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17 Jun 2005
IOC News

An evening with Jacques Rogge

On Tuesday 14 June, a large audience gathered to hear IOC President Jacques Rogge talk to Jean-Philippe Rapp, a former journalist with the Télévision Suisse Romande and presenter of Agora, the new series of talks at the Olympic Museum. This was a unique chance to see a different side to the IOC President.

The Olympic Museum audience saw pictures and an old cine-film of the President as a lively young boy, discovering cycling with his father; then sailing with his family on the Flanders coast; and as a keen and studious medical student, who still found time to play rugby and sail for an hour every evening after lectures.

Jacques Rogge and the rings
After taking part in the sailing events at three editions of the Olympic Games, when the Belgian NOC President asked him to join the NOC, the young Rogge hesitated, wondering if he would fit in among this august assembly of grey-haired men. He was finally persuaded to join, and never regretted his choice. This was the start of a prestigious career under the five-ring flag, as chef de mission for the Belgian team, NOC President, then President of the European Olympic Committees. All this at the same time as a career in orthopaedic surgery until he reached the top on 16 July 2001 in Moscow. He jokes that, since then, he too has acquired some grey hairs!

Jacques Rogge, the President
All the topics raised during the evening were handled candidly and clearly: doping, corruption, the cost of the Games, the number and choice of sports, the Olympic Truce, security after the September 11 attacks, television rights and revenue sharing. There were also questions about China, the Games in Beijing and the emergence of this huge country.

Jacques Rogge, the romantic
To conclude, Jean-Philippe Rapp asked the President to recall a particular moment from all the Olympic Games he has known. “It was in 1968, at the Olympic Games in Mexico City when I was competing for the first time”, he replied. “I had never been in such a huge stadium. And among the vast crowd (there were 80,000 people), I caught sight of my wife. We were newlyweds; it was an unforgettable moment!”

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