x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Rogge's gallery of would-be kings line up behind outgoing IOC president

Three former Olympians, a banker, an architect and a diplomat are in the field of six bidding to replace outgoing president.

Six candidates are vying to replace outgoing International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
Six candidates are vying to replace outgoing International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

Here are profiles of each candidate.

Thomas Bach (Germany)

Perceived for years as the man most likely to succeed Rogge and still the favourite.

The Olympics has been in the 59-year-old German lawyer's blood for almost his whole life from winning Olympic gold in the team foil at the 1976 Games in Montreal to becoming an IOC member in 1991 and rising to become a vice president on three occasions.

His interest in sports politics stemmed from the dismissive way politicians treated the athletes and their views – he was the spokesman for the West Germans – ahead of the 1980 boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Aside from the athletes' interests coming first he also believes hosting a Games should be as attractive and feasible for as many cities and countries as possible.

An assured and smart performer and the ultimate insider, the recent claims in a report about systematic doping in the former West Germany cast a cloud over him though he dismisses it saying he asked for the report in the first place and he has put in place an inquiry.

This is his first, and most likely only, chance to secure the role.

Status The man to beat

Sergei Bubka (Ukraine)

If it came to popular name recognition then the pole vault legend – the world record holder indoors and outdoors and six-time world outdoor champion as well as the 1988 Olympic gold medallist – would trounce his opponents by the same margins he used to beat his fellow athletes.

However, the IOC presidency is decided by many other factors and the 49-year-old Ukrainian may be seen to be too raw to be entrusted with such an onerous responsibility.

Talks enthusiastically about re-engaging youth and getting them practising sport again, even using a quote from Nelson Mandela – "sport has the power to change lives" – to support his case.

Status Long-shot

Richard Carrion (Puerto Rico)

Very smart and assured banker and philanthropist, whose business acumen would be reassuring at the head of the IOC during the continuing global financial uncertainty.

The Puerto Rican, 60, is an IOC member since 1990 and tried to unsuccessfully have the 2004 Games awarded to the capital city of his country, San Juan.

He was responsible for brokering the record US$4.38 billion (Dh16.1bn) broadcasting deal with NBC to have exclusive US coverage of the Olympics through to 2020.

Would bring a vastly different tone to the job. Charismatic and with a twinkle in his eye – his motto is "hope for the best but prepare for the worst". He has been liberated by the campaign, he says, as he has been able to "speak from the heart" on issues he felt he could not before, principally the IOC must not lose sight of its values.

Has poured money into providing funding for scholarships for Puerto Rican students.

Carrion came off well at the presentations at Lausanne – he delivered his without a script – but some members are sceptical that having not spoken to them for years he is now asking for their vote.

Status Among top three

Ng Ser Miang (Singapore)

Diplomat and successful businessman the Singaporean, 64, has been an IOC member since 1998 and a vice-president since 2009.

The well-liked China-born Ng is seen as the dark horse, who could upset Bach.

A former yachtsman, like Rogge, and Singapore's ambassador to Norway, he believes the first Asian IOC president would take the organisation into a new era. He said, "I hope so" when asked if it was time the IOC had an Asian leader.

"But I think it's important not just symbolically but for the values they can bring to the table as well, when we talk about universality, different value systems, different cultures, different ways of looking at issues and challenges."

Softly-spoken and almost always has a smile on his face, it could be a lot broader after Tuesday.

Status Among top three

Denis Oswald (Switzerland)

Swiss former Olympic rower – who won a bronze medal in the coxed fours in the 1968 Games in Mexico City – has been an IOC member since 1991.

The Rowing Federation president, 66, is arguing for adding new sports to the Olympic programme by reducing the number of existing events and disciplines. A lawyer by profession, he is a long shot.

Status Outsider

CK Wu (Taiwan)

Highly-acclaimed architect who has worked wonders since he took over the Amateur Boxing Federation seven years ago in which he has fought corruption, introduced women's boxing to the Olympics, delivered what is regarded as the sport's best Olympic contest yet in London last year, and persuaded communist Cuba to break a huge taboo and embrace professional sports by joining his WSB circuit for next year.

The 66 year old was, like Ng, born in China but moved with his parents to Taiwan when aged just one-and-a-half. Has followed Carrion in saying Games should not be awarded to countries that discriminate against anyone.

Status Longest of long shots


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