• Switzerland's news in English

German overcomes critics to head IOC

The Local/AFP · 10 Sep 2013, 21:54

Published: 10 Sep 2013 21:54 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Bach, 59, replaces Belgian Jacques Rogge, 71, who is stepping aside after 12 years at the head of the IOC.

The German, a gold medal winner in fencing at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, was elected after two rounds at the 125th session of the IOC in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Bach was chosen over five other candidates, including Switzerland's Denis Oswald, a lawyer and professor at the University of Neuchâtel who was critical of the German's candidacy. 

“I want to lead the IOC according to my motto ‘unity in diversity,’” Bach told the IOC delegates following his election.

“This means I will do my very best to balance all the different interests of stakeholders of the Olympic movement."

IOC vice-president since 2000, he likened the job of president to being a conductor of an orchestra.

Before being elected Bach said his first priority would be to ensure the Sochi 2014 Winter Games in Russia get under way without problems.

The Games there have faced delays, budget overruns and concerns about the climate being too warm for winter sports.

Among other ideas, Bach proposed creating an Olympic TV Channel to boost the presence of Olympic sports between the Games, held every four years.

Story continues below…

Swiss rival Oswald, director of the International Centre for Sports Studies, who won a bronze medal in rowing at the 1968 Olympics, said Bach has taken on board some of the criticism aimed at him during the campaign.

Oswald, who finished fourth in the election with just five votes, had launched an astonishing attack on Bach on Monday, accusing him of using his position to advance the interests of companies he was linked to, especially with Kuwait.

The German has a close friendship with Kuwaiti IOC member Sheikh Ahmad al-Sabah, to the point that an Argentinian newspaper posted on its front page last week a cartoon depicting a grinning Sheikh wearing a t-shirt with Bach's face on it and with his thumb raised in the air.

However, Oswald — the respected long-time president of the Rowing Federation — said he had the feeling Bach had taken on board his remarks.

"I place my confidence in him that he accepts there were problems, I am not the only one to have made these observations," he told AFP.

"However, we can work well together."

Oswald, who said on Monday his values were not those shared by Bach, said that the world of the IOC had not changed radically with Bach's election.

"Each president is different, the trajectory has changed a little bit,” he said.

“It is an evolution rather than a revolution."

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available