Krakow 2022 Olympic Bid President Resigns Amid Alleged “Smear Campaign”
Krakow’s bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games was shaken Saturday with the resignation of its dynamic President Jagna Marczułajtis-Walczak and a flurry of allegations that she says is part of an opposition campaign against the bid.
“Given the smear campaign conducted against me and the generally unfavourable media climate surrounding the project itself, I have deemed that my resignation could advance the ultimate objective, which is for Krakow to become the Host City of 2022 Olympic Winter Games.”
Polish media accused Marczułajtis-Walczak’s husband of offering payments to journalists for favourable stories about the bid at the SportAccord Conference that concluded Thursday in Belek, Turkey. The allegations were not denied in a statement released by Marczułajtis-Walczak.
“At no time was I aware of the actions taken by my husband, Andrzej Walczak, during my stay at the sports conference in Turkey.
“Andrzej Walczak acted in his private capacity and was not in a position to suggest that he was expressing the views of the Committee he never worked for and on the work of which he never had any influence.
This shake-up happens just three months before the International Olympic Committee is set to release a short-list of candidates and just weeks before a scheduled referendum.
In her statement, Marczułajtis-Walczak defended her accomplishments thus far.
“From the very beginning, I have effectively rallied the Prime Minister, the Government, the Parliament and the local governments behind the project.”
“The work of the Bid Committee proceeded in line with the time schedule set by the International Olympic Committee.
“All documents required from the Bid Committee during the first phase of the application procedure were submitted within the applicable time limits.
“Owing to my personal endeavours, the Bid Committee has succeeded in securing all necessary government guarantees required for Krakow’s applicant file.”
“I continue to declare my unwavering support for Kraków and wish that Kraków becomes the Host City of 2022 Olympic Winter Games.”
Krakow 2022 will need to quickly name a successor who can lead the campaign ahead of the next milestone, the IOC Executive Board meeting in July where the short-list will be announced. No names have officially been discussed, but Krakow Mayor Jacek Majchrowski ruled himself out when asked by Polish media.
During the race for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, two CEO’s resigned mid-campaign. Munich’s Willy Bogner left the bid allegedly due to illness and Annecy’s Edgar Grospiron stepped down amid internal budget disagreements.
A bid-commissioned poll conducted in December showed 68% public support for the bid across Krakow, but these recent events shows that the opposition might have become a bigger issue. Earlier this month Majchrowski called a referendum on the bid that could potentially derail the campaign if defeated.
This development comes on the heels of a Lviv 2020 announcement that Ukraine's bid will meet with the IOC soon discuss its continued viability while it deals with its national crisis. Meanwhile, Oslo 2022 struggles with low public support and questionable government funding.
Beijing and Almaty in Kazakhstan are also bidding for the 2022 Games which will be decided at a July 2015 election in Kuala Lumpur.Write or read comments about this article
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