Bach waits in wings as Rogge Olympic reign nears end
Bach waits in wings as Rogge Olympic reign nears end
Unassuming Belgian Jacques Rogge will step down on Tuesday after a 12-year reign in what has been a largely successful term having notably been credited with restoring the image of the organization.
It is a considerable feat as Rogge had faced a tough task after the IOC had been badly tarnished in the final years of Juan Antonio Samaranch’s stewardship over the bribes for votes scandal concerning the successful Salt Lake City bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The sextet of candidates — all men and none from Africa — will take over an IOC that Rogge revealed on Sunday is in great financial health and, with over $900 million in reserve, could afford the cancelation of an Olympic Games.
The relatively peaceful and private campaign — the candidates are simply appealing to a narrow electorate of around 100 — was spectacularly livened up by a bitter personal attack by race outsider Denis Oswald on the frontrunner Thomas Bach.
Oswald, the respected long-time president of the Rowing Federation, said that he would not step down in order to help Bach, far from it.
“Certainly not in the case of Thomas Bach! I don’t believe he and I share the same values!” he told Swiss radio.
“What I hear... is he is implicated in commercial affairs. He uses his position to his benefit so that he can gain contracts for the companies he represents.”
Bach fobbed the remarks off saying he hadn’t heard them and he was just focused on talking to his colleagues.
Monday’s fare for the assembled IOC members was far lower key than the two previous frenetic days of elections for the host city for 2020 — won by Tokyo — and a sport for the 2020 and 2024 Games which saw wrestling restored to the program after a remarkable seven-month fightback.
Monday saw a succession of reports by the heads of various commissions — the essence of the smooth running of the IOC.
Bach, who would become the first Olympic gold medallist to assume the role having won the team foil fencing title in 1976, produced the most interesting news when he said disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong had yet to return his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics despite being asked to nine months ago.
Bach, a 59-year-old German lawyer, has made the IOC and its future his life.
He has done so since becoming interested in sports politics when he was irritated at the dismissive manner in which German politicians treated him in his role as the West German athletes’ spokesman in the debate over the boycott of the 1980 Olympics.
“In 1980 I was the spokesman for all the West German athletes and fought really hard for us to be able to compete in Moscow,” he told AFP in August.
“This for me was the turning point from being an athlete to entering sports politics.
“I accepted to become a member of the German NOC because I wanted to avoid the situation where a future generation of athletes would suffer in the same way — every athlete’s ambition is to compete in an Olympics and for some 1980 was their only chance.
“We were more or less dismissed by them and it was the same with regard to politics and society in general. I had discussions about the boycott with the then chancellor (Helmut Schmidt) and president (Karl Carstens) and I always had the feeling they had no interest in sport.”
Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Champions League
- adrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.
- Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.
KIEV, Ukraine: Gareth Bale’s eye-catching scissor-kick helped Real Madrid to a third successive Champions League title on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over a Liverpool side thwarted by a pair of goalkeeping blunders and Mohamed Salah being forced off injured.
Bale’s jaw-dropping overhead kick put Real 2-1 up moments after his introduction, following a dramatic start to the second half in which Karim Benzema gave Real the lead as a result of a Loris Karius howler.
Sadio Mane had briefly restored parity, but Bale put Real in front again and then made it 3-1 late on with a long-range strike that the unfortunate Karius could only punch into the net.
Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.
This was not to be Salah’s night, with Real allowing Zinedine Zidane to become the first coach ever to win the Champions League three years in a row.
Madrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now won five in his great career, but even he could not argue that this was Bale’s evening.
The Welshman had been tipped to feature in the Real starting line-up but in the end was left out for Isco — just as he had been in the final win over Juventus last year — before making an emphatic impact as a substitute.
For Liverpool, this game will be remembered for the disaster that befell goalkeeper Karius in the second half, and for Salah’s tears as he departed the pitch at the NSC Olympiyskyi.
The Egyptian hurt his left shoulder as he went down in a challenge with Sergio Ramos in the 25th minute. Five minutes later he made way for Adam Lallana.
His presence at the World Cup could now be in doubt, as could that of Dani Carvajal — the Real right-back came off with a hamstring injury before the interval.
Those injuries temporarily took the sting out of the game after an enthralling start, with Liverpool on top.
It had been uncomfortable for Real, but after Salah departed, they sensed their chance. They even had the ball in the net in the 43rd minute, only to be denied by a marginal offside call.
Ronaldo’s header from Isco’s cross was parried by Karius, and Benzema turned in the loose ball, but the Frenchman had come from a fraction ahead of the last defender and the flag came up.
If that was a let-off for Liverpool, they were their own worst enemies at the start of the second half.
Isco struck the bar after Lallana diverted the ball into his path, before Benzema opened the scoring in the 51st minute.
It was a moment of unbelievable carelessness from Karius, who attempted to roll the ball out to the nearest red shirt only for Benzema to stick out a leg and send it trickling into the net.
Klopp’s side really could have let their heads drop, and yet they were soon back level, Mane turning the ball in after Dejan Lovren headed down James Milner’s corner.
But their renewed hope was crushed upon the introduction of Bale.
The Welshman had been on the field barely two minutes when he met Marcelo’s cross from the left with an improbable leap, back to goal, 15 yards out, to send an overhead kick on his left foot arcing over Karius and in.
Such a strike deserved to be the winner, although it was his long-range shot that beat the embarrassed Karius in the 83rd minute that made sure of the victory.
Mane hit the post for Liverpool in between Bale’s strikes, but they will have to wait a while yet before winning their sixth European Cup.