Saturday, September 18, 2004

Dick Pound -- Olympian, Statesman, Ethical Crusader

As part of some research for a present project, Dick Pound's insider view on the functioning of the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, has been a fresh and candid perspective on an institution that enshrouds itself in mystery.

Pound begins by stating that his book doesn't purport to be a comprehensive overview of the entire history of Olympism to date. Rather he attempts to distill an insider's snapshot into into a set of pan-Olympic values near and dear to his heart -- issues in which he's played a vital role throughout his Olympic involvement from the start.

Several issues covered in this light tome:

** the anti-doping crusade.
** the Salt Lake Olympic Scandal in 1999.
** his relationship with former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
** Pound's opinion about former IOC Executive Committee Member Monique Berlioux (an arch-nemesis and would-be foil).
** his views on the near catastrophes of 1988's Seoul Games, Atlanta in 1996, and the recent selection of Athens for the 2004 Games.

Autobiographical titles must normally be taken with a grain of salt, tending as they do to be somewhat self-aggrandising (along a continuum of light to heavy, naturally). Yet what I find most endearing about Mr. Pound's coverage is that he walks the talk like so few Olympic officials can.

Having competed in Rome in 1960, represented his native Canada as head of the former Canadian Olympic Association (COA), and sat on the IOC's Executive Committee as its VP -- he's demonstrated a firm commitment to the sports field by remaining unshakeable on his ethical stance despite plenty of enticements along the way not to (Salt Lake being among them).

Pound's leadership in the sports field is borne out by the results he's delivered. In his present capacity as Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), he's shown athletic-like perseverance in that it never pays to give up on what you believe.

Consistency is one of the small things we've been discussing in LEADERHIP comprising that complex matrix in what is known vaguely as 'leadership.'

It's always the small things making the largest difference. Creating a solid foundation for the bigger challenges any leader must face.


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