April 12 - Kraków's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics has been rocked by the resignation of its Bid Committee President because of a "smear campaign" over allegations her husband offered to pay journalists to write positive stories about the bid.
Jagna Marczułajtis-Walczak issued a statement today in which she speaks of "personal attacks launched against me".
She explained: "Given the smear campaign conducted against me and the generally unfavourable media climate surrounding the project itself, I have deemed that my resignation could advance the ultimate objective, which is for Kraków to become the host city of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
"I deeply regret the current situation for which I can hardly be held directly accountable."
It has been alleged her husband Andrzej Walczak met with local journalists in Poland while she was attending the SportAccord International Convention earlier this week in Belek, Turkey, offering money if they wrote stories that were positive about the Kraków bid.
Marczułajtis-Walczak has all but confirmed the allegations are true, but has distanced herself from them.
"I wish to state once again that at no time was I aware of the actions taken by my husband, Andrzej Walczak, during my stay at the sports conference in Turkey," she said in a near 500-word statement.
"Andrzej Walczak acted in his private capacity and was not in a position to suggest that he was expressing the views of the Committee he never worked for and on the work of which he never had any influence."
Earlier this month, it was announced a referendum will be held in Kraków on May 25 asking voters whether they back the bid.
City Mayor Jacek Majchrowski has said he is confident the bid will be approved by the public.
Describing herself as a "fervent advocate" of the Polish city hosting the Games, Marczułajtis-Walczak said in the statement announcing her resignation: "From the very beginning, I have effectively rallied the Prime Minister, the Government, the Parliament and the local governments behind the project.
"The work of the Bid Committee proceeded in line with the time schedule set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"I wish to thank all those who have put their trust in me and in the concept of hosting the Olympic Winter Games in Kraków.
"Without their support and commitment, we would not have been able to prepare and present to the IOC the complete set of the documents required during that phase of the application procedure."
Marczułajtis-Walczak, a parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom snowboarder, competed in the Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002 and Turin 2006 Olympics.
She said she will continue to declare her "unwavering support" for the bid.
As part of Kraków's bid, Alpine skiing events will be held across the border in Slovakia.
If it wins the race to host the Games, it will become the first Winter Olympics to host events in two different countries.
Last month, Kraków joined fellow bidders Almaty in Kazakhstan, Beijing in China, Lviv in Ukraine and Oslo in Norway in handing in their Applicant File to the IOC.
It will chose which of the five advance as Candidate Cities in July, before the winning bid is announced in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 31, 2015.
The race for the 2022 Games has been dogged by a number of problems, with Oslo narrowly winning a bid referendum last year.
More recently, its Government drew up a list of demands for hosting the Games, including a workers' charter and the IOC paying its own costs.
Lviv's bid has also been held back by ongoing political problems in Ukraine.
And last month, Kraków 2022 press and public relations manager Paulina Guzik stepped down after barely two months in her post.
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