IOC president praises SAfrica on WCup success

Published Jul. 10, 2010 2:43 p.m. ET

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge congratulated South Africa on an ''outstanding success'' as host of the World Cup on Saturday.

However, neither Rogge nor South African President Jacob Zuma, in brief remarks to the media after a private meeting, broached the question of whether the World Cup accomplishments might boost a future Olympic bid by South Africa.

There has been widespread discussion in South Africa of whether Cape Town or Durban might launch a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics - a possibility that Rogge has encouraged in the past.

Zuma, in an interview earlier this month with FIFA, said: ''I don't see why we can't bid to host the Olympics.''

The two leaders took no questions when they emerged from their meeting Saturday to make brief comments on the steps of the presidential residence in Pretoria.

Rogge said the 2010 World Cup ''is something that will be remembered for a very long time - something that will make Africa proud.''

''We talked a lot about the tournament - how wonderful it has been, how high we've been blowing the vuvuzelas,'' said Zuma, referring to the earsplitting plastic trumpets favored by South African fans.


Zuma also said he thanked Rogge for the role the IOC played during the apartheid era, excluding South Africa from competition until it finally abandoned white minority rule.

The IOC's decision on the host for the 2020 Olympics will be made in 2013, but preliminary bids must be submitted next year.

The prospect of a South African bid received a boost on Thursday from FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

''If there is any country in Africa that can host the Olympics it is South Africa,'' Blatter told a media briefing. ''I can tell you now if a country can host a FIFA World Cup successfully, that country can definitely organize the Olympics.''

The World Cup has taken place in 10 different stadiums spread among nine far-flung South African cities. A Summer Olympics could be concentrated in a single city.

Africa is the only populated continent that has never hosted an Olympics. Cape Town missed out on the 2004 Games in a vote held in 1997, coming in third behind winner Athens and Rome.

New stadiums were built in both Cape Town and Durban for the World Cup. Durban will have an extra chance to impress Olympic officials when it hosts the 123rd IOC session in July 2011, where the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be announced.