Discussions on political interference in the Olympic movement took top priority at the ceremonial opening of the 79th session of the International Olympic Committee (I.
Discussions on political interference in the Olympic movement took top priority at the ceremonial opening of the 79th session of the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) in Prague on Wednesday (15 June).
SYNOPSIS: The I.O.C. opened with music and pageantry -- and a veiled hint of the political problems world sports leaders have pledged to eliminate from future Olympic Games.
Lord Killanin, the I.O.C. President, said individual athletes needed to be protected from becoming instruments of government direction. He said Olympics had been plagued by political problems since they were resumed at the end of last century, in the hope of bringing athletes together, despite ideological differences. The officials translation of Lord Killanin's speech into the Czech language omitted the parts where he talked about government interference. There has been no explanation from the Czechs as to why this was done. Lord Killanin said the I.O.C. was against the use of sport to further national ambitions, but not for the development of national pride.
The Czechoslovakian President, Dr. Gustav Husak, formally opened the session. Delegates from both Moscow and Lake Placid, site of the Winter Olympics, are expected to advise the governing body of the Olympic Movement that they are well ahead of schedule in construction plans. The I.O.C. remains concerned about the television contract for Moscow and it is worried about high fees for other countries wanting to see live games telecasts. T here has been a steady stream of Olympic, world sports and technical officials to the Soviet capital in the past six month, and with no major building projects to trouble them, the Soviets have made a good impression.