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Monday, 15 May, 2000, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Australian Olympic official cleared
Greek actress with Olympic flame
The Olympic flame began its journey in Greece
Australia's top Olympic official Kevan Gosper has been cleared of ethics violations by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

An IOC panel said Mr Gosper had not broken Olympic rules on taking gifts during Salt Lake City's successful campaign to stage the 2002 Winter Games.


Kevan Gosper
Kevan Gosper: Cleared by the IOC, but still under attack in Australia
The eight-member ethics panel had questioned the 66-year-old former businessman about an $11,000 expenses claim from a member of the Salt Lake City bid team for a visit by Mr Gosper and his family.

But it found they had not received excessive hospitality from the Salt Lake City games organisers on the 1993 visit.

An IOC statement said there were no grounds to conclude that Mr Gosper "either knowingly or negligently violated IOC rules".

Family

Mr Gosper is still under attack after he allowed his 11-year-old daughter to replace a Sydney schoolgirl as the first Australian to carry the Olympic torch after it was lit in Greece last week.

Mr Gosper apologised for letting "fatherly pride" cloud his judgement when Greek Olympic bosses offered to let his daughter Sophie become the first Australian to carry the torch at ancient Olympia.

Sophie Gosper
Sophie Gosper got a surprise call to start the Olympic flame relay

Sixteen-year-old Yianna Souleles, an Australian of Greek origin, had been expected to be the first to carry the 2000 Olympic torch when the relay began last Wednesday, but she was relegated down the list.

Mr Gosper has since offered to give up his chance of taking the torch into the Melbourne Cricket Ground where he won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympic Games.

He offered his place to Ms Souleles, but she turned him down.

Brian Dale, torch relay spokesman for the Sydney organising committee, said Mr Gosper would be removed from all ceremonial duties during the torch's 100-day tour of Australia.

But he was apparently overruled a few hours later by Sydney 2000 chief Michael Knight, who issued a statement saying no such decision had been taken and Mr Gosper could still attend all relay ceremonies.

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