SYDNEY— International Olympic Committee vice-president Kevan Gosper admitted on Tuesday that he and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games organisers made mistakes in their preparations for September’s Games.
Gosper, a candidate to take over from IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, said Games organisers SOCOG had blundered on ticketing and that he had erred in allowing his daughter to run in the early stages of the torch relay in Greece.
‘There’s not doubt the ticketing issue was our most serious mistake,’ Gosper told Foxtel television.
Games ticketing has been marred by many bungles, ranging from a printing error which could cost SOCOG almost A$1 million (US$580,000) to revelations that thousands of top tickets had been siphoned off for a secret premium scheme aimed at the rich.
‘There was a breakdown in communication between the board, the executive and the management who were in charge,’ Gosper said. ‘But in particular those of us on the board didn’t understand what a significantly big and untested process selling 9.2 million tickets is,’ he said.
Ticket allocations caused an uproar last year when many people missed out in the first round of postal ballots.
‘Although we made a mistake with it and we worked very hard to recover our position … compared with other Olympic cities I think we’ve done quite a good job there,’ Gosper said. ‘But that was a difficult one for us and a big learning curve.’
Gosper, who won a relay silver medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, dropped out of the torch relay for Sydney in May after public outcry over his decision to allow his 11-year-old daughter Sophie to carry the torch in Greece.
Sophie replaced another Sydney schoolgirl who had been due to carry the torch after it was lit at ancient Olympia.
‘It was a much bigger bump than I anticipated,’ Gosper said of the incident.
‘I appreciate I’m privileged in many respects to be an IOC member. I didn’t want to stand in her way … but I guess I struck a nerve,’ he said.