•The SLOC and the citizens of Salt Lake City must worry not only about the dirty money that went out but also about the clean money that isn't coming in. One sponsor, U.S. West, announced last week that it was temporarily withholding a $5 million payment to the SLOC, a step that' raised fears that other backers of the Salt Lake Games might pull out. If the SLOC falls short of its $1.45 billion Olympic budget, taxpayers in Salt Lake City may have to cover the losses.
The Salt Lake scandal is one more chapter in the long, colorful history of Olympic corruption. Direct cash payments to IOC members to influence voting may be less popular than paid consultancies and lavish gifts, but bribes of thousands of dollars have long been rumored to be commonplace. Both before and after the IOC prohibited gifts worth more than $150, in 1986, organizing committees from cities all over the globe have reportedly plied IOC members with boatloads of booty: first-class plane tickets (often redeemed for cash), shopping sprees, antiques, fur coats, free heart surgery, golf with Greg Norman, computers, fax machines, even a live Russian grizzly bear.
If any bid city had reason to run a clean operation, it was Salt Lake, which would easily have won the 2002 Winter Games on merit. As the allegations rained down last week, Utah governor Mike Leavitt laid down a challenge that the alphabet soup of Olympic organizations must rise to meet. "Olympic corruption did not begin in Salt Lake City," Leavitt said, "but let it end here."
Boxer in a Dress
He's a Knockout
The surprise of Vivienne Westwood's Fall/Winter 1999/2000 fashion show in Milan last week was former WBO super middleweight champ Chris Eubank of England (right), who vamped down the runway in a glittering ankle-length evening gown. This silvery number is one of the latest creations from Westwood, who expects dresses for men to be the next fad. Eubank, 34, who lost his tide to Ireland's Steve Collins in '95, looked like more than a match for super-light-waif Kate Moss as he styled to wild applause. All that was missing was a shout from Michael Buffer: "Let's get ready to rhumba!"
Mo' Bettor Blues
Gambling by college athletes may be more widespread than anyone suspected. According to a University of Michigan study, eight in 10 men's Division I basketball and football players admit to indulging in some sort of gambling. Still worse news is that 3.4% of the 758 male college football players and male and female college basketball players who responded to the poll said they had bet on games in which they played, given inside information to bookies or taken money to change a game's outcome.
"Our athletes, like much of society, are desensitized to the seriousness of this issue," says Bill Saum of the NCAA. "We've got to get the message out before this problem becomes a crisis."
Hall of Fame Flap
By electing George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount to the Hall of Fame last week, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) scrapped one of its worst traditions. All three players were elected in their first year of eligibility. As some of the crustier BBWAA members are quick to point out, that's more than you can say for Joe DiMaggio.
The Yankee Clipper fell short in 1953 and '54 before earning induction in 1955. Since then, many voters have been loath to support any player in his first year on the ballot, but most of the electorate seem to recognize the absurdity of the DiMaggio dogma. Ryan received 491 of 497 votes for a percentage of 98.79, second alltime to Tom Seaver's 98.84 in 1992.