AICO Public Meeting Draws Early Morning Crowd

Despite an early morning schedule (8 a.m. on Saturday, 12 September), some 30 members of the Olympic collecting community streamed into the conference room at the Lake Placid Olympic Center to learn the latest news about AICO, as well as to ask questions of the four Executive Board members in attendance: President Roman Babut, Vice President Mark Maestrone, Secretary Christophe Ait-Braham, and Treasurer Branislav Delej.


President Babut introducing AICO.

President Babut opened the proceedings, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, with a brief overview of AICO’s mission to promote Olympic collecting in all its diversity. As membership in AICO is only open to Olympic collecting associations, not individuals, Babut continued by educating the assembly on the many benefits that accrue to organizations which avail themselves of membership. Foremost among these are opportunities to share resources and knowledge, increase an association’s stature in the international Olympic collecting community, and provide an avenue to access IOC funding for special projects.

The launching of the new AICO website, which had been activated less than 12 hours prior to the meeting, was conducted by Vice President Maestrone. Walking the audience through the various parts of the live website projected on the slide screen, Maestrone explained that while the website structure was in its final form, the content was still being loaded. Nevertheless, the home page was by and large complete. In summation, the vice president stressed that the website was always going to be a work in progress. While it was, he pointed out, AICO’s job to host the platform and manage the website, it would be up to the member associations to create most of the content.

There were a few questions from the public. One attendee noted that over the years there had been at least six international organizations that were supposed to unite the various Olympic collector groups. Since all of these failed, why should collectors expect AICO to succeed?

The answer, delivered by both Babut and Maestrone, pointed out two outstanding differences between the previous organizations and AICO: (1) there had never actually been a single organization that unified all the collector groups, a situation now rectified by AICO; and (2) the earlier organizations lacked transparency in their management and operational goals. This public meeting, as well as AICO’s fully democratic process of electing members to the Executive Board, were a perfect example of how AICO is placing transparency first.

In speaking with the questioner after the conclusion of the meeting, he seemed not only satisfied by our explanations, but optimistic about and supportive of AICO. The board certainly felt that the public meeting was very worthwhile and hopes to include this type of assembly at future gatherings of Olympic collectors.