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  • Furlong Responds to IOC Query; Autographs Erased from Vancouver Relics


    Furlong Defends Bid Dealings

    Vancouver Olympics chief John Furlong says he is communicating with the IOC over concerns he may have breeched ethics rules eight years ago during the bid for the 2010 Games.
    The home page of the John Furlong website.

    In his just-published memoir "Patriot Hearts", Furlong reveals that the Vancouver bid committee gave a workshop to Moscow’s 2012 Summer Games bidders – supposedly to win the votes of Russian IOC members at the 2003 session where Vancouver was elected.

    (See ATR’s Feb. 9 report on the book here)

    “We have asked for any more details that he may have,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams says, noting that there currently are no plans to bring the revelations to the IOC Ethics Commission.

    In a statement on his website, Furlong says he is responding.

    “I have already spoken with the IOC this week to provide context to the book in this regard and to confirm our compliance with IOC ethics and bidding rules and will follow up with them writing,” he says.

    “As I stated in the book, every decision we made during the bid -- including who to talk to, where, when, and why -- was taken with a view to fully respecting the IOC rules,” says Furlong.

    Furlong’s book recounts a meeting with then-Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov at which the offer was made to help the city’s 2012 Olympic bid.

    “Among others, the books' stories include the account of a meeting with Moscow Mayor Luzhkov as part of our efforts to ensure we had discussed and highlighted the merits of our 2010 Games bid with people who were non-IOC voting members and were nonetheless prominent in sport and political circles, knowing that this was fully legitimate activity under the IOC rules,” says the Furlong website.

    Vancouver edged PyeongChang by just three votes at the 2003 Session, while Moscow failed in its quest for 2012.

    Furlong also notes in his book that he saw gifts from PyeongChang 2010 handed out during the bid campaign.

    At a “key gathering” in Buenos Aires, Furlong says “a squad of beautiful young Korean women walked into the presentation hall carrying bags full of goodies. I saw one delegate pull a watch from one bag. Someone lifted a compact disc player out of another.”

    So far, no such tales of largess have emerged in the third and latest campaign of PyeongChang to win the Winter Games. The South Korean resort is considered a front-runner in the race for 2018 with Munich and Annecy that will be decided in July.

    More Coverage: NPR’s Howard Berkes

    Salt Lake City-based reporter Howard Berkes reports on the Furlong controversy for National Public Radio.

    Olympian Signatures Obliterated from Monuments

    The Olympic Truce monuments erected at the Vancouver and Whistler Olympic Villages have been wiped clean of the signatures of dozens of Olympians.
    Part of the Olympic Truce monument that was reinstalled at the Vancouver Olympic Village. The autographs of Olympians from the 2010 Games were erased. (ATR/Bob Mackin)

    The identical, two-part Coast Salish native artworks were unveiled before the Games and depicted the designs from the Olympic and Paralympic medals. Athletes and dignitaries who visited the villages were invited to autograph the monuments with marker pens.

    VANOC spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade says the signatures were “never intended to remain as part of the legacy.”

    “The walls were cleaned of the ‘temporary artwork’ (signatures),” Smith-Valade admitted.

    During the Games, reporters were told that the signed panels were potential items for an auction to raise funds for Haiti earthquake relief. The monuments were temporarily removed after the Games and reinstalled with plaques containing the names of all athletes and an excerpt from the United Nations Olympic Truce resolution for the Vancouver Games.

    Sales Spike for Olympic Village Units

    Real estate marketer Bob Rennie reported 128 provisional deals after the first weekend of sales this year at the Olympic Village, which is now known as the Village on False Creek.

    The 128 sales are not finalized. Rennie expects as many as 10 percent will fall through. The second weekend of sales could be affected by a tent village protest by a local social housing advocacy group critical of the city council decision to halve the planned 252 affordable units.

    Owners of the project aim to have 70 percent of the units sold by mid-year.

    Written reporting from Bob Mackin in Vancouver.

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