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Excerpt from MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY by James Worrall, Canadian IOC Executive Board Member, posted with permission of the author and the publisher
At the Amsterdam Session, I had my first opportunities to vote for host cities and, with two excellent Canadian candidates in the running, my decisions were easy to make.
By this time, a team from Moscow had joined the race between Montreal and Los Angeles. The two IOC members in the USSR, Andrianov and Romanov, invited me to meet with them in their room a day or so before the vote. Their ever-suave assistant, Comrade Savvin, ensured that we were well-supplied with vodka and peanuts. Although I was comparatively new to the IOC, I was, by this time, not completely naïve about IOC politicking and guessed what they had in mind. Their proposition was that, if I would persuade Montreal to withdraw, they and their Eastern Bloc allies would then throw their weight behind Montreal for the Games of 1980. Our discussion was cheerful enough, but brief, and I thanked them for the vodka. As I left, I gave my assur-
1969 MUNICH 1972 - CHAPTER EIGHT
ances that it was well beyond my powers to make any such representation as they were suggesting to the mayor of Montreal, but that, if Montreal was unsuccessful, a trip to Moscow for the Games of 1976 might be an interesting alternative.
When the time for presentations and voting arrived, the Olympic Games were dealt with first, then the Olympic Winter Games.
The Montreal delegation was led by Mayor Drapeau, of course, accompanied by Lucien Saulnier, president of the city council and financial strongman, Gerry Snyder, Pierre Charbonneau, Harold Wright, and Howard Radford. The Montreal bid book was fairly elaborate and well-documented, comparing favourably with those filed by Los Angeles and Moscow. The Canadian government had written a letter of support as required by the IOC Charter. The letter was signed by Secretary of State for External Affairs Mitchell Sharp, a letter which would cause us much grief in the future.
Lots decided the order of presentation; Los Angeles went first. Mayor Yorty and bid committee president John Kilroy led the delegation. Count Jean de Beaumont, IOC member in France, asked if they would make a financial performance guarantee to the IOC. Cautiously they answered that they could make a deposit but would first need to discuss the amount with the IOC.
Montreal appeared next. Mayor Drapeau spoke eloquently in both English and French. Councillor Saulnier addressed the financial capabilities of his city. When the question of a financial guarantee deposit was again asked by de Beaumont, Drapeau drew himself up in indignation, declaring that a mere cash deposit could not possibly carry the weight of the word of the City of Montreal. If Montreal promised to host the Games, that promise was in itself the most valuable guarantee that could possibly be offered. His audience applauded; Drapeau had obviously scored points.
The Moscow delegation spoke last and made a solemn, serious, and solid enough case for their city.
Moscow received 28 votes on the first ballot; Montreal, 25; and Los Angeles, the remaining 17 votes. So Los Angeles dropped out. On the second ballot, Moscow's support held firm, while the Los Angeles votes came to Montreal. Drapeau's dream for his city had become a reality.
The next day, we decided on the Winter Games host city. Vancouver/Garibaldi was in a race against Sion, Switzerland, and Denver, Colorado. Our delegation was led by Mayor Tom Campbell and included Sid Young, Frank Bernard, Bob Hindmarch, Brusset, and Harold Wright. It had been obvious for some time that the barrier to a successful Vancouver bid was the bid from Montreal, and I had done some research into the problem. Some time during the years of the Second World War, the rule that both
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summer and winter Games be held in the same country had died a quiet death, and from 1948 on, the two sets of Games were awarded independently. My argument in favour of Vancouver when I discussed this point with my IOC colleagues was that, while the tradition seemed to have changed since the war, there was no actual rule putting up an impediment to Canada's hosting both Games. If they thought Vancouver had the best bid, they were free to vote accordingly. I certainly voted for Vancouver, and I think I convinced a few others to do so as well. Nevertheless, Vancouver was eliminated on the first ballot, and the second round gave the Games to Denver by a vote of 39-3l. Needless to say, the delegation was justifiably disappointed as, in my opinion, they had the best technical bid.
That evening, a celebration was held to honour the victories of Montreal and Denver, a party that had a definitive Quebec flair, for the chefs and gourmet supplies had all been flown over from Canada. Brundage and the IOC members attended and had a good time. All augured well for the next six years of preparations being undertaken by the two host cities.
The IOC did not foresee that the citizens of Denver would rebel at the prospect. and probable expense, of hosting the Winter Games, and would force Denver to withdraw a few years later - the first and only host city to have done so. This was not an unmitigated disaster in as much as the Denver bid had technical problems. The alpine ski events, for instance, had been proposed at a site far from Denver itself, and would require access by air. And on my own inspection trip, I had noted the absence of snow at the proposed cross-country ski area, a place known rather suspiciously as "Evergreen". One of- the locals had whispered in my car that there, in fact, never was any snow at that location and that altitude.
Montreal citizens, on the other hand, were jubilant at the prospect of holding the Olympic Games. The Comité Organisateur des Jeux Olympiques, COJO; was established with Mayor Drapeau, Harold Wright, and myself as the initial directors. The many working groups started their tasks with enthusiasm. Pierre Charbonneau was appointed Coordinator, and both Gerry Snyder and Jean Dupire were entrusted with key jobs. COA Past-Presidents Ken Farmer and Howard Radford soon became involved in a consultative capacity
It was clear from the start, however, that Drapeau fully intended to keep ultimate control of COJO in his own hands, a somewhat mixed blessing, as it turned out. I was delighted at the turn of events and was looking forward to being involved in the organizing of the Games. I had already experienced the Games from other aspects - as athlete, as team official, as COA president, as IOC: member - but had not yet been challenged
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to help organize them. I quickly appreciated that we had a gargantuan task ahead of us.
The Pan American Games of 1971 took place in Cali, Colombia.The COA's Pan Am Committee was still based in Vancouver, but the chairman was now Bob Osborne. He had to cope with assembling the largest team Canada had ever sent abroad to a sporting event. I flew to noisy, congested Cali for the first few days of the Games. and assisted Pierre Charbonneau to meet the IOC members from Latin America, as well as to meet with, and learn from, the organizing Committee, all in aid of better preparation for the Montreal Games.
Willi Daume, IOC member in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and president of the Munich organizing, Committee, arrived in Cali to deliver Invitations for the Munich Games to the Pan American NOCs. The COA put on a reception and dinner to receive the official Invitation from Daume in style, inviting COA officials and some IOC people as well.
The federal government and Sport Canada had been busy creating a larger role for themselves in the affairs of the COA. Sport Canada was given responsibility for media relations and the production of the daily bulletin to be circulated to team members in Cali. The Sport Canada delegation was a sizeable one, and our usual communications consultants, Doug Maxwell and Peter Esling, were made superfluous. On the face of it, this might have seemed like a good idea since the government was financing these aspects of team management. However, it could also be interpreted as growing government encroachment on the COA’s business.
The IOC Session of 1971 was held in the tiny city-state of Luxembourg, the head of which, Grand Duke Jean de Luxembourg was an IOC member. Appointed in 1946, he contributed a great deal to the real work of the IOC and was not a mere aristocratic adornment. Being head of state gave the Grand Duke the advantage of being able to host the entire IOC at his home, the Luxembourg Palace.
COJO presented its first report at this Session, a report which was complete and enthusiastic in its forecasts. Montreal was planning to send study groups to Munich in both 1971 and 1972 to assess facilities and the management of the Games.
As the IOC had been discussing the possibility of adding new sports to the programme, I urged that the final report on events be available by the Session in Sapporo the following February so that Montreal could finalize its facility requirements in good time.
The Session Minutes contain an interesting comment:
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
President Brundage appreciated the enthusiasm of the Canadians for the Montreal Games hut was worried by some rumours of Canadian OIympic Garmes, Mr. Drapeau admitted that enthusiasm spread at an exaggerated speed, that the Ministry of State wanted to create Canadian Olympics but he reported that he had received a written assurance that it would not be so. (Page 30)
This is a reference to a possible further initiative by our government in its ambition to take over Canadian amateur sport and the COA. I recall that they actually applied for and received registration of trademarks and symbols pertaining to the Olympic Movement. They never seemed to understand, or else they ignored, the fact that an independent NOC is a creature of the IOC Charter, and under the jurisdiction of the IOC. There must have been newspaper articles in Canada about this suggestion of organizing multiple-sport games, "Canadian Olympic Games", at regular intervals in the future and undoubtedly Brundage's extensive clipping service picked this up for him. It was difficult to imagine the government's temerity in advancing a concept so utterly contrary to the Olympic Charter. The kindest thing one could say was that they were ill informed.
The next IOC Session was in February 1972, just before the Sapporo Winter Games. Our meeting began in Tokyo and then moved on to Sapporo. In Tokyo, we stayed at the famous Imperial Hotel designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Japanese NOC and the Sapporo Organizing Committee had arranged a busy programme for us, including a rarely granted audience with Emperor Hirohito. We were taken to the Imperial Palace barely a half-mile from the hotel, and caught just a glimpse of the elegantly landscaped grounds before being ushered into the audience chamber. The Emperor and his retinue arrived at the far end and we filed past in protocol order, that is, in order of seniority. Brundage, who loved this kind of formal international gathering, introduced us one by one. Brundage and the three vice-presidents, Killanin, de Beaumont, and van Karnebeek, were decorated by the Emperor with a prestigious Japanese Order. Herman van Karnebeek considered it all quite ironic and I heard him say that he had never expected to be greeted in this fashion by the Emperor of Japan. It must have been difficult for Herman and his wife, both of whom had suffered considerably as prisoners of the Japanese during the Japanese occupation of Java. Lance Cross from New Zealand was another with less-than-pleasant memories of Japan. When asked if he had ever visited Tokyo before, Lance replied that he had, but had seen the city only from the air. He did not elaborate that he had been a member of the New Zealand Air Force involved in bombing raids on Tokyo during World WAR II.
The next four years began peacefully enough. At Olympic House, we welcomed our new COA general manager, Lee Crowell. A bilingual lawyer with business and marketing experience, Lee would be an asset to the COA for many years to come. As the Montreal Games drew closer, serious problems would emerge and gobble up enormous amounts of my time, but, for the moment, things were calm. Outside the Olympic realm, I was busy with my family, my law practice, and my positions as Chairman of the Metropolitan Toronto Licensing Commission and as honorary consul-general for Finland.
In October of 1972, COJO moved its headquarters into the lovely old courthouse building next to Montreal's hôtel de ville. The following January of 1973, COJO enered into its first major contract, namely the awarding of American television rights to the ABC network for $25 million, a great deal of money at the time. While this deal was greeted with great jubilation, it had not been discussed first with the IOC and therefore would lead to considerable difficulty in subsequent COJO dealings with other networks, as well as with the IOC.
During these months, Drapeau had been busy dreaming up a concept for an Olympic stadium and for the major Olympic facilities. The site for the main Olympic Park had already been selected in Montreal's east end, opposite the Montreal Botanical Garden. Owned by the city, the area had a long history of sports use. Drapeau had apparently been so impressed by a stadium he had seen in Paris that he contacted architect, Roger Taillebcrt. The next thing we knew, Taillibert had been engaged as architect for the Montreal stadium and the "fun" began. The first sod was turned on April 28, 1973.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
In July, 1973, the federal government was finally persuaded to approve the official programmes for the production of Olympic stamps and coins, and also for the all important Olympic Lottery. As it turned out, these three fundraising projects were the financial life-boats for the Montreal Games. Drapeau, himself, is to be credited with the hard work and politicking needed to win the government's support for these ventures. The Lottery was an immediate success when it was launched in the spring of 1974, the chance to win one million dollars on a $10 ticket being universally popular.
