March 1, 1999
But the five-member commission, headed by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, did not propose any personnel changes in the worst corruption case in Olympic history.
"What the Salt Lake City people did was wrong. But they did not invent this culture," Mitchell said at a news conference. "It was in existence and attributable in part to the closed processes and unaccountability at the international level."
The panel's report, after a two-month investigation, urged better policing of Olympic bids, both within the United States and globally.
"Despite the fact that everyone recognizes the Olympics to be a huge commercial enterprise, the International Olympic Committee and its constituent organizations lack the accountability and the openness needed to keep up with the role the Olympic Games play in the world today," Mitchell told reporters.
"We found responsibility at the local, national and international levels of the Olympic movement for the improper conduct ... so we believe there must be reform at every level," he said, calling the panel's findings unanimous.
"The USOC shares responsibility for the improper conduct of the bid and organizing committees of Salt Lake City," Mitchell said.
Despite the criticism, however, the U.S. investigators did not call for the resignation of any USOC officials or IOC Chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch.
"If President Samaranch and the entire leadership of the International Olympic Committee retired tomorrow and there were no other changes, the problems of the IOC would continue," Mitchell said.
Instead, the panel offered to the USOC several anti-corruption recommendations:
But otherwise, the USOC escaped with little more than a slap on the wrist from the commission. The report's harshest language dealt with management of USOC's training program, which in at least one case was manipulated to help Salt Lake's cause.
The USOC investigators also made proposals to the International Olympic Committee, recommending that:
Mitchell's commission lacked subpoena power and had to rely heavily on public record.
It received almost 200,000 documents from USOC files as well as responses from letters sent to some 400 present and former committee officials and staff members.
The letter asked about gifts they received from Salt Lake City or other cities hoping to be America's candidate for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Games.
The findings were submitted to the U.S. Olympic Committee's executive board just before being released at Monday's news conference in New York.
The USOC is to respond at its own news conference Wednesday in Washington.
In a related development Monday, a special IOC panel has issued recommendations on whether to impose sanctions against the 13 members still under investigation in the Salt Lake City scandal.
Jacques Rogge, a member of the six-man inquiry panel that met in Switzerland during the weekend, said the group sent its findings to Samaranch and the IOC's executive board. Rogge said he didn't know when the board would convene to act on the panel's report.
The inquiry commission can recommend that members be expelled, exonerated or warned.
Nine IOC members already have resigned or been ousted in connection with cash payments, scholarships, free medical care and other inducements offered by Salt Lake.
Salt Lake scandal could roll more Olympic heads
International Olympic Committee
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