Golden 25 - #7 - IOC President Shifts Gears

(ATR) After leading the way to the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, Thomas Bach finds new challenges.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN        (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

(ATR) After leading the way to the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, Thomas Bach finds new challenges.

The IOC president struck early in his presidency to win approval for the package of changes and reforms known as Olympic Agenda 2020.

Implementation is the next step, with Bach monitoring the pace of the changes approved two years ago. The big changes affect bidding for the Olympics, a process which has brought bad press for the IOC as city after city struggles to mount the political support needed to stage successful bids.

Declaring last month that the bid process has produced too many losers, speculation exists that Bach is trying to find a way to name two Olympic cities in 2017, not part of the Olympic Agenda 2020 plan.

Bach is also a driving force to lower the costs of staging the Games, another Olympic Agenda touchpoint, witness the to-and-fro in Tokyo over the cost of venues.

The IOC president is in the midst of the complicated crisis over doping in Russian sport. He has been on the defensive over the IOC position not to ban all Russians from the Rio Olympics. Now the question will arise for the 2018 Winter Games following the latest report of WADA investigator Richard McLaren.

As loyal as he can be to principles of justice and the Olympic heritage of Russia, Bach may have to confront uncomfortable realities in 2017. The IOC will have to determine the proper mix of punishment as well as a viable path to redemption for Russia.

In the larger context of the quest for a reformed World Anti Doping Agency, it is up to Bach to put forward a specific plan for action from the IOC and cultivating the range of support needed to produce changes.

Bach, who celebrates his 63rd birthday on Dec. 29, was elected to the IOC in 1991 and can serve till age 80. He became IOC President in 2013 with an eight-year mandate that can be extended by four years. A fencer, he won gold with his German team at the Montreal Olympics.

Click here for photos of Thomas Bach throughout the year.

Homepage photo: Getty Images

Written by Ed Hula.

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