Newly disclosed records from Salt Lake City's tainted bid for the 2002 Winter Games show more than $43,000 was paid to 15 International Olympic Committee members or their relatives.
The checks were cut between July 1991 and January 1992, Utah's Deseret News reported yesterday.
The list of checks represents a fraction of more than $1 million in cash, gifts, trips and scholarships given to IOC members by bidders in an effort to land the Olympics. The list apparently is being examined by the Justice Department as part of its criminal investigation into the scandal, the newspaper reported.
The checks were approved by Craig Peterson, who handled bid committee finances, and either bid leader Tom Welch or Kelly Flint, at the time a lawyer contributing legal services to the bid committee.
The biggest check listed, for $10,542, went to Jean-Claude Ganga, then an IOC member from the Republic of Congo. Ganga was expelled from the IOC last year along with five of his colleagues. Four other IOC members resigned and 10 others received warnings for their behavior.
Meantime, Salt Lake Olympic trustees unanimously have relinquished their right to view sponsorship contracts.
Season in Doubt
The league's season, set to begin in April, is in jeopardy of being canceled because of a labor dispute between owners and players. The players, with the help of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, have threatened to file a lawsuit against the owners. Players contend league rules hold down player pay and fringe benefits. The UFCW has guaranteed financing for a federal lawsuit against the league.
Team owners are urging the players to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. AFL Commissioner David Baker sent a letter to every player and owner on Thursday, alerting them to the likelihood of canceling the season if they continue to pursue a lawsuit.
Already postponed is the Jan. 18 expansion draft. The league also suspended all player transactions, minicamps and free agent tryouts.
The dispute could threaten the NFL's growing involvement with the league.
China Hires Milutinovic
Bora Milutinovic signed a two-year contract to coach China's national squad, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Milutinovic is the third foreigner to coach the beleaguered Chinese team. . . . Kasey Keller was picked as the men's player of the year by the U.S. Soccer Federation for the second time and Michelle Akers won the women's award for the third time. D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen was selected men's youth athlete of the year and North Carolina defender Lorrie Fair was named women's youth athlete of the year.
Big Time Plan
Tennessee's visit to Arizona State next Dec. 28 will be the first meeting between the two women's basketball teams, and the Sun Devils are trying to make the most of the opportunity. Arizona State plans to play the game at the 49,000-seat Bank One Ballpark, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. The game could draw the largest crowd for a women's basketball game in this country.
Jockey Is Honored
Mike Smith won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in a nationwide vote of his fellow riders.
The Woolf Award, named for the jockey who was killed in a 1946 racing accident at Santa Anita, honors riders whose careers and personal character reflect positively on themselves and thoroughbred racing.
Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt is a quadriplegic who will not drive or walk again, his car owner said. "It's a lot worse than we first thought," Fred Treadway said. "Sam has the same injury as Christopher Reeve. His spinal cord got pinched between the third and fourth vertebrae." The 35-year-old Schmidt was injured Jan. 6 when his car hit a retaining wall at Walt Disney World Speedway in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.