March 25. TWO more candidates have joined the race
for the most powerful job in world sport: Belgian Jacques Rogge and Korean Kim Un-Young.
Rogge, a former Olympic yachtsman will end months of speculation when he puts his name forward for the July vote for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Current president Juan Antonio Samaranch is set to retire after leading the organization for the past 21 years – leaving the way open for a competitive race for the post.
Rogge will announce his candidacy at a news conference in Brussels, setting the scene for a
showdown with Kim and Canadian lawyer Dick Pound, Rogge's two other main rivals.
They are expected to be joined by Anita DeFrantz, world sport's most senior female administrator and Pal Schmitt, an Hungarian ex-fencer. But both are considered long shots when compared to the three men.
The three leading candidates have contrasting personalities and experience.
Rogge, who co-ordinated last year's successful Sydney Olympics, will be the first candidate to put forward his ideas for the future of the IOC.
The Belgian is an orthopedic surgeon who has gained a reputation for having a safe pair of hands in difficult situations.
Although lacking Kim's political experience,Rogge's diplomacy is much admired. He has been asked to tackle the problematic Athens games and is an authority on the abuse of performance enhancing drugs.
Rogge's biggest challenger for the post is likely to be Kim, although he has the advantage of being the oldest candidate at 70 years old.
He has excellent political contacts and has also worked as an ambassador for South Korea, being a member of the council of advisors on Korean unification since 1997.
But he may face media criticism from many quarters after being involved in the Salt Lake City scandal in
1998 and 1999 – the Biggest bribery affair that has come to light in Olympic history.
Kim will hold a news conference in Monaco April 3 to declare his candidacy to be IOC headman. Kim, 70, said he would push for a return to traditional
Olympic ideals and a retreat from what he described as excessive commercialism and professionalism undermining the Games.
"If we lose the Olympic ideals, we are nothing," Kim said. "We have to meet the challenges of doping,
over-commercialism, over- professionalism, gigantism. Who will do it? You can't put this in the hands of
inexperienced brokers or politicians."
The South Korean was handed a "most serious warning" after the commission found a Salt Lake bid official
had arranged to pay part of his son's salary when he worked for a US company. Kim denied all knowledge of the arrangement and a report stated it could not prove otherwise.
Since then, Kim has made a remarkable comeback and clearly believes that he has enough support to win.
Canadian lawyer Dick Pound will add an extra dimension to the contest. The 59-year-old has a reputation as a hard negotiator, who has sealed the television rights and sponsorship deals that make billions of dollars for the IOC.
Pound is known for speaking his mind and has a sharp sense of humour which should ensure the campaign is a colorful one.
Pound received a boost Friday when Australia's I.O.C. vice president, Kevan Gosper, publicly endorsed him.
"Pound has been seen for a very long time to be the potential successor to Samaranch," Gosper told The Sydney Morning Herald. "He has made a substantial
contribution, he is known to the big corporations and
television executives, he has a legal mind and has been exposed to top-level business."
The IOC will announce a full list of candidates
on April 17.