Greek NOC Chief Seeks Reelection; Hickey Offers McIlroy Irish Flag Duties in Rio

(ATR) Irish NOC president asks top ranked golfer to pledge allegiance ... Spyros Capralos on standing for a second term, planning Sochi torch lighting ...  More inside this News from the NOCs ...

Capralos Seeks Reelection

Spyros Capralos tells Around the Rings he will run for another term as president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

After the London Games, the 57-year-old said a number of his colleagues asked him to stand for a second four-year stint as head of the NOC.

No other candidates have come forward to challenge him. But Capralos, who sits on the executive board of the European Olympic Committees, said he expected that scenario to change in the coming months.

The elections are scheduled for the start of February.

Capralos and Greek NOC officials will travel to Lausanne on Friday for talks with the IOC and Sochi 2014 leaders about plans for the Olympic flame lighting ceremony in Greece for the first Russian Winter Olympics.

With Russia staging the longest Olympic torch relay in history – 123 days in all – he confirmed that the flame would be lit "earlier than what we usually do" in Olympia. It's expected to be lit at the end of September 2013.

In the month before the London Olympics, Capralos was accused by British newspaper the Sunday Times of obtaining extra London 2012 tickets to re-sell on the black market. He vociferously denies the allegations.

The 2012 ticketing scandal that has engulfed a number of European NOCs and ticketing agents is the subject of an ongoing IOC ethics commission investigation.

Hickey Offers McIlroy Irish Flag Duties

Olympic Council of Ireland president Patrick Hickey wants top ranked golfer Rory McIlroy to pledge allegiance to the flag – then be its bearer at Rio 2016.

"I will say to Rory that if he declares for Ireland, then he will automatically put himself in pole position to carry the Irish tricolor into the Olympic stadium in Rio," the IOC Executive Board member told London’s Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.

McIlroy, whose Northern Irish heritage would allow him to play for either Great Britain or Ireland when golf returns to the Games after a 112-year absence, has insisted he’s still undecided after recent suggestions he was leaning toward Team GB sparked widespread debate among players and the press.

"Tthe fact is, I’ve always felt more British than Irish," he was quoted in a Sept. 9 interview with the Daily Mail, echoing similar sentiments made public in years past.

"You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB," Hickey said Tuesday.

"I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently," he added.

"Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy? It would suddenly catapult him into the realms of being one of the most instantly recognizable sporting faces on the planet. Because make no mistake about it, that’s what carrying the flag does for people."

Flag bearer selections are typically made in the months leading up to the Games and are often subject to the vote of a country’s entire Olympic team.

New Finnish NOC Chief

Mika Sulin has been appointed as the new secretary general of the Finnish NOC.

He replaces Jouko Purontakanen, who steps down from the post he has occupied since 1996.

In a ceremony at Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, NOC president Roger Talermo and his colleagues from the Finnish world of sport celebrated Purontakanen’s achievements, a statement from the European Olympic Committees said.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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