May ‘BoniBlog – Texan with a big heart for Canada

By John Iaboni, Sports Media Canada, Special Correspondent – this week in Turkey

Before my trip to Antalya, I was forewarned about Bob Condron by Sports Media Canada president Steve McAllister and Executive Vice President/co-founder Don Goodwin.
Don’t worry Bob, what they said was highly flattering and I couldn’t wait to meet you. Condron and I were First Delegates at the 73rd AIPS Congress, him representing the United States and me carrying the colours of Canada.

Bob Condron

His involvement with AIPS goes back to the association’s 2003 Congress in Portugal where he pitched New York as the Congress site for 2004. Not surprisingly, Condron delivered a winning presentation for The Big Apple and Team USA.
I discovered that McAllister and Goodwin were correct about Condron from the moment we first shook heads here. Since then, he’s taken my kidding him about him being a relative of the Bush Family because of his George Bush-like looks in stride and he’s been a wonderful source of knowledge on a myriad of topics across the wide world of sports.
Condron is entering his 26th year with the U.S. Olympic Committee where he is the extremely well respected Director, Media Services. Before that, he was at Southern Methodist University for 13 years where he was assistant athletic director and sports information director.
“So I’ve had two jobs in 40 years,” he says in his smooth Texan drawl. “I grew up in the Texas Panhandle, in ranch country. I lived on farms and ranches early in my life and then lived in central Texas, then to Dallas to work at SMU. From there I was a volunteer with the U.S. Olympic Committee for two events and they offered me a job in 1983 so I came to the USOC in 1984.
“I’ve been living in Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains ever since. It was a big change except we’d been going to Colorado since I was a kid for vacations and to fish. The trout streams in Colorado are the best in the world. So I knew the beauty of it and then I knew how much I was going to have there. I knew after work I was an hour away from 25 of the best fishing spots in the world or golf courses. I didn’t hesitate when the offer came.”
Fishing, golf, the Olympic movement, baseball (particularly the Dodgers going back to their days in Brooklyn) and doing his job in a first-rate fashion come across loudly and clearly from Condron as we’ve spent time here.
So, too, does his respect and appreciation for his neighbours north of the border.
“Oh, the Olympic Games in Vancouver out of 14 for me, like, they were the best for me … ever,” he says. “A lot of things went into that. The first was just the beauty of the North-West area in Canada.
“Then, there’s the spirit of the Canadian people. I mean, I enjoyed Calgary (1988) as much as Vancouver although Vancouver was a better Olympics. But the spirit of Calgary was great, too.
“You know the Western Canadian mentality is like what I grew up with in Texas. It’s kind of a rough spirit, a people that have had fun in life and are kind human beings. I really enjoyed that and I just love the friendship we have with Canadians.”
That appreciation extends to his counterparts.
“I love the Canadian Olympic Committee,” Condron says. “I’ve been friends of theirs for a long time. You know, I was fortunate enough to be at that (men’s Gold Medal) hockey game. I’m an American and I almost had a heart attack when we tied it up in the last minute. But the book had to end that way (with a Canadian win in overtime) for the story to be correct. But still I just felt good about everything. I love going to Canada; I like the Canadian people; I like the Canadian Olympic Committee. We’re competitors but we’re also friends – and that’s a good combination.”
Couldn’t have said it any better myself, Bob!