USOC's Helmick won't seek re-election President disputes conflict charges

September 16, 1991|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,Sun Staff Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS -- U.S. Olympic Committee president Robert Helmick said yesterday that he has bowed out as a candidate for re-election when his term expires next year because of the controversy surrounding his business dealings.

"Some things have happened lately that are very unfair, and I resent them," Helmick said. "These events have given me a good opportunity to say, 'I've made a tremendous change with the USOC, and it's appropriate that someone else deal with the job.' "

Helmick announced during a meeting Saturday with the USOC's Athletes' Advisory council in Indianapolis that he would not seek an additional term.

Charges of conflict of interest led to Helmick's decision. A series of articles in USA Today revealed that Helmick received $127,000 in consulting fees in 1990 by sports companies that do business with the Olympics and the USOC.

Although the USOC executive committee gave Helmick a vote of confidence Wednesday, it also appointed a special counsel to determine whether full disclosure had been made.

"They [USA Today] came out with a lot of confidential information," Helmick said. "It's a sexy story. There was never an allegation I influenced a business decision of the Olympic Committee or hurt the Olympic Committee."

Helmick, 54, also said he wants to spend more time with his family.

"It's easy to be a candidate," he said. "Sometimes, it takes a notable event to assess where you are. The two great loves of my life are the Olympic Committee and my family. I've given more time to one than the other."

Helmick, who said he will serve out the remaining 14 months of his term as USOC president, is expected to remain on the International Olympic Committee's executive board.

Among those who might emerge as candidates are current USOC vice presidents George M. Steinbrenner and Mike Lenard, USOC secretary Chuck Foster and IOC member Anita DeFrantz. The search could extend to candidates outside the current Olympic family.

Helmick's successor will be elected after the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

"I don't want the review of my sports business to hold up the nomination process," he said. "I'll have a chance to get the facts out. As long as the review is going on, I should not run for election."

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