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Breakfast with Frost
On Sunday 06 July, 2003 , BBC Breakfast with Frost Interview: Jacques Rogge, President IOC

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

Jacques Rogge, President IOC
Jacques Rogge, President IOC

PETER SISSONS: Well the Canadian city of Vancouver has just won the prize that London will soon be bidding for: the right to host the Olympic Games, although for Vancouver, of course, it's the Winter Olympics.

It's another two years before Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee, will announce whether the 2012 games will be held in London. He is due to meet the Prime Minister tomorrow, but he is here now. Jacques, thank you very much for coming in.

You don't have a vote in this competition, so what advice would give London if it wants to succeed?

JACQUES ROGGE: Well basically to concentrate everything on the fundamentals and to go for substance far more than for appearance. The IOC members will decide on the best bid. The best bid is measured in terms of good infrastructure, good sports venues, strong security measures, good transportation systems, a good Olympic village.

PETER SISSONS: So you've got to have a really good technical specification regardless of all the other political and marketing efforts you're going to put in.

JACQUES ROGGE: Absolutely. I mean the choice will not be decided by reputation or by the glitter of the city. It's going to be decided by what you can offer to the athletes in terms of quality.

PETER SISSONS: You've already identified one minor mistake - casting doubt on whether you would have had, if it had been down to you, David Beckham as London's ambassador. Why?

JACQUES ROGGE: Well basically we have a great respect for David Beckham - I admire him very much both as a player and I think as a very good family man - but David Beckham will not play in the Olympic Games because there is no British team because you still have the home unions which are not recognised at Olympic level. So what is the relevance of having a football player coming to us and say please give us the games when you know that he is not going to play.

PETER SISSONS: So who would you have had? Sir Steve Redgrave?

JACQUES ROGGE: Definitely. Steve has won five consecutive gold medals, he's an icon in sport and that, that is really someone who have a record.

PETER SISSONS: London's bid is going to be run by an American woman - albeit a very talented one - do you think that's a mistake?

JACQUES ROGGE: It's not a mistake. She's a Londoner, she's proved that, she loves the city, she's a very capable woman. And by the way, about 25 per cent of the people living in London were not born in the United Kingdom. So that's a good, a good sign of a very cosmopolitan and very multicultural city.

PETER SISSONS: The IOC see the games as a force for good - it's not just a sporting event. What won Vancouver the prize of hosting the 2010 Winter Games?

JACQUES ROGGE: Again, the quality of their bid. It was a difficult match. In fact if you look at it from the outside, Austria really could present the tradition of having invented winter sports, by Britain bid by the way, Sir Alfred Lunds. The Koreans showed us something we didn't know - I mean this was a hidden, a hidden treasure. But ultimately Vancouver's bid was the best constructed and gave us the most reassurances that we actually would have the best games there.

PETER SISSONS: But you were tempted by South Korean - they ran Vancouver close.

JACQUES ROGGE: Absolutely. And that's because people underestimated them and people didn't know what was existing there, which is of the highest quality.

PETER SISSONS: The whole business of selection of these games has been tainted in the quite recent past by allegations of corruption.

JACQUES ROGGE: It's more than allegations - there has been proven corruption. Cases where we had, unfortunately, to expel a lot of members - which was a good thing to do. We have totally changed the system, the rules are overhauled, we have an ethics commission of, composed by people of the highest quality, such as the former Secretary General of the United Nations and many other people of that calibre, and I can say today now that everything is working well in an open and transparent way.

PETER SISSONS: If you can stamp out corruption, can you stamp out the abuse of drugs at the games?

JACQUES ROGGE: Let's not be na´ve, in a world where there are approximately 800 million athletes, it will be na´ve to believe that we will have 800 million saints and doping is the same expression as criminality is in society - you will never stamp out totally criminality. But the duty is to do the maximum, to bring down as much as possible. We are progressing, doping is diminishing at the Olympic Games - that is quite sure. It won't be perfect but we have the stated duty to do everything we can to fight this cause.

PETER SISSONS: You have the duty but do you have the resources? Is the, is the money there?

JACQUES ROGGE: The money is there, we are spending a lot of money on that. The IOC has spent not less than something in the order of 45 million dollars in the last three years fighting against doping. That's money that we would prefer to spend on training and education of athletes but we need to do it and we will do it and we will continue.

PETER SISSONS: Some people are a bit disappointed you're going to tighten up on the sort of wildcard entries to games - we won't see Eddie the Eagle any more or Eric the Eel, that was a bit of fun wasn't it? Why are you getting rid of that?

JACQUES ROGGE: Well because it's a profound injustice. There is a fixed number of athletes at the games. I would say about 10,500. We cannot go higher otherwise you come into logistic problems. And if you accept entries such as Eddie the Eagle, or the Eel, then you leave home athletes who could potentially win a medal. In the 100 metres, in the sprint, there are Americans that have to stay home that could potentially gain a medal. And then these athletes, who bring a lot of universality stop the, the very good athletes to compete. That isn't fair. However, what we want to do is to identify these athletes of under-developed countries to give them a special training for two or three years - possibly abroad - and then they would have a decent performance level. That's - it's not, it is not stopping them to participate, it is just making sure that the participation will be of a decent level.

PETER SISSONS: And just very briefly, is Athens going to be ready? By this stage Sydney was ready for the games, 14 months beforehand.

JACQUES ROGGE: It is true that Athens is not at the level where Sydney was at the same time but I could, I could say the same of many other cities - Barcelona was not ready and we had wonderful games. I think that if the Greeks continue at the same pace we will have excellent games.


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