My new job: CEO of the USOC

Fri, Oct 30, 2009


We all know that the job market is tough, right? And we all know that journalism is not a growth industry, right? So given that the New York Times has yet to call and offer me Tom Friedman’s job, I may need to consider other fields of endeavor. Not that I’m looking for a job – but it always makes sense to explore whatever options might be available.

Here are my – let’s not call them requirements – desiderata for a new position.

  • A salary commensurate with my wisdom, experience, and continuing need for ready cash
  • No economy class travel
  • Performance metrics so vague that years will pass before your employers are aware that you’re not meeting expectations
  • Bronco tickets, as well as tickets to every major sporting event
  • Located right here in Colorado Springs
  • A snazzy office with a private balcony
  • Highly competent assistant(s) to do the actual work
  • Full party schedule, preferably featuring attractive celebrities.

You may find this list unreasonable, even delusional, but I’m dead serious. The job’s open, and I’m applying.

That’s right – say hello to the future CEO of the United States Olympic Committee!

Why, you ask, should they hire me?

Because I am, if anything, overqualified for the job.

You want athletic background? I still have my second team all-league certificate from my days playing youth hockey, not to mention the fact that my high school yearbook noted that I scored a goal for the soccer team. Not only that, I sailed around the world (although the wind did the actual work of propelling the vessel). And finally, I ride my bike for 15 or 20 miles almost every morning, and have occasionally passed other cyclists.

Political experience? City Council (elected, not appointed, I’ll have you know!)

Knowing how to deal with the media? Dudes, I am the media!

At ease with corporate titans? I once met the president of a now-defunct New York Stock Exchange listed company on an elevator when I worked in New York City – and less than six months ago I had a seven-minute conversation with Scott Flanders, now the CEO of Playboy Enterprises!

Speak foreign languages? Fluent French and Tahitian! And not only that, I speak and write English fluently – a skill which former USOC honchos (or honchas) may have lacked.

A cheap hire? You got it! No relocation package, no fancy perks – just pay me half of Stephanie Streeter’s salary, and I’ll work like a dog…not that dogs work very hard, but you know what I mean.

Able to get on with the self-important ex-jocks who run the National Governing Bodies? No problem-I’m just as self-important as they are, and I know how to convince ‘em that they’re getting everything they want while simultaneously shrinking their budgets.

Looks/thinks/acts like a CEO? I starred in a locally made sort-of movie last year, The Evil Brain from Planet X. (Check it out) I played a reanimated corpse possessed by the Evil Brain-and tell me that’s not exactly equivalent to the CEO of Goldman Sachs!

An example for America’s youth? This may be a problem, since the new USOC headquarters building is located within a few steps of nine of my favorite downtown bars – but I’ll promise to stay away from them during working hours…unless I have a crucially important meeting with Mike Moran.

Dynamic new initiatives? I’m so about positive change! No breakfast meetings, no mid-morning meetings, and group rides every noon. And as for the athletes, just let ‘em work out and hope for the best – which brings us to…

Corporate confidentiality. You know those “gold medals?” Do those kids who have devoted their lives to getting one know that they’re not gold at all, but gold-plated brass? Don’t tell ‘em! Bad for the image, bad for the brand – and imagine what it’d cost to mint solid gold medals! From now on, we’ll shoot for either the affordable silver medal, or the economical bronze. Forget the gold.

You may think that this is a joke, but that’s what they said about Sean Paige – and now he’s sitting through six-hour meetings, and getting paid peanuts. Dare to dream, right??!!

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. mike Says:

    John Hazelhurst as the CEO of the USOC would be like Rush Limbaugh as the Executive Director of the Gill Foundation. Clever article John!!

  2. Daniel Cole Says:

    I’m rooting for you, John — as long as you promise to keep writing columns!

  3. es Says:

    hey! you forgot rugby!!

  4. lisa czelatdko Says:

    Vous êtes un auteur très intelligent

  5. PMartinez Says:

    Congratulations John!
    I have been trying to land employment with the USOC for 5 years and never get an auto reply! Also, how is the city going to pay for USOC to stay if we are so broke?
    Maybe the Mayor & City Council will mysteriously find funds to pay the first million!

  6. Bill Says:

    Another typical smart aleck Hazlehurst commentary. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a minute to talk with someone who really is in the know at the USOC, specifically, in regards to their most recent CEO, Jim Scherr. Jim took over as interim after the Lloyd Ward debacle (John, remember that, or has Alzheimer’s set in? Nevermind, you can Google it!) Jim took over an organization that wasn’t spending money on the athletes, and had a CEO in Ward who was using USOC money to cover personal expenses. The US Olympic teams have had great success in competition since then, and the financial situation turned around significantly.

    If the USOC has a problem (and it appears they do) it’s the good old boy from Stanford (well, in Streeter’s case, it’s Stanford girl) club who is making decisions based on where you went to school rather than what you know.

    Scherr is a good business man, and as a former athlete, he knew what it took to succeed in competition. The USOC will never find a quality replacement as CEO. IMHO