Jacques Jean Marie Rogge, Count Rogge (French: [ʒɑk ʁɔ.ge]; Dutch: [ˈrɔɣə]; born 2 May 1942) is a Belgian sports administrator and physician who served as the eighth president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 2001 to 2013. In 2013, the IOC announced that Rogge would become their Honorary President.
Life and career
Born in Ghent, Belgium, under the Nazi-occupation, Rogge is by profession an orthopedic surgeon and was educated at the Jesuit private school Sint-Barbaracollege and the University of Ghent..
Rogge is a noted athlete in his home country. He was a 16-time Belgian national champion in rugby and a one-time yachting world champion. He also competed in the Finn class of sailing at the Summer Olympic Games in 1968, 1972, and 1976. In October 2016, The British School of Brussels named their new Sports Centre in his honour.
Rogge served as President of the Belgian Olympic Committee from 1989 to 1992, and as President of the European Olympic Committees from 1989 to 2001. He became a member of the IOC in 1991 and joined its Executive Board in 1998. He was knighted in 1992, and in 2002 made a Count in the Belgian nobility by King Albert II. On 25 February 2014, The Princess Royal appointed him as an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) at Buckingham Palace for his years of service to the Olympics and in particular for his work on the London 2012 Olympic Games.
On 28 April 2014, Rogge was appointed Special Envoy for Youth Refugees and Sport by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to help promote sport as an empowerment tool for youth from displaced and refugee communities towards peace, reconciliation, security, health, education, gender equality and a more inclusive society.
In his free time, Rogge is known to admire modern art and is an avid reader of historical and scientific literature. He is married to Anne; they have two adult children.
On 14 October 2016, The British School of Brussels opened their new sports center in Tervuren, Belgium. The building was opened and named after Rogge, titled "The Jacques Rogge Sports Centre".
President of the IOC
Rogge was elected as President of the IOC on 16 July 2001 at the 112th IOC Session in Moscow as the successor to Juan Antonio Samaranch, who had previously led the IOC since 1980.
At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Rogge became the first ever IOC President to stay in the Olympic village, thereby enjoying closer contact with the athletes.
In October 2009 he was re-elected for a new term as President of the IOC. In September 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires a new IOC President was elected.
In 2011, a Forbes magazine list of the 68 most powerful people in the world listed Rogge at no. 67.
On 27 July 2011, one year prior to London 2012, Rogge attended a ceremony at Trafalgar Square where he invited athletes worldwide to compete in the forthcoming Olympic Games. Former Olympians HRH The Princess Royal and Sebastien Coe unveiled the medals up for grabs, after both Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson had given speeches.
In December 2011, Jacques Rogge was invested as an Officer of the Légion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Jacques Rogge's IOC Presidency came to an end at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires. German Thomas Bach was elected as the new IOC President at the session on 10 September 2013. He then went on to become the Honorary President of the IOC.
For the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Rogge pronounced in mid-July 2008 that there would be no Internet censorship by Chinese government authorities: "for the first time, foreign media will be able to report freely and publish their work freely in China". However, by 30 July 2008, IOC spokesman Kevan Gosper had to retract this optimistic statement, announcing that the Internet would indeed be censored for journalists. Gosper, who said he had not heard about this, suggested that high IOC officials (probably including the Dutch Hein Verbruggen and IOC Director of the Olympic Games, Gilbert Felli, and most likely with Rogge's knowledge) had made a secret deal with Chinese officials to allow the censorship, without the knowledge of either the press or most members of the IOC. Rogge later denied that any such meeting had taken place, but failed to insist that China adhere to its prior assurances that the Internet would not be censored.
Rogge commented that Usain Bolt's gestures of jubilation and excitement after winning the 100 meters in Beijing are "not the way we perceive being a champion," and also said "that he should show more respect for his competitors." In response to his comments, Yahoo! Sports columnist, Dan Wetzel, who covered the Games, described him as "a classic stiff-collared bureaucrat," and further contended that "[the IOC] has made billions off athletes such as Bolt for years, yet he has to find someone to pick on". In an interview with Irish Times' reporter Ian O'Riordan, Rogge clarified, "Maybe there was a little bit of a misunderstanding.... What he does before or after the race I have no problem with. I just thought that his gesticulation during the race was maybe a little disrespectful".
Rogge rejected calls for a minute of silence to be held to honor the 11 Israeli Olympians killed 40 years prior in the Munich Massacre, during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics. He did this despite the standing request of the families of the 11 Israeli Olympic team members and political pressure from the United States, Britain, and Germany, stating: "We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident." Speaking of the decision, Israeli Olympian Shaul Ladany, who had survived the Munich Massacre, commented: "I do not understand. I do not understand, and I do not accept it." Rogge and the IOC instead opted for a ceremony at Guildhall, London on 6 August, and one at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base on the anniversary of the attack, 5 September.
Honours and titles
Rogge received these honours and titles in Belgium and abroad for his work:
- 1992: Creation of Knight Rogge by Royal decree of King Baudouin
- 2002: Creation of Count Rogge, by Royal decree of King Albert II
- 2011: Order of Friendship
- 2011: Officer of the Legion of Honour by President Sarkozy.
- 2013: Grand Cordon in the Order of Leopold; royal decree of 19 September 2013
- 2014: Knight Commander in the Order of St. Michael and St. George, UK 2014
- 2012: Knight Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau, by royal decree of Queen Beatrix.
- 2015: Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Adolphe of Nassau.
- Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- Order of Merit of Ukraine
- Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise
- Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
- Order for Merits to Lithuania
- Doctor hon. Causa: Universiteit Gent in 2001
- Doctor hon. Causa: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 2012,
- Doctor hon. Causa: Baku State University
- Doctor hon. Causa: Semmelweis University, Budapest
- Doctor hon. Causa: École polytechnique, Lausanne