The 2002 Olympic Winter Games bid scandal was a scandal involving allegations of bribery to obtain the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before 1995, the city had attempted several times to secure the games, but failed each time. In 1995, Salt Lake City was announced as the host city, but in 1998 the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were accused of taking bribes from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC).
Scandal broke on December 10, 1998, when Swiss IOC member Marc Hodler, head of the coordination committee overseeing the organization of the 2002 games, announced that several members of the IOC had taken bribes. Soon four independent investigations were underway: by the IOC, the USOC, the SLOC, and the United States Department of Justice (Jennings, 2006). The allegations against the SLOC included a scholarship and international assistance program that awarded scholarships totaling $400,000 to thirteen students who were relatives of IOC members.
The SLOC allegedly was also trying to influence votes by providing free plastic surgery, health care, shopping sprees, ski weekends, first-class air travel, luxury accommodations, fur coats, and other expensive gifts to IOC members and their families. Some of the gifts included $10,000 worth of guns and rifles made by Browning, a Utah-based firearms maker. It was reported that a shotgun and rifle were sent to the IOC president just one month before Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 bid. The shipment had been made at the request of the SLOC. The total value of the gifts exceeded more than $1 million (Easton-Black, 2006).
The scandal thus far has revolved around possible illegal acts by a handful of people, several of whom happen to be Mormon, and there is no suggestion that their actions were guided by the church. But in its Olympic pitch, Salt Lake City portrayed itself as a center of clean living and fresh mountain air.
These attitudes have led to harsh media criticism since the scandal unfolded. On a recent Sunday morning, a national radio sports talk-show host, Jay Mariotti, referred to those implicated as "the Mormon hypocrites in Salt Lake City." Before any of the investigations could even get under way, both Welch and Johnson resigned their posts as the head of the SLOC. Many others soon followed. The Department of Justice filed charges against the two: fifteen charges of bribery and ...