By Erin K. Blakeley, Shoulder1 Staff
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted 58-year old Belgian orthopedic surgeon Jacque Rogge as its newest President in a landslide mandate on July 16th. The IOC hopes that Rogge’s appointment will be the first step in a process to mend their image, in the wake of two years of scandals.Most recently, the IOC tarnished their reputation when allegations of corruption surfaced in connection with the upcoming 2002 games in Salt Lake City. Rogge’s squeaky-clean record was undoubtedly part of his appeal.
“It is an important moment in my life and it is a great responsibility,” Rogge comments to the Boston Globe, shortly after his election.
Rogge is no stranger to the Olympics. He competed in the sport of Yachting in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 games. He was also a prolific rugby player, having been selected ten times for the Belgian national team. With his new post, Rogge plans to do something he never had the chance to do as an athlete: stay in the Olympic village during the games, starting with the 2002 games in Salt Lake City.
Rogge’s participation as an Olympian was merely the beginning of his sporting career. After completing his medical study at the University of Ghent, Rogge is the current head of the Orthopedic Surgery Department at Ghent Hospital. He also served as a Sports Medicine lecturer at Universite Libre in Brussels.
Rogge joined the IOC just ten years ago. But in that short time, he has accomplished a great deal. Most recently, Rogge organized the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and is organizing the upcoming 2004 games in Athens. He also serves on the World Anti-Doping Agency Council. Rogge considers doping to be one of the main priorities of the IOC, along with returning the Olympics to a smaller scale.
Rogge’s multicultural root s should set a balanced tone for the IOC. Fluent in five languages, Rogge has commented that the Olympics should present equal opportunity for both wealthy and poor nations. Rogge’s outspoken commitment to multiculturalism, combined with his background, undoubtedly endeared him to many of those voting for the new chairman.