Later that summer, COJO decided to hold a directors meeting in Vancouver as a public relations gesture in the face of criticism that the Games were going to be exclusively a Montreal and Quebec affair. The Games did inevitably end up being organized and staffed largely by local Montrealers, not really an abnormal occurrence in any large event staged in one part of Canada. In my experience, the same happened with Commonwealth Games, Pan Am Games, University Games, and Olympic Winter Games hosted by Canada. Montreal was not unique in this regard, except that the major language of operation was French.
That August, my eldest daughter Anna Jane and I were guests at the University Games held in Moscow. Originating in Paris in 1923, these Games are generally held every second year, customarily in the odd-numbered years. They are controlled by their own federation, the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) and are under the patronage of the IOC. The city of Moscow was in the race to host the 1980 Games, voting for which was to take place at the IOC Session in 1974, and all IOC members were invited to the University Games as part of the bidding process. Roger Rousseau and his wife were also invited, taking this opportunity to observe the running of another large multi-sports games. In fact, for both of us, the trip would be helpful with our COJO duties.
We flew with Aeroflot directly to Moscow, being treated en route to lavish Russian service consisting not of vodka and caviar, but of soda water and pale sandwiches. Also on the plane was a group of Canadian doctors heading to a convention in Moscow. They were prepared for the flight with a few bottles of Scotch whiskey, for medicinal purposes, and offered to share it. The long, spartan flight ended with our landing in Moscow and being driven directly to the Hotel Ukraine in the centre of the city. With east-west tensions fairly relaxed after the signing of a USA-USSR nuclear arms limitation agreement, our reception had been quite friendly and we were not subjected to one of the horror-story airport delays and inspections we had heard about. The hotel was built in the same pretentious Stalinesque wedding-cake style I had seen in Warsaw, but once inside, we had pleasant views over the city and the Moscow River. Each floor was
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zealously guarded by a "key lady", indomitable and stern of visage, who took possession of our room keys whenever we went downstairs. The so-called dining room, where service was sporadic and grudging, looked to us like a railway station cafeteria.
We were accompanied, and monitored, everywhere by two young Russian men. One of them, Sergei "Serge" Novoshilov, a bright and entertaining fellow, was keen to perfect his English, although he already was quite accomplished. With them as guides, we saw many top-class sports, facilities, but also many tourist spots. Rousseau and I were impressed by the facilities. We could not attend all the competitions, but what we did see, was well-orchestrated. The opening ceremony dazzled us with the display of card-turning patterns created by thousands of spectators in the stands, the same business I had witnessed in Leipzig in 1969. With little automobile traffic on the large avenues, getting around was fast. A large, heavy, Russian-built vehicle was at our disposal. On Red Square, we stood dutifully, between lines on the pavement, waiting to tour the Kremlin museums and Lenin's tomb. Not dutifully enough, it seemed, for when Anna lane crossed a line in her eagerness to get a closer look, a uniformed soldier immediately came up to her, yelling words in Russian which obviously meant to stay back. We attended a mammoth reception one evening at the Kremlin in a hall of airplane-hangar proportions. Serge taught us that strategic positioning is everything if you actually want to eat at a Russian party. He manoeuvred us to within striking distance of one of the heavily laden tables. When the official hosts finally arrived and the signal was given to dig in, we at least had a fighting chance in the surging crowd. Serge's training has stood me in good stead ever since.
An overnight train trip to Leningrad, now, again, St. Petersburg; was a highlight of our visit to Russia. Among many beautiful sites which we saw in Leningrad was the restored Peterhof Palace. We approached by boat down the Neva River and then walked up to the Palace through gardens alongside a magnificent series of fountains and manmade waterfalls. There was little evidence remaining of war-time damage.
All in all, impressed with the sports facilities and the University Games organization, and in view of the tremendous development in their sports system, I concluded that the Soviets were both capable and deserving of hosting the Olympic Games. I did, in fact, subsequently vote for Moscow when the issue came up in Vienna the following year.
In the autumn of 1973, I was in Varna, Bulgaria, for the Olympic Congress and subsequent IOC Session. To the best of my knowledge, no Olympic Congress had been held since 1930. A Congress brings together, in principle every eight years, all the IOC members and honorary members, delegates from all the NOCs and FIs, as well as
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
delegates from a multitude of other organizations recognized by the IOC and involved in some way with the Olympic Movement. Many Olympic athletes are also invited, and any other individuals, such as sports historians, for example, who may be able to contribute to discussions on Olympism and international sport. The IOC has jurisdiction over the Congress, its agenda being prepared by the IOC Executive Board. The programme is one of learned and not-so-learned position papers on various subjects, the outcome of which is a series of resolutions or recommendations. While none of these is binding, I think that history will show that the IOC does attempt to apply at least some of the major recommendations. The theme of the Varna Congress was "Sport for a World of Peace". Killanin rook the opportunity to pave the way for a relaxation of the rules of the IOC Charter when he stated, "My own approach to Olympic probIems must be different from Avery Brundage's, as indeed our personalities must differ:" (My Olympic Adventure, vo1.3), page 69. While I do remember having taken the floor to speak for my allotted five minurtes. I cannot, through the mists of time, remember the subject of my dissertarion.
At the Session, COJO gave another glowing report on progress in Montreal. Consrruction on the Olympic Park had just begun and all was in order. All was not in order, however, with Denver, host of the 1976 Winter Games. Venue problems and a disgruntled Denver citizenry had led to a plebiscite, the outcome of which was Denver's withdrawal from hosting the Games, sending the Winter Games back to the IOC for re-assignment. Innsbruck and their enthusiastic mayor, Alois Luger, came to the IOC's rescue. They had done a satisfactory job back in 1964 and, with the Games a mere two and a half years away, the best news was that all their fixed-site venues were still in operation. We were happy to award them the I976 Winter Games, thus making Innsbruck the first to host them twice.
Despite spending over a week in Varna, we saw little of the Black Sea resort apart from our hotel complex and the tantalizing view of the beach outside our windows. We were let free for one day, however, to go on an excursion by bus along the Black Sea coast to Nesebur, a town over 1000 years old. The architecture was a wonderful mix of Turkish styles over the centuries. We were entertained at a luncheon in a picturesque former monastery, accompanied by stirring Bulgarian music and enthusiastic dancing.
As 1974 began, pressures were beginning to mount for COJO in Montreal, particularly at the Olympic Park construction site which included the stadium, swimming pool, and vélodrome, and at the adjacent Olympic Village site. The City of Montreal had originally agreed to build and finance the Village, with an after-use as
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subsidized housing. It had become obvious that the city could not live up to the agreement. After much discussion, a group of private contractors took on the job with substantial financial support from COJO.
The international television rights situation was another problem. Despite signing a lucrative Contract with the American ABC network, hoped-for further high revenues seemed not to be forthcoming. CBC was to be host broadcaster, using the acronym ORTO. Because the CBC themselves would be financing all the broadcasting installations, they were hard bargainers with COJO, proposing to pay $1 for the Canadian broadcast rights. Simultaneously, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) was sending out signals that they would not consent to pay anything close to what COJO was demanding. The Soviet Union and eastern European countries had another union called ORIT, and they too were pleading poverty. The negotiations were handled by the COJO executive but I was not involved until the IOC Session in Vienna in the fall of 1974.
In April of 1974, I was off to Rhodesia as a member of Killanin's Commission of Enquiry which had been born out of continuing concern about allegations of racial discrimination in that country. Chairing our group was Sylvio de Magalhaes Padilha from Brazil. Syed Wajid Ali from Pakistan was also a member. Our Commission met first at the IOC; headquarters at the Château de Vidy in Lausanne for a discussion of our terms of reference and methods of operation. Killanin intended that we were to observe and ask questions and get as many facts as possible. We were not being asked to make any recommendations. We proposed to make our presence known in the two major cities of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe, namely Salisbury, (now Harare) and Bulawayo, and to invite anyone of any position or racial background whatsoever to feel free to come before us to give evidence or to express their opinions. Our plan worked well.
We flew from Geneva to Nairobi, Kenya, where IOC colleague Reginald Alexander and his wife Marie treated us to a tour and lunch between flights. When we arrived in Rhodesia, the NOC officials, who were predominantly white, co-operated with us and facilitated our hearings. The majority of black and Asian-background sports people who spoke with us confirmed our suspicions that freedom to participate in sport at all levels was not available to the black community, a community of over five million compared with 250,000 whites. In addition, there was a significant Asian and coloured population. We also met Prime Minister Ian Smith, the man who had taken Southern Rhodesia out of the British Commonwealth and had established it as an independent country to be known simply as "Rhodesia". He had the reputation of
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being a hard-line white supremacist and so our conversations were somewhat brittle in tone, although interesting. Smith claimed that full democracy and non-discrimination were on the way in, but that it would take time, co-operation, and education. Rhodesian sport, he further claimed, was alreadv without discrimination. In fact, his government was encouraging more participation by the black communists.
In Salisbury, we were guests at a soccer match between two racially mixed teams. While Sylvio and I remained in the stands with our hosts. Wajid Ali wandered off by himself and spoke to the spectators standing alongside the field. There were not too many of them, and they were also of racially mixed origins. Later that evening, Wajid told of some well-to-do men from the Asian community who had approached him at the game and who wished to talk to us in private. We accepted an invitation to breakfast at the home of one of them the next morning. Many had arrived to speak with us and to make it clear that rhey felt that discrimination in sport certainly did exist. They told us that the racially mixed soccer match of the previous day had been nothing but a put-up job. When we moved on to Bulawayo, we received much the same feedback.
We returned to Lausanne via Lisbon where we had a stop-over of a few hours, just long enough to give Sylvio a chance to practise his Brazilian Portuguese on one of the local restaurateurs as we ordered lunch. We held a de-briefing meeting in Lausanne and I was charged with the responsibility of writing the report we would present to the IOC. Briefly, we reported that there was, in fact, discrimination in Rhodesian sport, despite Ian Smith's claims to the contrary. By law, the country was divided into two areas, one for the blacks and one for the whites. The black area was vastly more heavily populated, and neither adequate facilities nor programmes were available to the blacks. In the two major cities, municipal facilities were not being shared with the blacks. Even if there was no formal, all-encompassing apartheid law in Rhodesia as there was in South Africa, the general result was the same. Our report must have been balanced and fair because both protagonists, the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa and the Rhodesian NOC; confirmed to a very considerable extent the truth of our findings. Consequently, the IOC Session in Lausanne in May of 1975 would withdraw recognition from the existing NOC of Rhodesia. In later years. Rhodesia would undergo tremendous political changes, including renaming itself Zimbabwe. Its new NOC, almostly totally black, is now in good standing with the IOC which is represented, since 1996, by IOC member Thomas Sithole.
That autumn of I974, the IOC met in Vienna. Prior to the Session's start, I was busy as go-between in lengthy, acrimonious discussions about television rights
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between COJO and the IOC Executive Board. Basically, the IOC would not agree to COJO's suggested figures, and COJO would not continue with other aspects of their progress report until the issue was settled. The two parties were on separate floors near the top of our high-rise hotel, and I was assigned to report back and forth as various negotiating positions were proposed. In so doing, I did a lot of running up and down of staircases. At one point, I somehow locked myself into the service stairwell and had to walk down many floors to the bottom before I could escape, resulting in considerable delay and irritation on my part. However, as with so many of life's problems, an interim settlement was reached after both sides made concessions. COJO went on with its report to the Executive Board.
