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  • Keep your Nose out of Olympics, Rogge Tells Asian Governments


    IOC President Jacques Rogge met this week with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. (Getty Images)
    IOC President Jacques Rogge warns Asian governments that the Olympics community will continue to take a firm stance against any meddling in the affairs of national Olympic committees.

    Rogge made the comments during an address to the Olympic Council of Asia general assembly in Bali, which comprises 44 NOCs.

    “Let me say a few words on the autonomy of the Olympic movement. As you know this is an issue of increasing importance,” Rogge told the assembly. “Asia, like other continents, has been suffering some governmental interferences in several national Olympic committees."

    Iraq and Nepal are two of the more notorious examples of countries where government interference has affected operations of the NOC.

    “The IOC, together with the continental NOC organizations and the NOCs and the international federations, will maintain a very firm attitude against these kind of actions. We are working jointly to try to solve the problems where the necessary autonomy is being put in danger.”

    Rogge said that the Olympic movement still needs and wants a close collaboration between sport and governments.

    “Each one of them has their own assets, responsibilities and prerogatives, but a good dialogue is needed and we want, definitely, to foster this dialogue in the full respect of the Olympic Charter,” he said.

    Asia Competition Rises

    The IOC president told the OCA delegates that Asian athletes are growing in importance at the Olympics.

    “The world was really in awe. You can be very proud of Asia, you can be proud of China, especially of Beijing and congratulations to BOCOG, to the Chinese authorities and to the (Chinese) National Olympic Committee. Your Games will be remembered forever,” Rogge said.

    He commended the sporting performance by Asian nations at the Beijing Games, noting that 19 NOCs from the continent claimed a total of 212 medals.
    “You obtained more medals than all the other continents, with the exception of Europe. But the differences between Europe and Asia are dwindling and decreasing year by year,” he said.

    The flame for the Asian Beach Games. (Getty Images)
    “Really, we saw in Beijing what I had announced at my last press conference at the Olympic Games in Athens – I said in Athens we had seen the rise of Asia…and of course it materialized completely in the 2008 Games.”

    He said the results are evidence of success in the OCA strategy of holding multiple regional and continental games to develop sport.

    He praised the OCA on its creation of the Asian Beach Games, predicting that they will become increasingly popular.

    “This is a very brilliant, creative innovative idea. These Games are going to be hugely popular, they are environment-friendly and they also support not only the local athletes, but local tourism,” Rogge said.

    Rogge congratulated the OCA on its upcoming sport congress and the inauguration of its new headquarters in Kuwait, both scheduled for March next year.

    Copenhagen Hosts Congress next October

    Rogge said the IOC Congress – held every 15 to 20 years – would be in Copenhagen next October, with the entire Olympic Family and complement of stakeholders.

    “The media will be there, the economic world will be there, the political world will be there. So we will have a full interaction with all stakeholders of the Olympic movement and this is something very important.

    “We have also taken the initiative to consult the general public around the world on the five themes that will be discussed – the athletes, the Olympic Games, the structure of the Olympic movement, youth and the influence of modern technologies on sport.”

    He added that the IOC had already received many worthwhile proposals from citizens around the world, but urged NOCs to lodge their submissions via the IOC Web site by the deadline of Dec. 31.

    “We have far more proposals coming from the general public than from the Olympic Family and this is something that should change," Rogge stressed, "so please make your proposals and they will be included, of course, in the report of Congress."

    Decision Pending for Youth Winter Games

    “We will have a decision, also, in a couple of weeks, on the Youth Games in the winter for 2012,” Rogge stated.

    Surfing is one of the sports in the Asian Beach Games. (Getty Images)
    “We have four candidate cities – one Asian city of Harbin (China) and three European cities of Innsbruck (Austria), Lillehammer (Norway) and the Finnish city of Kuopio.”

    He said the IOC Executive Board will make a decision and IOC members will be asked to endorse the decision via a postal vote, with the official result being announced in December.

    Rogge noted that in two weeks the first IOC Coordination Commission for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games will be held; a report on the progress of organizers will also be available to the IOC Congress in October next year.

    “The very concept of these youth Games is that it is much more than just competition, it is much more than elite sport,” he noted.

    “It is blending elite sport, higher-level competition, with education and culture. We want to teach these young athletes the necessary assets they have to have in life – the fight against doping, prevention of diseases, healthy lifestyle and respect of the environment.

    “All of this will be brought forward to the young athletes in a very dynamic and modern way. Not with the language of people of our generation, but in a very interactive way with new media in the language that young people want to hear and the language they understand.”

    Written by Anthony Stavrinos
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