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Senate bill targets USOC — would require oversight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has agreed to streamline the United States Olympic Committee in hopes of bringing more accountability to the scandal-ridden organization.

Legislation, approved by voice vote Tuesday night, would dramatically scale back the U.S. committee's governing structure and provides more congressional oversight.

Instead of 124 members, the new USOC board of directors would have nine members, plus the U.S. delegates to the International Olympic Committee and a representative from the Olympic Assembly.

"I believe the reforms in our bill today are necessary adjustments that will return the focus of the United States Olympic Committee to our original intent, our American athletes," said Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

Since the 2000 Games in Sydney, the Olympic committee has had four chief executives and three presidents and endured a bribery scandal involving Salt Lake City's 2002 Winter Olympic bid.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., had been holding up the legislation to get assurances that the USOC would keep its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. The legislation now requires the USOC to remain in Colorado Springs until the full board and a supermajority of the larger U.S. Olympic Assembly agree.

A House subcommittee, meanwhile, approved a similar bill Wednesday. Like the Senate measure, the bill would cut the USOC board of directors to nine members plus the U.S. IOC delegates.

The bill numbers are S. 1404 and H.R. 3144. Their texts can be found at: thomas.loc.gov