Rogge would be ‘delighted’ by US 2020 bid
IOC President Jacques Rogge said Saturday he would be
”delighted” if the United States decides to bid for the 2020
Olympics despite the stinging rejection of American cities in the
race for two previous Summer Games.
New York failed in its bid for the 2012 Games and Chicago was
eliminated in the first round for the 2016 Olympics, despite the
appearance of President Barack Obama in Copenhagen for the vote in
National Olympic committees have until Sept. 1 to submit the
names of applicant cities for 2020.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has said it won’t consider a bid
until it reaches final agreement with the International Olympic
Committee on a new revenue-sharing agreement, an issue that has
festered for years and contributed to the humiliating losses for
New York and Chicago.
”As far as the U.S. situation is concerned, there are
declarations from the USOC that they are still waiting but, of
course, if there is a good bid coming from the United States we
would be delighted,” Rogge said at a news conference at the close
of the IOC’s four-day session in Durban.
On another issue, Rogge said he expects half a dozen candidates
to try to succeed him as IOC president when his term expires in
2013, but stressed he would not support or groom a successor.
”There is no lack of potential good successors and this is very
good for the IOC,” he said.
Rome is the only officially declared bid city so far for 2020,
but several other cities are expected to join the race in the
coming days and weeks.
Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul are likely contenders. Doha, Qatar,
and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, could be potential candidates.
South Africa could still revive a 2020 bid, with Durban as the
likely city, after the government said in late May that the time
was not right for an Olympic campaign.
”You are as a nation ready to host the Olympic Games,” Rogge
said, referring to South Africa. ”It’s up to you what you do … I
have felt, speaking with your politicians, there was a desire to
bid in the future. It might not be 2020, it might be 2024.”
The U.S. hasn’t hosted a Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta
American bids have been hampered by lingering international
resentment over the USOC’s long-standing 20 percent share of global
sponsorship revenues and 12.75 percent cut of U.S. broadcast rights
IOC and USOC officials met here Thursday for a new round of
revenue talks and reported progress toward a final agreement. They
agreed to meet again in the next few weeks in New York with the
goal of concluding a deal.
Agreement on a revenue-sharing plan would open the way to a
possible 2020 bid.
”We’re not going to have any substantive discussions or make
any decisions until this is behind us,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun
told The Associated Press on Thursday. ”We haven’t spent a lot of
time looking at whether there is still time to bid, but because
it’s theoretically possible, we don’t want to rule it out.”
U.S. cities mentioned as potential bidders include New York, Los
Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis and Tulsa, Okla. Several IOC officials
told AP that New York would be the most viable U.S. candidate.
With the 2008 Summer Olympics in Asia (Beijing), 2012 in Europe
(London) and 2016 in South America (Rio de Janeiro), geography
could be an advantage for North America in 2020.
The Olympics have never been held in Africa.
”Many people believe this is the right time to bid because, as
the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot,” South African IOC
member Sam Ramsamy said, adding the issue will be raised again by
the country’s sports minister with President Jacob Zuma.
The centerpiece of the IOC’s meeting in Durban was the selection
on Wednesday of Pyeongchang, South Korea, as the host for the 2018
Winter Games. The IOC rewarded Pyeongchang for its persistence in
bidding for a third consecutive time after losses for 2010 and
Rogge, meanwhile, said he would keep his distance from the IOC’s
presidential election campaign.
”I will look at it from the front row with great pleasure and
interest, but I will not be involved,” he said.
Rogge was elected to an eight-year term in 2001 and won a final
four-year mandate in 2009.
”I will absolutely not groom and I will not support anyone,”
he said. ”I have always remained very neutral and I will continue
to do that.”
Rogge did not name any potential candidates, but they include
Germany’s Thomas Bach, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, Sergei Bubka
of Ukraine and Denis Oswald of Switzerland.
”I believe in the IOC half a dozen members will have the
profile and maybe even the desire to run,” Rogge said.
With just over a year ago until the London Olympics, Rogge said
he was ”absolutely delighted” by the ”exemplary” preparations
led by organizing committee chief Sebastian Coe.
”What do they have to do until next year?” he said. ”I would
say remain focused. Remain humble, prepare for the unexpected. Seb
is an athlete, he knows that you can never, never be lazy and you
have to continue to fight every day to be fit.”
AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray contributed to this report.