Backpedaling now an Olympic sport

Heiberg issues quick apology for remarks made

NEW YORK — The International Olympic Committee official who questioned the viability of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, was backtracking furiously Wednesday. Gerhard Heiberg issued a quick apology for remarks he made to a Norwegian newspaper on Tuesday.

Heiberg, a senior member of the IOCommittee, had said that the war on terrorism by the U.S. government casts a cloud over the Salt Lake City Games.

But on Wednesday, he told the Associated Press that he had called Mitt Romney, head of the Salt Lake organizing committee, to apologize for quotes he said were taken out of context. He also said he talked to Francois Carrard, director general of the IOC, causing both men to issue strong statements to the effect that the only event which could bury the Games is a global World War.

NBC, which is ponying up $555 million for the rights to the Games, was mum on Heiberg’s apology.

The Peacock net is proceeding as if the Games will go off without a hitch. The same is true of advertisers who have bought time, said Tim Spengler, executive VP of Initiative Media.

“If any of my clients has drawn up a Plan B to cover cancellation of the Games, then they haven’t told me about it,” Spengler said.

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