Saturday, August 11, 2012
USOC to evaluate USA Boxing
LONDON -- The U.S. Olympic Committee is so disappointed by its medal-less men's boxing team that it will make changes to the sport's national governing body.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun offered no specifics Saturday, although it's clear far more is expected from U.S. fighters, who left the Olympics empty handed for the first time in team history.
"We're going to sit down and take a hard look at why we are where we are, and make some changes," Blackmun said at a news conference where the U.S. Olympic Committee began wrapping up the London Games, which close Sunday. "I don't want to say anything beyond that."
The U.S. men's team, the most successful in Olympic history, lost nine of its last 10 bouts in London. USA Boxing has been criticized for a sharp decline in recent years, along with the fact that the coaching staff was not in place until just about a month before the games opened.
"It's very disappointing for all of us, but we all fought hard and tried," welterweight Errol Spence said earlier in the Olympics, after his elimination ensured that no American man would medal in London.
Two U.S. fighters did win medals in London -- in women's contests. Middleweight Claressa Shields won a gold medal and flyweight Marlen Esparza took a bronze.
"We're disappointed in boxing," Blackmun said. "We want to do better, particularly in men's boxing. By saying disappointed in boxing, I don't mean in the people. I mean, we're disappointed that we didn't do better in boxing, because I know that we can do better and we have to focus on how we do that."
U.S. men's Olympic boxers have won a record 108 medals. Winners on that list include Floyd Patterson, Cassius Clay, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ray Leonard, Roy Jones, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.
But since David Reid took gold at Atlanta in 1996, only one U.S. man -- Andre Ward, in 2004 -- has taken the Olympic title.
"We have a pretty strong and rich history in boxing," Blackmun said. "I think in (Los Angeles in 1984), we won gold in every weight class except one."
He said the medal drought at the London Games was unacceptable.
"We have to fix that," he said. "We have to change that."