COJO's solution for building the Olympic Village - hiring a private contractor to do the job when the city backed out - also caused some tense moments. Rousseau announced that financing had been arranged verbally through private entrepreneurs, the contractor, and mortgaging arrangements. Killanin insisted that Rousseau produce a signed contract. As COJO had brought the contractor with them to Vienna, this was fortunately a demand which was more easily met than the television contracts had been.
At the Session itself, I had the honour of becoming the first Canadian chosen to sit on the IOC's Executive Board. After several rounds of voting, Vitaly Smirnov of the USSR and I were both elected to four-year terms.
I introduced the COJO delegation to make their progress report to the full Session. Rousseau was able to make a positive report, including advising the IOC members that the contract for construction of the Village had been signed and work would commence immediately. Rousseau also announced the plan for transporting the Olympic Flame across the Atlantic Ocean from Greece. Modern laser technology would be employed to beam the Flame from Athens to Ottawa. The rest of the Torch Relay would be accomplished by the traditional runners. This leap into the world of modern science took some of the members by surprise and a few expressed their displeasure at such a radical procedure.
In other business, the Session chose Moscow over Los Angeles to host the Olympic Games of 1980, and Lake Placid, USA, to host the Winter Games. Vancouver/Garibaldi had been in the Winter Games race but they had had the rug pulled out from under them when British Columbia's new NDP government under Premier Dave Barrett cancelled the previous government's financial commitment to the Games. Bid leader Sid Young felt he had made many friends in the IOC and he could not let Vancouver withdraw without some form of apology. Therefore, he flew to Vienna to speak to the IOC members in person, and to leave a modest remembrance
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with each of them. He chose to give small wooden boxes packed with British Columbia salmon, a great deli of course, if properly stored. However, there not being refrigeration in the rooms, our tidy hotel soon took on the air of a fish packing plant. Vancouver certainly would be remembered.
Never one to shy away from cultural exchanges. I went to an informal gathering of Soviet officials celebratirng Moscow's victory. There was much singing, although "Dark Eyes" was the only song really familiar to me. When I encouraged a chorus of "Volga Boatmen". I was met with blank stares. A politically incorrect suggestion, I presumed. One of the celebrants was a man called Gresko who would be the Soviet team's first choice as attaché for Montreal. His appointment would be short-lived, however, when the RCMP discovered he was one of about 50 Soviet diplomats ejected from Great Britain for spying. He was recognized by the RCMP in Ottawa when he presented a Soviet hockey sweater to Prime Minister Trudeau.
Innsbruck invited Lord Killanin and the Executive Board to pay a visit and check on progress for 1976 once the Vienna Session was concluded. And so we enjoyed a pleasant bus ride from Vienna into the Austrian Alps. One of the hostesses who accompanied us was called Silvia; she was soon to marry King Carl Gustav of Sweden. We spent a couple of days in Innsbruck touring the venues and renewing acquaintances with our Austrian Olympic friends.
Back in Canada, COJO was beginning to see storm clouds on the horizon. Late in December of 1974, the Financial Committee once again boosted the Construction estimate up a significant amount. Largely because of having to assume the bulk of- the costs for the Village. Operating budgets were also bumped up considerably. I was beginning to feel twinges of the apprehension that I would be living with for the next year and a half. On the more positive side, COJO was beginning to publicize its ambitious worldwide marketing and licensing programmes, as well as planning various competitions to test their venues before the big event. The COAs Technical Committee was of invaluable assistance in helping to administer these competitions.
My first IOC Executive Board meeting was held in Lausanne in February of I975. A progress report from COJO headed the agenda and I suppose I became an interpreter for both sides when issues became thorny. The television rights question had to be tackled again and a final solution reached. COJO and EBU were still at loggerheads over how much EBU should pay for broadcast rights. EBU's meagre offer was difficult for COJO to swallow, considering the many- millions of television viewers in Europe. EBU's argument, of course, was that its members were all government-owned stations who could not raise money by selling advertising as North American networks
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did. Complex negotiations ensued, with Ambassador Roger Rousseau, Mayor Jean Drapeau, and COA President Harold Wright leading COJO's team of advisers. Finally. a compromise figure was reached, much lower than COJO had hoped for, but still, higher than EBU had been offering. These hassles over television contracts did nothing to enhance relations between COJO and the IOC. Killanin, the Executive Board, and IOC Director Monique Berlioux were not amused. I found this all quite exasperating but I knew that a reasonable solution would have to be reached so that we could get on with the Games. I cannot honestly say that I cnjoyed this phase of my irnvolvement in the preparation for the Montreal Games. The atmosphere was somewhat poisoned. At least the detailed report on construction sites was positive, assuring the IOC that all would be readv for July, 1976. And most of them would, in fact, be ready in good time, and prepared to host pre-Olvmpic competitions in 1975 or early 1976.
Once the Montreal delegation had left the meeting, I was able to explain more clearly the problems and expectations of COJO and the impact of the political and financial environment back in Canada. While he was by no means always happy with COJO's attitudes, Killanin was a pragmatic man who was good at finding practical compromises. Being concerned about conflicting reports concerning Montreal's progress, he decided to visit the city and see for himself in April, two months hence. At the end of these strenuous days in Lausanne, and on many similar future occasions, Killanin and I got together after meetings to relax with a good Scotch whiskey and discuss the day’s events and future strategies
Shortly before Killanin's visit to Canada, I received a phone call from Ed Skrabec, an official of the Canadian Department of External Affairs - the first inkling of the major political impasse which loomed ahead of us. The official was concerned about the status of the participation in Montreal of a team from Taiwan. He told me that the People's Republic of China was objecting to the admission of Taiwan, particularly in view of the fact that the IOC, since its Session in Mexico City in 1968, was referring to Taiwan and its NOC as the Republic of China and the Republic of China NOC. I expressed the view, which was a personal one but also in keeping with the understanding of the IOC, that the IOC recognizes all NOCs and that, during the bidding stage, Canada had undertaken to admit all such recognized NOCs. Nevertheless, it was agreed that we should meet to discuss the subject. I advised Killanin immediately and he concurred with my statements vis-à-vis the IOC's understanding of the agreement with Montreal and the Canadian government. He did say however, that he would be prepared to meet with the External Affairs people during his forthcoming visit.
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Killanin's visit to Canada at the end of April 1975 began in Toronto. The local branch of the Olympic Club of Canada hosted a luncheon for him at the Royal York Hotel. As a backdrop to the head table, we used that large Olympic flag which had found its way to Toronto in 1936 from the flagpole at the Berlin Olympic Village. This lunch was a congenial affair. Less so, was lunch at the Royal York again the next day, this time with Ambassador Arthur Andrew and Ed Skrabec. These gentlemen continued on the theme that admitting Taiwan to the Olympic Games in Montreal would present difficulties for the Canadian government.
When Montreal was bidding, they had secured, as all bidding cities must, a letter from the government guaranteeing all Olympic athletes entry to Canada to take part in the Games. In Montreal's case, the letter was written by the Secretary of State for External Affairs Mitchell Sharp, dated November 28, 1969. The pertinent paragraphs read as follows:
1 would like to assure you that all parties representing the National Olympic Cornmittees and International Sports Federations recognized by the IOC will he free to enter Canada pursuant to the normal regulations. I should he pleased to provide further information respecting these regulations should you desire it.
I am certain that all Canadians appreciate the significance of this event and would be very pleased to offer a warm Welcome to all those associated with the Olympic Games.
Note that the commitment by the Canadian government was for freedom of entry for "National Olympic Committees and International Sports Federations recognized by the IOC" (my emphasis). To reiterate, both at the date of the letter and in 1976, the NOC located in Taiwan was recognized by the IOC, under the name Republic of China, while the People's Republic of China did not have an NOC and, therefore, was not recognized by the IOC.
The five words "pursuant to the normal regulations" would plague us. Brundage and the entire IOC membership had assumed that these "normal regulations" referred to administrative details such as passports and visas, etc., and had nothing to do with barring entry to Canada for any member of the Olympic Family (all IOC-recognized NOCs and Ifs) such as it would be at the time of the Montreal Gaines in 1976. Indeed, Mitchell Sharp says as much in his second paragraph above. Otherwise, I am sure that Montreal would definitely not have been granted the Games.
The invitation to enquire about these so-called "normal regulations" was subsequently held up to the IOC by External Affairs. They would say that the IOC should have
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made the enquiry and thus learned about the problem with Taiwan. As we discovered later, at the date of the letter, the Canadian government was already negotiating behind the scenes with the People's Republic of China for mutual diplomatic recognition.
The Games were awarded to Montreal by the IOC in May of 1970. In October of 1970, the relationship between the governments of Canada and the People's Republic of China changed to one of full recognition, a major diplomatic break-through - not exactly a situation coming under the heading of "normal regulations". Canada then withdrew recognition from Taiwan and would no longer acknowledge it as the Republic of China. The People's Republic of China had consistently rejected that nomenclature for Taiwan, not wanting to permit anything which would purport to give recognition to Taiwan as a separate Chinese entity. While, in the general scheme of Canadian foreign affairs, Canada's change in position regarding the People's Republic of China may have been understandable and legitimate from the viewpoint of international relations, such diplomatic manoeuvres should ideally not have affected the Olympic Movement at all. And if External Affairs knew there was a problem, why did they wait until 1975 to let us know?
However, at that initial luncheon, the External Affairs officials contented themselves with expressing "concerns" and indicating "possible difficulties". Killanin quite properly took the position that the IOC had accepted the Canadian invitation at face value and that he and the IOC expected Canada to live up to its commitments.
More than a year later, the end result of this sad affair for Montreal was a lastminute agreement by the Canadian government to allow Taiwan, the Republic of China, to take part, but only under the name "Taiwan". No use could be made of the word "China" in relation to their team. The Taiwanese delegation rejected this proposal and their athletes, who had been anxiously awaiting instructions across the border in the USA, went home. […]
When our business was finished in Toronto, I drove Killanin to visit the venues in both Kingston and Montreal. He came away impressed with the progress being made, guardedly optimistic that Montreal would be ready for July of 1976. This did much to dispel rumours worldwide that another City, perhaps Munich, might have to host the Games. I, however, was still apprehensive, despite my usual optimism.
Alas, just a few weeks later in May, the labour situation in Montreal boiled over. I was in Rome attending an IOC Executive Board meeting and called Drapeau who reported on work stoppages and the violent labour demonstrations in Montreal. In the press, labour leaders were quoted as saying that, as far as they were concerned, the Games could take place in 1977. This immediately got me on the phone to Quebec with
MY 0LYMPIC JOURNEY
Premier Robert Bourassa to advise him, on behalf of the IOC, that there was no possibilitv of a postponement. He assured me that his government had no intention of letting the IOC down.
