The International Olympic Committee played a cooperative role in locating 1988 Winter Olympics venues in Calgary, Canada, contrary to complaints lodged by a Utah environmental group, a Canadian Olympics official said Wednesday.

Canadian environmentalist Brian Horejsi, an ecologist and Olympic critic, said Wednesday the IOC exerted great pressure on Canadian organizers to locate the downhill ski venue on environmentally sensitive Mount Allen.But current Canadian Olympic Committee President Roger Jackson said the IOC "had no influence whatsoever," over location of the downhill venue and other venues relocated by the Canadian organizers before the 1988 Games.

"Three Alberta government agencies agreed in writing (Mount Allen) would never be developed because it was one of Alberta's most critical wildlife areas," Horejsi told reporters Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Horejsi, who was in Salt Lake City as a guest of the Wasatch Mountain Club, said the IOC bullied local organizers into building the ski area, which lacked adequate snow conditions, on Mount Allen.

"They just turned on the influence," Horejsi said.

Such influence concerns the Wasatch Mountain Club, which is worried the IOC could force organizers to locate venues in the environmentally sensitive Big and Little Cottonwood canyons east of Salt Lake City.

Organizers have pledged to keep the venues free of Olympic events and the Salt Lake County master plan also includes such a prohibition.

"But what concerns us is that no matter how well protected the canyons appear to be protected . . . at some point that could change," said Keith Johnson, co-director of the Wasatch Mountain Club.

Jackson, however, said the IOC is sensitive to local needs, pointing to Calgary organizers' experience in building the $25 million ski area called Nakiska on Mount Allen.

Nakiska was indeed an alternate site chosen for downhill ski events after Calgary won the Olympic bid, Jackson said.

"But it was our decision made after discussions in the provincial government and with local groups and environmentalists and other groups . . . the IOC had no influence, whatsoever," he said.

"The International Olympic Committee is not in the business of beating people up. They try to be very helpful," he said.

Jim Jardine, chairman of the pro-Olympic group Olympics for Utah, said environmentalists are raising a "false issue" by claiming the canyons are at risk.

"We reject the notion that the IOC would ever have the power by contract to shift a venue into the canyons because it (the canyon prohibition) will be a condition of the bid," he said.

Other Olympic controversy surfaced Wednesday.

-In Ogden, Olympics endorsements from the Black, Hispanic and Asian councils are being challenged by representatives of northern Utah's Hispanic and black communities as not reflecting their views. The NAACP, however, said it would take no stand until Gov. Bangerter improves his record on the treatment of minorities.

-The Wasatch Mountain Club - previously neutral on the issue of Utah hosting the Winter Olympics - has voted to oppose the Olympic bid and encourage Utahns to vote against a Nov. 7 referendum to fund the games. The environmental club says it's concerned about the environmental impact of the Olympics, particularly to Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.

-Officials in Rich and Cache counties, meanwhile, jumped on the Olympics' endorsement bandwagon as a pro-games torch relay wound its way through northern Utah.

-In Logan, Utah State University President Stanford Cazier cautioned a crowd of more than 200 Olympics supporters not to be complacent, even though predications are that the referendum will pass.

-Bob Johnson, executive director, USA Hockey, formerly the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States, is expected to endorse the Olympics Thursday at a hockey game in the Salt Palace.