January 9th, 2012
12:16 PM ET

Olympic countdown: IOC president answers your questions

Belgium's Jacques Rogge has been head of the IOC for more than a decade.
Belgium's Jacques Rogge has been head of the IOC for more than a decade.

With London 2012 just 200 days away, this is a significant year for the International Olympic Committee.

The British organizers of the four-yearly sporting showpiece have contended with ticketing controversies and faced transport, security and budgeting challenges in their bid to follow in the footsteps of Beijing four years ago.

Illegal gambling has also been on the rise in worldwide sport, and London chiefs have identified it as a bigger threat to this year’s Games than drugs.

"You cannot underestimate the threat this poses because the moment that spectators start to feel that what they are seeing is not a true contest, that is when spectators stop turning up and the whole thing turns to pieces,” Britain’s Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson told the Sunday Times.

The IOC has also had its problems, with top officials Lamine Diack and Issa Hayatou reprimanded late last year for having received financial kickbacks between 1989-1999.

CNN interviewed the IOC’s longtime president Jacques Rogge on Saturday January 14, and he answered some of CNN readers' questions: 

Rogge has been head of the IOC since 2001. The 69-year-old is a former sailor who competed at three Olympics between 1968 and 1976, and his son Philippe is involved with the Belgian Olympic Committee.

Rogge courted controversy in 2008 when he questioned Usain Bolt’s excited celebrations after winning gold in the 100 meters, leading some critics to suggest he was out of touch with modern athletes.

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soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Will Do Well to Just Pass

    1. A celebration in winning the rights to host cut short through terrorist attacks on London buses
    2. A logo that is part uninspiringly childish, part explicit and part seizure inducive
    3. A handover that is tacky and over-valued with a startling reminder of the "exploding" London bus
    4. A couple of one-eyed mascots that could not draw attention of the children in the playground
    5. A synchronized swimming ticketing fiasco that is 10,000 times over printed

    Would be hard pressed to see London pull this through...

    January 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  2. Gerardo Luis Reyes

    Hay expectación por el regreso del golf al programa olímpico, pero existen dudas:
    ¿sólo participarán amateurs o también profesionales?
    ¿Ya se designó de quién(es) es el proyecto del campo sede?
    ¿Habrá medallas por equipos, individual femenil y varonil, mixtos?

    Gracias por la oportunidad de poder hacer preguntas. Espero con gran interés las respuestas.

    January 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  3. Art Vandolay

    Will England even win 1 Gold medal? Maybe the all popular rowing event maybe or archery? Just wondering... -Art

    January 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  4. Christopher Benett

    I am aware of the rule changes in the 80's. But what are the chances that a NON independent country (Like Curacao) can represent themselves in the future Olympics games.
    Aruba is one of the lucky islands who are representing themselves because they changed the status of their country before the change of rules.
    Is there a chance to change the rules again in the future?

    January 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  5. sachiko

    I' m very much looking forward to upcoming summer Olympics which will be held in London where is one of greatest cities on the planet. That being superpower brings some security controversy but still there's no reason not to come through successfully.

    I'm a bit interested with BOA versus WADA and questioning IOC on the line. Emotionally I want to support BOA because Olympics should be detached from other professional events because of it's sanctity, yes today's Olympics is far from amateurism, an awful lot of money around there but the core spirit could be protected and if Olympics is poised to keep it's integrity and rule out drug corruption completely, one sin is enough for a player to be eliminated permanently. On the flip side, BOA stance is clearly against WADA code with double sanction, furthermore there could be inequality if you are the British, or not which doesn't correspond Olympic symbol, the unity of five continents.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:44 am | Reply
  6. linus van loopik [nederland]

    Geachte Dr. Rogge,

    Sorry dat ik in het Nederlands schrijf maar Engels schrijven gaat niet perfect !
    Is er nu echt geen adecuaat middel om de doping uit de sport te krijgen ?
    Je denkt dat je topsport zit te kijken en een half jaar na de olimpics kunnen 3 atleten hun medaille inleveren.
    Daar moet toch iets tegen te doen zijn ??
    Hoogachtend, Linus v Loopik , Eindhoven, NL

    January 13, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
  7. Mike

    @Art - you're a real student of the Olympics, huh?

