IOC assures world 2002 Olympics will remain in Utah

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    By HILLARY GUBLER and LORIANNE UPDIKE

    The International Olympic Committee reassured the world with 100 percent confidence Thursday that the 2002 Winter Olympic Games will be held in Salt Lake City.

    “This is the place and this is the right place,” said Anita DeFrantz of the IOC.

    DeFrantz confirmed that she had talked to IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch within the hour concerning the location of the 2002 Olympic games.

    “President Samaranch was very clear. We are 100 percent behind the Games being here,” DeFrantz said.

    Although the locale of the Games has been in question since the investigation of Salt Lake Organizing Committee and IOC began, SLOC and IOC officials are recommitted to successful Games in 2002.

    “Yes, there has been pain, and we wish it hadn’t happened. But we can put on a fabulous show in 2002.” said Robert H. Gart, Chairman of the SLOC Board of Trustees.

    “We have problems and we are going about solving those problems. We want this type of unethical practice to stop,” DeFrantz said.

    The possibility of changing the contract with SLOC and the IOC will be discussed in March when President Samaranch visits Salt Lake. The changes may pressure IOC to provide more financial aid for the Games and reduce protocol expenses.

    DeFrantz was allusive concerning the cost of the scandal, though she did confirm that IOC is fully confident that enough money will be raised for the Games.

    No questions were answered concerning the nature of the grand jury investigation or any subpoenas that have been received. A detailed report of the investigation’s findings will be completed on January 23. The release of guilty IOC employees will be reported the following day, Gart said.

    According to Gart, of 114 IOC employees only a small number are guilty of unethical practices in obtaining the bid for Salt Lake.

    He said this small group which has abused their responsibility tainted the actions of the rest of the committee and the city of Salt Lake. Gart did not confirm the size of that small group.

    Gifts given to IOC members were not discussed, although when the need for chauffeurs by IOC members was questioned, DeFrantz defended their use. She rationalized that because IOC members did not know the city, they needed drivers.

    “They’re drivers,” DeFrantz said, “not chauffeurs.”

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