Jacques Rogge, the president of duty who restored the rings of the IOC

President of the International Olympic Committee from 2001 to 2013, the Belgian passed away this Sunday, at the age of 79.

He succeeded the omnipotent Juan Antonio Samaranch and preceded the very outspoken Thomas Bach: the former IOC president Jacques Rogge, whose death at 79 was announced on Sunday, however had nothing of a transitional pope , in particular in the fight against doping. Elected in 2001, after 21 years of Samaranch’s reign in Lausanne, the eighth president of the body then inherited an institution undermined by suspicions of nepotism and corruption. The first Games of his mandate are just as sulphurous: Salt Lake City is accused of having paid bribes to the IOC to obtain the organization of the 2002 Winter Olympics, after several unsuccessful candidacies. Worse, on the doping front, seven positive cases (including three gold medalists) are recorded during these Olympics, while there were only five between 1924 and 1998. Immersed immediately in the storm , the former skipper (three participations in the Olympic Games in 1968, 1972 and 1976) then chose a clear course.

«Zero tolerance»

«The fight against doping can be summed up in two words: zero tolerance», He will summarize in 2009. And in fact, under the leadership of Rogge, the controls will multiply in the weeks preceding the Olympics. The president firmly emphasizes prevention rather than repression. The strategy did not immediately hit the mark: at the Turin Olympics in 2006, a blood transfusion laboratory was still discovered in the chalet of Austrian cross-country skiers and biathletes. But four years later, thirty athletes were declared persona non grata before the Vancouver Games, validating the approach focused on prevention. In addition to his fight against doping, the knight Rogge (who will be made count in 2002) sets out to attack the gigantism of the Games. To avoid reliving the Salt Lake City scandal, the Belgian is reforming the system for awarding the Olympic Games to candidate cities, with the aim of moving towards greater transparency. The Olympic program is limited, at its initiative, to 28 disciplines and 10,500 athletes.

The IOC President, re-elected without opposition in 2009, will work closely with athletes during the Games, choosing to take up residence in the Olympic Village rather than at the hotel, history of “live fully»The biennial high mass. This desire for simplicity does not prevent Rogge from filling the IOC’s coffers: in 2014, one year after the end of his second term, the Lausanne body had a reserve of $ 980 million. “A beautiful heritage and solid foundationsPraised by his successor Thomas Bach. Still, Jacques Rogge’s prudence did not only make people happy, especially at the London Olympics in 2012.

The IOC is a sports organization, it has no political competence. He cannot restore peace to the world where governments or religions cannot.

Jacques Rogge

During the opening ceremony of the last Games organized under his presidency, the Belgian refused to pay tribute to the eleven Israeli sportsmen and the West German policeman killed by a Palestinian commando team forty years earlier, during the Munich Olympics . For him, the “atmosphere“Of such a ceremony is inappropriate for”this kind of commemorations“. Finally, Rogge will participate in a ceremony to honor the victims of 1972, held in the Olympic Village. “The IOC is a sports organization, it has no political competence. He cannot restore peace to the world where governments or religions cannot.“, Had decided the boss of the Olympism in 2002. In the absence of peace, Rogge will bring the Games to countries hitherto neglected by the Olympic movement. Rio de Janeiro won in 2009 the organization of the 2016 Olympics, the first in South America. Africa, which the Belgian was hoping for an Olympic bid, is still waiting for its turn.

When he leaves the IOC at the end of his second term, the former orthopedic surgeon remains faithful to his tradition of discretion, anxious not to “not play the mother-in-law of (his) successor.“In fact, apart from a few official ceremonies, or a jump to Pyeongchang, South Korea, to encourage the Belgian delegation to the Winter Olympics in 2018, Rogge is rare. “If I took pleasure? Not always. Was that exciting? Certainly», He summed up when handing over the keys to the IOC. The last word of a man of duty more than of power.


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