Olympic gymnastics trials unaffected by inquiry into state games, officials say


The investigation of the Maryland State Games Foundation won't keep the 1992 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials out of Baltimore, nor will it stop the state's effort to land other trials, officials in Annapolis and Baltimore said yesterday.

"We don't feel the problems with the state games affect what we're doing," said Michael Marqua, director of the Maryland Office of Sports Promotion. "We're a different entity from the state games. The only thing that has any similarity is the word Olympic. The state games people were trying to get an Olympic Festival. We were trying to get Olympic trials."

Baltimore will serve as host of the Olympic Gymnastics Trials July 6-14, 1992. Bids also are being formulated for the city and state to hold trials in boxing, canoe-kayak and tae kwon do before the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

"We're definitely coming to Baltimore, and we're very excited about it," Allison Melangton, U.S. Gymnastics Federation special events director, said yesterday.

The Maryland Attorney General's Office is investigating the state games organization for alleged misuse of funds.

The Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development, through its sports promotion office, is spearheading the effort to bring Olympic trials to the state. A bid to bring the U.S. Olympic Festival to Maryland was undertaken by organizers of the state games, but the festival effort apparently has shifted to Mr. Marqua's office.

Mr. Marqua said he was analyzing the festival bid to determine whether Maryland -- one of five finalists for three festivals during 1993-1995 -- should remain in the running.

"We're trying to understand what is going on," Mr. Marqua said. "We want to know what the implications are. We haven't reached any real conclusions. I don't have a clue whether we'll go forward with this bid."

Baltimore officials, citing a lack of information, consistently rebuffed efforts by state games personnel to participate in an Olympic Festival bid. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke refused to write a letter of support in behalf of the bid, but Wayne Chappell, executive director of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, said he was willing to help Mr. Marqua revive a festival bid.

"I am concerned with the fallout from the state games investigation," Mr. Chappell said. "I think it's important that Maryland goforth with this bid."

U.S. Olympic Committee officials say they also are seeking to determine the status of the Maryland bid before awarding the festival sites in early February.

"We certainly were excited about having the festival close to the nation's capital," USOC Executive Director Harvey Schiller said this week.

"I had talked to people in the state, and they were excited about developing facilities. Meeting with a range of government officials, there was a strong feeling that they were putting the energy into doing something for the youth of the state."

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