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PARIS: International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge (pictured) said he had been privileged to be in charge of global sport’s most powerful body for the past 12 years.
The 70-year-old Belgian, who steps down in September, said being in such a position had given him the power as a sports lover to achieve dreams and aspirations for all sports.
The former Olympic yachtsman, whose understated style contrasted with his predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch who was responsible for turning the Games into a huge commercial success, admitted when he hands over to his successor he will have achieved his goal of passing on a healthy legacy.
“It is a privilege when you love sport like I do. It gives you the means to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of sports,” he said in an exclusive interview at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“I believe I will be regarded as a president who has done his work. My goal was always to transfer to my successor a solid and effective IOC.
“I believe I have done enough and been sufficiently tough against doping, also for the youth of the world with the introduction of the Youth Olympic Games and that I have placed the athlete at the centre of attention.
“All the Olympic Games I have overseen, from Salt Lake City to London, have been of the highest quality but that is down to a team effort.
“I could close the Games and reflect on a very successful Games. A job well done.”
For Rogge, the best part of the job was the opening ceremony of a Games.
“It is the most joyous occasion because you see the dreams and expectations writ on the athletes faces,” he said.
Rogge, who said he was also proud of his drive in promoting more women athletes to be represented at the Olympics with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar falling into line, admitted the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in Vancouver in 2010 had been the most painful moment.
“It was a sad moment. It was a shock and a painful issue,” he said.
“However, you have to handle it. You have to deal with the athlete’s family, and the team. Then you have to deal with the issue for the future of the sport and come to the right conclusions.”
Rogge said the advice he would give his successor was very simple.
“I will say to my successor: ‘Know how to listen to others’,” he said.
Rogge said that despite there only ever being one non-European -- American white supremacist Avery Brundage -- as IOC president it didn’t mean it was time to look outside the continent for his successor.
“It is not a factor in IOC members minds. What they consider is whether the person is capable or not,” he said during the interview. AFP