BUENOS AIRES – Details of the six men bidding to replace outgoing International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge in vote by fellow IOC members on Tuesday:
Thomas Bach — Germany
Perceived for years as the man most likely to succeed Rogge, and still the favorite. The Olympics has been in the 59-year-old German lawyer’s blood for almost his whole life from winning Olympic gold in the team foil at the 1976 Games in Montreal to becoming an IOC member in 1991 rising to become a vice-president on three occasions.
His interest in sports politics stemmed from the dismissive way politicians treated the athletes and their views — he was the spokesman for the West Germans — ahead of the 1980 boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow. Aside from the athletes interests coming first he also believes hosting a Games should be as attractive and feasible for as many cities and countries as possible.
Sergei Bubka — Ukraine
If it came to popular name recognition then the pole vault legend — the world record holder indoors and outdoors and six-time world outdoor champion as well as the 1988 Olympic gold medallist — would trounce his opponents by the same margins he used to beat his fellow athletes.
However, the IOC presidency is decided by many other factors and the 49-year-old Ukrainian may be seen to be too raw to be entrusted with such an onerous responsibility. Talks enthusiastically about re-engaging youth and getting them practicing sport again — even using a quote by Nelson Mandela “Sport has the power to change lives” to support his case.
Richard Carrion (Puerto Rico)
Very smart and assured banker and philanthropist, whose business acumen would be reassuring at the head of the IOC during the ongoing global financial uncertainty. The 60-year-old Puerto Rican — an IOC member since 1990 and who tried to unsuccessfully see San Juan get the 2004 Games — was responsible for brokering the record $4.38 billion broadcasting deal with NBC to have exclusive U.S. coverage of the Olympics through to 2020.
Would bring a vastly different tone to the job. Charismatic and with a twinkle in his eye — his motto is “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” — he has been liberated by the campaign he says as he has been able to ‘speak from the heart’ on issues he felt he could not before, principally the IOC must not lose sight of its values.
Ng Ser Miang (Singapore)
Diplomat and successful businessman the 64-year-old Singaporean has been an IOC member from 1998 and a vice-president since 2009. The well-liked China-born Ng is seen as the dark horse, who could upset Bach.
A former yachtsman like Rogge and presently Singapore’s ambassador to Norway believes the first Asian IOC president would take the organization into a new era. He told AFP: “I hope so!” when asked if it was time the IOC had an Asian leader. “But I think it’s important not just symbolically but for the values they can bring to the table as well, when we talk about universality, different value systems, different cultures, different ways of looking at issues and challenges.” Softly-spoken and almost always has a smile on his face, it could be a lot broader on Tuesday.
Denis Oswald (Switzerland)
Swiss former Olympic rower — who won the bronze medal in the coxed fours in the 1968 Games in Mexico City — has been an IOC member since 1991. The 66-year-old Rowing Federation president is arguing for adding new sports to the Olympic program by reducing the number of existing events and disciplines. A lawyer by profession he is a long shot.
Wu Ching-kuo (Taiwan)
Highly acclaimed architect who has worked wonders since he took over the Amateur Boxing Federation seven years ago in which he has fought corruption, introduced women’s boxing to the Olympics, delivered what is regarded as the sport’s best Olympic contest yet in London last year and persuaded communist Cuba to break a huge taboo and embrace professional sports by joining his WSB circuit for next year.
The 66-year-old was like Ng born in China but moved with his parents at the age of 1 to Taiwan. Has followed Carrion in saying games should not be awarded to countries that discriminate against anyone.