Remembering Jacques Rogge
The highlights of his presidency were perhaps the critical successes of Vancouver 2010, and London 2012, as well as recognition for his support of the Paralympics and the establishment of the Youth Olympic Games. His tenure had a rocky start, though, as he looked to move the Olympics away from the Salt Lake City 2002 bribery scandal and modernize the IOC away from a perception of arrogance. His first Games - at Salt Lake - featured a significant figure skating judging scandal, solved diplomatically by Rogge and the IOC with a shared pairs gold medal. Rogge also was dogged by critics for a lack of urgency over human rights concerns when Beijing 2008 and Sochi 2014 won their host rights.
Rogge's legacy, though, is largely seen as one of stability and growth. Under Rogge, hosting rights went to South America (Rio 2016) for the first time, and his 'Mr. Clean' reputation helped transition the office away from his predecessor's authoritarian style. That president - Juan Antonio Samaranch - was the IOC's leader when I began an interest in the Games, with Los Angeles 1984, but Rogge's Olympics - particularly at Salt Lake, Athens 2004, Beijing, Vancouver, and London - are ones I watched in adult earnest.
Rogge was a three-time Olympian himself, as a one-person dinghy sailor at Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, and Montreal 1976, before embarking on a sports medicine, and subsequently, sports organization career. His background as a physician was seen as evident at the IOC, as he looked to listen before diagnosing solutions, and work in an open style of teamwork.
Rogge was an Olympic Order recipient in 2013.
Current IOC president Thomas Bach reflects, "The entire Olympic Movement will deeply mourn the loss of a great friend and a passionate fan of sport".
A Memorial Roundup
âThe Association of National Olympic Committees' Gunilla Lindberg recognized his "enormous contribution to the world of sport." And the European Olympic Committees, for which he once served as president, remembered Rogge's work to deepen relationships with the EOC.
Andrew Parsons of the International Paralympic Committee thanks Rogge for strengthening ties between his group and the Olympics.
The International Olympic Academy issues a resolution in honor of its Honorary President, "a great friend of Greece and its Olympic history".
âWorld Rugby notes Rogge's history as a rugby player for Belgium. âAn accomplished club and international player, his love for the game was always apparent and the entire rugby family joins the global sporting community in mourning his loss."
ââSebastian Coe leads the tribute from World Athletics. "He was passionate about sport and all he achieved in sport and beyond was done with common decency, compassion, and a level head."
âAround the Rings finds a unique, Leo Messi-angle, in its memory of Rogge's role in promoting Olympism.