Statement by Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee

The lighting of the Olympic Flame in Olympia tomorrow is a time to reflect on the role of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The main responsibility of the IOC is to deliver the best possible Olympic Games to the athletes, who deserve it.
We do this in a close and intense collaboration with the Beijing Organising Committee.
Awarding the Olympic Games to the most populous country in the world will open up one fifth of mankind to Olympism.
We believe that China will change by opening the country to the scrutiny of the world through the 25’000 media who will attend the Games.  The Olympic Games are a force for good. They are a catalyst for change, not a panacea for all ills.
NGOs and Human Rights’ activists want to leverage the Games and ask the IOC to act along by their side.
The IOC respects NGOs and activist groups and their causes, and speaks regularly with them - but we are neither a political nor an activist organisation.
As I stated last weekend, the events in Tibet are a matter of great concern to the IOC. The IOC has already expressed the hope that this conflict should be resolved peacefully as soon as possible.  Violence for whatever reason is contrary to the Olympic values and spirit.
The IOC will continue to respect Human Rights. The IOC will work tirelessly with China for the welfare of the athletes and the success of the Olympic Games.
For further information, please contact the IOC Communications Department on +41 21 621 60 00, or Emmanuelle Moreau, IOC Media Relations Manager on +41 79 637 3017, or e-mail:
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