Ron Clarke: Gosper should not be next IOC chief

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The Independent Online

Australian athletics great Ron Clarke said countryman Kevan Gosper disqualified himself from becoming the next International Olympic Committee chief because he backed an Olympic boycott in 1980.

Australian athletics great Ron Clarke said countryman Kevan Gosper disqualified himself from becoming the next International Olympic Committee chief because he backed an Olympic boycott in 1980.

Gosper is an IOC vice-president and considered a contender to replace current IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Clarke said American Anita DeFrantz - who opposed United States president Jimmy Carter's decision to boycott the Moscow Games - should be the next IOC chief.

The Australian government also backed a boycott but a team was sent after the Australian Olympic Federation supported it with a 6-5 vote.

"Kevan disqualified himself when he opposed our team going to Moscow," Clarke said today. "I can't see how anybody can recover from that - it's only one mistake but a serious mistake.

"To even have the mindset that you can solve the world's problems by stopping sport means he's not a great candidate for the presidency."

Clarke also said today that he backed former athlete Betty Cuthbert to light the flame at next year's Sydney Olympics.

Cuthbert, who won four Olympic gold in sprints, suffers from multiple sclerosis which has left her wheelchair bound.

"She's an icon of Australian sport and has always done the right thing," Clarke said. "She's been as good an Olympian as you can possibly get and she's a great example of a person who never gives up as she fights against her illness."

The frontrunner for the honor is believed to be Dawn Fraser, who was named female swimmer of the century in an IOC poll last week.

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