SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ A motorist will be allowed to keep his special Utah Olympic license plate that reads ``SCNDL,'' a reference to the controversy surrounding the 2002 Winter Games.

Daron Malmborg had been told last week he could display ``SCNDL'' on any other Utah license plate design, but not on the special Olympic plate. State officials ordered him to turn in the plates or lose his vehicle registration.

``We just thought it was not appropriate to put `scandal' on the Olympic plate,'' said Lynette Byrd, a supervisor in charge of vanity plates.

Malmborg turned to his family attorney, who referred him to the American Civil Liberties Union.

On Wednesday, state officials reversed themselves and said Malmborg can keep his ``SCNDL'' plates.

``We hope the state will not add to the embarrassment of the Olympic scandal by violating Daron's protected First Amendment rights,'' said Carole Gnade, the ACLU's Utah director.

The Salt Lake Olympics have been engulfed in scandal ever since it was disclosed that members of the International Olympic Committee were given cash and other gifts during the city's campaign to land the games.