The International Olympic Committee has elected a new president, naming Germany's Thomas Bach to replace the outgoing chief Jacques Rogge, the Belgian who served in the post for 12 years. Bach, a 59-year-old German lawyer, was chosen by secret ballot on the last day of meetings in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Speaking to the crowd gathered in Argentina, Bach said "thank you" in several languages — to those who voted for him, and to his rival candidates. He then said his term as IOC president would be informed by his motto: "Unity in diversity." "I want to be a president for all of you," he said.
In winning the IOC post, Bach beat out five other candidates, including Sergey Bubka of Ukraine, Richard Carrión of Puerto Rico, Ser Miang Ng of Singapore, Denis Oswald of Switzerland and Ching-Kuo Wu of Chinese Taipei. Wu was eliminated in the first round; the voting stopped after a winner was chosen in the second round.
Under IOC rules, a new president must receive a majority of the votes. So the candidates who stood for the position went through several elimination rounds of voting, until the top candidate got the support of a majority.
In 1999, the IOC embraced a for its delegates and leaders, ending an era of lifetime terms in a move that was widely seen as a response to over the selection of Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Games. Those rules also installed a maximum delegate age of 70, instead of 80.
A former Olympic fencing gold medalist, Bach becomes the ninth president in the 119-year history of the IOC. He is the eighth European to hold the presidency.
Earlier at its sessions in Argentina, the IOC awarded the and for 2020 and 2024.
International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer, who was recently elected as the new head of SportAccord, plans to organise a global world championship for all sports federations every four years, a move which many see as a direct challenge to the IOC and the Olympic Games. The 53-year-old, who already has a list of sponsors lined-up, including Gazprom, the Russian Government-owned energy supplier, hopes to launch the new concept as early as 2017. Vizer edged out rival Bernard Lapasset, the chairman of the International Rugby Board, by 52 votes to 37 at the SportAccord general assembly last week to replace Hein Verbruggen, the controversial Dutchman who had held the post since 2004.