Jacques Rogge,
eighth IOC President

2001: Jacques Rogge, eighth IOC President

Jacques Rogge succeeded Samaranch as eighth IOC President in 2001, having represented Belgium in sailing at three Olympic Games (1968, 1972 and 1976) – making him the second IOC President (after Avery Brundage) to have competed in sporting events at the Olympic Games.

Rogge’s career prior to ascending to the IOC presidency was as an orthopaedic surgeon in Belgium. He was also formerly Chairman of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Medical Commission.

As a sports administrator, Rogge became head of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee in 1989, and in 1990 he became President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC). He was elected a Member of the IOC in 1991 and was appointed to the Executive Board in 1998. He was elected IOC President on 16 July 2001, at the 110th IOC Session in Moscow.

One of Rogge’s primary legacies was the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). It all started when he was President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in 1991 and created the (European) Youth Olympic Days. Having set up this youth event for the European NOCs, he subsequently had the opportunity to get the support of the Olympic world for the YOG, and the idea caught on immediately. Crucially, Rogge’s intention was never to limit innovation to the field of play. His vision with the YOG was to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and encourage them to adopt and live by the Olympic values, and become ambassadors of Olympism. The idea behind the YOG was and is to organise an event to educate, engage and influence young athletes and other young participants.

In addition to looking at the scope, cost and complexity of the Games, Rogge also made sure during his term that the IOC built up sufficient financial reserves to ensure that the Movement would survive should the Games not be staged for one reason or another. He also set up the Olympic Games Study Commission to look at the overall costs of staging the Olympic Games, with an eye to preventing cost and size escalation.

Under Rogge’s watch, the IOC expanded its support for the World Anti-Doping Agency. He also entrusted the Olympic Programme Commission with the mission to establish and put in place a process for systematically reviewing the Olympic programme after each edition of the Olympic Games. This principle was approved by the Extraordinary IOC Session in Mexico City.

Jacques Rogge died on 29 August 2021.

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