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For week ended January 3, 1999 Posted 22 Jan 1999
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Olympic Games Embarrasses Mormons

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Dump the Games?
Spokane WA Spokesman-Review (Cox News Service) 10Jan99
By Karen Rosen; Cox News Service

And the 14 articles listed at the end of this summary.

The widening scandal over how the bid committee in Salt Lake won the 2002 Olympic Games exploded over the weekend, drawing press attention worldwide and leaving officials in Salt Lake embarrassed and frustrated.

On Friday, Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) President Frank Joklik stepped aside after firing Senior Vice President Dave Johnson in the wake of increasing evidence that the bid committee paid cash bribes directly to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members. Former bid committee chairman Tom Welch is also named in the scandal. Welch resigned months ago in the wake of allegations of spouse abuse.

Blame for the scandal has yet to settle completely, but is likely to be fixed on bid committee chairman Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, both of whom are members of the LDS Church. Members of the board overseeing the bid claim that Welch and Johnson didn't tell them about the payments in question, while Welch and Johnson say that they knew about the wining and dining and gifts made to IOC members. Board members are also asking about the adequacy of independent financial audits of the Committee.

Complicating the situation are claims that among the improper payments were expenditures to escort services for prostitutes for IOC members. While these allegations have yet to be proven, their spectre increases embarrassment for members of the LDS Church, who see the situation connected with the Church both because of the location and because many people involved in the bid and SLOC are members of the LDS Church.

Residents of Salt Lake City are said to be angry over the situation, and SLOC officials fear that the scandal may mean that they don't meet their goal of getting 30,000 volunteers, to say nothing of the $1.45 billion needed to put on the games.

Meanwhile, the former members of the SLOC and bid committees are publically disputing each other's claims. Tom Welch claimed that he and his staff on the bid committee did nothing wrong, and bid committee board members "knew or should have known or could have asked questions" about the payments. Frank Joklik, who was a board member prior to Welch's resignation, called Welch's claims baloney.

Reaction in the press outside Utah has been harsh. The Los Angeles Times called Salt Lake the "international capital of clueless naivete, gosh-darn gullibility and over-the-top zealotry." adding, "As if that's something any visiting NBA team didn't already know." The New York Daily News quotes Salt Lake Olympics Gadfly Stephen Pace, head of Utahns for Responsible Spending as saying, "They said the Olympics would bring the kind of publicity money can't buy. They were right about that."

In Sydney, Australia, IOC member Kevan Gosper worries that the scandal may have an effect on the 2000 Summer Olympics, saying, "It is very important for us that this matter is cleared up very rapidly." But Gosper and other IOC members reject calls for the resignation of IOC Chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch.

And to top off the situation, some Salt Lake City residents are apparently wishing that the games would just go away. Deeda Seed, a member of the Salt Lake City Council suggests giving the games back to the IOC. The games would then most likely be held in Calgary (which is, ironically, also a town with some Mormon heritage). It may be either that or put up with jokes about the Salt Lake games being "The best Olympics money can buy."

SLOC Top Officials Will Step Aside Today
Salt Lake Tribune 8Jan99
By Mike Gorrell: Salt Lake Tribune

Who Gets Blame in Olympic Bribery?
Associate Press 9Jan99
By Kristen Moulton: Associated Press Writer

Sex-for-votes claim in IOC scandal
MSNBC (Reuters) 9Jan99

Johnson's Olympic Dream Tumbles
Salt Lake Tribune 9Jan99
By Dan Egan: Salt Lake Tribune

Man who led Salt Lake's Olympic bid denies wrongdoing
CNN 10Jan99
By Dan Egan: Salt Lake Tribune
Says payments to Olympic officials weren't bribes

Signs of Trouble
Los Angeles Times 10Jan99
By Mike Penner: Times Staff Writer

Olympic Shame
New York NY Daily News 10Jan99
By Luke Cyphers: Daily News Sports Writer

Sex Enters the Fray in Inquiry in Utah
New York Times 10Jan99
By Jere Longman

Dump the Games?
Spokane WA Spokesman-Review (Cox News Service) 10Jan99
By Karen Rosen; Cox News Service

Sex for IOC votes rocks Utah
South China Morning Post (AFP) 11Jan99
By Jere Longman

'Sex for votes' claim fuels Mormon anger
Dublin Ireland Irish Times 11Jan99
By Jere Longman

Olympic sex scandal shocks Salt Lake City
Nine MSN (AAP) 11Jan99
By Jere Longman

Welch: I Hid Nothing Joklik: That's Baloney
Salt Lake Tribune 11Jan99
By Mike Gorrell: Salt Lake Tribune

Dream a nightmare
Sidney Australia Morning Herald 11Jan99
By Michael Cowley

Salt Lake hurts Sydney
Nine MSN (AAP) 12Jan99
By Kevan Gosper: Australian member, International Olympic Committee

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information