German Bach elected as IOC president

Updated: 2013-09-11 06:00


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German Bach elected as IOC president

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge (L) shakes hands with Thomas Bach of Germany after he was elected the ninth president of the IOC during a vote in Buenos Aires, September 10, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

BUENOS AIRES - Thomas Bach of Germany was elected to succeed Jacques Rogge as International Olympic Committee (IOC) president here on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old former Olympic champion stood out of the six candidates, the most ever seen in history, at the 125th IOC Session, beating Sergey Bubka of Ukraine, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, Ng Ser Miang of Singapore and Denis Oswald of Switzerland in the second round of the secret voting.

There was a tie between Ng and Wu Ching-Kuo of Chinese Taipei in the first round race with equal fewest votes, followed by a run-off that squeezed out Wu.

Bach polled 49 of the available 93 votes, beating Carrion into second on 29 votes. Ng had six, Oswald five and Bubka four.

The result was not a surprise.

Critics here mentioned even before the vote that Tokyo's winning in 2020 Olympics bid had already eliminated the possibility of the two Asian candidates to kick the final goal.

The world largest sports organization prefers not to offer the honor of Olympic hosting city and IOC president both to Asia, they said.

In Tuesday's ballot, candidates were authorized to vote, but IOC members from the same NOC as any one of the candidates under consideration at the time were not allowed to vote during the round.

The new president will lead the Olympic Movement for a term of eight years renewable once for another four years.

Bach, a lawyer, businessman and Olympic champion in fencing at Montreal 1976 Games, has served as IOC vice president since the beginning of this millennium.

Rich experience in sport and administration had made him the front runner during the race towards the top position.

Bach is the ninth IOC president as well as the eighth president from Europe.

In the nearly 120 years' modem Olympic history, all of the IOC presidents have come form Europe except for Avery Brundage from the United States who had a 20 years reign between 1952 and 1972.

Bach said his experience as Olympian, IOC member and the president of the National Olympic Committee of Germany has prepared him to lead the IOC.

His description that the IOC president is like a conductor of an orchestra has become the most famous metaphor during the presidential race.

It is a orchestra "where you have many instruments and where each member should play the instrument he or she prefers," according to Bach.

"I think of the IOC president as a kind of conductor of this orchestra, responsible to bring out these talents, to allow these individual strengths to unfold," he said.

It appeared in Bach's 14-page election manifesto a call for more deliberation and debate among IOC members and flexibility in the way cities bid for the games as well as the procedure that decides the inclusion of Olympic program.

Bach supports the Youth Olympic Games but believes a review after 2014 is needed. He also says changes to the members retirement age of 70 should also be researched with care.

On the announcement ceremony following the election, Bach presented an Olympic Order in gold to Rogge for his contribution to the Olympic Movement while offering his "personal thanks" to him.

"You are leading such a great legacy and strong foundation on which we all together can continue to build the future of IOC," said Bach.

"I would also like to thank my fellow candidates and all those who did not vote me at this time. I will work for and with you in the coming years."

The new president emphasized the responsibility as the Olympic chief.

"I know the great responsibility to be an IOC president. This makes me humble," he said. "I want to lead the IOC according to my motto 'unity and diversity' and I want to be a president for all of you."

"This means I will do my best to balance well all the different interest on the Olympic Movement. My door, my ears and my heart are always open to you," he added.

Rogge will deliver a closing speech later in the day. After that, Bach will debut as IOC president in front of press.

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