The International Olympic Committee cautioned Japan’s Olympic body during the London Games over a handbook that urged its athletes to vote for hammer thrower Koji Murafushi in his campaign to win a seat on the IOC’s Athlete’s Commission, it was learned Saturday.
The bronze medal-winning hammer thrower received enough votes to win election to the commission, but his selection was nullified by the IOC, citing his violations of election rules. The Japan Olympic Committee, which is currently appealing the IOC’s decision, had included a phrase in a Japanese language handbook that urged athletes to vote for him.
According to IOC rules, materials with language not authorized by the IOC cannot be distributed. Putting up posters or presenting gifts is also banned.
“For the benefit of Japanese athletes who don’t understand English, we prepared a Japanese version before we received the official (IOC) publication,” a JOC official said. “At the time we saw our published version, that’s when we got the first warning.”
The JOC then collected hundreds of handbooks from its athletes and gave them to the IOC.
Murofushi has been accused of breaking the rules that prohibit giving gifts, putting up posters and campaigning in the athletes dining hall. The JOC is asking the IOC to re-examine the charges against Murofushi.