Gene ‘Tiger’ Sykes, the influential Wall Street banker who will be IOC Member thinking of LA28
Juan Antonio Belmar
June 20, 2024

The meteoric leadership career of banker Gene ‘Tiger’ Sykes is like a movie. The man who has been one of the most influential men on Wall Street for the last decade with his leadership at Goldman Sachs, won against all odds in the 2023 election to elect the president of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), beating the polls’ favorite, Dexter Paine. It was the first major upset in his Olympic career, which will continue on July 24, when he will be elected as an honorable IOC Member in preparation for the landing of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

Sykes, for these USOPC elections, had all the chips on his shoulders in his intervention prior to the vote. Knowing his skills and experience accumulated over the years, he coined a wealth of veteranism rarely seen and waited for the occasion to expose his government plan and theoretically show the fundamental pillars for his administration. In the end, he is anointed president and by statute assumes office on January 1, 2023, succeeding Susanne Lyons.

Sykes and wife on May. (S.Kirkland/Shutterstock)

Currently, Gene Sykes is given a leading role in the bidding and awarding of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. Not only was he the CEO from 2015 to 2017 of the bid -submitting himself body and soul to it-, he also gravitated in persuading the International Olympic Committee in the search for a meeting point to choose the venues of 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (Los Angeles). His management went beyond borders and he was able to convince the International Olympic Committee so that in this new stage of the Summer Olympic Games the venues would receive a significant economic subsidy; in the case of LA 2028, the IOC will contribute close to 1.8 billion dollars, a fact that relieves the coffers of the local organizing committee.

Gene Sykes laid the groundwork and alignments for the Games by giving it a sense of identity with Los Angeles and staged the ‘Follow the Sun’ slogan. “And you’ve seen our image of the angel, which represents the city of Los Angeles, reaching for the sun. It’s very forward-looking. What we believe about Los Angeles is that it’s the home of innovation and creativity. And it is, essentially, a very optimistic community. And what we’ve done is we’ve made it so that you follow the sun of the future when you think about Los Angeles. It’s not about the past. While history is very important to all of us, we’re trying to help society and help move sports forward into the future,” Sykes emphasized.

HIGH PERFORMANCE IN ATHLETES AND LEADERS

The current president of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has the most powerful NOC in the world in his hands, he knows the role his country plays in Olympism and therefore his dedication is absolute. He is aware that he has taken on a great challenge and demands it to the maximum. Nothing is left to chance and high performance is not only in the athletes, it is also a task of sports leaders. “Our administration in a year and a half has managed to find the balance point, to take ownership of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and to provide our athletes with all the necessary tools for an excellent preparation,” he said.

Gene ‘Tiger’ Sykes never ceases to amaze and surprise because the recent news released by the IOC Electoral Commission of being nominated to be sworn in as an IOC Member struck deep in his heart. He felt that this recognition goes beyond his investiture as president of the local Olympic committee. Without commenting on it publicly, but expressing it in his closest circle, he has referred to this election as something “unique, unexpected. Understanding that there were efforts and recommendations of great international leaders, of our IOC Members at present, I mean, Anita DeFrantz in her capacity as IOC vice-president and David Haggerty himself, president of the International Tennis Federation”, he said.

Just as a final note on this same subject of electing IOC Members: it is understood the universality, that everyone has the same possibilities, regardless that it is an exclusive faculty of the International Olympic Committee, but it is unthinkable that a world power, an Olympic committee with the tradition and the prominence that the United States has, has not been incorporated long ago to the select group of the ‘elected’, also recognized as IOC Members. Some may be confused with DeFrantz and Haggerty, but they come from the international federations that have their quotas, like the NOCs themselves.

DEFENDING THE OLYMPIC CHARTER

From July 22 to 24, the 142nd Session of the International Olympic Committee will be held in Paris, the city of light will set the hearts of these leaders on fire as they move on to the Olympus of international leadership. All of them are called to be faithful custodians of the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter. It is clear that their actions are a faithful reflection for the new generations, both of athletes, among others, and of those who have been called upon to be the first ones.

Gene Tiger Sykes ‘follows the sun’, tries to magically touch it, dreams of Los Angeles 2028 and asks the angels to continue to bless him. His next and most immediate season is to lead the United States to the top of the planetary podium.

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