Olympic Reforms

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The IOC makes revisions in response to bribery scandal

by John Gettings

Fireworks commemorate Sydney's successful Olympics bid on Sept. 24, 1993. In response to last year's bribery scandal the IOC said it will no longer allow members to visit cities that are bidding for the Games.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the 105-year-old governing body of the Olympics. It decides which sports and events will be included in the games and selects which cities will host the bi-annual event. In 1999 and 2000 the committee defended itself against charges that some members and their families accepted gifts from officials in cities bidding to host the Games. Ten members were expelled or forced to resign during the investigations.

On Dec. 12, 1999, the committee wrapped up a weekend assembly by approving all 50 proposals made by a reform subcommittee called the IOC 2000 Commission. Here are some of the major changes:

Visits to Olympic Bid Cities

Members voted 89-10, with one abstention, in favor of banning all-expenses-paid visits to cities bidding for the Olympics. This reform was dragged into the spotlight after it was disclosed that committee members received a collective $1.2 million in gifts, most often money for travel expenses, before selecting Salt Lake City, Utah, as host of the 2002 games. Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch admitted to a U.S. House subcommittee investigating the Olympic scandal that he's known about these types of kickbacks since 1984. But, until last year, no one had ever supplied him with names of offenders. The vote was the most contested of the weekend conference, generating a 2½ hour debate in which 36 delegates spoke.

Age Limits

The age limit for committee members was lowered from 80 to 70. Current members, however, are grandfathered in and can serve until the end of the calendar year that included their 80th birthday.

Term Limits

Delegates voted unanimously to give up lifetime terms and approved the introduction of eight-year terms. After eight years candidates can seek re-election by their peers. The IOC president will also have term limits. He or she will be elected to an eight-year term as well, but will only be eligible for a four-year term by re-election. Samaranch remained president until July 16, 2001, exactly 21 years after he was elected.

IOC Membership

The committee increased its maximum membership from 100 to 115 and filled the new spots with active Olympic athletes. Ten of the 15 athletes were sworn in at the meeting. Their eight-year terms are not renewable. The rest of the seats are filled as follows: 15 presidents of international federations; 15 presidents of national Olympic committees and 70 individual members. No country is allowed more than one elected member.


The executive board was expanded from 11 to 15 members.

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