COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The definition of chaos is "a place of great disorder or confusion, a jumble."
Chaos is the right word to describe the U.S. Olympic Committee. It's the right word to describe the USOC yesterday, today . . .
Let's hope chaos is the wrong word tomorrow.
Scott Blackmun, a dedicated, decent man, takes control of the USOC as the new CEO. He steps into the job after a decade of unrest with all sorts of exciting and depressing squabbles, scandals and overthrows.
I've traveled to two Olympics, and while walking the streets of Athens and Beijing it felt fantastic to be an American. Our athletes made all of us feel proud.
The Olympic movement is a fragile, precious gem. American athletes deserve a thriving organization behind them.
And thriving is not how I -- or anyone who is sane -- would describe the current USOC.
The International Olympic Committee took one look at the American mess and made a reasonable decision about the 2016 Olympics. The IOC placed Chicago, and the U.S., last on its list. More than $70 million was wasted by Chicago organizers.
It's Blackmun's task to bring order to all this disarray. He has experience, which is good. He'll need all of his gifts to revive the American cause.
In 2001, Blackmun lost a vote to become permanent CEO after serving 11 months as the acting leader. Since then, the USOC has sprinted through six leaders.
The USOC found a strong leader in Jim Scherr, who directed the U.S. to 110 medals in Beijing and battled without compromise against doping, which threatens to turn our Games into freak shows.
But in March 2008, Scherr departed the USOC after a resignation/removal.
We'll probably never know. USOC leaders acted as if they were protecting nuclear secrets.
"Old news," said acting CEO Stephanie Streeter when I asked her to explain Scherr's departure. Streeter's closed-mouth, ultra-distant approach is one reason her reign as USOC leader was so brief.
Secrecy is among the USOC's biggest problems. Decisions are made, decisions that alter the lives of athletes and fans, and no one believes there's a need for explanation.
USOC leaders have been big believers in the closed-door policy, which was fine for the old Soviet Union. Secret votes behind closed doors have no place in the United States of America.
Blackmun needs to open the doors, allow some sunshine into the room and stop all the silly hiding. He needs to bring peace to an organization constantly in strife.
Selena Roberts, now with Sports Illustrated, once described Blackmun as "more John Wooden than John Madden." In other words, Blackmun is a no-flash man of substance, a man who believes in collaboration.
Let's hope he's the right man to end all this endless chaos.