Thomas Bach has become the first official candidate for the International Olympic Committee Presidency. The 1976 Olympic fencing champion has long been considered a favorite for one of the top posts in world sports.
Bach said Thursday in Frankfurt that his experience with the Olympics makes him "well prepared" to for the post of IOC president.
"From my first training sessions as a young boy through to becoming Olympic champion in Montreal to my current tasks as DOSB (Germany Olympic Sports Confederation) president, I have dedicated a large part of my life to Olympic sports," Bach told reporters.
The German said he would inform fellow IOC members of his specific plans for the presidency after the June 10 deadline for presidential candidate submissions. The current president, Jacques Rogge, will step down after his two-term rule comes to a mandatory end when the IOC picks its new leader at its 125th session September 10 in Buenos Aires.
"I am humbly aware of the magnitude of the task of an IOC president," Bach said. "At the same time, in honorary positions and throughout my professional career, I have gained a wealth of management and leadership experience in national and international sports, economics, politics, law and society."
The 59-year-old Bach has served on the policy-making IOC executive board as a member or vice president since 1996, in addition to chairing the IOC judicial commission. He is the third German IOC vice president after the late Willi Daume (1972-76) and the 99-year-old Berthold Beitz (1984-88).
"[Bach's candidacy] is the logical consequence of his decades-long intensive engagement for the Olympic Movement," German Sports Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said. "Hardly anyone can bring so much experience as an athlete and a sports official."
President of the German Football Association (DFB) Wolfgang Niersbach also praised Bach's decision to run, saying "he enjoys a high esteem in international sport" and offers "great experience and enormous competence."
Although considered the favorite, two other candidates – Singapore's Ng Ser Miang and Puerto Rico's Richard Carrion – are considered other contenders likely to challenge Bach. Ng, another IOC vice president, led the organizing committee for the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010. Carrion, a former executive board member, heads the IOC's finance commission.
The September IOC session in Argentina will also elect the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo have all submitted bids. The committee will also considering a new sport to the competition for those Games.
dr/ (Reuters, AP, SID, dpa)
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