While in Rome, I also attended a meeting of the Permanent General Assembly of National Olympic Committees under its president Guilio Onesti. When the IOC Executive Board reconvened their meeting a few days later in Lausanne. I reported to the Executive Board on the NOCs’ discussions. Then the Executive Board met with the NOC General Assembly directly. Killanin adopted a much more liberal and democratic attitude to the NOCs than had Brundage. In fact, Killanin was responsible for the creation of the Tripartite Commission which involved the IOC, the NOCs, and the IFs, and which was an important step forward in improving communications and relations among the three arms of the Olympic Movement. The Tripartite Commission fostered the birth of the third major international group, the General Assembly of International Sports Federations AGFIS. I think that in these years immediately following the retirement of Brundage, Killanin presided over a period of expansion of the Olympic Movement, allowing co-operation and understanding to develop among the various sports bodies involved in the Olympic Games.
When we flew from Rome and reconvened in Lausanne, the Executive Board heard more bad news from Montreal. The labour situation was still volatile. Both Trudeau and Bourassa were standing firm against the unions which were threatening to shut down all construction in the province. This would obviously interfere with completion of the Olympic venues. Killanin was also standing firm - the Games would neither be postponed to 1977, nor moved to another city.
By the time the IOC Session began in Lausanne a few days later, Drapeau had arrived and was able to report that the labour situation had been defused; the workers were going back on the job. However, we still felt concern about the slow progress being made at Tailllebert's grandiose Olympic stadium, swimming, and velodrome complex.
During the following summer of 1975 I had a welcome week-long break when I attended the International Olympic Academy IOA as a guest lecturer. My youngest daughter, ten-vear-old Ingrid, was invited as well and became one of the youngest people ever to attend the Academy. Together with Sandy Duncan, secretary of the British Olympic Association BOA. I was to lecture on the process of organizing Olympic Games. I, of course, had been deeply embroiled in the process for the past several years; Sandy was the author of a book on the subject and was considered an expert. We had known each other since a 1933 track meet in Montreal when Sandy was a member of the visiting Oxford and Cambridge track team.
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The IOA plays an important role in promulgating Olympism to the young people of the world and is a most rewarding experience for anyone selected to go. Friendly sports competitions, wide-ranging discussions on a multitude of Olvmpic-related topics, and visits to the ancient site of Olympia make for a full programme. The Academy complex is within easy walking distance of the ruins of ancient Olympia, including the stadium, so we were steeped in the atmosphere of antiquity and the Olympic Games. It was a thrill to crouch down in position on the centuries-old starting blocks in the stadium, although I broke faith with ancient Olympic tradition and kept my clothes on. Ingrid and I competed in track and field and swimming and we even won some prizes.
Towards the end of August, I975, the IOC Executive Board was invited to attend the Mediterranean Games being held in Algiers. Killanin and all of us on the Executive Board had this informal opportunity to discuss on-going concerns. I found myself again having to reassure everyone that Montreal would be ready for July of 1976. The Mediterranean Games involve all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, with the exception of Israel. This anomaly is obviously the result of the overwhelming political power of the Arab states which comprise the majority of the countries in that area. Israel counters beholding the Maccabean Games, solely for Jewish athletes. Accompanying me was my daughter Brenda. We were rather surprised at the Opening Ceremony to be regaled by a band of Algerian bagpipers. Our hosts pointed out that the Scots by no means have a monopoly on bagpipe music, the instrument having existed for centuries in many North African and Asian countries. We spent an evening at a desert oasis for a feast of barbecued lamb, an event memorable not only for the surroundings and the Arab music, but also for the freakish rainstorm which suddenly soaked us all to the skin. Although it disrupted the festivities for a while, the rain provided a blessed relief from the staggering heat.
During this time leading up to 1976, I made sure that I was able also to attend the COAs meetings in order to keep my Canadian colleagues up-to-date on COJO and IOC affairs. The COA was organizing teams for the 1975 Pan Am Games to be held in October in Mexico City, the 1976 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, and, of course, the Olympic Games in Montreal. The workload for Montreal was especially heavy because, as host country, we were free to enter athletes to compete in every event without first facing any eliminations in qualifying competitions. At the same time, the COA was assisting COJO in staging pre-Olympic trial events in Montreal. Known as "International Competitions Montreal, I975", these events not only tested facilities but also trained officials who would be called upon to help run the various sports during the actual Games.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
To top it off, the COA had to organize an IOC Executive Board meeting in Montreal for the first week of October 1975. The IOC customarily holds an Executive Board meeting in the host city some months prior to the Games. In our case, Killanin, the Executive Board, and IOC Director Monique Berlioux were particularly anxious to see for themselves how things stood with the construction of facilities in Montreal. The IOC Executive Board meeting duly took place at Olympic House in Montreal from October 4-6, 1975. One sad note was the absence of Pierre Charbonneau who had died, after a brief illness, just a week before the meeting. Pierre and I had become warm friends through our common efforts on behalf of Montreal. Pierre's position as COJO Vice-president in charge of the sports programme was filled by Walter Sieber who went on to do a masterful job.
Our visiting IOC guests stayed at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. One of the main reasons this was chosen, as IOC hotel for the Games was the ease with which it could be made secure. Also, there was ready access for official cars, as well as an adequate number of meeting rooms as required for the IOC Session and secretariat.
The Executive Board members visited all the major Olympic sites. They seemed satisfied - and relieved - that all would be read y as scheduled. At the Olympic Stadium site, we had the benefit of the presence of architect Roger Taillibert to explain his design. My colleagues presented an unusual (for the IOC) sight in their hard hats, gazing up at the mammoth concrete skeleton of Taillebert's creation. Roger Rousseau, Mayor Drapeau, and all the COJO department heads presented detailed and positive reports which Killanin and the Executive Board seemed to accept at face value. Despite some intimations of private scepticism, all that could be done was to hope and pray that the labour unions would continue as promised without further interruptions. I carried on with my role as conciliator between COJO and the IOC, although I must confess that during my frequent visits to the stadium site, I had some uncomfortable moments. I was in Montreal just about every weekend and saw the stadium site absolutely jam-packed with massive cranes and other construction machinery, together with the stadium's concrete sections just sitting there after arriving on a steady stream of trucks. Work seemed to be proceeding, at an escargots pace.
Together with Killanin and his wife, I flew straight from Montreal to Mexico City for PASO meetings and the Pan American Games. Because we were so squeezed for time, PASO President Mario Vâsquez Rana arranged to have his private jet pick us up at Dorval Airport. The Killanins were a little taken aback when we landed for refuelling in Houston, Texas, and only they were selected by US customs to leave the aircraft and identify their luggage out on the hot tarmac.
1972 MONTREAL 1976 CHAPTER NINE
Lady Killanin received special treatment at the Opening Ceremony of the Pan Am Games as well. The flock of pigeons released as symbols of peace during the ceremony flew around inside the stadium in confused circles, landing here and there, and being captured by many of the spectators. Pigeon stew, perhaps: I saw one pigeon seek shelter on Lady Killanin's shoulder, landing and digging in its claws. Lady Killanin, who was seated a couple of rows behind me, reacted with her usual aplomb, allowing the pigeon to view the proceedings from its comfortable perch until a neighbour in the tribune removed the pigeon from her shoulder. Amusing as all this may have been at the time, the situation led to serious discussions at our next IOC Executive Board meeting about whether or not live pigeons should continue to be part of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Some thought the practice should be stopped; others suggested one might make do with fewer pigeons. However, the pigeons remained in their usual place on the programme until 1988 at the Seoul Olympic Games when, in clear view of millions of television viewers, a number of them were accidentally immolated in the Olympic Cauldron. Thereafter, the Olympic Charter requires waiting with the release of the pigeons until after the lighting of the Olympic Flame in the stadium.
The Mexicans had to be given great credit for organizing these Games which had originally been awarded to Santiago, Chile. Santiago had withdrawn because of political unrest and Sâo Paulo, Brazil, had taken them on. They, too, eventually withdrew. Mexico then stepped in with less than a year to prepare, but it worked out well because they had all the facilities in place from the Olympic Games in 1968.
Bob Osborne was chef de mission for our team, a team which made full use of the Pan Am Games as a training exercise for the Olympic Games the following year in Montreal. Unfortunately, I could not stay for the entire Games, there being too much to attend to back in Canada. My son Brian attended as my official guest. There did not seem to be much time to give to my family during this period, and I tried to make up for it by taking them along on some of my trips.
The Olympic year 1976 began with another sad blow for COJO when Simon Saint-Pierre died in an equestrian accident. As executive vice-president of COJO, he had been intimately involved in every aspect of the organization, and his death created a gap, which had to be filled quickly. Michel Guay, who had been in charge of facilities construction, immediately stepped in and skilfully handled a demanding situation. Before the Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck began, we had the customary IOC Executive Board meeting and IOC Session. In fact, both meetings technically remain open for the duration of the Games in order to deal with any issues which may arise. The Executive met every day and so I added that duty to my life at the Olympic Games.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
Preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games were high on the agenda. The Montreal delegation now included the Olympic Construction Board, a Quebec government group which had been given control of the construction of the Olympic facilities. The president of the new Board was Dr. Victor Goldbloom, minister for the environment and municipal affairs. With only five months to go, the moment of truth had arrived. Of most concern was the main Olympic Complex hosting athletics and swimming. Those two federations were discussing alternative venues, but Goldbloom promised them all would be ready for the delivery date. June 6. 1976. COJO got a most welcome shot in the arm from Pedro Ramirez Vâzquez, IOC member in Mexico and chairman of the 1968 Mexico City Games Organizing Committee. He stood up in the Session and said simply that, from a technical point of view, the Construction Board had enough time to complete the work. Ramirez Vazquez pointed our that the swimming pool for the Mexico City Games had been completed in a shorter period of time than Montreal still had at its disposal. Corning from an experienced architect of international repute his words helped the IOC members to relax and get on with other work.
Among the routine business of the Session were ongoing discussions about eligibility and amateurism, and about the growing problem of performance-enhancing drugs. The IOC Medical Commission was active, but declared the drug situation difficult to control without complete co-operation of the IFs. The IOC Olympic Solidarity programme was increasing in importance as it sent IOC funds to developing countries for assistance with coaching and sports development. The International Olympic Academy was at the same time encouraging NOCs to form their own national Olympic Academies.
XII Olympic Winter Games Innsbruck, Austria February 4-15, 1916
Don Goodwin was chef de mission of our team, with Linda Crutchfield and John Pickett as his assistants. The team numbered 60 athletes and 36 officials. Our flagbearer was skier Dave Irwin. Again, we did not send an ice hockey team because of the ongoing dispute with the IIHF; nor did we compete in biathlon, a sport, which was not widely practised in Canada.
The COAs Olympic Winter Games Committee had held team seminars during the past two years, bringing in a cross-section of former Olympic athletes and officials
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to share their experience and advice. As well, the Innsbruck Organizing Committee had sent representatives to all NOCs to brief them on administrative and practical details relating to the Games. So our Olympic Team was a well-prepared group who knew what to expect.
The team was divided in two, most living in the main Village, but the cross-country skiers and the ski jumpers staying in a comfortable hotel in Seefeld, a village not far from Innsbruck and closer to their venues. One day at a formal lunch in Seefeld hosted by Innsbruck Mayor Luger, I turned to Alex Vind, wife of the Danish IOC member, and asked who was the quiet young man in the Swedish team uniform sitting across the table. I had been on the verge of asking him about his connection with the Swedes. Her astonished reply was, "Why, Jimmy, that's the King of Sweden". So I was saved from putting my foot in my mouth, this time anyway. The facts having been established, I was able to carry on an intelligent conversation with the young King Carl Gustav.
