Thomas Bach on Monday paid a warm tribute to outgoing International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, the man he is seeking to succeed, saying he had been an unerring ally in the fight against doping for 12 years.
Bach, the frontrunner among the six men vying to be elected president when the IOC members vote in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, said he had known when he took decisions at various commissions in the fight against doping that Rogge would back him 100 per cent.
The German, an IOC vice-president, was speaking to assembled members at their session in his role as judicial commission chairman.
Bach, who if elected would be the first Olympic gold medallist to assume the top office in world sport having won the team foil fencing in 1976 for West Germany, even dared to contravene a directive from Rogge who had said he preferred that no tributes should be paid to him.
“I will be disobedient now as you have reached the end of your mandate,” said 59-year-old Bach, who is one of the loudest voices in calling for bans to be doubled to four years for athletes caught doping.
“I ask for your understanding Mr President because, having served under you for 12 years as judicial commission chairman and as vice-president three times, I think it is only normal I make this gesture.
“I would like to express my gratitude for your support throughout the years on being behind me whenever there were difficult issues.
“It has been a privilege and a real pleasure to be at your side in the fight against doping.
“With all your very clear directives, we knew we could come up with measures against doping and have your support.
“We knew you would never waver; that you would always support the fight against doping.”
Bach said without 71-year-old Rogge’s support, the fight against doping would not have been as effective.
“It has been a great great pleasure to have you involved so deeply in this fight,” he said.
“Thank you for your trust and confidence over the years. I greatly respect you Mr President.”
Rogge, whose reign has restored the IOC’s image, remained impassive but delivered one of his trademark dry self-deprecatory remarks.
“Your disobedience tells me that I have reached the level of irrelevance,” he said.