    2008 Beijing - UK is fourth in the TOTAL medal table, with 19 Gold.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
  8. Frans Vanhove

    Mr. Rogge,
    In 2008 you critisized Bolt for his exuberant celebrations.
    Wouldn't it be a good idea to limit (or even ban) all the flag waving after finals. I and a lot of people find it a primitive form of patriotism which has no place at the Olympics.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
  9. Volinka Augustenborg

    Mr. Rogge,

    The Olympic movement was intended as a force for good. It is meant to provide a space and time when people put behind their prejudices and come together in the name of sport and achievement. The reality of the Olympics must square with these aspirations. How do you reconcile the Olympic ideal of no discrimination with the participation of coutnries like Saudi Arabia, which impose severe restrictions on women, which effectively prevent them from competing in the games?

    Will the IOC stand by the Olympic ideals and will Saudi Arabia face a ban for the 2012 games in London, similar to the one imposed on Afghanistan during the Taliban's rule due to its exclusion of female atheletes, if it does not field female athletes?

    Thank you.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  10. Faster

    The IOC is a corrupt organization. The 'perks'they receive from countires vying for an Olympic Games are quite simply bribes.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  11. Simone

    With the first Youth Olympic Games starting today in Austria, does he think that the youth can put a new competitive light on sport in general that will let spectators believe in fairness again and forget the many recent gambling scandals? Which role does the education programm play?

    January 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  12. Graham

    Art Vandolay

    No England will win no medals at all as there is no such thing as an England team in the Olympics. It's team GB and if you're wondering what GB stands for it means Great Britain.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  13. Steve

    Rogge, next time you break a world record, you can just sit down. No celebration whatsoever.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  14. Paul Johnston, PhD

    Why is it you destroy almost the infrastructure and finances of every country the Olympics are held in leaving the venues abandoned and deserted for years afterwards while the Olympic Committee heads walks away will untold millions of dollars and euros in profits?

    January 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  15. alehandro

    How can London hope to deliver an inspirational Olympics during times of economic turmoil when some regard the Games as an ostentatious waste of public money?

    January 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  16. Sarah Martin

    Mr Rogge

    If the Saudi Arabian 2012 Olympic team does not include women, how does the IOC intend to respond? The IOC has a role in upholding Olympic sporting values as embodied in the Olympic Charter. One of the five “Fundamental Principles of Olympism” bans “discrimination of any kind,” which includes discrimination against women. How will the IOC uphold these values on this important issue?

    Thank you

    January 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  17. Liz

    In the bidding process of the Olympic Games, the IOC requires amazing attention to detail on bid request. These request can run upwards of 5 millions dollars easily per city. That amount is for just bidding on the Games. If your city is lucky to host, you will spend in the 100 millions to billion of dollars to host. What provisions or modifications is the IOC doing to minimize the money spent on bidding and hosting a games? What future financial obligations does the IOC requiring of each potential host city and how does the IOC plan on modifying these. Does the IOC look at pre-existing venue sites with minimal modifications to reduce the expendature cost of host cities and improving the enviromental impact the Games has on a city?

    Secondly, to Paul Johnston, the IOC has come a long way from bearly existing in 1984 to now having a surplus budget to survive 2 full olympic cycles (8 years) without a games. They have used the USOC model to improve their financial stability and ensure their success (also reason the USOC receives a revenue sharing difference from other countries. It is revenue sharing because the USOC's intelligent property rights). Secondly, the IOC splits the revenues 50-50 with the host city. It is up to the host city to minimize thier expenditures and stay within budget. I realize situations occur in the 7 year planning process, but a strong business plan with a strong leader can reduce many of these cost. Olympic Organizing Committies tyically are not lead by strong business professions, but rather former olympians themselves looking to impress the world rather than putting on a solid economic Games.

    The IOC does not just leave a city after the Games. In fact, the IOC requires many, many years (10) of post Olympic reports by a host city. These reports look at the changes both enviromentally, economically, socially that hosting a games leaves a city. The IOC is concerned with the financial obligations, but also wants to make sure the Games have had a positive impact on each city. If not, it uses these reports to modify and adjust future games.