At the subsequent Olympic Ball, I had no difficulty recognizing my neighbour at the dinner table, for it was my great good fortune to be seated next to Peter Ustinov, the celebrated actor and raconteur. He had played in Toronto on several occasions and we found we had a great deal in common to talk and laugh about.
As a legacy of the sad events of Munich in 1972, the Innsbruck Organizing Committee had taken extraordinary security precautions to protect the Olympic Village. The usual security fences were constantly patrolled by visibly armed police, often accompanied by menacing guard dogs. Motor vehicles entering the Village, even when bearing proper accreditation stickers, were thoroughly examined. This was the first time I had seen mirrors used to check underneath the vehicles for any hidden bombs or other devices. All accreditation badges and personal belongings were also examined and checked before you could enter the Village. No one really objected since we all were aware of the implications of lax security. Although not as obvious, security was also provided for the IOC members and other Olympic Family people living outside the Village.
Our team won three medals in three disciplines - Kathy Kreiner won gold in the women's giant slalom, Cathy Priestner won silver in 500-metre speed skating, and Toller Cranston won bronze in figure skating. I had the honour and the pleasure of presenting the medal to Kathy Kreiner. Afterward, Killanin gently reprimanded me because, in my happiness and enthusiasm, I had given Kathy a kiss after I placed the gold medal around her neck. Then, of course, I also had to kiss the other two medallists. Apparently this was simply "not done" in the unwritten rules of IOC protocol.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
These Games marked the first time that the COA established "Canada House", a meeting place where any Canadian at the Games could relax, feel at home, and get the latest news of our team. Canada House in downtown Innsbruck proved highly useful and popular, and the COA has attempted, where practical, to provide a Canada House at all ensuing Games, both winter and summer.
In men's alpine skiing, we were not among the medallists, although three of our "Crazy Canucks" - Ken Read. Dave Irwin, and "Jungle Jim" Hunter - finished in the top ten in the downhill. When I stepped off the plane back in Canada, I was "greeted" by a cub reporter from the CBC who asked to speak to our men skiers, the ones who "had bombed". "What do your mean `bombed'?" I barked, "Nobody `bombed'! We had three skiers in the first ten!" I have often used this as an example of the attitude of many of our Canadian media people with regard to what constitutes success at the Olympic Games. Top-ten finishes or "personal bests" carried little weight in the press - only gold medals mattered. Happily, many present-day journalists are more ready to report on personal-best, or otherwise exceptional, achievements among our athletes, not just on the medals won.
In April of I976, the COA held its Annual Meeting in Montreal. I was appointed chair of the Nominating Committee for the forthcoming quadrennium, the elections to be held at the I977 Annual Meeting. Because of the success of the Olympic Trust, we were able to extend financial help to keep Game P1an'76 and the Athletes' Assistance Programme going. This was crucial to those sports which were still uncertain whether they would financially be able to enter the Montreal Games. We had planned our Canadian Team Reception for Wednesday, July 14, 1976 at le Chalet de la Montagne atop Mont Royal. We ran into a little problem with this when we learned that the minister of health and welfare was determined to host a similar reception the same day. In the end, we held a joint reception.
Concurrent with all the COA work on the Montreal Games, we had to be involved in the consideration of yet another government-inspired study/report on the "Unification of Sport in Canada", one more initiative of the Sports Federation of Canada to create some kind of overall umbrella organization. These all-too-familiar discussions had begun back in the 1950s and continue to the present day. The COA continues to proclaim its independence, based on its Olympic Charter credentials.
During the final five months before the Games were to begin in Montreal, all COJO and COA departments were working furiously to get ready. The Arts and Culture Programme was finalized by May. The Olympic Lottery, coin, and stamp programmes were rolling along successfully. Tickets to the Games were sold worldwide.
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The National Film Board of Canada was hired to produce the official film of the Games. By the end of June, the city of Montreal had turned over to COJO all the completed sports sites for the Games. Even the much-maligned stadium was ready for use. Its tower and retracting roof were not finished, but neither element was crucial to the smooth running of the Games. The Olympic Village was turned over to COJO on Olympic Day itself, June 23. In short, all divisions of this tremendous Olympic undertaking were operational and productive.
On July 10, 1976, it all began to happen. President Killanin and the Executive Board were at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel for our pre-Games meeting, and the rest of the IOC members would soon arrive as well. Outside, the streets of Montreal were bustling with excitement as athletes and visitors from around the world had gathered for the big event. We were a rather sober-looking group on the Executive, fully cognizant of the problems facing Killanin during the previous months, the anxiety not only about completion of the facilities, but also about the "China-Taiwan question". We were also relieved, however, for it was clear that Montreal was ready as promised, even if the much vaunted stadium tower was unfinished. A large mobile crane had been left on top of the truncated tower, perhaps to symbolize the magnitude of the frustrations Montreal had experienced and largely overcome. Or perhaps the crane was to represent the future completion of the magnificent tower. In any event, the tower was put to good use providing a dramatic television camera angle during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and stadium sports events.
Just as we thought we were in the clear, another political storm was brewing around us. It began in Africa. After the expulsion of South Africa in 1970, the All Africa Sports Federation through Abraham Ordia and Jean-Claude Ganga were monitoring every detail of any sport communication with South Africa. The International Rugby Union was one of the few IFs not to have recognized the IOC's expulsion of South Africa, but then rugby was not an Olympic sport and was totally independent of the IOC. The rugby people had organized several exchanges with South Africa which angered not only the Africans, but also other countries who were boycotting South Africa. The Rugby Federation of New Zealand had been particularly stubborn and had, as late as 1976, sent their team to South Africa to compete, despite being asked to desist by knowledgeable sports people within their country. And even if they were aware of the consequences, the New Zealand government took the position that they could not take away the rights of their citizens to play their games where they wished. This suddenly developed into an explosive mess for the IOC and COJO A few days prior to the start of the Montreal Games, the All-African Sports Federation
MY OLYMPIC. JOURNEY
decided to withdraw its teams from the Games unless the IOC expelled New Zealand's team. Killanin's efforts to reason with the Africans fell on deaf cars. So, suddenly, the Montreal Games were besieged by a double boycott, not only by Taiwan, but now also by Africa. In COJO we were not quite sure what we had done to deserve all this.
The fact was that neither the IOC nor the New Zealand NOC had any jurisdiction over the rugby players and officials. At the same time, the New Zealand NOC had not broken any rules with respect to the IOC Charter and we decided that the African demand could not be given any credibility. The tragedy for the African athletes was that they were already in Montreal, primed to compete in the Games. There were heartbreaking scenes of tearful frustration in the Village when they learned they would have to pack up and leave. And the African decision created organizational chaos for COJO Which was suddenly left with huge gaps in the start lists for many events, mostly in athletics. The human cost in disappointment and tears was one which the Africans justified by saying that all of Africa supported the decision, that the sanctions against South Africa had to be taken seriously, and that sports exchanges with South Africa would simply not be tolerated. Most of the African countries withdrew, as well as Iraq and Guyana. It was impossible for the IOC: to take any steps against the boycotting NOCs at that time but we resolved that the matter would be discussed at the meeting of the IOC Executive. the NOCs, and IFs in Barcelona the following October.
Another problem before the Executive Board concerned broadcasting and the Cold War. Radio Free Europe, an American sponsored system broadcasting anti-Communist propaganda since the early 1950s straight into the USSR and other Iron Curtain countries from transmitters in Western Europe had routinely been given accreditation to previous Olympic Games. The Communist members of the IOC had raised objections at the Munich Games and the compromise solution was a promise from Radio Free Europe that they would broadcast only Olympic news during the Games, not the usual political propaganda. For Montreal, the USOC had arranged accreditation for the station, again as long as they refrained from propaganda. When the Communist countries nevertheless raised their usual strong objections, we discussed the issue at the Executive Board and finally decided to honour the accreditation for Radio Free Europe, keeping our fingers crossed that they would abide by their promise to broadcast Olympic news and nothing else.
In the face of growing evidence of drug use, the Medical Commission reiterated their concerns that the IFs were not being sufficiently stringent in testing for drugs. The dilemma for the IOC was that athletes caught at the Games for using drugs gave a black eye to the Olympic Movement, whereas the IOC has the right to test for
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drugs only during the Games themselves, when the athletes are accredited by the IOC. At all other times, athletes are under the jurisdiction of their sports federations and not of the IOC. In those days, drug test results could take up to six days to get back to the Medical Commission with the result that some positive test results were not known until after the end of the Games. As it turned out, we on the Executive Board would have to deal with disqualifying some Montreal Games athletes the following October when we met in Barcelona.
The traditional Solemn Opening of the IOC Session Look place July 13, 1976, at the Place des Arts. This ceremony is always a mixture of Olympic protocol and national culture. Lord Killanin's speech was a review of his presidency since he took over from Brundage in 1972. Although the political problems involving Taiwan and Africa were prominent in everyone's mind, Killanin chose to speak about these issues only indirectly and diplomatically. Normally, the head of state declares the Session open. While Queen Elizabeth II was to open the Games themselves, she was not available for the Session. Governor General Jules Léger therefore performed that duty. However, Mr. Léger was in poor health and could not make a speech of any length, so Prime Minister Trudeau agreed to do that for him. Because of his stance on Taiwan which had placed the Montreal Games in jeopardy, Trudeau was not a popular man among IOC members to say the least, and he exacerbated the situation by turning up in a casual, light-coloured summer suit at a ceremony which had always been dignified by the wearing of more formal dark suits.
The Montreal Symphony Orchestra provided the music for the guests in the packed concert hall, playing pieces by two French-Canadian composers, Claude Champagne and François Morel. At planning meetings for the Session, I had spoken up for the inclusion of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and it was they who sang the Olympic Hymn. The IOC members and other guests were subsequently presented to the governor general in a brief ceremony
There had been some uncertainty, as whether or not the Queen would consent to opening the Games, for she had been in Canada several times in the previous years. The Duke of Edinburgh would have been an alternative, or the governor general, although his ill health would have been a problem. There were also misgivings in some quarters that the Queen might receive a hostile welcome in the province of Quebec where Separatist, anti-English feelings were running high. The uncertainty had been resolved hack in April, however, when Killanin and I heard on the radio in my car, as we were motoring along highway 401, that Her Majesty had consented to open the Games. This had not been communicated to Killanin ahead of time and he
MY- OLYMPIC JOURNEY
was taken by surprise. We were happy to have the news confirmed when we eventually reached Montreal.
A great deal of time at the Session was spent wrangling with the China/Taiwan issue, as well as the threatened boycott by the African countries. But there was little the IOC members could do, beyond voicing an opinion. Just about everyone had something to say about the Canadian government, none of it complimentary. And most members deplored the actions of the African governments, as well, for demanding that their NOCs withdraw their athletes from the Games.
We heard progress reports from Moscow and Lake Placid, hosts for the 1980 Games, and a report from the recently concluded Winter Games in Innsbruck.
In view of the world-wide concern there had been about the possibility of Montreal's not being ready in time to host the Games, Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis had written to Killanin suggesting that, in future, the Olympic Games be held at a permanent site in Greece, either at Olympia or in Athens. The idea was put on the back burner until Samaranch became IOC president and appointed an investigation team, of which I was a member, to study the proposal.
