The law says tax exempt status is granted to groups that “foster national or international amateur sports competition.” But do the hyper-marketed modern games even remotely fit the ideal of amateur sports? Sure, some athletes who represent the U.S. are amateurs but a great many others are highly paid professionals or marketing magnets. Snowboarder Shaun White–who won no medals– makes a reported $8 million-a-year in endorsements.Back in 2009, the city provided the USOC with a new headquarters building downtown, which is still held by the City of Colorado Springs Public Facilities Authority but will be given to the USOC If it sticks around here long enough. The city also spent millions to renovate the Olympic Training Center, at Boulder Street and Union Boulevard.
And then there is USOC itself. By almost any standard, it is a commercial enterprise. It exists primarily to help organize a bi-annual made-for-TV entertainment extravaganza. Yes, it provides some support for athletes (though surprisingly little). But its real business is marketing itself and playing its part in a two-week orgy of athletic commercialization.