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What Happens When You Ask the U.S. Olympic Committee if Holding the Olympics in Russia Was a Bad Idea?



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Two days ago, I set out on a relatively simple assignment: Ask anyone in the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) if they at all regretted that the 2014 Winter Olympics had been held in Sochi considering Russia’s subsequent invasion of Ukraine.

On March 11, I e-mailed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asking for the contact information of the members of the USOC in order to set up a short interview. The next day I received an e-mail from Sandrine Tonge, the media-relations manager of the IOC, telling me to contact the USOC directly.

Finding the number of the USOC’s special director of communications, Mark Jones, I gave him a call on March 12. When I told him that I wished to ask about how the USOC views Russia’s invasion of Crimea, he told me the committee members would probably not want to comment. However, he did agree to forward my request to Lawrence Probst III, the chairman of the USOC.

When I e-mailed Jones with the questions to be relayed to Probst, Jones told me that they were “better addressed by the International Olympic Committee.” He then gave me the e-mail address for the IOC that I first contacted on March 11.

So what happens when you ask the USOC if it was a bad idea in retrospect to have Russia host the Olympics? For this correspondent, it seems they won’t answer the question.



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