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Salt Lake City Olympics scandal

The CNN Headline reads: “Bribery Scandal Dulls Olympics’ century-old shine.” In 1998, allegations of bribery to gain the votes of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members to favor Salt Lake City as the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics arose. The news report says that the scandal broke about in December and by January an investigation panel charged thirteen (13) IOC officials of accepting bribes, and four (4) were forced to resign.[1] On the other hand, the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee officials, namely President and CEO Frank Joklik and Vice President David Johnson resigned as well, with the former admitting that cash and benefits were given to members of the International Olympic Committee to influence the IOC’s 1995 vote which eventually awarded the 2002 games to the Utah capital city.[2]

It does not take a genius to answer queries as to why cities would put much effort into getting the votes to become the host city for the Olympics. The said sports event is a multi-million dollar industry. “In 1984, Los Angeles made a $215 million profit from the 1984 Olympic Games by selling exclusive rights to various corporate sponsorship categories–the official LA Olympic drink, the official outfitter, etc.” [3]

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Aside from that, the Olympics also attracts more tourists, which means more convention business that will help boost a city’s economy. Such was the goal of Salt Lake City. And it is no different from what Bigtown wants for its own city. It has been trying for years to attract more convention business. The mayor’s plan to improve tourism in the city, by offering contracts for city work in exchange for convention business is unethical.

Contracts must undergo certain processes before it can be approved. There must be public bidding that must comply with the city’s standards. Awarding of a contract is based on merits. If the plan to exchange contracts for convention business is pushed through, it undermines the legal processes that business must go through in order to obtain a contract. This is not the kind of city that Bigtown would like to project itself if it seeks to gain more business. Salt Lake City’s reputation is forever tarnished by the Olympic scandal. Would Bigtown take such risk?

References:

[1] Bribery scandal dulls Olympics’ century-old shine. Retrieved 26 August 2007 from http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1999/olympic.probe/overview/

[2] Mclaughlin, M. Salt Lake City bribery scandal: the buying of the Olympic games. 13 January 1999. Retrieved 26 August 2007 from http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/jan1999/olym-j13.shtml

[3] Philipps, R. Big Business Demands a Corporate Olympics. 16 March 1999. Retrieved 27 August 2007 from http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/mar1999/olym-m16.shtml

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