The end of the London 2012 Olympics marks the start of another intense tournament: the race to succeed the Belgian Jacques Rogge as president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
However, it is a muffled race, one that is run in hotel corridors and luxury restaurants around the world. None of the contenders have been confirmed yet, and none of them have openly expressed a wish to succeed Rogge.
“I’d rather not talk. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about that,” Puerto Rico’s Richard Carrion told DPA in an interview.
Carrion, 60, the man who looks after the IOC’s finances and negotiates TV rights, is on most people’s lists of aspiring presidents for the committee. However, there are others too.
Current IOC vice-president Thomas Bach, of Germany, is most people’s favourite. And Singapore’s Ser Miang, Morocco’s Nawal El Moutawakel and Switzerland’s Rene Fasel are also believed to be in that race.
If El Moutawakel were to succeed Rogge, it would be a double revolution: the IOC has never been presided over by a woman, and it has only once been led by a non-European, Avery Brundage of the United States.
The election is set to take place in September 2013 in Buenos Aires, and Rogge was pleased that his colleagues did as they were told in recent weeks in London by putting the Games first and keeping politics for a later date.
Carrion was pleased about what Rogge told DPA in an interview last month when he said, “I think everyone recognises the merits of Mr. Carrion.” “I’ve been very fortunate in recent years. I have been given great responsibility, and it has been an honour,” Carrion said.
The powerful Puerto Rican banker is one of Rogge’s closest aides.
He works as a liaison with Latin America and has great resonance in the United States, but does not see himself as a leader of the “Latin American bloc” among the 112 IOC members.
“No, here we are individual members and we have individual dealings. I feel proud of where I come from and I believe we can do more, but I don’t feel like a leader among Latin Americans,” Carrion said. “I don’t aspire to that position.” Rogge asked Carrion to armour the IOC against uncertainty, and Carrion delivered.
“When president Rogge made me responsible he told me that the idea was to hand over a reserve fund so that the Olympic movement could survive four years without Games.” Carrion says he achieved that because the fund already holds 564 million dollars and “I hope we will have over 800 million by the end of the year”, but numbers are not all that matter to him.
“We have to learn to respect each other and to aspire to greatness. Those are universal concepts and that is what drives us. Values drive us,” he said.
“This is an organisation that is fundamentally about values. I don’t like talk of a ‘brand.’ Yes, there is a commercial aspect, but we should not mistake this for a commercial firm. This is a philosophy. It has to do with values, with inspiring.”