Olympics-USOC admits it badly miscalculated anger over TV plan

CHICAGO, Sept 9 Wed Sep 9, 2009 3:08pm EDT

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CHICAGO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The United States Olympic Committee has conceded it badly miscalculated the angry IOC response to its plans for an Olympic television network but believes the row will not affect Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games.

"Simply put, we miscalculated the negative response to the launch of the United States Olympic Network," USOC acting chief executive officer Stephanie Streeter said on Wednesday.

"While we received many positive statements of support at home and from international members of the Olympic and Paralympic families, we have put the network on 'pause'."

The USOC announced in Berlin last month that it would delay launching a cable television network devoted to the Olympics.

Streeter, who was making a keynote speech to the U.S. Olympic assembly, said she did not think the dispute would adversely affect Chicago's bid.

The International Olympic Committee will choose between Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid in Copenhagen on Oct. 2.

Streeter offered a conciliatory tone during her speech, saying the USOC hoped to work on the television project with the IOC.

"Chicago's bid has become America's bid with the support of President Obama," she added. "President Obama has been an ardent supporter of this bid from the beginning, well before he even launched his campaign for the presidency.

"He has sent four video-taped personal messages to IOC members around the world in support, clearly expressing his desire to harness the power of sport to give hope to young people and help them build better lives."

Patrick Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer of the Chicago bid, also delivered a brief pep talk before racing off to a city council committee meeting.

Chicago aldermen will vote on whether to allow Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to sign the Olympics host city contract. The agreement would make city taxpayers responsible for any cost overruns if Chicago is successful in its bid.

"We are in it, to win it, right until the end," said Ryan. "We will leave everything on the playing field.

"We are going to work, work, work right through the finish line."

(Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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