United States Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst will step down at the end of 2018, the organization announced Monday.
Probst, 68, was first elected to his position in 2008 and was subsequently reelected in 2012 and 2016. He will be succeeded by independent board member Susanne Lyons, who served as USOC acting CEO from February 28 to August 20, 2018, after former CEO Scott Blackmun resigned.
Former USA Golf executive Sarah Hirshland was named CEO in July.
“Serving as chairman of the USOC board of directors has been an extraordinary honor and I’m proud of the work we did during my tenure to support American athletes, and advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements,” Probst said in the USOC’s press release. “I became chairman at a difficult time for the USOC and worked diligently with my colleagues here in the U.S., and around the world, to change the USOC for the better. It’s now time for a new generation of leaders to confront the challenges facing the organization and I have the utmost confidence in Susanne’s and Sarah’s ability to do just that.”
Probst is largely credited with being instrumental in amending the USOC’s relationship with the International Olympic Committee and helping to land the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic bid.
However, during his tenure, the US also saw the burgeoning of sex abuse scandals and cover-up schemes in Olympic sports including gymnastics, swimming, figure skating, and taekwondo, among others. In response, he oversaw the board’s approval of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an organization whose work – while positive in intent – remains under immense scrutiny.
Probst was elected as a member of the IOC in 2013, and will reportedly meet with IOC President Thomas Bach later in September to discuss the future of his involvement with the organization.
Lyons was a unanimous selection to be Probst’s replacement.
“I’m honored that the board has entrusted me with this position, eager to continue to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and ready to do the work necessary to regain the trust of our athlete community; particularly survivors of abuse,” said Lyons, a former Visa USA executive. “I’ve been associated with the Olympic and Paralympic movements for nearly two decades and never dreamed I would be in this position. It’s no secret that the USOC is at critically challenging time in its history and we simply must get it right. I intend to make sure we do.”
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