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U.S. swim boss, ex-Padres CEO among finalists for U.S. Olympic Committee CEO

The field for the new chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee has been cut to a half-dozen candidates, according to Chicago Tribune sources familiar with the search.

Among the finalists are:

*Sandy Alderson, a former major league baseball vice-president and former CEO of the San Diego Padres.

*Scott Blackmun, former USOC general counsel and its acting CEO in 2000-01.  Blackmun went on to work for the Anschutz Entertainment Group before returning to Colorado Springs to practice law.

*Norm Bellingham, the current chief operating officer of the USOC.

*Mark Lewis, who led the joint marketing venture between organizers of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics and the USOC.  Lewis is now president of Jet Set Sports, a global hospitality company with extensive Olympic sports business.

*Chuck Wielgus, the CEO of USA Swimming.

The Tribune also has learned that there is a sixth candidate, who is the only one from a corporate background with no link to the USOC or the Olympic movement.

The USOC search committee has set interviews with the finalists in San Francisco the middle of next week, and the USOC is expected to name a new CEO by early January.

Stephanie Streeter, who became acting CEO after Jim Scherr was forced out in March, announced two months ago she did not want to be considered for the permanent job. 

``Out of respect for the process, we are not going to comment on speculation about candidates,’’ USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.  ``We feel the process is going along nicely with the timetable of having a new CEO in place by early next year.''

The CEO’s job has recently paid about $500,000 plus bonuses.

Scherr received $619,507 in salary, bonuses, benefits and other compensation in 2008, according to the USOC tax filing.  The Tribune revealed in August that Streeter getting a base salary of $560,000, plus bonuses that could reach $1 million.

 Whoever gets the job will become the 10th person to be permanent or acting USOC chief executive since 1988.

That turnover has made it difficult for the USOC to build the international relationships important for a U.S. city to become an Olympic host.  The last two Summer Games candidates, Chicago (2016) and New York (2012), suffered humiliating early-round defeats.

Streeter was among three recent CEOs who arrived from the corporate world with little or no knowledge of the USOC.  There has been pressure from a variety of USOC constituencies to hire someone who knows the playing field to avoid a long learning curve for the new CEO.

-- Philip Hersh

 
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