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  • Olympic Bid Master Mike Lee, 61


    (ATR) Condolences from colleagues and clients are saluting the career of the British expert who helped win Olympic bids.
    Sebastien Gillot of UCI with Mike Lee in Lausanne in 2016 (ATR)

    Mike Lee died Sept. 8 of a heart attack. He was the founder of Vero, the British communications firm that provided counsel to summer and winter Olympic bids.

    His first foray into the Olympic bid fray came in 2003 when he joined the team campaigning for the 2012 Olympics in London.

    He launched London-based Vero in 2006. He helped Rio de Janeiro with its bid for the 2016 Olympics, PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Games, Buenos Aires for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and Paris with the 2024 Games.

    "Mike was a good friend and a source of inspiration," the Buenos Aires 2018 Organizing Committee said in a statement. "His visionary mind helped to make the dream of celebrating the Youth Olympic Games... come true. We were honored by his warmth and his brilliant writing."

    Lee (left) worked with St. Clair Milesi and Denis Masseglia for Paris 2024 (ATR)
    “I’m beyond sad,” Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association tells Around the Rings. Lee and Vero represented the ISA in its bid to be included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

    “Mike was way more than an excellent and essential advisor to me and the ISA. We’ve become friends, as we both were lovers of sports, life and history. I enjoyed every moment of our times together, celebrating our successes and working around to overcome hurdles,” says Aguerre.

    WADA President Craig Reedie had this to say about Lee to ATR.

    “We became close friends through his outstanding work for the London Bid Committee. This led to many happy occasions in discussion on a whole range of sporting projects with which he was involved. His professional knowledge and outstanding understanding of the world of sport made him one of the leading communication experts of his generation.”

    IAAF President Sebastian Coe took to Twitter to remember Lee. "Mike was a passionate & exceptional communicator - one of the best of his generation. He fought for causes, left no stone unturned in projects he believed in and was a committed father and husband. My thoughts are with his family who I know he treasured above all else."

    Jon Tibbs, whose eponymous firm in the U.K. is a competitor to Lee and Vero, remembered Lee as a friend.

    “All at JTA, especially Sevi & I, are shocked & deeply saddened by the passing of our friend Mike Lee OBE,” Tibbs writes on Twitter on behalf of Sevi Townsend and the rest of the JTA staff.

    “We enjoyed great rivalry with Mike & yet had huge respect for his extraordinary talent in campaigns & strategic communications. We’ll miss you Mike,” Tibbs says.

    A statement from Vero requests privacy for the family and says there will be no further comment at this time.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.

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