Getty Images

USA Cycling hires New Balance boss DeMartini as its CEO

Leave a comment

The past two leaders of USA Cycling participated at the sport’s highest level, one of them racing in the prestigious Paris-Roubaix and the other winning a masters world championship.

Rob DeMartini prepared for the job in the offices and board rooms of Proctor & Gamble.

That is exactly why USA Cycling’s board of directors picked the longtime marketing executive to take over the sport’s national governing body, a move announced on Monday. Derek Bouchard-Hall and Steve Johnson had their successes during tenures as president and chief executive, yet there remained a disconnect between USA Cycling and the business world that was hindering its ability to accomplish its goals.

Without enough sponsorship support, USA Cycling struggled to build its membership and find the resources to support athletes preparing for major events such as the Olympics.

DeMartini spent 20 years working with such brands as Gillette, then spent time with Tyson Foods before taking over New Balance about 12 years ago. He built the running and athletic apparel company into a market leader, increasing revenue from $1.5 billion in 2007 to $4.4 billion last year.

As for cycling? Well, he hasn’t raced on the pavements of Europe or the pine surface of a velodrome, but DeMartini is an avid amateur cyclist.

“His passion and ambition for both the future of USA Cycling and our sport is inspiring,” USA Cycling chairman Bob Stapleton said. “He also brings the proven leadership, commercial success and the resources to elevate USA Cycling and to do more for our members, partners and athletes.”

Part of that involves preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

USA Cycling has scratched for funding for years, and rivals such as Great Britain – with support from its national lottery – have used their resources to lap the Americans.

Bouchard-Hall, who resigned at year’s end to take over Swiss apparel company ASSOS, began to lay the foundation for the future by restructuring USA Cycling. He hired Scott Schnitzspahn as vice president of elite athletics and Chuck Hodge as chief of racing and events. The organization revamped its coaching staff at just about every level and in nearly every discipline.

“I look forward to working closely with Chuck in support of our members, event directors and race officials as well as Scott to prepare our riders for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” DeMartini said. “I’m excited to join this capable team and very optimistic that we can better meet members’ needs, grow the leadership role USA Cycling plays in our industry and make all disciplines of cycling stronger.”

Along with his focus on elite athletics, DeMartini will be asked to rebuild a membership base that has been dwindling for years. The organization is considered an afterthought in the grassroots cycling world, where races, group rides and other events are often held without its oversight.

In some ways, DeMartini will be attempting to replicate what he did at New Balance, when he helped the shoe company became an integral part of the running community.

“Rob was a great partner while leading New Balance,” said Michael Capiraso, the president and CEO of New York Road Runners, which puts on the New York City Marathon and other events. “Rob has a great feel for the power of partnership and community, a skill that will surely benefit USA Cycling and the sport of cycling in the future.”

IOC pledges €500,000 to help restore Notre Dame ahead of 2024 Olympics

AP
Leave a comment

The International Olympic Committee plans to donate €500,000 ($562,000) to the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 2024 Olympic host city.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he wants to see Notre Dame restored within five years.

“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach wrote in a Wednesday letter to Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet, according to a translation by Agence France-Presse, which reported Notre Dame is on the planned marathon and road cycling routes. “All the Olympic Movement and in particular the IOC have been extremely touched by the instantaneous connection the French have made between Notre Dame cathedral and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

More than $500 million has been pledged overall from around the globe after a fire ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday.

NBC News has more on the Notre Dame fire here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Patrick Kane joined by NHL All-Stars on world championship roster

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NHL All-Stars Jack EichelRyan Suter and Cory Schneider join previously named captain Patrick Kane to lead the U.S. at next month’s world hockey championship in Slovakia, seeking the nation’s first title at a standalone worlds since 1933.

Sixteen players were added to the roster in Thursday’s announcement with more to come before worlds open May 10 and more teams get eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making more players available. The IIHF allows up to 25 players per nation.

Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill will be the U.S. head coach for a third straight worlds. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.

Sweden is trying to become the first nation to three-peat at worlds since the Czech Republic in 2001.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Preliminary IIHF World Championship Roster
Forwards

Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
Luke Glendening (Detroit Red Wings)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes)
Chris Kreider (New York Rangers)
Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings)
James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers)
Frank Vatrano (Florida Panthers)
Colin White (Ottawa Senators)

Defensemen
Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks)
Alec Martinez (Los Angeles Kings)
Brady Skjei (New York Rangers)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)

Goalies
Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks)
Cayden Primeau (Laval (AHL))
Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils)