Vazquez Rana Talks About Future
Re-lected by acclamation to another term as president of the Pan American Sports Organization, Mario Vazquez Rana closed the general assembly Thursday in Mexico City with some reflections about what is ahead. Fading away does not seem to be an option.
Mario Vazquez Rana following the General Assembly. (ATR)
Vazquez Rana, who turns 80 this year and must retire from the IOC, was rumored to be facing a challenge over his PASO re-election, which never emerged this week. But he has been caught in a fight over leadership issues at the Association of National Olympic Committees, which Vazquez Rana also leads.
The ANOC Assembly in Moscow next month could pose the next hurdle ahead for Vazquez Rana, who still has two years left in his presidential term. Speaking at the PASO Assembly Thursday, he did not shy away from directing a barb at his rivals.
“Around 12, 13 people have said to me resign from everything to your business since you are going to face a catfight” he said.
“But I am not afraid of that since every time I see a cat I become a tiger.
“The only thing I can say is I am going to analyze the situation since I am becoming 80 and it’s a good thing to become 80. I am not going to be a member of the IOC and I am happy. And if I am not a member of the Executive Board than I am happy. I have two more years at ANOC and I am happy for it.
No matter what happens, Vazquez Rana said PASO will remain his first love.
“I still feel young so I know how old I am. The person who knows how old they are is that person. I feel 30. I feel with an open mind to become a better person. I know what is happening.
“What truly gets all the attention is PASO.”
Raves for Rana
IOC member Nicole Hoevertsz and secretary general of the Mexican Olympic Committee Ricardo Contreras praised Vazquez Rana for his work at PASO over the years.
“When I started here I was very young and it was thanks to you, to your guideline to your leadership that I feel more prepared and better in general terms,” Hoevertsz said, adding that the longtime PASO chief is “an inspiration to all of us.”
“I’ve seen you leading the PASO organization and making it…the strongest sports organization in the world.”
Contreras was similarly effusive, saying Vazquez Rana was “born for sports.”
“We have to recognize and you will recognize that PASO has been your alma mater,” he said.
“That’s why I ask as Mexico Olympic Committee secretary general, that if you ever think about leaving any of the international positions you now hold, don’t leave PASO. We need you in PASO. We need you in Mexico. Please stay with us.”
When the PASO General Assembly opened on Wednesday, Vazquez Rana said he hoped the meeting, the 50th, would be the best ever. He ended by saying “it’s been the most satisfying meeting that I’ve ended. I’m completely happy".
“There’s been some issues. But I like to have issues because what are we good for?”
Richard Peterkin at the PASO dais. (ATR)
Peterkin Surprised to Lose PASO Treasurer
Richard Peterkin tells Around the Rings
he was surprised to learn he will no longer serve as Treasurer of the Pan American Sports Organization.
Mario Vazquez Rana declined to name Peterkin to the post for another term on Wednesday. He was replaced with Ecuador NOC President Danilo Carrera.
Peterkin said he and no idea “whatsoever” Vazquez Rana would remove him.
“It’s the right of the President to change his treasurer whenever he sees fit so I accept whatever he says,” Peterkin said.
Vazquez Rana did say Peterkin would remain treasurer for the Association of National Olympic Committees.
Around the Rings understands that part of the reason may be political. Peterkin is well respected within ANOC and many ANOC members may object to Peterkin’s removal.
NOC leaders in the Americas told ATR
they are disappointed with Peterkin’s removal but noted there was little they could do.
Peterkin said the person who is happiest about the decision is his wife. He says he will no longer have to travel to Mexico routinely to carry out duties as PASO Treasurer.
Peterkin, an IOC member, is also president of the St. Lucia NOC.
More Money for NOCs
Vazquez Rana announced Thursday he is granting an extra $100,000 to NOCs from the Pan American Olympic Solidarity fund. The money will be distributed in either March or April, whenever the NOC decides they need it most.
Delegates from the PASO General Assembly. (ATR)
Most NOCs said they would take the money in March.
He added that next year he will double the amount of money he awards.
Two hiccoughs emerged during the process. Vazquez Rana asked each member present at the General Assembly which month they needed the money. Cuba asked for the money in March, but he noted “the system to provide money to Cuba is complicated” noting that by the time the transfers are complete, it will likely be April.
Some NOCs were late to the General Assembly and will receive their money in March, no matter what.
“If somebody is here late, then that person deserves to be punished,” he chided the tardy members.
All totaled, Vazquez Rana announced $300,000 in money to be distributed to NOCs during the General Assembly.
Future Games Reports
London 2012, Rio 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 all had the chance to address the PASO General Assembly.
James Macleod, head of NOC Services and Relations for LOCOG presented first. He detailed the laundry list of services available for NOCs during the Games including free wifi and food services at the Olympic Village.
Jin Sun Kim. (ATR)
Lenny Abbey, continental manager for the Americas followed saying the top priorities for LOCOG in the next 140 days for NOCs included attending ANOC and other continental meetings; approval of the Chefs de Mission Manual which should come from the IOC this month; delegate registration and training the volunteers for NOC services. Abbey said LOCOG hopes to have its NOC services team in the Olympic Village by May.
Mario Cilenti head of NOC services for Rio 2016 said the Games would have a special significance in the Americas.
“The advantage we have here is that we want to support you in any way we can so the Americas get the greatest victory,” he said.
PyeongChang 2018 President Jin Sun Kim made his first public appearance since being tapped to lead the organizing committee.
He spoke briefly before Soo Hun Yoon, senior director for international affairs addressed the assembly.
She gave a brief overview of the work needed in PyeongChang for the Games and construction schedules ahead. She also said POCOG has two deputy secretary generals, “sx functional bureaus and about 80 passionate staff.”
The Mexican Olympic Committee unveiled the Don Mario Vazquez Rana Olympic Plaza on Thursday.
Mario Vazquez Rana likes his statue. (ATR)
The ceremony was attended by more than 300 people, including PASO General Assembly delegates and a who’s who of Mexican sports.
During the 90-minute ceremony, Don Mario was feted in speeches from MOC president Felipe Muñoz Kapamas, political leaders and more than a dozen Mexican sport federations. The latter presented Vazquez Rana with gifts from their federations, including a fencing sword from the fencing federation, which Vazquez Rana appeared taken aback.
Standing sentinel over the large open-air plaza at the heart of the MOC’s massive training complex and headquarters is a life-size bronze statue of the PASO president.
PASO Athletes Commission
Alexandra Orlando (left) officially introduced as the PASO Athletes Commission president. (ATR)
Alexandra Orlando of Canada was elected President of the Athletes Commission. She will become a member of the PASO Executive Committee in her position.
Orlando is the first President of PASO’s Athletes Commission. She said her first order of business will be to travel to Moscow for a meeting with other continental Athletes Commission presidents during the ANOC Assembly.
Orlando is a rhythmic gymnast with multiple Pan American Games gold medals.
Next Meeting in Canada
The next PASO General Assembly will take place in Canada next year. Vazquez Rana said no date was set because PASO had to work around the schedule of the IOC Session, scheduled for Sep. 2013 in Buenos Aires.
Written and reported in Mexico City by Ed Hula III.
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