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  • Q&A with PASO President Mario Vazquez Rana


    Mario Vazquez Rana in Miami. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
    (ATR) Mario Vazquez Rana says he’s writing a book that will include his side of the power struggle in 2012 that led him to resign from the IOC and leadership posts in the Olympic Movement.

    He remains president of the Pan American Sports Organization and has declared his intent to seek an 11th term in 2015 when he turns 83.

    Vazquez Rana spoke to Around the Rings Editor Ed Hula at the PASO meetings recently held in Miami.

    Around the Rings: A lot has changed since our last interview. You resigned as an IOC member, you are no longer ANOC president or head of Olympic Solidarity. How has your life changed?

    Mario Vazquez Rana: My life has changed in a very positive manner, as I said. More time for my business and more time to the Pan American Sports. This is a great desire of mine to see PASO every day stronger and everyday providing a better service for the NOCs of the Americas, which is my obligation.

    I was a member of the IOC EB and a member of the IOC and I feel very proud of it, there is plenty to say about it. I told you once I am writing a book and I would rather leave everything to be said at the right time but I can talk about things that I have done and the things you have to do.

    ATR: You left the IOC and ANOC in a difficult way – you were angry over the efforts of others to take control?

    MVR: I left the IOC because I was almost out of the IOC membership because of my age but in ANOC I had no age limit. I was elected until 2015 and also I was in Olympic Solidarity.

    But as you know there have been many things happening, some serious and rare things happened. And there were things I wanted to get into but those kind of things forced me or encouraged me to leave my positions because I do not like to work where I am not happy.

    And this is something I am not going to get into right now as I said because you know that I always loved ANOC, ANOC is the son for me because I pampered it and I think I left ANOC in a very good position.

    At Olympic Solidarity I was a founder and I also left a very strong Olympic Solidarity even though there were some things that I considered incorrect, but that’s not the real issue. I still love the organizations, I still love ANOC and I am saving everything so that I can write it my way. It is going to be a book so whatever you read there really happened, and that’s why I’m taking my time to do this.

    It’s almost ready but I’ve been working on people and interviewing them and chatting before writing the book and we’re almost in the middle of it. I still have one year to go. It’s going to be in English and Spanish and it's going be a very heavy book, around three kilos.

    ATR: How’s it going for Toronto? What do they need to do?
    Leaders of Toronto 2015 receive an award from Mario Vazquez Rana at the 2012 PASO General Assembly in Mexico City. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    MVR: Work hard. They will be in Jamaica. Hopefully they will deliver a very good report that will comply with all our rules. I hope, I have great hope for Toronto. I think they will have a very good games. But this is something we have to start working on now.

    ATR: What do you think about the potential for a U.S. bid for the Olympic Games?

    MVR: Well that’s a totally an internal affair of the USOC. I understand there is some interest but this is not for us to interfere as long as the USOC does not present a city.

    ATR: Do you think the United States has put itself into a better position to make a bid to the Olympics?

    MVR: I think that the USOC is really targeting 2024 for the Olympic Games. And for 2024 I think it would have been very good for them to actually bid for the 2019 Pan American Games because bidding for the Pan-American Games will make a stronger Olympic Bid. The Pan American Games right now are a very big showcase.

    ATR: Why have an extraordinary General Assembly in Kingston?

    PASO heads to Kingston, Jamaica next month. (Getty Images)
    MVR: Because last year’s took place in March and it was far too long until [the next scheduled assembly] October 2013. It’s a lot of time. Even though it’s an extraordinary general assembly we will be inviting the presidents and the secretary generals.

    For us, for the executive committee and the NOCs, it’s very important because it will give us all the details of everything we need to reach Toronto [in October].

    When we have the Toronto general assembly, we have to have all the problems solved because we’re going to have to devote a lot of attention for the 2019 Pan American Games because that’s going to be where the city gets elected. We will work in Jamaica with Toronto so we get there with everything in place.

    Written and reported by Ed Hula.

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