Monday, January 18, 1999

Olympic Games soiled
by Salt Lake scandal

THE bright banner of the Olympics has been soiled by the bribery scandal over Salt Lake City's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games. It is dismaying that the Olympics, once the symbol of pure amateur sport, have been revealed as yet another victim of unprincipled greed and zealotry.

Obviously the humiliation suffered by the local organizers from the disclosure of at least $600,000 in gifts and bribes to further their bid for the games will make it difficult to attract more corporate sponsorships. It's uncertain that the Utah venue for the Winter Games can survive the scandal.

But the real culprits are the members of the International Olympic Committee who took and probably demanded the bribes -- such as the $10,000 donation to the mayoral campaign of a Chilean member and the assistance given an African member in making a $60,000 profit in Utah real estate. The Utah committee apparently was only doing what was exacted as the price of approval.

The full extent of the bribery remains to be uncovered by ongoing investigations. If criminal charges and prison sentences result, so be it.

The lure of money has irrevocably corrupted the Olympics. Cities vie to hold the games not out of a love of sport but of money. It is up to the International Olympic Committee to keep the selection process honest, and in that it has spectacularly failed.


School (news)papers

GOOD deeds, literacy and appreciation of the written word are the ideals behind next Tuesday, Kids Day '99. Jan. 26 is when media celebrities and community leaders will take to the streets to hawk newspapers for a good cause, the nonprofit PACT. The family service agency offers programs for early childhood education and child care, teen development and economic revitalization. It also helps prevent incidents of child abuse and domestic violence in the community.

This year there's something new. Stories, poems and artwork by island youngsters on the theme, "Lucky We Live Aloha," will run in a special insert in the Kids Day editions. The goal is to get these masterpieces into local schools, grades 1-12, so they can be used as tools for teaching and inspiration.

Sponsors -- individuals, businesses and organizations -- are being sought to underwrite the $1 Kids Day editions, with each school receiving copies of the newspapers also receiving 25 percent of the proceeds from PACT. Each sponsor purchasing at least 200 papers for a school will be recognized in the special edition.

Quite a few campuses have already garnered sponsors, including classrooms at Kahala, Kamiloiki, Liliuokalani, Palolo and Royal elementaries, and Kaimuki Middle and High. For more information, call Becky Huffman at PACT at 847-3285. This is one way to get newspapers into the hands of students, and money into the coffers of educational institutions.


Sony’s sponsorship

SUNDAY was a busy day for the Sony Corp. and its chairman and chief executive officer, Norio Ohga. In the afternoon Ohga was at the Waialae Country Club for the windup of the Sony Open golf tournament. This is the first year that the open has been held under Sony sponsorship.

After that Ohga drove to the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall to conduct the Honolulu Symphony in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The concert was moved to the evening to avoid a conflict with the tournament. Joining the Oahu Choral Society in the choral parts were the National Chorus of Korea and the Sony Philharmonic Choir. The performance was described as an unprecedented collaboration by Japanese and Korean choral groups.

The Sony executive is no novice at conducting orchestras. This was the third consecutive year he has conducted the Honolulu Symphony. He also has led the Boston and Pittsburgh symphonies, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic.

Before joining Sony, Ohga studied music in Japan and Germany, then pursued a singing career. He was instrumental in introducing the compact disc format and establishing Sony as a global entertainment company.

Sony's founder, Akio Morita, is a part-time resident of Honolulu, a situation that presumably led to the company's support of both the golf tournament and the symphony. Both relationships are highly beneficial to Hawaii and should be applauded.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

Rupert E. Phillips, CEO

John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

David Shapiro, Managing Editor

Diane Yukihiro Chang, Senior Editor & Editorial Page Editor

Frank Bridgewater & Michael Rovner, Assistant Managing Editors

A.A. Smyser, Contributing Editor

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