SBD/July 23, 2012/Olympics

IOC's Rogge: Great Britain's Enthusiasm Will Make London Games A Success

Rogge said Opening Ceremony is not the atmosphere to remember a tragic incident
IOC President Jacques Rogge said that he is “optimistic the London Games would be a success thanks to the enthusiasm of ‘the country that invented modern sport,’” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. Rogge said, "What I believe will be very visible is the identity of the London Games. … It’s going to the country that invented modern sport in the second half of the 19th century, included sport in its school curriculum, loves sport, knows sport well. This will come out of these Games." Rogge also said he was “reassured” of the security situation following presentations from the LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe and the British government. Rogge “resisted calls from President Barack Obama for the terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Games to be recognised by a minute's silence during the opening ceremony.” Rogge insisted "the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident" (GUARDIAN, 7/22).

CUTTING SOME SLACK: Rogge said that “no action would be taken against individuals if they wear clothing, for example, made by a competitor of official London Games sponsors.” He added that the IOC and LOCOG would “not be heavy-handed.” Rogge: “Our position is very clear. We have to protect the sponsors because otherwise there is no sponsorship and without sponsorship there is no Games. However, you have to be balanced and reasonable and I am sure that is going to be the case” (AP, 7/21). The AP’s Gerald Imray noted the IOC “will not take disciplinary action before the London Olympics against officials accused of illegal ticket sales.” Rogge said, “[There are] more than 20 people involved and a lot of organizations and commercial ticket resellers. The rights of the defense require everyone has the chance to explain his or her case. We expect the results of that probably by the end of September, beginning of October, because it is a huge work” (AP, 7/21).

MEMORIAL REJECTED: In Chicago, Philip Hersh wrote as worldwide pressure "grows for a memorial to the 11 Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre during Friday’s opening ceremony,” the IOC “continues to be resolutely opposed.” Rogge “rebuffed those calls” at a Saturday press conference. Rogge said, “We always pay deep attention to recommendations coming from the political world. We are not necessarily following this advice.” Hersh wrote the IOC “clearly is fearful of the potential uproar that could follow from the nearly two dozen Arab countries and some two dozen more primarily Muslim countries sending teams to London” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/22). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s David Feith wrote under the header, “A Newsman’s Olympic Stand.” The Games can “inspire displays of sound political judgment.” This year's “first medalist in that category” is NBC's Bob Costas, who will “include a minute of silence for the 11 Israeli Olympians murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Games.” Noting the handling of the murders by former ABC News broadcaster Bob McKay, Feith wrote Costas "takes up McKay’s admirable tradition -- before tens of millions of TV viewers” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/21).
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