympic swimmer for France in the 1948 Games, prefers Paris. Last week the IOC's nine-member executive board leaned on Berlioux to quit. She did, with tears in her eyes. It's expected that Samaranch will allow no other individual to enjoy the power Berlioux did and that her job will be divvied up into several less powerful positions.
Other developments in East Berlin:
?Mindful of the profits turned by the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo ($10 million) and by their summer counterpart in Los Angeles ($215 million), half a dozen cities have lined up to volunteer to host the 1992 Winter Games, and six others are vying to hold the '92 Summer Games. As is customary, the IOC's members were royally wined and dined by representatives of would-be host cities. Sofia, Bulgaria, which covets the '92 Winter Games, put on a $50,000 buffet. Grandiosely capitalist Brisbane, Australia, a Summer Games contender, flew in Aussie lobsters, kiwi fruit and its charming lord mayor, Sallyanne Atkinson, and brought in caterers from across the Wall in West Berlin to serve a $1.9 million luncheon feast. The IOC members shamelessly stuffed themselves at such events, unmoved by criticism that the organization shouldn't be accepting lavish favors from its suitors. The committee will allow the ardent courting to continue until October of '86 before making its choices.
?In a progress report on the '88 Summer Games, Lee Yong Ho of the Seoul Organizing Committee said that agreements on the scheduling of events had been reached with 22 of 23 sports federations (the International Amateur Athletics Federation, the governing body of track and field, will announce its timetable next month) and that finals will be held in many events at noon or even earlier. Denying that the early starts are designed merely to accommodate rich U.S. TV, Lee insisted, "It's also in the interest of sports to show the Olympic Games to as many people in the world as possible." But consider this: An 11 a.m. event will air live at 10 p.m. in New York but in the middle of the night throughout Europe. Consider also that the original dates for the Seoul Olympics were the last week in September and the first in October but were moved up a few days so they wouldn't conflict with the U.S. major league baseball playoffs. Then again, the Seoul organizers are hoping for U.S. TV-rights payments of $550 million, which figures to be six times the combined haul of TV rights from all other countries.
?The IOC signed an exclusive merchandising contract with International Sports, Culture and Leisure Marketing of Lucerne, Switzerland. Instead of dealing with a score of different national organizing committees, you can now negotiate directly with ISL to become the Official Olympic Insect Repellent. Some 40 sponsorships for products ranging from soft drinks to rented cars will be peddled during each Olympiad by ISL. "In the past," said ISL executive vice-president J�rgen Lenz, "each sponsor had to deal with organizing committees directly. This mess had to be sorted out." The IOC rarely sorts out messes just for the sake of sorting out messes. It received a million dollars from ISL for the basic contract, and at least $14 million more is due by 1989. Berlioux and Samaranch butted heads over the ISL deal, too, with Berlioux invoking the spirit of Olympic patriarch Pierre de Coubertin and objecting to formalizing the commercialization of the Games. Berlioux having lost again, one observer noted, " De Coubertin is dead, Samaranch is alive."
?Robert Helmick, a Des Moines lawyer who is president of both the International Swimming Federation (FINA) and the U.S. Olympic Committee, was elected to the 89-member IOC. The word was that former USOC executive director F. Don Miller was passed over because he opposed sharing L.A.'s Olympic profits directly with other countries, and that former LAOOC head Peter Ueberroth, who favored such a profit distribution, was bypassed because of his supposed "hostility" toward the USOC.
TIME TO SETTLE
Baseball's collective-bargaining agreement expired last Dec. 31, and negotiations on a new one are lagging. With talk of a possible strike in the air—the Major League Baseball Players Association is considering a boycott of the All-Star Game on July 16 and says it may set a strike date for August—the two sides remain deeply divided on one critical subject: the financial state of the game.