BERLIN -- The United States Olympic Committee has managed to defuse another dispute with the International Olympic Committee, one that threatened to blow up on Chicago's 2016 Summer Olympic bid.
After its chairman, Larry Probst, met here Saturday morning with IOC President Jacques Rogge, the USOC announced Sunday it will hold off indefinitely on the planned 2010 launch of the U.S. Olympic Network, its television venture.
By conceding to the IOC's demand that it delay implementation of the network until a variety of issues can be resolved, Probst has allowed the Chicago bid to stop being on the defensive as it was forced to explain the USOC's actions to the voters who will choose the 2016 host Oct. 2.
Speaking with a handful of U.S. reporters in Berlin as the statement was being released Sunday, Probst said, "The USOC wants to do everything it can to help support the Chicago bid. If this meeting with President Rogge and the decision we have made is going to be beneficial to the bid, I think that is terrific."
Chicago 2016 chairman Patrick Ryan applauded the action in a composed public statement while undoubtedly doing verbal cartwheels in private.
Probst also may have aided the bid by admitting the USOC mishandled the July 8 announcement of its network plans, which came one day after the IOC had sent the USOC a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter.
"In hindsight, it probably could have been handled more effectively and more thoughtfully," Probst said. "But as a result of conversations I've had with President Rogge, I think we're on a good track."
Probst also admitted the USOC "underestimated the intensity of the (negative) reaction we got from multiple constituencies."
The USOC action drew immediate condemnation from leading IOC officials, including executive board member Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, who called the USOC attitude arrogant.
The IOC administration also issued a statement of rebuke.
In his Sunday statement and interview, Probst sought respectful negotiations after the USOC had effectively tried to ram the network down the IOC's throat.
Probst said he had not spoken with Rogge immediately after receiving the IOC's warning letter but did so after realizing the severity of the reaction to the network announcement. That call eventually led to Saturday's meeting and the USOC's decision.
Among the issues to be resolved are rights to archival footage and the USOC network's impact on NBC, the IOC-designated U.S. Olympic network. NBC has paid $5.7 billion for U.S. broadcast rights to the seven winter and summer Olympics from 2000 through 2012.
NBC officials were angry the USOC cut a network deal with Comcast rather work something out with NBC-owned Universal Sports, which already has programming similar to what the USOC network plans.
"(The IOC relationship with NBC) clearly is a significant consideration for the IOC, something we want to be as thoughtful about as possible," Probst said.
It was only in March that the IOC and USOC had agreed to table another festering issue until after the 2016 vote.
That issue involves the USOC share of global IOC sponsorship rights and U.S. broadcast rights. Many IOC members are pushing for the USOC to take a lower percentage.
For the past three years, there had been an increasingly heated war of words on the revenue issue between leading IOC members, including Denis Oswald of Switzerland and Hein Verbruggen of the Netherlands (now a former member), and former USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth.
"The only thing that can cost Chicago the Games is continuing squabbles between the two parties," NBC sports chairman Dick Ebersol told the Chicago Tribune after the network quarrel between the USOC and the IOC broke out. "And this one clearly is all on the USOC, no two ways about it."
The acrimony was certain to be cited -- if not in public -- as Chicago's 2016 rivals, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, lobbied IOC members for their votes.
"We applaud Larry Probst and the USOC for making a strong statement of partnership by stating that the USOC would secure the full support and cooperation of the IOC before moving forward with the Olympic Network," Ryan said in his statement Sunday. "It is important not only for the USOC and IOC relationship, but also for the USOC's role within the Olympic movement."