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Mark Muedeking is headed Down Under to serve as the new general counsel of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Muedeking is in Australia for the games in September with his family, and only his family — despite an overwhelming number of ticket requests. “When I tell people about this job, there are three things they say: ‘That’s wonderful.’ ‘I can’t imagine a better job.’ And ‘Can you get me tickets?’ ” But the answer, Muedeking says, has to be “ no.” USOC rules require employees to pay for any Olympic tickets or related travel that they arrange for family members and friends. “I always tell people, you can get the same deal I get.” Muedeking, who started Aug. 7, oversees the committee’s legal affairs, from corporate sponsorships worth $20 million in 1999 to fundraising efforts that bring in $13 million, and from protecting the Olympic trademark to helping guarantee that there are no more scandals such as occurred over the selection of Salt Lake City for the games. To help, he has four in-housers inherited from Scott Blackmun, the previous general counsel. Blackmun is now the Olympic Committee’s senior managing director for sports resources. At press time Muedeking was looking for another lawyer to join his staff. The USOC currently uses seven outside firms to help with employment, intellectual property, and other matters. In Denver it’s Holme Roberts & Owen, as well as Sherman & Howard; in San Francisco it’s Coudert Brothers; in San Diego it’s Peterson & Price; in Tucson it’s Rusing & Lopez; and in Washington, D.C., it’s Hogan & Hartson, as well as Silverberg, Goldman and Bikoff. The counsel torch was passed to Muedeking by the committee’s new secretary general and chief executive officer, Norman Blake, Jr., former chairman and chief executive officer of USF&G Corporation, who recommended that Muedeking apply for the job. They knew each other because Muedeking, as a partner at Washington, D.C.-based Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe, advised USF&G on tax and employment issues for about seven years, until the insurer was purchased by The St. Paul Companies, Inc., in 1998. After receiving his law degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1980, Muedeking worked as a trial lawyer in the tax division of the Department of Justice. From 1984 to 1988, he was an associate at Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C., and later he made partner at D.C.’s Venable, Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti. He went to Piper in 1993. Advising the Olympic Committee is the chance of a lifetime because it merges two of Muedeking’s passions: law and sports. “If you asked me to describe the perfect job, this would be it,” he says. Muedeking, 45, happens to be quite an athlete. He is currently training for the Ironman Triathlon in Florida this fall. Spending September in Australia will add considerably to his finish time because of the time spent away from training, Muedeking says. This isn’t the only sacrifice being made for his new job. Muedeking had to relocate his wife and two daughters from Maryland to the USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. Right before they moved on Aug. 15, Muedeking said, “My daughters will be leaving the only home they’ve ever known, but they’re excited to be a part of the Olympic movement.” And he sweetened the deal a bit more by promising to buy a dog for his 9-year-old daughter, Kelly, and to let his daughter Molly, who’s on the verge of turning 16, into the driver’s seat a little sooner than he’d wanted.

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