Taiwanese Olympic gold medalist Chu Mu-yen (朱木炎) was disqualified from membership in the International Olympics Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission for allegedly violating campaign regulations in London.
Chu, who won a gold medal in taekwondo at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was nominated by the Chinese Taipei Olympic Association to run for membership in the Athletes’ Commission.
The IOC was originally scheduled to announce the election results for new commission members on Thursday, but did not deliver the results until 5pm on Saturday.
In its e-mail to Chu, the IOC said the Taiwanese athlete had been reminded that he was not allowed to distribute or display any material related to his candidacy.
“Unfortunately, despite the alerts, we have heard that you may have continued to violate the rules by handing out lollipops to promote your candidature,” the IOC said in the letter.
“The two [Chu and Japanese hammer thrower Koji Murofushi] breached the rules, which are very clear rules about campaigning [for election to the Athletes’ Commission],” IOC communications director Mark Adams said in a TV news interview. “And the athletes that were running the commission decided that they were excluded from the result.”
In response, Chu admitted using an iPad to access the IOC Web site to explain the committee’s workings to another athlete during his campaign, but denied that he distributed lollipops to other athletes.
“We did not give out any lollipops,” Chu said. “I did tell them that I used an iPad to show athletes how to vote in the election. However, I stopped doing it after the warning from the IOC came on July 26.”
Chu said that he had not taken any lollipops to London, nor had he seen one after he arrived there.
He said that he had no idea why he was accused of using lollipops in his campaign, adding that he denied doing so in his explanation to the IOC.
“If they had told me on July 26 that I was disqualified, that would have been better,” Chu said. “But they declared my disqualification after the election results were announced. I was really disappointed.”
Chinese Taipei Olympic Association secretary-general Chen Kuo-yi (陳國儀) said the association had requested the IOC to clearly state the main reasons for the disqualification and provide evidence to prove it.
Murofushi, who won an Olympic bronze medal in men’s hammer throw on Aug. 6, was disqualified for allegedly explaining the voting procedures in the cafeteria used by athletes, which is one of the prohibited areas to lobby for votes.
Twenty-one candidates were in the running for four seats on the Athletes’ Commission this year. The four athletes elected were from Slovakia, Australia, Zimbabwe and France.