Rogge Arrives in Singapore
The Singapore sky was still in darkness at 0545 local time this morning when Singapore Airlines flight SQ 25 touched down with the President of the IOC on-board. Dawn had not yet broken and Rogge was already making headlines, having been greeted on arrival by IOC Member Ser Miang Ng, chairman of the organising committee for the 117th IOC Session, and by a group of local Singaporean media.
HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING
The next ten days will see Rogge deal with a punishing schedule of meetings, sponsor signings and press conferences, not to mention the chairing of the IOC Executive Board and IOC Session meetings! Day one set the tone, with the local media gathering followed just a few hours later with a signing ceremony with IOC sponsor partner Atos Origin for an extension of their agreement with the IOC for the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games.
A CLOSE CALL
Questioned by media on his predictions for the 2012 election, to take place on 6th July, Rogge said, “I cannot predict it since I don’t know how the IOC members will vote. But my gut feeling tells me that it will be very close. Perhaps it will come down to a difference of say, ten votes, or maybe less. It might be a similar scenario to what the IOC saw in Monte Carlo in 1993 when Sydney won the election by two votes. But this is just my gut feeling. Don’t blame me if I am wrong. We will all have to wait to see.”
Rogge went on to explain that the IOC finds itself in an unprecedented situation. “The IOC is, for perhaps the first time in its history, presented with five cities all of whom are absolutely capable of hosting excellent Games,” he said. “This, on the one hand, means that we are in a very fortunate position. On the other, it means the decision of which city to elect is arguably more difficult to make than ever.”
The IOC President also spoke of the benefits which the 2012 candidature process has already brought to the five bidding cities. “Ultimately, there will of course be only one winner on 6th July,” he said. “But by being part of the process alone, the cities have already built an important legacy by bringing people together around their Olympic project to look at a number of aspects which affect their city and their country, such as the place of sport in their society, the city’s infrastructure needs for the future, environmental sustainability projects and so forth.”