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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | NOTES

Always Coca-Cola? Not for Swimmer

August 04, 1996|From Staff and Wire Reports

Costa Rica's first Olympic gold medalist faces possible sanctions for wearing Pepsi-Cola and other advertising logos during the competition and awards ceremony, the IOC said Saturday.

Swimmer Claudia Poll, winner of the women's 200-meter freestyle, is apparently the first Olympic athlete to violate the ban on advertising inside venues, IOC marketing director Michael Payne said.

The International Olympic Committee did not rule out the possibility Poll could be stripped of her medal.

Poll wore three logos on her swimming cap--one for Pepsi, another for a Costa Rican TV station and the third for an unidentified company, Payne said.

"When she got up on the medal stand, she unzipped her ceremony suit to reveal further advertising," he said.

Costa Rican officials said Poll wore a Pepsi T-shirt and two small pins with the logo for the REPRETEL TV station on the stand.

"There is an investigation into the incident," Payne said. "It's premature to say what action could be taken."

Payne denied reports the matter was raised by Pepsi's rival Coca-Cola, the official Olympic sponsor.

But Jorge Nery Carvajal, president of the Costa Rican Olympic committee, said the Pepsi logo was "what bothers the IOC the most."

"Poll didn't do it on purpose," Carvajal said. "It was a mistake as a result of the emotion of the moment. When she had to go to the awards ceremony, she had to grab the first shirt she could find, and she put it on without looking. It may be an act of carelessness, but there was no bad faith involved."

Earlier this week, U.S. diving bronze medalist Mary Ellen Clark was reprimanded by the U.S. Olympic Committee for wearing her Speedo warmup jacket instead of the official USOC outfit provided by Champion. The USOC code of conduct requires medal winners to wear their Champion outfits to the ceremonies.

*

In the eight Olympics over which he has presided since becoming IOC president, starting with Los Angeles in 1984, Juan Antonio Samaranch has never failed to declare during the closing ceremonies, "These were the best games ever."

For the first time, those words will not be part of his closing remarks tonight.

One IOC official who has read the speech said the obvious reason is that Samaranch did not want to say anything that might be deemed disrespectful to the victims of the July 26 bombing in Centennial Olympic Park. Another reason, the official said, is that the Games clearly have been a disappointment to the IOC because of technology and transportation problems.

"What he will say will be a perfect double-entendre," said the official, who did not want to be identified. "The organizing committee will hear it and say, pridefully, 'Yes, that is us.' Others will hear it and say, not charitably, 'Yes, that is them.' "

Organizing committee president Billy Payne said Saturday that he will not be disappointed when he fails to hear the words that had become a traditional part of the closing ceremonies.

"While we very much want [Samaranch] to feel good about the Games, and we believe that he does, the most important thing to us is how the athletes, spectators and community feel about them," Payne said. "I would like for him to say that these are the best ever, but no one should let his precise words describe how we remember the Games."

Payne said he has one regret about the Games as a sporting event.

"Golf at Augusta, I would have liked," he said. "I'm sorry that didn't happen."

In one of his first confrontations with the IOC after the Games were awarded to Atlanta in 1990, Payne failed in an attempt to have golf added to the program at the home of the Masters. Clued in to Augusta National's history of racial and gender bias, the IOC's executive board rejected the proposal.

*

As expected, the U.S. protest of Floyd Mayweather's controversial 10-9 loss to Bulgarian Sefarim Todorov on Friday was tossed out by the oversight jury Saturday.

"They wouldn't even bother to look at the tape," said David E. Lubs, executive director of USA Boxing.

Lubs' floor pass was taken away because he repeatedly called the jury's decision an expletive--and was in the stands with USA Boxing President Jerry Dusenberry, whose pass was yanked after he released copies of the computer scoring on Fernando Vargas' defeat last week.

*

Russian officials offered to halt use of the drug bromantan if the IOC reinstated four Russian athletes caught using the substance at the games. An arbitration panel is scheduled to announce its ruling on Russia's appeal against the expulsions today.

Russia's contends bromantan is not a stimulant and was not on the IOC's list of banned substances.

*

Cash, clothing and jewelry was stolen from the motel rooms of eight members of Argentina's men's soccer team, a spokesman for the team said.

The burglar took $40,000 from the Argentine Football Association in the theft Friday afternoon at the Howard Johnson lodge in Athens, Ga., said spokesman Eduardo Bongiovanni.

*

NBC will air a 45-minute tribute today to five American Olympians who won gold medals at the 1960 Rome Games. Produced by Lisa Lax, the documentary will focus on Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph, Rafer Johnson, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, using an anecdotal format to portray their lives before and up to the Rome Games.

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