One week to the day after being elected the ninth President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach officially took over the reins from his predecessor, Jacques Rogge, at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne on Tuesday.
President Bach spent his first day in meetings with Honorary President Rogge, IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper and the IOC directors. The day was capped with a reception for the IOC administration to welcome the new President and bid farewell to the former.
“President Bach and I were elected as IOC members at the same Session in 1991 in Birmingham, Great Britain,” Rogge reminisced. "He is an Olympic champion, a team builder, a sports leader. And he knows he can rely on you. I tell you, you can also rely on him.”
President Bach, who took the podium following a round of applause for the outgoing President, joked that he had received “a lot of advice – or instructions” from his predecessor over the last few days, drawing a hearty chuckle and reproaching gesture from Honorary President Rogge. “It doesn’t matter what you call it, I’ll follow it anyway,” President Bach responded.
The 59-year-old German is no stranger to the IOC headquarters or Lausanne, having spent 22 years as an IOC member and the last eight years on the IOC Executive Board. He was also the Founding President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), a post he resigned from on 16 September.
“One man alone or a group alone can never be successful. It always depends on the entire team – each and every person,” President Bach told the administration. “This is why I am looking to the future with great confidence. I have a really great team in front of me. I want you to continue to be a part of the team and to continue to contribute to build on the same successful path we have been on. There may be a different style because President Rogge and I are different persons, but not a different direction.”
President Bach’s first official trip will be to Olympia, Greece, on 29 September for the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame, marking the start of the Olympic Torch Relay for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.