By Phillip Whitten
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 5. MARTY Mankamyer resigned as President of the U.S. Olympic Committee last night, bowing to pressure from the organization's five vice presidents. They accused her of undermining Lloyd Ward, the USOC's embattled Executive Director, by inflating the seriousness of ethics charges against him, and blamed her for factionalizing the already dispirited organization.
Mankamyer, 69, had faced a no-confidence vote from the USOC's executive committee this Saturday at a scheduled meeting in Chicago. Seven of the 22 committee members had already called for her to step down.
Mankamyer submitted her resignation via e-mail to members of the USOC executive committee last night, explaining: "Because there appeared to be no possibility for peace unless I stepped aside, and with the thought that my action could make a positive difference for an organization to which I have devoted almost 20 years, I have decided to resign. I wish the USOC the very best for the future."
Mankamyer's resignation is the latest in a series of scandals that has rocked the organization in recent years. Mankamyer took the reins of the USOC last August when Sandra Baldwin, who had been in office for less than a year, was forced to resign after it was revealed that she had falsified her academic credentials. In 1991, Robert Helmick resigned as president after he was accused of using his position for personal gain.
The USOC has also had three CEOs in the past three years. The current CEO, Lloyd Ward, who remains under fire for ethical lapses, took the position last year. He replaced Norm Blake, who had been in office only nine months.
The game of musical chairs in Colorado Springs has attracted the attention of the U.S. Senate, which is expected to hold a second round of hearings shortly.
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who co-authored the act that chartered the USOC a quarter century ago, said he believes the organization's paralysis stems from its unwieldy 123-person committee that includes a large number of individuals with no connection to amateur sports.
Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), who held discussions with Mark Spitz last week, said he will visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to view the committee's operations and talk with athletes.