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February 1, 2006
taps Betts for Olympics
George W. Bush '68 announced Monday that Roland Betts '68, the senior
fellow on the Yale Corporation, has been selected to join a presidential
delegation to the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, led by first lady
Betts, a classmate and close personal friend
of Bush -- they were brothers in the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity --
served on the U.S. Olympic Committee for eight years and served on the
board of directors of a committee to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to New
York City, a bid that failed when London was chosen earlier this year to
host the games.
Along with Laura Bush and eight other delegation members -- including
close friends of the President and former Olympic athletes such as
figure skater Dorothy Hamill -- Betts will host and attend events held
by heads of state and the executive committee of the International
Olympic Committee, Betts said.
The opportunity to interact with members of the International Olympic
Committee is valuable given the possibility of another New York bid for
the 2016 Games, said Betts, who has been involved with efforts to bring
the Olympics to his hometown since 1995.
"We are still giving serious thought to bidding for the Games in
2016 for New York, so it's important to keep touching the IOC
bases," Betts said. "Plus, it will be a lot of fun."
The visit to the games, which are set to run from Feb. 10 to Feb. 26,
will coincide with a Yale Corporation meeting in New Haven, Betts said.
In his seven years on the Corporation, the University's highest
decision-making body, he has missed only three of 42 meetings, all due
to his presence at the Olympic Games.
Although the decision on whether or not to miss the meeting was
difficult, Betts said, he ultimately decided to join the delegation at
the urging of Yale President Richard Levin.
"I was very torn, but this is too good an opportunity," Betts
said. "I talked to President Levin and he said, 'Take it.' "
Betts has been involved in numerous community and development activities
during his post-Yale years. Soon after graduation, he taught public
school in Harlem for 10 years before moving on to Columbia Law School.
Betts is a prominent New York developer and the founder, chairman and
chief executive officer of Chelsea Piers, L.P., which operates the
Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex in Manhattan. He is also
a director of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is
responsible for rebuilding the World Trade Center site.