Thomas Bach of Germany – 9th IOC president

The new president of the IOC Thomas Bach entered the press conference room, sat, and the only thing he could do was smile as he said, “I am still not accustomed to people calling me ‘President.’”

Thomas Bach's first media conference

Bach was excited as he spoke and seemed to be a sensitive man, saying, “The reaction of the IOC members is something that I will never forget. I could say that even when I won the gold medal in Montreal, I don’t remember as I will remember this moment; what I feel here are things that arrives to my heart.”

Bach has already decided where he will go first: “My first official travel will be to Olympia, where the Olympic Games were born.” President Bach also talked about the former President Rogge, for whom he showed a lot of respect and admiration.

One of the first tests for Bach, the Winter Games in Sochi, will take place in less than a year. Bach said at the press conference that these Games “are a priority for me” and explained that the most important issue is to cooperate with the city and organizers to present the Sochi Games in a good way.

Bach talked about the importance of youth and communication on his agenda as president of the IOC: “In the program I propose the dialogue with the new generations using the new media; the goal of the IOC is not only that youth consume sport in TV or media, it is also that youth practice the sports.”

People were concerned about the influence one prominent individual may have had in the election of the IOC president, and this was a doubt hanging in the air at the Hilton Hotel. Bach said in response to this, “You cannot win the elections with the support of only one member, you need to convince them one by one. It is not an easy job [when] 95 members want to talk to you during the campaign.” Bach reminded the media what happened in July in Lausanne where he stated that he is not one of those men who makes promises: “I didn’t make any promise, this will let me start with a white sheet of paper.” He said this to show he has no commitment to anybody and will work on what he says, not what others want.

RIO 2016 The Olympics in Rio have been an issue that the IOC members have seen; they know about the problems in infrastructure and in facilities for the press. Bach said the IOC will make strong efforts to maintain communication with the organizers; a good presentation given that Bach said he would focus on communication as a main point of his presidency.

MATCH FIXING Due to the fact that the 2020 Olympic Games will be hosted in Tokyo, there was concern about match fixing as there are many legal and illegal betting enterprises in Asia. To this Bach said, “I don’t want to make a relation between match fixing with a special region of the world; we can’t say match fixing is only in Asia, this is a global phenomenon.” He also mentioned that he will try to look for a partnership with UNESCO or ONU to create legislation to fight match fixing and doping.

As ninth president of the IOC, Bach will take a path of communication between the IOC and the world. He thinks they need to be open, because the world is changing, and the IOC must change too.