- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

A former deputy mayor, a big-time athletic director, an Olympic gold medalist.

They are the newest members of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s board of directors, and there is no easing into this job.

Their first board meeting is next Tuesday, and the future of Boston’s troubled bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics will be debated, with at least a chance the USOC could decide to change course.

Those are the stakes, and Dan Doctoroff, Kevin White and Steve Mesler will be in on the debate among the 16-person board in offices outside of San Francisco.

Of the three, Doctoroff has the most history in the Olympic movement - not all of it good. He was leader of the effort to bring the 2012 Olympics to New York. That failed miserably - New York finished fourth out of five in the voting - and when it was over, he had very few friends inside the USOC. But those offices are under new management, and when the USOC was exploring bidding for 2024, Doctoroff was among those brought in to consult.

That led to a position on the board, replacing John Hendricks, whose term expired in January. If anyone on the board knows what works (and doesn’t) with an Olympic bid, the 56-year-old Doctoroff, who also served as deputy mayor for Michael Bloomberg, should be the man.

White is the athletic director at Duke, taking the spot at the USOC once filled by Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. He’s a good fit. Under White’s direction, Duke takes its Olympic sports as seriously as basketball. Earlier this year at the Final Four, White spoke passionately about the need for the smaller sports to keep their place at the NCAA’s table.

“This thing (at the Final Four) … was incredible,” White said. “But let’s not totally focus on that and disregard the fencer’s experience, too. That’s an important part of what we’re doing.”

Mesler takes over an athlete’s position on the board previously filled by Olympic rower Mary McCagg. He helped the U.S. bobsled team to its first gold medal in the four-man event in 2010.

Here are the issues facing the board as they tackle Boston:

POLLING: The latest numbers are bad: The bid got only 39 percent statewide support, according to the latest poll by Boston’s WBUR radio. The USOC is also conducting internal polling and those numbers will be available by the time the board meets. A referendum on the Olympics will be held next November, and if it doesn’t win, Boston 2024 leaders have vowed to pull out of the contest. The board has to decide if, in the face of tepid polling numbers, it has the stomach to wait for more than a year on that vote and risk losing its candidate midway through the process.

VENUES: Boston sold itself to the USOC on the idea of a “walkable Olympics.” Now, to garner more support outside the city, the leadership is spreading venues across the metro area and the state. For instance, New Bedford, about 60 miles from Boston, is the proposed site for sailing. Originally, that was supposed to take place in Boston Harbor. It’s a pragmatic strategy, but some people are scratching their heads. They’re also wary about what other unexpected changes could come in the future.

IOC POLITICS: Follow the logic. 1) IOC President Thomas Bach would very much like to U.S. to be part of the 2024 race under his newly fashioned bidding guidelines. 2) Late last year, USOC leaders were getting feedback from their international counterparts dissuading them from choosing Los Angeles as the candidate. 3) So, the board - after much debate about Boston and Los Angeles - chose Boston. 4) But as soon as things started looking bad, the IOC started telling the USOC to bail on Boston and go with Los Angeles. If you’re a board member who reluctantly picked Boston, do you really want to go back on that decision and admit it was wrong? Are you tired of having other people telling you what to do? And do you want to make a change before giving Boston’s new leadership team, led by Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca, a chance to shore up support?

EXIT PLAN: If there is one, nobody’s saying. It would be very hard for the USOC to get Los Angeles on board when its official partner is still Boston. It means that, barring some terrible internal polling numbers, the board will likely walk out of Tuesday’s meeting saying, at least publically, that Boston is still the city. The official deadline to enter a city isn’t until Sept. 15.

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