Now that the dust has settled from a number of excellent leadership changes in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee, it is time to make important and serious decisions. The committee should decide now to send a powerful and sincere statement to the youth and people all over the world by refusing to allow alcohol advertising to become a dominant part of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. We do not need, nor do we want an "official" beer or a deluge of alcohol advertising for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
The Olympics has the potential to make an enormously positive impact upon the world's youth. Many of the participants in the Winter Olympics, as well as the viewers are going to be well below the legal drinking age of 21 years. Alcohol is, by far, the major drug problem of youth, not only in the United States but throughout the world. Studies have shown that alcohol advertising plays a central and dominant role in this serious underage drinking problem.The time has come to separate Olympic sports from alcoholic beverages by restricting alcohol advertising for the 2002 Utah Winter Olympics. This would be, no doubt, the most important health message Utah would be able to send to both young and old throughout the entire world.
The Alcohol Policy Coalition calls upon the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee to take a bold and health-promoting position by restricting alcohol advertising during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
George J. Van Komen
Chairman, Alcohol Policy Coalition
Salt Lake City