While we IOC members were in our meetings, all of COJO's departments were frantically preparing for the Opening Ceremony on July 17. One very important part of the Ceremony is, of course, the arrival of the Olympic Flame. The symbolic "sacred flame" had first been introduced into Olympic ceremonials in 1928 at the Amsterdam Games. However, the concept of an Olympic Torch Relay from Olympia to the host city had been introduced at the Games in Berlin in 1936. On July 13, 1976, COA Vice-President Marcel de la Sablonnière was at Olympia to represent COJO and receive the Olympic Torch after it had been ignited by the rays of the sun in a ceremony among the ruins of the temple to Zeus. Marcel passed the Torch to the first of a series of Greek athletes who ran with it through southern Greece to Athens where, on July 15, the Torch was passed on to Greek President Konstantin Tsatsos at a ceremony in the Olympic Stadium. Marcel de la Sablonnière was on hand again to accept the Torch on behalf of COJO, and then he handed it over to Angela Simota, a Canadian athlete of Greek origin. She in turn applied the Torch to a sensor. What then happened "is Greek" to me, but it was described thus in the Official Report: "...the sensor... detects the ionized particles, converting them into coded impulses that are transmitted by satellite to Ottawa where they activate a laser beam which instantly recreates the Olympic Flame in its original shape." (Page 285) Dignitaries were gathered in Ottawa, in front of the Parliament Buildings, to witness the magic arrival of the Olympic Flame in Canada. Killanin and I could not be there because we had to be in Montreal to deal
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with the crises of the Session. Lady Killanin represented the IOC and reported back that Prime Minister Trudeau had made a speech of welcome. A relay of runners carried the Flame on its way to Montreal along the Ottawa River. The Flame spent the night, heavily guarded at the Château Montebello. Finally, on the evening of July 16, the Flame reached Montreal. From the foot of Mont Royal, Innsbruck gold-medallist Kathy Kreiner carried the Torch up the mountain. Drapeau was at the summit to receive it; he passed it to marathon runner Gérard Côté who lit a cauldron, where it burned brightly for all to see until the Opening Ceremony the next afternoon.
Since the yachting facility at Kingston was considered a self-sufficient Olympic site apart from Montreal, it had been agreed that the Olympic Flame should also be present there. So a separate Torch relay branched off from the Ottawa-Montreal route and this Flame spent the night of the 16th in Cornwall, Ontario. The next morning, it set out again, travelling via a relay of torchbearers who ran, cycled, rowed, canoed, and rode on horseback through the communities along the historic St. Lawrence River route to Kingston where it arrived at City Hall on the afternoon of the 17th, just as the main Opening Ceremony was taking place in Montreal. The following day, Kingston then enjoyed its own Opening Ceremony at Portsmouth Harbour, home of the yachting competitions. Lord Killanin, Roger Rousseau. COJO officials, and several thousand enthusiastic spectators were on hand. The Portsmouth Harbour location had elicited a little black humour from Killanin when I drove him there earlier. He commented that it was an entirely appropriate location for the members of the IOC - sandwiched between a penitentiary and a psychiatric hospital.
The importance of the Olympic Flame and the Torch Relay in the whole spirit of hosting the Olympic Games should not be underestimated. Countless thousands of people who otherwise would have no chance to participate in an Olympic event have that opportunity with the Torch Relay, either as a Torchbearer or as a spectator along the route. I feel that the Olympic Torch Relay has far more immediate promotional value than any array of newspaper or television commercials.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
GAMES OF THE XII OLYMPIAD
July17-August 1, 1976
After years of planning and anxiety, it was a huge relief to witness the start of the Opening Ceremony. I had taken part in several of COJO's meetings to plan the Ceremony and this was one Case where I was able to enjoy the fruits of our decisions, unlike the Torch Relay which I really did not get to see at all. A hot topic of debate had been the choice of music. Military-style marching music had been the norm; then Munich introduced music with a more relaxed rhythm. In Montreal, we wanted to do something different again. After much consideration, we selected the music of young Quebec musical genius, André Mathieu, who had died in I968 at 38 years of age. The rights for the music were held by Mathieu's widow who was asking a price which several members of the committee thought too high. Cutting through the tangled debate, and having some understanding of the value of cultural property, I recommended that we accept the cost and get on with the job. We then retained Montreal musician Victor Vogel to adapt Mathieu's score for use during the lengthy parade of the athletes. The result was the stirring March of the Athletes in which could be heard the melodies of French Canada combined with lively rhythms to help the athletes keep time. Vogel himself conducted the Olympic orchestra in the stadium.
From my seat in the stands, I happily watched the whole Opening Ceremony unfold, as it should. Over 6.000 athletes marched into the stadium to great acclaim. Despite the boycotts, and because of the addition of new events for women, we were seeing the greatest number of women ever to compete in the Olympics. Our red-and-white-clad team of over 500 athletes and officials marched at the end of the parade and the cheers were deafening when they appeared out of the tunnel. At the head of the team was flag bearer, 800-metre runner Abby Hoffman, followed by chef de mission Maurice Allen, together with assistant chefs de mission, Patricia Smith and Gilles Chatel. When the teams were lined up on the field, Lord Killanin and Rousseau descended from the rostrum on the field. COJO President Rousseau speech of welcome was far longer than it should have been which put a severe crimp on Killanin’s planned speech. Killanin had to speak quite briefly in order to adhere to the schedule. He then invited her Majesty to declare the Games of the XXI Olympiad open, which she did. (At a subsequent meeting of the IOC Executive Board, we amended the rule to put a time limit on the speeches of future over-enthusiastic Olympic Organizing Presidents). The Olympic Hymn was sung as the Olympic flag was raised on its pole
1972 M0NTREAL 1976 CHAPTER NINE
at one end of the stadium. A ceremonial transfer of the I920 Antwerp Olympic Flag saw the mayor of Munich and a colourful group of Bavarian dancers and musicians enter the stadium to be greeted by Mayor Drapeau accompanied by a Québécois entourage wearing folk costumes of French Canada. (This flag was kept in Montreal's hôtel de ville until 1980 when it would be transferred to the mayor of Moscow. This procedure has now been changed and the flag is transferred at the Closing Ceremony and kept in the next host city for the four years leading up to the Games.) The symbolic pigeons of peace were released and this time none of them landed on Lady Killanin's shoulder.
A trumpet fanfare sounded as we awaited the arrival of the Olympic Flame - it was a secret who would be carrying the Torch. I was delighted to see Sandra Henderson and Stéphane Préfontaine, representing young people from both English and French Canada, run into the stadium as a team, carrying the Torch high between them. They raised the Torch to the cauldron at the end of the field and ignited the Olympic Flame to burn there throughout the Games. The rather small cauldron was a result of the last-minute rush to finish the stadium. Ideally, the Flame should be visible to those outside the stadium as well. Taillibert’s plans had inexplicably omitted an appropriate location for the cauldron. Time ran out on us and we had to be satisfied with a very humble piece of equipment. There followed the Oaths on behalf of the athletes and the officials. "O' Canada" was performed by the choir and orchestra, with the stadium full of People singing along. We had no expensive entertainment spectacle as has latterly become the custom. The athletes filed out of the stadium and the Olympic Games, the first to be held on Canadian soil, had begun.
Even if the Games were finally underway, my work was far from over. Several weeks prior to the Games, I had checked into the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where I had a small suite which came in useful for meetings with COJO officials. I had a car equipped with two-way radio which proved absolutely essential both before and during the Games. I also had a capable hostess, Carolyn Bowen, assigned by COJO, whose assistance was invaluable during our hectic schedule.
One of the biggest jobs at the Games is to organize an effective transportation system. I was much involved in early discussions at COJO and we had set up a transport department back in I974. Not only athletes, officials, and journalists, but also desks, beer, horses, and a myriad other things, had to be moved around according to precise schedules. I think I made a substantial contribution to the system by protesting an early scheme to rent hundreds of school buses which would have been uncomfortably cramped for our customers who were twice the size of the school children for whom the buses
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
were built. Eventually, I prevailed and COJO hired an adequate supply of tour- and public-transit buses instead. The primary organization was under the jurisdiction of Armed Forces officers on loan to us. Eventually several levels of police forces were also were involved. At the start of the Games, over 2,000 personnel worked in transport, of whom 1,600 were military. All had to be made familiar with Montreal and its environs, as well as the sports venues. I had two or three different Army drivers although, more often than not, I drove myself because of time limitations and emergency decisions that had to be made. One day, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a procession of royal limousines with police escort, much to the delight of my passengers.
The nerve centre of activity for the IOC was the Queen Elizabeth Hotel complex. The Executive Board met almost every day and I had to be there as we dealt with a wide variety of day-to-day problems. A number of social functions were also held there. 'Strict security measures were in place, commonplace to the IOC now, but a big change back in I976. Accreditation cards were worn around the neck and airport-type scanners were used at all entrances to the hotel to check for hidden weapons. A similar intensive procedure was in place at the Village and in the VIP sections of the stands. MY neighbour down the hall was the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and his family who were guarded by Canadian soldiers with automatic weapons. I have never felt so safe. Needless to say there were frequent complaints, particularly from members of the foreign media. In one instance at Bromont's equestrian venue, a couple of German newspaper people were allegedly "roughed up" by Quebec police officers whose job it was to control access to certain areas. Willi Daume, of all people, complained about their treatment at the next morning's Executive Board meeting. I could, of course, not resist pointing out that the whole security network in Montreal was a direct result of the terrorist attack at the Munich Games, the Organizing Committee of which Daume had been president. When we investigated the incident, it became clear that the two German journalists had aggressively attempted to enter an area which was off-limits to them. The police had naturally met force with force. Because of the Munich tragedy, COJO had decided that the police and military forces should be numerous and highly visible in order to dispel any false assumption that Montreal was soft on security. In view of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Games, the thousands of athletes and officials, the hundreds of VIPs and foreign government representatives who were involved in all aspects of the Games over quite a widely scattered area, COJO's security policy was entirely justified. And it worked.
Which brings me to the evening I carried a sword into the hotel. At the COA team reception just prior to the Games, I was one of the recipients of a full-size ceremonial
1972 MONTREAL 1976 - CHAPTER NINE
sword from a COJO sponsor, the Wilkinson Sword Company. As I approached the hotel later that evening, I realized I would have some explaining to do. With the sword on my shoulder, I marched up to the security guards and, after a bit of pantomime and discussion, the guards, who knew me quite well by that time, decided to let me in with my fearsome weapon.
In a more serious incident, our security forces were accused of kidnapping a Soviet athlete. Killanin and I were together at the Montreal Forum for the final game of the men's volleyball tournament. We received a message that our Soviet IOC colleague, Vitaly Smirnov and his delegation were most upset at the disappearance of one of their divers who had failed to return to the Village. Wild accusations abounded. Not only had he been kidnapped by our security people, but also he was being brainwashed. Or else, he had decided to defect and was being kept incommunicado away from his team. We were not able to locate Smirnov that night, but we certainly had a heated discussion the next morning at the Executive Board. The culprit, Nemtsanov, had finished ninth in men's platform diving and I suggested that it was a little extreme to suggest that Canada would kidnap anyone winning less than a gold medal. Perhaps my humour was not appreciated. But all was resolved a few, days later when a contrite Nemtsanov returned to the Soviet fold and was promptly sent home. Rumour had it that he had initially decided to spend his future with a new lady friend, but had changed his mind. That particular evening at the Forum had been an altogether bad one for the Soviets, for they also lost the volleyball gold medal in a fantastic, exciting match against Poland. That one game, for which the Forum was filled to capacity and which was broadcast live, did a great deal to promote the sport of volleyball in Canada.
