- 31 Dec 2005
- IOC News
Best wishes for 2006 - Q&A with Jacques Rogge
Olympic.org - President, looking back at the first four years of your mandate at the head of the IOC, what stands out most?
JR: It is always difficult to do his own assessment. I usually leave it to the others to tell me! Today, I have every reason to be satisfied with what the IOC has achieved over the last four years.
First and foremost, it is important to recall the success of the last three editions of the Olympic Games, Sydney 2000, Salt Lake City 2002 and Athens 2004. I mention the Sydney Games because after the organisational difficulties experienced in Atlanta in 1996 and the institutional crisis that hit the IOC in 1998, they were the Games that reconciled the Olympic Movement and set the trend for excellence*. This success has led a great number of prestigious cities to submit their candidatures to host the Games in 2012 and 2014. It is a privilege for the IOC.
Managing the Games and their future has been one of our priorities. I am pleased to see that the mechanisms put in place to ensure the quality of their organisation are working. I am thinking specifically of the recommendations of the Olympic Games Study Commission which contributed to a better control of the cost and complexity of the Games, the transfer of knowledge that allows candidate and host cities to benefit from the experience of their predecessors, and the systematic review of the Olympic programme. Furthermore measures have been taken to improve the judging system in some sports.
In parallel, the IOC has continued to strive for more transparency: internal and external audits have been conducted resulting in a better structured administration; rules concerning conflicts of interest have been enacted and proven to be useful in several instances; the principle of zero tolerance has been systematically applied when faced with unethical behaviours – members and other individuals who tarnished the reputation of the organisation have been expelled or sanctioned, athletes who did not respect the anti-doping rules have been disqualified or excluded from the Games. All these actions aim to protect the IOC and the values that we want to promote.
We have increased our revenues and more importantly our financial reserves, allowing the IOC to continue its activities during four years in the event of the non-staging of an edition of the Games. TV rights negotiations for 2010 and 2012 have been extremely fruitful in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Contracts with our TOP partners are being renewed on a regular basis. Financially, the IOC is in a very sound and strong position which allow us to contribute even more to the development of sport across the world.
My feeling is that all this speaks for itself when you look back at how things have gone.
The highlight of this non-Olympic year has been the 117th Session in Singapore. What are the lessons of this session?
Singapore was indeed a key meeting for the IOC. London was elected host city of the 2012 Olympic Games. We had five serious contenders which presented high quality projects. The competition was very close, as I anticipated it. London demonstrated the ability to host excellent Games allied with an exceptionally strong vision of how sport can inspire the youth of tomorrow. We are looking forward to working with LOCOG over the next seven years.
In Singapore, the IOC, for the first time in almost 70 years, voted to change the Olympic programme. This clearly shows our determination to retain sports that are relevant and inspirational for the youth of today and tomorrow. It also proves that the systematic review of the programme is a useful exercise that we should and will pursue in the future. We also recognised that the programme procedure as it is today makes it difficult for new sports to join. This is something that we will study before 2009.
The next challenge will be the Olympic Winter Games in Turin. What do you expect from those Games?
I expect to see Torino and the mountains come alive with the as their slogan “Passion lives here.” says. The Look of the Games and the Look of the City are very striking and modern. They will ensure that everyone who is there in person feels the Italian spirit and they should also ensure the message of passion has an impact on all those watching around the world.
Most of all, though, I am looking forward to the sporting competitions. What will be the sporting performances that define the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in our memories? Will they be the performances of old favorites or of new talent? We will have to wait to the end of the Games to find out. Beyond this, I am sure all our website's visitors will join me in offering my best wishes for all the athletes, in order that they may all realize their best possible performances.
What happens between Torino 2006 and Beijing 2008?
A non-Olympic year does not mean that we will be sitting on our laurels. Look at this year! We will be preparing the election of the host city of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games that will take place in Guatemala City in July 2007, and preparing the Olympic Congress that I have decided to stage in 2009. It will be time to reflect on decisions and procedures and ensure that those can be efficiently implemented and improved if necessary. It will also allow us to focus on activities that often get overshadowed by the attention on the Games. Priority will be given to the promotion of the Olympic values through the work carried out by Olympic Solidarity and commissions such as Women and Sport or Sport and Environment, and the joint efforts deployed with the United Nations to help refugees, and raise awareness of diseases like AIDS among the sporting community.
You have just been in China. What role will the Games play in this country?
One thing about having the good fortune to visit China as often as I do is that I have been able to see for myself how quickly the country is changing. Already, since Beijing was elected host city in 2001, there have been great moves forward. And there are still almost 1,000 days to go before the Games begin there. Of course, only a small amount of this economic and social change is due to the Olympic Games. We are only a small part of the equation and this is normal because of the size of the country.
The whole world will be watching, however, when the Olympic Games begin in Beijing, as our Chinese friends know. I have been constantly impressed by the dedication towards making sure Beijing 2008 is hosted in the best possible way for athletes, media, spectators and all the others who are part of the Games. I look forward to the day when the world will be able to see the fruits of that hard work.
You travel a lot and your days in the office are always filled with series of meetings. How do you handle such a busy schedule?
It is true that it has been a busy year. I have been traveling extensively across the five continents visiting National Olympic Committees, Organising Committees, and sponsors, attending world championships, meeting athletes in the morning and head of states in the afternoon. These trips are very important as they allow me to exchange ideas with those who live sport on a day to day basis, to acknowledge the progress that has been made in many areas but also to grasp the issues that need to be addressed and where the IOC can help. This simply provides me with the inspiration to look forward and help me identify the challenges ahead of the Olympic Movement.
I also spent a fair amount of time in Lausanne where I usually have visitors but where I also receive updates on the running of the administration. At the end of the day, it all comes down to a good organisation and a lot of passion!
* The President chaired the Sydney Coordination Commission until his election in July 2001.