IOC President Jacques Rogge bids to stay in power

Hamburg: Jacques Rogge admits that it`s lonely at the top, but that isn`t stopping him from seeking a second term as International Olympic Committee (IOC) president.

Elected in 2001 for eight years as the successor of Juan Antonio Samaranch, Rogge, 67, aims for another vote of confidence from the IOC members during the Oct 6-9 session in Copenhagen.

The second term will be for four years and a final one under revised IOC rules.

More of a team player than Samaranch, Rogge was the first IOC boss to sleep in the Olympic Village, 2002 in Salt Lake City. The Belgian is credited with completing IOC reforms, stepping up the fight against doping and keeping the Olympics at a manageable size.

However, he was also criticised for his silent diplomacy as 2008 host China hijacked the Games and Olympic values in areas including the torch relay and internet censorship in Beijing.

“I discovered that this was a very privileged position to be in because it gives you the power to realise things that you believe in and that you dream of in sport,” he said in a recent interview in Berlin.

However, Rogge also admitted to some pitfalls.

“It is a lonely job. It is a lonely job because ultimately the last decision is yours,” he said. “I used to be far more outspoken when I was younger because I did not have the responsibility I have now.”

Born May 2, 1942 in Ghent, Belgium, Rogge, is an orthopaedic surgeon by profession. He competed in three Olympics as a yachtsman and was also on the Belgian national rugby team.

He headed the Belgian and European Olympic Committees in 1989, joined the IOC in 1991 and its executive board in 1998 before being elected into the top job at the 2001 Session in Moscow.

The new IOC rules prevents Rogge from having a 21-year reign like Samaranch, which according to influential Mexican IOC member Manuel Vazquez Rana would be ideal.

“He`s starting just now to take control of the Olympic Movement, something you can`t do from sunset to dawn. He`s doing it with brightness, but also in a very cold way, something you need for these things. Rogge deserves to be there for a long time,” Vazquez Rana said.

But Rogge says 12 years in office are enough for him.

“If you are engaged so heavily as I am... I think 12 years is ok. You have the time to put your stamp on the organization, you have time to realize your ideas,” he said.

Bureau Report