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  • #ICYMI: Jacques Rogge's Passion for Hockey; World Olympic Collectors Flock to Warsaw


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    Jacques Rogge's Passion for Hockey

    Considering he was a 16-time Belgian national champion in rugby, it’s no surprise that IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge enjoys the rugged and physical nature of ice hockey.
    IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge and wife Anne at the ice hockey world championship in Slovakia (ATR)

    The 77-year-old Rogge, who led the IOC as president from 2001 to 2013, and his wife Anne were guests of president René Fasel and the International Ice Hockey Federation at this past weekend’s final world championship games in Bratislava, Slovakia.

    “Maybe something that will surprise you, I like the contact sports – I was a rugby player and there is some similarity between rugby and ice hockey,” Rogge told Around the Rings during an intermission of the bronze medal contest between Russia and Czech Republic.

    The three-time Olympian in sailing said that his passion for ice hockey grew throughout his IOC presidency and the game epitomizes everything that modern day sports entertainment should offer.

    “You have a sport as such, and the competition as such, and also you have what I call a recreational aspect within the stadium,” Rogge says. “The people participate with not only shouting and yelling, but also with the music and entertainment aspect and that’s what people want in all sports, to enjoy themselves.”

    Although one may not associate Belgium with the fast and physical game played on ice, Rogge is quick to point out his country’s often overlooked contribution to establishing and governing the sport.

    “People are mostly short-sighted and don’t accept the fact that the international federation was created by a Belgian,” Rogge says, referring to Henri van den Bulcke, who was one of the five founders of the IIHF in Paris in 1908, and served as president over two terms from 1912 to 1920.

    “He created the federation, developed it and became European champion,” he said. So there was a tradition from my country.”

    Rogge, whose IOC presidency included overseeing three Olympic Winter Games (2002, 2006, 2010) in which NHL players participated, believes a return of the league’s talent for Beijing 2022 and beyond is paramount. Rogge was a proponent that the IOC should cover the technical costs associated with having the NHL players at the Games.

    “I believe truly that the Games will be better with the presence of the best hockey players,” Rogge says. “When I was in my mandate, I did what I could to make sure that the NHL players would participate in the Games and I must say Rene Fasel did a big job also with that.

    “I hope very positively for future Games with the presence of the NHL.”

    Click here for the rest of this story by Brian Pinelli in Bratislava, Slovakia.

    World Olympic Collectors Flock to Warsaw

    Collectors from around the world gather in Warsaw to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Polish Olympic Committee.

    Collectors wheeling and dealing in Warsaw (ATR)
    Nearly 120 table-holders from 25 countries bought, sold and traded pins, medals, torches, stamps, coins and other memorabilia at the 25th World Olympic Collectors Fair.

    The Polish Olympic Committee, founded in 1919, hosted the show at its headquarters, the magnificent Museum of Sport and Tourism, in conjunction with AICO (the Association Internationale des Collectioneurs Olympiques) and “The Olympian” Polish Club of Olympic and Sports Philately.

    “Congratulations to the Polish Olympic Committee for achieving the 100 years and we’re really happy to be here to help them celebrate it,” David Frome of Great Britain told Around the Rings. “We’ve been talking to each other and exchanging stories and views -- and obviously exchanging goods and memorabilia.”

    Collectors from other countries including the United States, Russia, China, Japan, Brazil, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Croatia, Romania, Czech Republic and Spain were pleased to see a lot of foot traffic that kept the large room bustling.

    Piotr Debski, a Polish collector and one of the show organizers, estimated more than 1,000 visitors -- not including the exhibitors – on the first two days of the three-day show.

    “We are surprised that we had a lot of visitors from Poland, making it much more popular than before,” he said, comparing the fair to the edition held in Warsaw in 2009.

    Some of those visitors Saturday came from the annual “Olympic Picnic” on the grounds, which featured more than 100 Olympians including Tomasz Majewski, a double Olympic gold medalist in the shot put.

    “I couldn’t find anyone who was unhappy,” Debski said. “Based on the impressions of participants, it’s one of the best shows ever.”

    Click here to read the rest of this story by Karen Rosen in Warsaw.

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