The Montreal Forum set the stage for another Olympic performance which caught the imagination of the world. Fourteen-year-old Nadia Comaneci from Romania stole the show in gymnastics when she made history by earning the first-ever perfect score of 10. And she did it twice, on both the uneven bars and the balance beam. Once again, the Forum was filled to capacity and the quality of the competition, and its sheer excitement, created tremendous interest among young Canadian gymnasts and inspired a noticeable growth in the number of gymnastics clubs and competitors in the years following the Montreal Games.
The modern pentathlon competition had its little drama when Boris Onischenko of the USSR was caught cheating, having rigged his foil to register a hit when none had been made. He acquired a new name. Boris "Disonischenko", and was promptly sent home.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
My alma mater, McGill University, benefited from a long-overdue renovation of Molson Stadium. COJO paid for all this, and in so doing changed field hockey for the future. We had experimented with artificial turf during the pre-Olympic competitions in 1975. The IF deemed it such a success that they approved the use of artificial turf for the Games in Montreal and, indeed, made it the standard for the future. Preliminary soccer matches were played in Ottawa, Sherbrooke, and Toronto, with the semi-final and final at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Any doubts about the popularity of soccer in Canada were dispelled by the end of the Games when we noted that soccer had drawn almost 600,000 spectators, representing almost a fifth of total Games attendance in all disciplines. The final match was attended by 70,000 fans which was apparently a North American attendance record for soccer at that time. For the first time, women's rowing was on the Olympic programme and our women's crews competed in all events, finishing fourth in the eight-oars race. This was the beginning of our women rowers' success, culminating with tremendous achievements in both Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996. John Wood won a silver medal in the 500-metre Canadian Canoe race. Sue Holloway competed in the kayak competition and thus became the first Canadian athlete to compete in both the Winter Games and the Olympic Games in the same year. At Innsbruck, she had been a member of the cross-country ski team. The rowing basin was my pride and joy, so I was disappointed that local enthusiasm for rowing slackened off after the Games and the facility was not kept up. Happily, over the past years, the course has been put to better use with the resurgence of interest in rowing.
The velodrome was not so lucky. I had had high hopes that Canada would finally have a first-class track to help develop the sport of cycling. The track was eventually removed. I fear this is an opportunity lost forever. The shooting range suffered the same fate; not long after the Games, the facility was demolished.
In Bromont, I again had the pleasure, as I had had in Mexico City, of presenting Canada's only equestrian medal, This time, it was a silver medal and won by Michel Vaillancourt in individual grand prix jumping. In the team event, we finished in fifth, close behind the third- and fourth-place teams.
As athletics remained my first love, I spent much of the second week of the Games at the Stadium. Naturally, I was interested in the two hurdles events. The 110-metre hurdles was won by Guy Drut of France, the world-record holder who would become an IOC member in I996. The 400-metre hurdles was won by Edwin Moses in his first international event. He would soon dominate the event completely, racing unbeaten for almost ten years. For the first time in Olympic history, the 400- and 800
1972 MONTREAL 1976 - CHAPTER NINE
metre races were won by the same athlete, by Cuban Alberto Juantorena whose nine-foot stride overcame all competition. Another double victory was accomplished by the Finn Lasse Viren who amazingly repeated his double victory of Munich in the 5,000 and 10,000-metre runs. Viren ran one of his victory laps with his shoes held high, the name of the maker clearly visible. Despite his protestations of innocence, many considered his actions blatant advertising. Athletics appeared to be fairly clean of drug abuse but, needless to say, disclosures of more recent years have indicated that certain teams and athletes were, in fact, using performance-enhancing drugs, all the while avoiding detection in the anti-drug tests. It was probably no coincidence, for example, that East Germany dominated in women's athletics and swimming.
For Canadians, the highlight in athletics came on the last day when Greg Joy won a silver medal in high jump after a competition that lasted several hours, some of it in falling rain. The stadium erupted in cheers for this tall young man who had finally won an athletics medal for Canada. I was proud to present the medals to the three courageous jumpers. Two of our relay teams narrowly missed medals, and Jerome Drayton finished an impressive sixth in the marathon.
Canada won a total of 11 medals at the Games, eight of them by the swim team who obviously found the Olympic swimming pool to their liking despite all the concern that it would not be ready for the Games. The pool is one facility which has withstood the test of time and which has hosted many provincial, national, and some international swim meets.
On the social side, the presence of Queen Elizabeth and other members of the British Royal Family imparted a bit of glamour to the scene. They and their entourage were living aboard the Royal Yacht "Britannia", anchored at the quay immediately opposite Olympic House. This proved convenient when the Queen accepted an invitation from C;OA president Harold Wright to visit Olympic House and to plant a tree on the site. The "Britannia" played host to several dinners and receptions held by Her Majesty. I attended a small dinner party on board for some of the COJO Executive, as well as a reception for officials of the Commonwealth teams. At Place des Arts, the Queen held a reception for IOC members on the evening of opening day. Princess Anne was a member of the British equestrian team; her father was still president of the International Equestrian Federation. The Princess would become an IOC member in 1988. The Queen attended many events accompanied by one or other of the Royal princes. I was told that this was the first time that so many members of the Royal Family had all been together outside Britain. Fortunately, fears of Quebec separatist demonstrations against the Queen proved to be unfounded.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
At the conclusion of the highly successful yachting events in Kingston, a Closing Ceremony was held at Portsmouth Harbour on July 28. Fort Henry, overlooking the lake where the sailors had competed, was host that evening to a reception given by the city of Kingston and by the Ontario government. Premier Bill Davis and Lieutenant-Governor Pauline McGibbon both attended. Premier Davis praised the citizens of Kingston for their efforts and was impressed with the sailing facility which was left to Kingston and Ontario as a legacy of the Games. He also expressed appreciation to me for my involvement in helping to obtain the sailing events for Kingston in the first place, rather than their being held at a proposed alternative site on Lac St. Jean, which site was considered technically inferior.
August 1, 1976, brought to a conclusion six years of hard work, intensive planning, frustrations, and rewards on the part of thousands of Canadians who had helped stage the Games. The Olympic Stadium was again filled to capacity on that final evening for the Closing Ceremony. Governor General Jules Léger, Lord Killanin, COJO President Rousseau and other dignitaries entered the Royal Box and the ceremony began. On the field, 500 white-clad schoolchildren performed a dance routine which concluded with their forming the five Olympic Rings in full colour by reversing their capes. The orchestra struck up the March of the Athletes and, in arrowhead formation, 500 Canadian Indians in native dress entered the stadium, escorting the flag bearers and athletes of the Games. The stadium was filled with colour and music. Much to everyone's surprise, a streaker also managed to get on the field, but the police soon escorted him off again. The Indians walked into the five Olympic Rings on the field and, before our eyes, there grew up out of the rings five enormous Olympic-coloured tepees. Mathieu's Danse sauvage and the Indian drums produced an intense throbbing rhythm throughout the stadium. A little later, the Olympic Flag was lowered and carried solemnly out of the stadium to the singing of the Olympic Hymn. After the Soviet flag was raised in honour of Moscow, host City for 1980, Lord Killanin made a brief speech thanking Canada and the organizers, and then declared the Games of the XXI Olympiad closed. All that remained was the always emotional extinguishing of the Olympic Flame. The audience had been given luminous wands, candles, and sparklers which glowed softly in the now darkened stadium. The athletes danced around and partied on the field as we in the stands sadly left the stadium for the last time. Our Canadian Olympic Games were over.
When we finally got back to the hotel, the Killanins and I wanted nothing more than to take off our shoes, and breathe a big sigh of relief. We didn't indulge in too much post-mortem discussion; we were just happy that the Games had been successfully concluded and on a note of joy and goodwill.
1972 MONTREAL 1976 - CHAPTER NINE
Much has been written about the ultimate cost of the Games and the difficulties we experienced. Some of the criticism is justified and can be readily analyzed. But, as an event involving competition in over 25 sports, the Games Were superbly organized. The facilities were of the highest international standards technically, and the events were run with great efficiency. Performances in most of the sports exceeded those of the previous Games, and a number of new Olympic and world records were established. That is not achieved in inferior facilities or in an atmosphere of muddled organization. Adrian Paulen, long-time secretary-general and then president of the lAAF, himself a former athlete and a man of vast experience with athletics, told me when we met later in the year in Barcelona that the athletics events in Montreal had been the best organized of any Olympic Games he had witnessed. And, generally, all the IFs were satisfied with the facilities, officiating, and competition conditions. The centrepiece of the Games continues to be the athletes of the world who come to meet and compete. COJO did its utmost to ensure that those athletes did indeed enjoy the best possible conditions for their events. Montreal welcomed them with open arms.
History seems to have lost sight of the fact that the Montreal Games made a considerable profit on the operating side. The Olympic Lottery, stamp, and coin programmes, the marketing programme, the sale of television rights, and the revenue from ticket sales all boosted COJO's coffers.
"The Olympic Games of Montreal can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby." Mayor Drapeau's words would return to haunt him. To give him his due, he was quite sincere in the early stages of planning and had devised a scheme which he called auto-financement and which precluded the need for government assistance. Such was not to be the case, unfortunately. Drapeau's projected cost for the construction of facilities was way out of line, especially so in the case of the Olympic Stadium. Drapeau had signed what appeared to be an open-ended contract with his architect of choice, Taillibert. This award to a Frenchman in itself created considerable ill will among Canadian architects. And then, because the time frame was tight in the first place, construction was readily held up for ransom by the labour unions who went on strike for higher wages. Steel prices doubled during the construction period. The complexity of Taillibert’s design created off-site manufacturing and transport problems. The delays in reaching a decision on the Olympic Village resulted in hurried design and construction and, of course, increased costs. These problems have been extensively written about and dissected elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the construction problems were not technically COJO's to deal with and pay for. And it was on the construction side that the Montreal Games' costs spiralled out of control.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
To host the Olympic Games was a huge achievement for Canada. While we had hosted multi-sport international games before, these paled in comparison with the scope and complexity of the Olympic Games. The most positive result was the tremendous stimulus provided by the Games to the development of sport in Canada. We may not have won a gold medal, but we did win 11 medals, the most we had won since the Games of I932 in Los Angeles. Canadians were introduced to a great many new sports, either in person or on television. We could follow Canadian athletes competing in all events, which is not usually the case at Games in other countries. And the Canadian public had a better chance to compare up close our athletes with the champions of the world and to see, in many cases, how much work had to be done.
The COA and its committees had worked extremely hard to ensure as many Canadian athletes as possible could take part in the Games. We fielded an Olympic team of over 400 athletes, the largest team we had yet seen. Game Plan'76 has to be given much credit for the medals won, and for the Canadian records and personal bests achieved. In Munich, Canada finished 21st in the unofficial team standings. In Montreal, we had been aiming for 15th, we finished 11th. The Games were a financial success for the COA as well. In its annual statement as of December 31, 1976, the COA for the first time in its history was able to show a large credit balance of about $53.5 million. The COA had benefited substantially from a share of the Olympic coin and stamp programmes and from the Lottery. The Olympic Trust had been working overtime to support us, as well. After the Montreal Games, therefore, the COA was able to enter the next Olympic Quadrennium in a sound financial position with its national sports governing bodies finely tuned. Morale was at an all-time high.