    As with any major event worldwide, each new event, each new city, and each new year is a learning curve. The IOC and HC has a right and responsibility to the city, IOC and athletes to do their best. Sometimes new insights come available. Others crisis. They need to learn to work together better to improve these situations and learn for future games.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  18. Keira

    Hello,

    I'd like to ask Mr. Rogge about the decision to exclude both baseball & softball from further Olympic competition. Two of the "reasons" given were that it was consistently dominated by one country (not true) & that neither sport was popular worldwide (again, not true). Well, neither are badmington & table tennis, yet they're still Olympic sports. What better stage is there to showcase both softball/baseball than in the Olympics? What is the likelihood of either, or both, sports to return for 2016 & beyond? Would they consider reinstating IF professional players are included (like in basketball?)

    Thanks,

    Keira
    NYC

    January 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  19. Hassan in London

    Why does the IOC allow the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to participate in the games when the leaders of that country work so hard to prevent women from participating in sports and refuse to include women in their team?

    January 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  20. HGBJ

    With the introduction of so many new social media networking tools and technology that eliminate boundaries and increase the risk of lost exclusivity for IOC sponsors – what measures does the IOC plan to have in place to control the use of its visual and intellectual property rights?

    And on that same note, Social Networking Tools have broken down barriers of communication and created opportunity for new social development that in some ways support the Olympic Ideals, how can the IOC participate in this world change at this year's Games?

    January 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  21. Chris

    Baseball & softball are a victim of politics. Firstly, the UK did not want to build facilities to house the competition and secondly, the US would probably get some kind of metal so the decision is affecting the US. Metal count... I would love to see the paper trail ($$$) on the voting for excluding baseball & softball.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  22. Ziggy Tabacznik

    Dear mr. Rogge,

    In a fast changing world, were children getting less interest in sports, were less healthier lifestyles are more common than a exception within societies, and active lifestyles or under pressure. In which way the IOC sees his role, and which function and effect can the olympic games become a instrument to encourage people in mentioned problems, and just be a event for two weeks for the top athletes but also has a role and function towards more and broader societies?

    Good luck for London 2012 and may it become a great sports year.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  23. Briad

    Hello Mr Rogge,

    What do you think about the prospects of a 2024 summer games for Toronto, Canada, given that Toronto is such a diverse and welcoming place for everyone?

    January 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  24. Aoife O'Brien

    Mr. Rogge,
    What steps has the IOC taken to ensure that Saudi Arabian women will be allowed by their country to participate in London's Olympics in line with your charter? If none, what is your strategy to enforce this over the next 200 days, so that a change is in evidence by July?

    January 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  25. Greg Kiwi

    I have just spent 6 weeks in the south of Brazil, with my wife who is from here, and it is quite clear Brazil is not ready for overseas visitors for either the soccer or the 2016 olympics, you can not purchase travel from within Brazil on foreign debit or credit cards, you can not get anyone to give you change for a $50.00 which is an issue when the atm only spits out $50.00 dollar notes, it might sound like a small thing but you try and buy anything go anywhere and you are stuffed I think the olympic games will hurt Brazil internationally if they do not make the place user friendly for people who are not from Brazil, and dont now about such things, good luck brazil ps if you do want to travel to other cities once you get there, get it orginized from the country you are coming from, good luck Brazil

    January 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  26. Brian Bates

    I personally don't think football, rugby, Tennis and golf are olympic sports, are there any sports Mr. Rogge would like to include or for that matter exclude?

    January 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  27. Arthur Silbergeld

    Among all of the nations participating in the games, Saudi Arabia is the only one which, as a matter of policy, refuses to allow women to participate because they are forbidden from engaging in sports at home. Shouldn't the IOC simply tell Saudi Arabia that the IOC Charter forbids discrimination, and that if both Saudi men and Saudi women cannot compete in the games, then the country must be banned from participation?

    January 14, 2012 at 12:07 am | Reply
  28. Emma

    I'd like to know -
    If Saudi Arabia does not field any female athletes on its team for the 2012 games, will it face a ban similar to that it imposed on Afghanistan in 1999 partly for its exclusion of women athletes?

    January 14, 2012 at 12:59 am | Reply
  29. Giota Flentzeri

    Which Olympic Games do you consider as the best organised in olympic history? How does the Olympic movement face economic crisis?

    January 14, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
  30. Alex Figueroa

    Puerto Rico is a member of the IOC since 1948. If the people of this US territory votes this year to become a state of the United States and later it does become the 51st state, will the IOC eliminate the Puerto Rico Olympic Commette as it did with the Netherlands Antilles when it changed its political status in 2010?

