The 59-year-old lawyer and former Olympic fencing gold medallist, Thomas Bach, has replaced International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, 71-year-old Belgian, Jacques Rogge , who has retired after 12 years as president. Rogge recently made his final move as the IOC president by declaring that Tokyo of Japan would host the 2020 Olympic Games.
In early May 2013, Thomas Bach announced that he would be running for the position of the president of the IOC and was the clear favourite. He defeated fellow candidates Sergey Bubka, Richard Carrion, Ser Miang Ng, Denis Oswald and Ching-Kuo Wu and has been elected for an 8 year term, with the possibility of remaining in post for a further four years beyond that.
Thomas Bach received 49 votes whilst Carrion got 29, Ng had 6, Oswald received 5 and Bubka only had 4 people backing him.
Thomas Bach claimed that his first priority will be to make sure the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games are a success after there being initial concerns relating to delays, budget overruns and serious concerns over the warm weather in the Russian City.
Mr Bach is also aware of the possibility of protests in Brazil around the 2016 games following the issues raised publically by protestors about the costs and difficulties of hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and then the Olympics within two years.
Thomas Bach commented, “After what we have seen during the Confederations Cup (the riots and protests), we have to communicate very intensively the advantages of the Olympic Games for the society in Rio de Janeiro. We need to show that with the Olympic Village you get more affordable housing, to tell the people how their traffic infrastructure will be improved. We should not hide all this, we should be confident enough to enter into a dialogue with the people who are concerned about social issues in Brazil.”
The new IOC President also talked about his appointment, “I’d like to thank all my dear friends and colleagues who voted for me. This is an overwhelming sign of trust and confidence. I know of the great responsibility of being IOC president. This makes me humble. I want to lead according to my motto: ‘unity in diversity’. This means I will do my very best to balance all the different interests of stakeholders of the Olympic movement.”
Author Daniel Foster.
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