LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - Olympic gold medalists Sergei Bubka and Alexander Popov have denied claims made in a Brazilian court they were paid to vote for Rio de Janeiro’s winning bid to host the 2016 Summer Games.
The International Olympic Committee said Friday its ethics commission has contacted both men about the allegation by Sergio Cabral, the former Rio state governor who is serving a prison sentence for corruption.
Cabral’s testimony Thursday echoed details of an alleged Olympic vote-buying scheme in 2009 already in the public domain.
Ongoing criminal investigations in Brazil and France have implicated Brazil’s former top Olympic official Carlos Nuzman, then-IAAF president Lamine Diack and his son, and then-IOC executive board member Frank Fredericks .
Pole vault great Bubka and swimming star Popov were IOC members voting in October 2009 in a contest between four cities, including Chicago and Tokyo.
“I completely reject all the false claims made by the former Rio State governor,” Bubka, now an IOC executive board member, said in a statement Friday. “My lawyers will write to Mr. Diack to ask him to explain the allegations of Mr. Cabral who wrongly claims in his testimony that Mr. Diack could secure my vote.”
Popov, who is now an IOC honorary member after having full membership from 2000 to 2016, said he didn’t vote for Rio in any of the three rounds of balloting.