    January 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  31. Werner Hoeger

    I would like to ask Mr. Rogge why he did not respond or even acknowledge receipt of my express mail documents sent March 8, 2010 regarding the tragic death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. Does CNN have an email address where I could send you copies of this documents which raised serious questions regarding the unethical behavior of the Canadian Luge Association, the International Luge Federation, and even the IOC Ethics Comission.

    January 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  32. schnelly

    ridiculous amounts of money were spent on these olympic games, rumoured over 20 BILLION! i would have liked to see a change, to reflect the global situation.. a minimalist olympics, in contrast to beijing, i believe we should have held the greenest most eco friendly games we could have achieved. 2012 a games many will feel cheated out of, before its even begun.Ticket Fiasco... The method of ticket distribution is ridiculous, its a corporate monopoly. the olympic logo and branding is used on chocolate bars, hardly the message to send out to the youth. I suggest you test the athletes mcdonalds happy meals for traces of growth hormones. The games are too commercial Rant over.

    January 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  33. Raul

    Can you explain the mechanics as to why golf was accepted as an Olympic sport while leaving out disciplines as racquetball, squash, which are much, much more popular than golf?

    January 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  34. james honey

    how much graft and black money do the olympic commitee recieve each year including so called gifts which are only bribes anyway

    January 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  35. Digheko Nesij

    Are you going to let Sochi Olympics happen even though it is a land of genocide filled with mass graves?

    January 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  36. J. Brown

    Why, why, why, why, WHY did you ever remove Women's Softball from the Summer Games lineup? And WHEN will you return this immensely growing sport?!?!?!

    January 15, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
  37. Des

    If the IOC has a test for Synthetic Growth Hormone why is it that nobody ever tests positive for this widely used product?

    January 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  38. William Boardman

    Do you think the Olympic committee will be able to continue to hide it's complete financial corruption with it's ever larger media events ?
    The era of "Bread and circuses" keeping us asleep may be coming to an end

    January 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  39. Mike Dearing

    We, the worldwide viewers, know that China knowingly and intentionally cheated in the ladies gymnastics competition by using clearly underage girls, and we have seen how they compounded that act by an elusive cover-up scheme. To our regret, we saw the IOC finally agree to investigate the matter, which they then promptly buried. Both the seriousness of China;s duplicity, and the timidity of the IOC in addressing the issue and redressing the harm to the competitors from other nations – mainly the US – who followed the rules but were denied the medals they rightfully deserved must be addressed by the IOC. The IOC has not hesitated to take back medals from the US, and even a few from the old USSR. Are they too afraid of the Chinese monster to hold them accountable for their state-supported cheating? And what does that say about the sport and about the ability of viewers worldwide to expect fair and honest results?

    January 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  40. Sandy Heeley

    Mr Rogge
    Track cycling is such an exciting spectator sport including both endurance & sprinting that I can not imagine why so many of it's races especially for endurance were excluded from this years Olympics. Suprisingly it is a great venue for spectators to view the atheletes so close up & making just an Ominium is a joke for those little countries who may shine in these events. The marketing is right in front of you as you see how popular the 6 day circuit is in Europe. Do you think in the future you may consider including the Madison, Points & Scratch Race & of course individual pursuit in the next Olympics?

    January 16, 2012 at 4:16 am | Reply
  41. Patrick Eagan

    Are the games really important to the world?
    There are so many things that seem to be put on the back burner for just a few days..And millions of dollars spent on everything from napkins to equipment that is sold off garage style sales. (Vancouver)
    The money could be put to better use for disaster relief around the world. There are very few people that can afford to attend the games, while the upper crust get free tickets to the events. Photo ops are really all the games seem to me. Almost every country in the world pays to some degree for the ten days.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
  42. richard kroll

    If we must have the Metal Counts per Nation, can't we at least have it based on population? Metals per million population is a much more accurate measure of a nations success in sport. It also "levels the playing field".

    July 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply
  43. richard kroll

    I look back to my youth when the Olympics were focused on track and field and swimming, restricted to amateurs, free from commercialism, free from doping, and (aside from '36) free from propaganda and nationalism. Then, the great heroes of the sport were people like Jim Thorpe.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply

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