Weekend Entertainment: Rogge Was Good For IOC Business

Rogge oversaw changes in the Olympics Programs.

Jacques Rogge, the one-time president of the International Olympic Committee, passed away earlier this week at the age of 79. Rogge was an orthopedic surgeon with a degree in sports medicine and an Olympic sailing participant for Belgium. Rogge was the IOC’s head man between 2001 and 2013 and ushered in the era of getting the most important person in a country, a President, Prime Minister, Chancellor, Premier, to genuflect before the International Olympic Committee begging to land an Olympics. In 2005  England’s Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared before the IOC pitching London’s case for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Two years later, President Vladimir Putin of Russia pleaded his case for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In 2009, the IOC was used to having world leaders before them pushing their countries to land the 2016 Summer Olympics. Brazil’s Lula won the bid, but there was pressure on the United States President Barack Obama to appear before the IOC delegates to pitch a Chicago bid. IOC delegate Dick Pound of Canada, noted that Obama’s absence would be noted in the bidding process. Obama showed up in Copenhagen, Denmark to prop up the bid but the IOC was determined to go to South America so it really didn’t matter what Obama did in Copenhagen.

In 2009, during the Rogge era, the United Nations General Assembly granted the IOC Permanent Observer status. That allowed the IOC to be directly involved in the UN Agenda and to attend General Assembly meetings where it can take the floor. The IOC could introduce ideas before the General Assembly. In 2006, when Turin hosted the Winter Olympics, Rogge told Italian officials not to arrest athletes caught doping and send them to jail. Instead, the IOC would suspend athletes for doping. Rogge got a huge TV deal from NBC in 2011. Rogge was good for Olympics business.

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