Jacques Rogge, IOC President

Introducing Jacques Rogge, IOC President
By profession, Jacques Rogge is an orthopaedic surgeon and former sports medicine lecturer. In the course of his sports career, he competed in the yachting competitions at the Olympics in Mexico in 1968, in Munich in 1972 and also in Montreal in 1976, becoming world champion once, vice-champion twice and Belgian national champion sixteen times. He was also a member of the Belgian national rugby squad on ten different occasions.

Chef de mission at the Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck and Calgary and at the Games in Moscow, Los Angeles and Seoul, he subsequently served as President of the Belgian National Olympic Committee from 1988 to 1992. He became President of the European National Olympic Committees in 1989. Becoming IOC Member in 1991 then Executive Board member in 1998, Jacques Rogge played an important role as President of the Coordination Commission for the Sydney Games.

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1007 Lausanne
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Fax: +41 21 621 62 16
Internet: www.olympics.org

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This archived article was published 28 November 2004
The cities bidding for the 2012 Olympics
have learnt from Salt Lake City scandal
By Nick Swift

On 15 November 2004 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the five Candidate Cities in the competition to host the Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012 – London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris – had succeeded in delivering their files to the IOC headquarters in Switzerland before the midnight deadline. They were accepted as candidates by the IOC Executive Board on 18 May out of the nine Applicant Cities. Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig and Rio de Janeiro were not accepted.

How London won the 2012 Olympics

The IOC Evaluation Commission will analyse the Candidature Files, and conduct site inspections: Madrid, London and New York in February 2005, and Paris and Moscow in March. The Commission’s report will be submitted to IOC members no later than a month before the election of the Host City on 6 July during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore.

The scandal in Salt Lake City has had the consequence of rigorous new rules covering modes of contact between the bidding cities’ representatives and IOC members, thus expanding the number of ways in which they can reduce their chances, and narrowing their range of options for positive persuasion. The most experienced and well informed observers seem to agree that: any current estimates of the relative chances of the candidates are frankly irrelevant; any of the candidates could produce an excellent XXX Olympiad by purely technical criteria; and the decisive factors will by no means all be rational ones. Public relations, on the scales of both the relationship of the cities’ teams with the IOC members (summed up as ‘trust’) and of managing the unpredictable sphere of media, where the adage that “any publicity is good publicity” clearly does not apply, are obviously paramount.

Paris is, nonetheless, considered the favourite at present, and Moscow the least likely to win; yet while it is Paris’ third bid, Istanbul’s fourth proved futile. Most IOC members are European, but it is accepted that an overall goal is to have Olympics held on all continents, which is one reason many were dismayed by Rio de Janeiro’s elimination, since there has never been an Olympics in South America. The technical assessment on which the five candidates were chosen was based on 25 questions, covering government support and popular opinion, general infrastructure, accommodation, and experience.

An ICM opinion poll found that 67 per cent of Londoners support the city’s bid, and more than 60 per cent approve funding the Games from the two sources of the National Lottery and London Council taxpayers. Transport concerns appear to have been addressed with the announcement by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling that 30 new high speed trains will be built to operate the Olympic Javelin, the shuttle service that will run between central London and the Olympic Park, with an average journey time of seven minutes. Lord Coe, London 2012 Chairman, called the Javelin “our secret weapon”. There will be one train every 15 seconds, with an hourly capacity of 240,000. Capable of reaching 240 miles per hour on both domestic railways and the new high speed channel tunnel rail link, the new trains will be in operation by 2009.

The London 2012 Olympic Village, meanwhile, is to be sited within the Olympic Park, so that 75 per cent of the athletes will be able to stay within 15 minutes of their competition venues. The 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium is to be of a futuristic design, inspired by the human form, including a roof that wraps itself around the area in the manner of muscles supporting a human body.

In Madrid, the Spanish government said it was pledging 833 million euros to the city’s Olympic bid, with more than half of that amount to be spent on security, and another 299 million euros of it for venue construction. The Olympic facilities will be in three main areas, all within 10 kilometres of each other. The heart of the Madrid Games will take place in the Eastern Section, containing the Olympic Park and the Athletics Stadium, and where the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympic Games and the Paralympics will be hosted. The Central Venue, running north to south, will be “a walk through the past and present of Madrid”, and will include two sporting activity venues. The Western sector is in natural surroundings, and events like horse riding and pentathlon will be held there. Other venues will be in Aranjuez and Palma de Mallorca, and preliminary rounds of football in Alicante, Barcelona, Cordoba and Malaga. All of the Madrid venues are no more than 20 kilometres from the city centre, and accessible to each other within 20 minutes.

