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For week ended October 17, 1999 Posted 24 Oct 1999

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Atlantan Says He Led S.L. Oly Boosters Astray

Summarized by Eric Bunker

Atlantan Says He Led S.L. Oly Boosters Astray
Salt Lake Tribune 15Oct99 S2
By Linda Fantin: Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON, DC -- Andrew Young, the former mayor of Atlanta says he feels partially to blame for Salt Lake City's highly criticized campaign to win the 2002 Winter Games. He said that he would like to apologize for encouraging Salt Lake's Olympic bid team to use scholarships to foster good relations with foreigners in the International Olympic Committee. Young told The Salt Lake Tribune he discussed the idea with Olympic boosters Tom Welch, Dave Johnson, (both of whom are LDS) Frank Joklik and Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini.

Last Thursday at a congressional hearing, Young said that, "Salt Lake was being criticized for its Mormon heritage and all kinds of distortions about that. I said any students you can get to come to Salt Lake, it would be good. If I misled them in any way, I'm sorry."

>From Young's perspective, the SLOC Bid committee members took his advice and added a new twist he hadn't anticipated: They used bid committee funds to pay for the scholarships and offered them to the relatives of IOC members. SLOC initiated the tuition plan, which continued to pay school bills until last fall, when Salt Lake's million-dollar lobbying scheme was exposed, along with an entire Olympic site-selection system rife with corruption.

Commenting on Atlanta's Olympic experience, Young said, "We did not set up any scholarship program within the Olympic committee, but we recommended students for scholarships from schools. We were lucky there was no IOC member's child [involved], though I was trying to encourage the Nigerian ambassador's daughter to come to Atlanta to get a master's [degree]. I never thought the Olympic Committee would pay her way. We would try to find a college that had a scholarship budget. Where they were athletes, we tried to get them athletic scholarships."

Young also refused to condemn Salt Lake for giving more than $200,000 in cash to African IOC member Jean-Claude Ganga, whom he characterized as "very vulnerable." If the timing and circumstances had been different, Atlanta might have been the city Ganga turned to. Young said that he, for one, would have found a way to help.

Young said his city showered IOC members "to win their hearts," not their votes. "We were not trying to do anything that we thought was immoral or illegal. We were giving it our best shot. I think Tom Welch and Dave Johnson for sure did that," he said. "Salt Lake shouldn't be ashamed of some of the things they did. One of the things that I would be most proud of them for doing is getting the Mongolian student [Bold Magvan, son of IOC member Shagdarjav Magvan] to come to school there. That's good for America, and that's not something we should criticize. That's not a bribe."

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