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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
The track record on Olympic corruption
By Tom Fordyce

Claims of "unethical conduct" surrounding the 2012 Olympic bids will not shock hardened watchers of the International Olympic Committee.

A BBC Panorama programme will report next week that professional agents promised to secure the votes of some of the 124 voting members in exchange for money.

But allegations of corruption and bribery have dogged the IOC for many years.


The Salt Lake City bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics blew the lid on systematic malpractice within the IOC.

An internal enquiry, launched after revelations from long-serving IOC member Marc Hodler, found clear evidence that up to 20 of the 110 IOC members had been bribed to vote for Salt Lake.

Some had allowed the Salt Lake organisers to pay for their family holidays, others had jobs or university places found for their relatives.

First-class travel was paid for and lavish gifts were the norm. One member's wife was given free cosmetic surgery.

There were clearly stated rules governing visits by IOC members to bidding cities, but they were widely disregarded, and there was little enforcement.

Thirteen IOC members lost their positions in the investigations that followed.


Hodler also said rules were broken in the bidding process for at least three other Olympic host cities over the 10 previous years - Atlanta, Nagano and Sydney.

Hodler said claims or evidence of corruption hadn't surfaced before because losing cities usually wanted to bid again, and didn't want to rule out their chances by making enemies.

Andrew Jennings, author of 'Lords of the Rings - Olympic Corruption', has been involved in several award-winning investigations into the IOC.

Of the bidding process for the 1998 Winter Olympics, he wrote, "The best technical bid was clearly Salt Lake City.

"They had everything in place...a vast convention and press centre; a 50,000-seat Olympic stadium; an Olympic village for 4,000 athletes and all the ski venues.

"Nagano, however, was awarded the Games even though their facilities were hardly developed.

"Frustrated by the process, the Salt Lake City team decided to play the game and doled out somewhere between an estimated $3-7m in favours."


The wrong-doings have not been limited to minor IOC members.

Kim Un-yong
IOC vice-president Kim Un-yong was jailed for corruption

Earlier this year, IOC vice-president Kim Un-Yong was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail on corruption charges.

He was found guilty by a South Korean court of embezzling more than $3m from sports organisations he controlled, and accepting $700,000 in bribes.

Kim was a dominant figure in Korean sport for more than three decades, promoting the martial art of taekwondo overseas and helping it gain recognition as a full Olympic sport.

He was also credited with helping win the Seoul Olympics for South Korea in 1988 and was implicated in the Salt Lake scandal.

The IOC executive board stripped Mr Kim of all his Olympic duties because of investigations by South Korean authorities and the IOC ethics commission.

He was found guilty of embezzling money while serving as chairman of local and international taekwondo federations.

The court also found him guilty of accepting bribes from businessmen who wanted to serve on sports committees.


Juan Antonio Samaranch, leader of the IOC from 1980 to 2001, was accused by critics like Jennings of running the organisation like a private kingdom, of ignoring corruption within the IOC and of the blatant commercialism of the Games themselves.

Samaranch, who reportedly insisted on being referred to as "your Excellency", earlier served as part of Franco's dictatorship in Spain.


Bribery was not limited to the bidding process for Olympic cities.

At the 1988 Games in Seoul, American Roy Jones Jr came up against South Korean Park Si-hun in the fight to decide the welterweight gold medal.

Jones dominated the fight, landing more than two punches for every one he took, and was almost universally declared to be the clear winner.

But the judges ruled differently, giving gold to the Korean to the astonishment of neutral observers ringside.

Jennings subsequently uncovered a report in the archives of the Stasi, the former East German secret police, by Karl-Heinz Wehr, a Stasi agent and former general secretary of the International Amateur Boxing Federation.

Wehr said a Korean millionaire bribed senior boxing federation officials to rig fights in favour of Koreans.

Morocco's Hiouad Larbi, a judge in the Jones fight, admitted to newspaper reporters that he had falsified his scorecard.

"The Olympics as a child really inspired me," said Jones.

"It gave me something to reach for, it gave me a dream. And then the Olympics shattered my dream."


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