Moscow - Russian
swimming great Alexander Popov and Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergey
Bubka reacted furiously on Friday to allegations they took bribes in
exchange for supporting Rio de Janeiro as host to the 2016 Olympic
"I didn't even vote for Rio de Janeiro," said Popov, one of three
Russian members of the International Olympic Committee, in a statement
released by RIA Novosti.
Bubka, head of Ukraine's national Olympic committee, was also quick
to deny the allegations, saying: "I completely reject all the false
Brazilian media cited a former governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio
Cabral, who is in prison on corruption charges, as saying at a court
hearing that he helped to orchestrate a bribe to secure the city as host
of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
He said the bribe, worth a combined $2 million, was organised with
the help of Lamine Diack, the disgraced former head of athletics' world
governing body the IAAF.
Among the people who allegedly received the funds, Cabral cited
four-time Olympic gold medallist Popov as well as six-time world
champion Bubka, who is the senior vice president of the IAAF.
He said the money was distributed by Brazilian businessman Arthur
"I was assured that Sergei Bubka received the bribe... the
Russian Alexander Popov as well."
Bubka said Diack "never contacted me about my vote".
"My lawyers will write to Mr Diack to ask him to explain the
allegations of Mr Cabral who wrongly claims in his testimony that Mr
Diack could secure my vote," Bubka said.
Popov on Friday said he "never participated in any negotiations on
these topics or with the people mentioned in the media, I don't know
them and never contacted them".
He added that he is "willing to give any information" on the matter
to the IOC's ethics commission, and plans to file a defamation lawsuit