Ideals must return to race for Olympic gold

The Olympic Games have recently reached a new low. Olympics corruption is nothing new. In 388 B.C., a man named Eupolus of Thessaly bribed three boxers to lose their matches. Bribery continues today, breaking down the fundamentals of an event created to promote peace, unity and goodwill. The allegations of bribery of the International Olympic Committee by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee demonstrate the need to return to the fundamentals of the Olympics and the inability of the IOC to properly address the root causes of this problem.
Members of the Olympic Games Committee flew first-class, stayed in expensive hotels and received other perks paid for by the Salt Lake City organizers. Three international committee members received free medical service, including plastic surgery, and relatives of some committee members were hired by Salt Lake City companies during the bidding process, the majority of one salary being paid by the Salt Lake City organizers. Property was another popular pay-off tool. International committee member Jean-Claude Ganga of the Republic of Congo bought three homes for $25,000 each 20 miles from the Olympic downhill race course three months after his committee awarded the Olympics to Salt Lake City.
The saddest part about the whole ordeal is the claim that Salt Lake City leaders had no previous knowledge of the scandalous activities. The Salt Lake City organizer’s President, Frank Joklik, told CNN, “Although I had no personal knowledge of (the bribery), it became clear that changes must be made in order for the Games to proceed.” Because the Olympic Games is a major event which encompasses many nations, sensitivity and awareness must be of the utmost importance. While there have been rumors of bribery with regard to site selections since the 1980s, no one has come forward with incriminating evidence until now.
The International Olympic Committee has taken steps to change the Olympic site selection process, but there is a long way to go in order to live up to the ideals set by the Olympics’ founders. The Salt Lake City organizer’s Senior Vice President Dave Johnson and Joklik are resigning although both attest they had no knowledge of the underhanded activities. Any members found guilty of bribery will be expelled or asked to resign. Having all members of the IOC visit cities bidding to be an Olympic site will be banned altogether. As an alternative an 11-member executive committee will be formed within the IOC. They will visit the sites and have the ultimate voting power in regards to the Olympics’ location.
Who says they will not be just as susceptible to bribery? With the immense money at stake, potential Olympic sites will face an equally immense temptation to bribe their way to Olympic gold. Limiting the number of committee members attending the sites will not change the nature of the system which has become corrupt and anything but focused on peace, unity and goodwill.
The Olympics scandal cannot just be covered over with a bunch of duct tape. The structure of the bidding process needs to be revamped with serious consideration for the future. It is disgusting that the Olympics has come to this. In order to return to the original Olympic ideals, the International Olympic Committee must start paying more attention to what is happening around them and site organizers must focus on the honor and prestige involved in hosting the Olympics, not the revenue brought in by the games.