Sustainability is a watchword for the Spanish: “The Olympic Games,” they observe, “is a great opportunity to make Madrid a more environmental and sustainable city, leaving behind an important social, educational and environmental legacy, in the context of the principles contained in the Agenda 21 of the Olympic Movement.”

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has guaranteed the federal government’s financial and organisational support if Moscow’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games succeeds. Twenty of the country’s leading businesses have also pledged their support, for which they were awarded certificates of honour at a ceremony in October. Lennart Dahlgren, General Director of IKEA Russia, one of the businesses, said that it “would be a great thing for the people of this city and indeed the country and the world as a whole. Moscow is at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East”.

Central to the Moscow Games is the Moscow River. Holding them at locations along it would not only maximise convenience with short travel times, but the river itself would provide a spectacular backdrop for Olympic athletes and visitors alike. Each day more than 60,000 visitors will be able to travel by boat from the 70 passenger piers to the Olympic venues and places of historical and cultural interest. The main Olympic venues will be in five complexes five to 10 kilometres from each other. Compactness was seen as a virtue for the totality, in complement to the inherent usefulness of the river as a combined transport instrument and attraction in its own right. (An advantage of that compactness is enhanced security and medical services.) Otherwise, the heart of the concept is the existing 80,000-seat Luzhniki Olympic Complex with its surrounding Olympic Park. The Olympic Village will be 10 to 15 minutes from the Luzhniki site, and 10 to 20 minutes from the other athletic venues. The Krytalskoe complex, in Moscow itself, is 15 minutes away from the Olympic Village. A Moscow XXX Olympiad would mean the first time all Olympic events are held within the city limits of the Host City.

In New York City, a long-term upgrading of the public transport system is expected to have reached a stage of completion by 2009 such that no further work needs to be done to accommodate NYC 2012 crowds. The result will be that almost all venues will be reachable by subway or train. The New York project is being referred to as the ‘Olympic X Plan’ because all but one of the venues will be along two intersecting transportation axes, respectively water and rail. The north-south axis traces the course of the Harlem and East Rivers, and the east-west axis is along railway lines from Flushing Meadows to the Meadowlands. Athletes in the Olympic Village at the centre, on the East River in Queens across from the United Nations, will take rapid ferries and special dedicated community trains to their events. While the athletes will thus almost exclusively be able to avoid venturing onto the busy New York City streets, nearly every venue is at or close to a subway stop for the convenience of the spectators.

Only three events will be held outside of the city itself, 82 per cent will be within 10 miles of the Olympic Village, and all will be within 20 miles: something that, as NYC 2012’s website points out, is “unprecedented in modern Olympic history”.

Like some other Candidate Cities, New York views the prospect of hosting XXX Olympiad as a major opportunity for bringing permanent benefits to the city, especially for New York youth. An Ethics Board has been created that includes distinguished legal names, and prominent independent and corporate financial forces have committed themselves, some of their support going to offers of public relations help to the official bodies of less celebrated areas of athletics who nonetheless have important IOC influence. On the other hand, among factors against the New York City scenario is the principle of continental diversity.

In the context of Paris and that city’s Olympic aspirations, concisely expressed in the phrases “L’Amour des Jeux” (“the love of the games”) and “one village, two clusters”, IOC President Jacques Rogge discounted the likelihood of an aggressive approach to succeed, and emphasized the importance of the file itself and following proper procedures after its submission. In November, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin approved a range of financial guarantees, altogether 2.5 billion euros in public funds, for everything from construction of the Olympic Village to a mechanism for issuing entry visas to foreign visitors. The Paris City council then committed 1.27 billion euros, and the Paris regional authority just over one billion euros.

The Paris Olympic Village will cover about 50 hectares in the Batignolles site in the City of Paris, equidistant between the two northern and western venue clusters, and near the chief tourist attractions. The residential area will be centred around a large (10 hectares) park. The Paris 2012 Olympic Village is intended to be a model of urban rehabilitation, constructed on one of the few remaining areas of Paris that need redeveloping. Here again, sustainability and high environmental standards are held indispensable, and the first priority of the Paris Olympics in that context is the noble – and unprecedented – one that they will be “the first Games ever to conclude with a neutral greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) balance”..  

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