Salt Lake hearing clears Gosper

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The Independent Online

After enduring a week of public bashing over the Olympic torch relay controversy, Kevan Gosper escaped further damage yesterday when he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Salt Lake City bid scandal.

The Australian Olympic executive and his wife were exonerated by the IOC ethics commission after an inquiry into whether they broke rules on excessive travel and gifts during Salt Lake's winning campaign for the 2002 Winter Games. "There is no basis on which to conclude that either Mr Gosper or Mrs Gosper knowingly or negligently violated the rules," the report said, suggesting that Gosper had been deceived by unscrupulous Salt Lake officials.

The verdict was a timely vindication for Gosper. The embattled IOC vice president has been under attack since last week for allowing his 11-year-old daughter to replace a Greek-Australian girl as the first torchbearer for the Sydney Games. Gosper fought back tears after calling his wife, Judy, to tell her the ruling. "The sun is shining for me and my family," Gosper said. "I'm hugely relieved... I feel this has put the Gosper family integrity back intact."

Before the decision was announced, Gosper said he would consider resigning all his Olympic positions if the report found he had committed wrong-doings. The ethics inquiry centred on a trip, arranged by Salt Lake bidders, that Gosper's wife and two children made to the Deer Valley ski resort in December 1993, and the couple's official site-inspection visit in 1995. Gosper referred the case to the eight-member ethics commission in January after allegations that Salt Lake spent more than $30,000 (£18,000) on the trips.