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Volume 10 No. 25
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Rogge Hails 'Great' London Games, Reflects On Defining Moments

IOC President Jacques Rogge said that Great Britain cyclist Chris Hoy’s tears of joy after winning his record sixth Olympic Gold Medal "was the defining moment of the London Games," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Rogge said that Hoy's emotional reaction in the Velodrome "had stood out among a raft of extraordinary individual performances" at a Games he declared to have been “absolutely fabulous.”  Rogge declined to compare London with previous host cities. However, he said he was “a very happy and grateful man." Rogge: "These Games were a great Games definitely … I think the Games were absolutely fabulous" (LONDON TIMES, 8/12).

DEFINING MOMENTS: In London, Owen Gibson reported that Rogge picked out Usain Bolt's "double treble," Great Britain sailor Ben Ainslie's fourth consecutive Gold Medal, Kenya distance runner David Rudisha's world record in the 800m and Michael Phelps' 19th Gold Medal as top highlights from the Games. Rogge said that London "had delivered on the promises it made" when he announced the city had won the Games in July '05. Rogge: "London has absolutely refreshed the Games in many aspects. These were athletes' Games, the Athlete's Village was fantastic, the venues were state of the art and well run, you had a fantastic public." There were, however, "minor" issues to be ironed out, including ticketing. Rogge: "We are definitely going to review the ticketing policy of the Games. The sale of tickets is a very complicated issue, you need a balance between the home public and the rest of the world" (GUARDIAN, 8/12). REUTERS' Avril Ormsby reported that Rogge also mentioned Italian fencer Valentina Vezzali for racking up a sixth Gold and Andy Murray for winning tennis Gold. Rogge said, "I could go on for the rest of the Games, but the marathon finishes in two hours so therefore I will shorten my speech." Rogge finally confirmed Bolt as a "living legend," having appeared "reluctant to do so" earlier in the week. Rogge: "Let me finalize this issue as follows: to say that Usain Bolt is an active-performance legend, he's an icon, he's the best sprinter of all times" (REUTERS, 8/12).

COE CREDIT: Also in London, Alan Hubbard opined that Coe "will have fashioned an astonishing Games, one of the most successful ever, and unquestionably the finest episode in British sporting history, lapping even England's football World Cup victory in '66." He has done so with "professionalism and panache, and the result, so far, has been beyond anyone's wildest dreams, including, he admits, his own." London Mayor Boris Johnson said, "We are bloody lucky to have him, aren't we?" Coe added: "What has been happening these past two weeks is beyond my wildest dreams. We have witnessed some of the best sport ever. It has been like glugging your way through a quart of cream" (INDEPENDENT, 8/12).

DOPE-FREE GAMES: The AP's Graham Dunbar wrote that "even before the flame was out, Rogge said efforts to fight doping at the Olympics were a success." Only one athlete tested positive for a banned substance on the day of competing at the London Games. Seven more were "caught in doping controls" conducted since the official testing period for the Games began on July 16. One of the seven competed in London before her test result was known.
Rogge: "I think that is a sign that the system works. I am happy about the fact that we could catch athletes who cheated, both before the Games and at the Games." Rogge cautioned that some samples are still being analyzed and "we might hear something tomorrow or the day after. Hopefully not, but you never know" (AP, 8/12).