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IOC Reference to Boycotters Omitted : Samaranch Leaves North Korea, Cuba, Ethiopia Out of Speech

February 09, 1988|RANDY HARVEY | Times Staff Writer

CALGARY, Canada — In a speech Monday night to open the 93rd session of the International Olympic Committee, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch deviated from his prepared text and eliminated specific references to three countries that have announced they will boycott the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

" . . . Athletes from (North Korea), Cuba and Ethiopia amongst others will be missing from the great universal festival of sporting youth, which will start in Seoul in exactly 225 days time," read Samaranch's prepared text, which was released to the media earlier Monday.

"It is regrettable that young people who have spent many years of preparation in the hope of being worthy representatives of their countries should be thus deprived of any opportunity to compete with fellow athletes from all over the world."

In the speech he delivered, Samaranch referred to athletes who will not be in Seoul but did not specify their countries. Officials from Cuba and Ethiopia have said they will not send teams to South Korea because of their support for North Korea, which has demanded to play a role in hosting the Games.

Nicaraguan officials said they will not send a team because their country is in a state of war, while Albania and the Seychelles have not responded to the IOC's invitation to Seoul.

Jose Sotelo, a Samaranch aide, said the IOC president altered his speech because of time limitations.

Samaranch, however, followed the prepared text in criticizing athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs, which are banned by the IOC.

"Let me state solemnly, in the name of the whole Olympic Movement, on behalf of the many hundreds of millions of those who freely accept our principles and share our ideals, that we utterly and absolutely reject these attempts to cheat, which endanger the very lives of those involved," he said. "Doping is alien to our philosophy, to our rules of conduct. We shall never tolerate it."

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