As IOC member in Canada involved for over ten years in the Montreal bids and then the preparations for the Games, I consider this period of my life to have been exciting and rewarding, as well as exhausting. I was extremely proud as a Canadian to participate so intensively in the hosting of the Games in my own country. As I had attended, in one capacity or another, the eight previous Olympic Games and the four previous Winter Games, I had seen what the Olympics offered to the development of sport and to the Youth of the host countries. I wanted to see the same benefits available to Canadian sport and young Canadian athletes. In this, I was not disappointed and therein I find my reward for the Years of effort I had put into the Olympic Games of Montreal.
Shortly thereafter, Ontario Premier Davis offered me an appointment as vice chairman of the Land Compensation Board of Ontario, a position which I was more than happy to accept since I had considerable experience with municipal law and expropriation
1972 MONTREAL 1976 - CHAPTER NINE
matters, and the field interested me a great deal. I held this position for several years, leading to an appointment also as member of the Ontario Municipal Board. During this time I retired as chairman of the Metropolitan Toronto Licensing Commission and as honorary consul-general for Finland. The icing on the cake was learning, before 1970 was out, that I had been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
The Olympic Movement never stands still and so it seemed we did not have much time to bask in the glow of a task well-done. The Montreal Games, fraught as they had been with worries, were successfully completed nonetheless. The IOC Executive Board met in October of 1976 in Barcelona, my first visit to a city which would become very familiar. IOC Vice-president Juan Antonio Samaranch hosted the meeting and social functions. While he clearly was well connected both with the city authorities and with the Catalonian government, his future as IOC president, however, was not particularly obvious to me at this stage of the game.
Much of the meeting was taken up with post-mortem discussions of the Montreal Games. As with the Munich Games in 1972, outside international political activities had created enormous difficulties for the IOC in pursuing its Olympic ideals of unfettered international competition. The Canadian government was severely criticized. Charles Palmer, the secretary-general of the International Judo Federation, thought that the COA should be suspended from the Olympic Movement for ten years in retaliation for the Canadian government's actions. Fortunately, I did not have much difficulty quashing such an extreme suggestion. The COA, like other NOCs, has no control over its country's government. Much the same discussion took place in regard to the African NOCs which had left the Games in Montreal before they began. Instead of a special IOC Session to discuss the African boycott, more mature consideration by the Executive Board declared that the African NOCs had been forced by their governments to leave Montreal early. IOC Vice-President Mohamed Mzali, at that time prime minister of Tunisia, and I were delegated to draft a press release, after discussions with the IFs, respecting the decision of the IOC not to impose sanctions on the African
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
NOCs. Mzali also commented to the Executive Board that the responsibility for the boycott had to be shared with Mr. Waldheim, secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) and Mr. Mazeaud, the French secretary of state for youth and sport, who had condemned the IOC: and encouraged the African politicians. I did point out to my Executive Board colleagues that the withdrawal of the Africans had created severe problems for COJO, not the least of which was the financial impact. However, I also agreed that we were making the proper decision in not punishing the Africans. I, of course, also had in mind the criticism leveled at the COA.
At this meeting, we also had to deal with infractions of our anti-doping rules. Five weightlifters, three of them medalists, had conclusively tested positive, but, with slower testing procedures than we have today, those results were not known until after the Montreal Games were over. The IOC Medical Commission was satisfied that no errors had occurred during the testing as had been alleged by the countries in question, and the majority of the Executive Board members voted to request the return of the medals - gold and silver From Bulgaria, and gold from Poland. The other two athletes were from Sweden and the USA. The medals could not fairly be re-awarded because the fourth-place athletes had not been rested. IOC member in the USSR, Viraly Smirnov opposed the disqualification of the weightlifters on the grounds that the testing procedure was not yet accurate: he suggested a warning would have sufficed. However, we felt that the tests were, in fact, reliable, and that the International weightlifting Federation was fully aware of the consequences of the use of performance-enhancing drugs. We had issued a world-wide warning against doping in Olympic sports. Notwithstanding this, athletes and officials in various federations have continued to break the rules, sometimes with disastrous personal consequences.
These two serious issues - political interference and doping - which cast a shadow on the Montreal Games, were not about to go away, and the IOC would continue to have to spend time and money dealing with these problems. On the other hamd, you might say it was an indication of the successful, high profile which the Olympic Movement had attained in the previous decades that athletes and governments tried to use the Games to further their own non-sporting ends.
It is worth noting that at this meeting, the USOC first registered its dissatisfaction with the fact that it was not benefiting from the huge amounts of money paid by American television networks for the right to broadcast the Olympic Games. The
USOC suggested that the IOC consider a deduction of ten percent from the television rights payments, money which would remain in the United States and be used for their sports programmes. This was not acted upon at that time, but again, this was an issue
1976 MOSCOW 1980 CHAPTER TEN
which would not go away and would ultimately result in a deduction off the top of American television payments directly to the USOC.
On January 14, 1977, 1 attended my last COJO directors' meeting. COJO would continue to exist for a few years more, but in a much-reduced form, in order to wind up its various affairs. These included overseeing the production of the official film being produced by the National Film Board, and the production of the Official Games Report.
The film would have its première in Montreal in April of I977, and then be shown at Cannes and again in Monaco for the opening of the new headquarters of the General Assembly of International Sports Federations. Not wildly enthusiastic when I saw the first rough cut of the film earlier in Montreal, I had been told that "artistic considerations" had meant cutting a great deal of the sports footage, and that the film was not intended to be a sports record anyway. Fortunately, ORTO in Montreal had prepared a more technical film using footage from all of its sports Coverage and the IOC was anxious to obtain a copy for its archives,
The Official Report took much longer to see the light of day. In fact, it was not published until 1978 and I had to make periodic excuses to my IOC colleagues for the delay. Lack of personnel back in Montreal was the main cause. Apparently, a few professional journalists volunteered their time to help the small team working on the book. The disposal of the many and varied assets of COJO is recorded in the Official Report. Suffice it to say, that we tried to dispose of the assets, and in particular the sports equipment, to various organizations where they would do the most good.
Our group had been together substantially since the Games were awarded in 1970, although with a few sad losses and a few additions. On the whole, we had worked well together, had suffered the frustrations and disappointments, and had enjoyed the success and exhilarations as a group. I must admit that I was happy that the sustained efforts of the past six and a half years were concluded, but I value the friendships I have retained with my COJO colleagues. Because of the long drawn-out process of the winding up of COJO's affairs, the IOC rules changed to ensure a time limit for future Organizing Committees in completing their tasks after the Games.
The COA Annual General Meeting was brought forward to February of I977 to allow for our presence at the PASO Congress in Puerto Rico in April. At the COA Executive meeting, we found ourselves in the delightful situation of having a financial surplus to discuss as a result of the Montreal Games. We decided that the Olympic Trust should be empowered to continue its mandate for a further four years and to explore how best our newfound surplus could be invested to assist future COA activities.
MY OLYMPIC JOURNEY
It was interesting to note that funds derived from the Olympic coin and stamp programme were not, as claimed, a grant or contribution from the government. These monies represented the COA’s share of COJO revenue programmes. Other NOCs around the world shared in the same way to varying extents.
Elections were held for the next Olympiad. Harold Wright had, by this time, completed his eight years as president. He had been a highly effective president, working actively with the Olympic Trust to put the COA on a sound financial footing, as well as shepherding the COA through the excitement of the Montreal Games. Our constitution called for a new president at this point, however, and as chair of the Nominating Committee, I was pleased to pass on our unanimous choice of Dick Pound as president. Maurice Allan was elected secretary-treasurer over Imre Szabo.
We established a Selection Review Committee to advise it’s on all technical aspects of performances in the various sports. Dick Pound was chairman, assisted by Dr. Geoff Gowan, president of the Coaching Association of Canada, as well as by Dr. Roger Jackson and Dr. Martin Bielz, all experts in their respective fields. COA Technical Director Jack Lynch administered and coordinated the Committee. Their objectives were to try to improve the number of medals and entries finishing in the top six places, or, at the very least, to attempt to have each entry finish in the top half or no lower than in 16th place in their field. The criteria thus established, though later somewhat modified, have given the COA a firm basis on which to select athletes for our Olympic teams. The various NSGBs have agreed to our criteria, although criticisms continue to emerge at team selection time, sometimes resulting in individual challenges in the law courts.
The aforementioned extension of the Olympic Trust's mandate marked a continuing happy relationship which, over the Years, has enabled the COA to expand its role within the Olympic Movement far beyond its original capabilities of acting mainly to enter teams in the Olympic and Pan American Games. This flexibility began to manifest itself under Dick Pound's presidency, as we were able to hire more staff to administer more programmes. Education about the Olympic Movement in Canada was one of these initiatives and a new publication, Infomation, was created in 1977 to bring news of the COA and its activities to an increasingly wider audience. The Club Assistance Programme was launched giving financial help to sports clubs to encourage them to hire coaches and develop elite "carded" athletes who themselves would receive some financial aid. This initiative was later replaced by the Coaching Recognition Programme, but not until over one million dollars had been sent to 240 clubs covering 25 Olympic sports. The COA also created the position of director of games missions’ administration, John Pickett
1976 MOSCOW 1980 - CHAPTER TEN
being the first to hold the job, and decided to produce more sophisticated Games Missions Manuals, which included job descriptions for staff as well as for team managers and coaches. By the end of the Olympiad, in 1980, we had also approved the creation of a COA Athletes' Council and were determined to establish an annual Canadian Olympic Academy. The need for establishing national sports training centres was never in doubt whenever we discussed it at COA meetings. I was certainly a long-time, keen supporter of the concept, having visited such centres in Scandinavia in the early 1950s, and having debated the same issue within the Advisory Council on Fitness and Amateur Sport. But geography, financial resources, and regional "political" ambitions continued to interfere with a consensus. It would not be until after the Calgary Olympic Winter Games in 1988 that Canada would be able to claim a national training centre at the University of Calgary as part of the legacy of those Games.
The Canadian government continued to be much involved in amateur sport and Sport Canada appeared constantly to be seeking ways of enlarging its influence - and its control. The COA stood firm in maintaining its independence, and, at times, our relations with Sport Canada and the government were subjected to strain. We especially urged the federal government to continue the Olympic Lottery after the Montreal Games. Having been so successful leading up to 1976, the Lottery, could have continued to raise money for Canadian sport for years to come. Unfortunately, the government of the day under Prime Minister Joe Clark did not agree and turned the Lottery over to the provinces for their own purposes with no strings attached. I have always considered this a serious mistake, for a national lottery did not represent a direct drain on the taxpaver and could easily have been extended to include other cultural activities besides sport, if that were considered politically expedient.
The IOC Executive Board meeting in March of 1977 took place in Abidjan, capital of the Ivory Coast, and was hosted by IOC member Louis Guirandou-N'Diaye. Our hotel included landscaped gardens and an enormous swimming pool which we put to good use to counteract the heat. We soon discovered that the hotel complex was wellsecured when, having decided to take a midnight skinny dip, a small group of us was instantly surrounded by fierce security guards who chased us away. Local dance and drumming groups provided frequent entertainment, which I thoroughly enjoyed, especially the drummers. We made a few expeditions into the noisy and colorful marketplaces. Henry Hsu found the one and only Chinese restaurant in Abidjan and hosted his by-now-traditional Chinese feast for his IOC friends.
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