chapter  3
13 Pages

Towards better Olympic accountability

WithJean-Loup Chappelet

In 1999, a few years after its centenary, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)

carried out far-reaching reforms, under pressure from its sponsors, the media and public

opinion following what was to become known as the ‘Salt Lake City scandal’. Around 30

IOC members were involved in this affair. Ten were excluded or resigned from the IOC,

and another ten were reprimanded for having accepted various inappropriate benefits and

gifts from the Salt Lake City Candidature Committee that could have influenced their vote

for the American city as the host for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The members’

behaviour was considered unethical but was, in fact, not illegal. The two heads of the

Candidature Committee, taken to an American federal court over the case, were moreover

found not guilty in 2003 after a lengthy trial. The members’ behaviour nevertheless raised

the question of the IOC’s role and responsibility, and the IOC was forced to partially revise

its structures.