Olympic Champion German Elected as New IOC Head
Germany's Thomas Bach, a gold medal winner in fencing, became the most important man in the sporting world on Tuesday with his election as president of the International Olympic Committee during a vote in Buenos Aires.
Thomas Bach of Germany was elected on Tuesday as the new head of the International Olympic Committee. The vote happened at the 105th session of the IOC in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Departing head Jacques Rogge announced during the late morning local time that Bach had prevailed over five competing candidates.
The 59-year-old lawyer, who had been the clear favorite, won after a second round of voting. Bach beat out Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, Ser Miang Ng of Singapore, Denis Oswald of Switzerland and Wu Ching-Kuo of Taiwan for the position.
"I want to thank all my friends and colleagues who voted for me," Bach said after the decision. "I know of the great responsibility of an IOC president. This makes me humble."
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Bach on his appointment. "Your election to the sporting world's most important political office impressively demonstrates the respect and trust you enjoy within the Olympic family," she said.
First German to Head Olympics
Bach has served as the head of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) since 2006. He also served from 2000 until 2004 and again in 2006 as the IOC's vice president. He has been a member of the IOC since 1991 and has been highly influential within the organization in recent years. Bach won the Olympic gold medal in fencing in 1976 and became world champion both that year and in 1977.
With his election, Bach becomes the first German ever to serve as the head of the global Olympic organizing body. He replaces Rogge of Belgium, who is leaving office after 12 years as the IOC's president. Bach was elected to an eight-year term on Tuesday with the possibility of extending for another four years.
"I will do my very best," Bach said. "You should know that my door, my ears and my heart are always open to you."
With his appointment, Bach is expected to resign from his position as the head of Germany's DOSB next week.
dsl -- with wires