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06 Jun 2008
IOC News , Beijing 2008

Rogge ‘looking forward to Beijing Games’

“We know Beijing must strike the right balance between security and smooth running,’ said Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee at his last press conference before the Games. The press briefing wrapped-up an eventful week-long meeting of the IOC Executive Board at the Hilton Hotel in Athens.

“I’m looking forward to the Games, and the sport,” said President Rogge, who added his hope that the Games would be a real “moment of joy” for the Chinese people after the terrible earthquake in May. Ways to appropriately commemorate the victims at the Games are being discussed with the Beijing organisers.

The press conference was the last major opportunity for the media to ask questions before the meeting of the Board immediately prior to the Beijing Games.

Questions on irregular betting and commemorating victims of the Sichuan earthquake at the Beijing Olympic Games were among those put by reporters taking the chance to tackle a wide range of issues.

Pele and the Torch
He underlined that the ‘crisis’ faced by the Olympic movement in April, when the Olympic torch relay was beset by protests and demonstrations in some cities on its international leg, was now over.

The idea of the relay was inspiring, he added, and the 2004 Athens torch relay was hugely successful in bringing the Olympic ideal to the world. “I will never forget seeing Pele, surely the world’s most famous footballer, who had won every award in football, crying as he took hold of the torch. Even though he’d never competed at the Olympic Games. That is its power.”

Interpol advice on problem betting
Asked what was being done to combat the threat of irregular betting, the President said the IOC was taking advice from Interpol and was close to signing a contract with a monitoring organization.

One reporter questioned Wednesday’s 2016 Candidate City announcement, which saw the Qatari capital of Doha fail to make the shortlist, primarily due to the bid seeking an exception to the normal dates on which the Olympic Games are held. “It was in March 2007 that the IOC specified that the 2016 Games should be held in July/August,” explained President Rogge. “Doha sought an exception and the Executive Board did not grant it.” Otherwise, he added, it was a technically good bid.

The next IOC press conference will take place at the next meeting of the IOC Executive Board, prior to the Olympic Games in Beijing.
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