IOC confirms Jorge Delgado, Ecuador’s sports hero, as new president of the National Olympic Committee after unprecedentedly close elections

The EOC incumbent was fourth in the 200 butterfly won by Mark Spitz at the 1972 Munich Olympics and emerged victorious in an election that ended 37-37. A controversial tie-breaking vote had to be used.


Jorge Delgado, new president of the Ecuadorean Olympic Committee
Jorge Delgado, new president of the Ecuadorean Olympic Committee

The first Olympic finalist in Ecuador’s history, Jorge Delgado, has received recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the new president of his country’s Olympic Committee.

“Indeed... We are now processing the national recognition,” former swimmer Delgado, fourth in the 200m butterfly at the Munich 72 Olympic Games behind the legendary Mark Spitz and fellow Americans Gary Hall and Robin Backhaus, confirmed to Around The Rings.

Delgado was also seventh at Montreal ‘76 and a multiple Pan American and South American medalist.

The IOC certification clears the picture after rumors of a possible challenge to the elections two weeks ago by some members of the list of the other contender, veteran sports leader Danilo Carrera, former captain of the national team in Davis Cup and president of the Tennis Federation.

The displeasure was caused by the casting vote of the outgoing president of the COE, Augusto Moran, after the vote count ended 37-37. The COE statutes include the right of this vote in the event of a tie-breaker for who presides over the Election Assembly.

The Assembly was also attended by an observer from the IOC and Panam Sports, the Nicaraguan Juan Santiago Estrada. The reviews of that election day, in which for the first time two lists of candidates were presented, highlighted the embrace between the two candidates when the result was defined.

Delgado ruled out disunity in the new COE perspective. “I know most of the athletes, all the presidents of the sports federations. I have more than 50 years in sport as an athlete, coach or leader,” explained the former swimmer, who after his retirement graduated as a professor of Physical Education at the University of Illinois. He is also an aviation captain.

“I have been mission chief at different multi-sport games. I’ve always shown up to solve problems for athletes, coaches, managers. I go to the places where they train and we constantly dialogue,” he said. Delgado leaves the presidency of the swimming federation to take up the new position.

The Electoral Assembly was also marked by the repercussion of complaints from several outstanding athletes at the Tokyo Olympic Games, led by cyclist Richard Carapaz, Latin America’s first gold medalist at the Japanese Games. The athletes criticized the inattention of the Ecuadorian Olympic authorities.

“There have been several factors, but the main one has been the lack of chemistry between the athletes and their leaders,” commented Delgado, head of mission in Tokyo 2020, on the causes of these protests, especially among athletes from the cycling, shooting and weightlifting federations.

The official believes that the situation will change, because new presidents have been elected in the first two federations mentioned, and in weightlifting he will seek to mediate.

“The athletes’ voices were heard at the Games, not before,” Delgado assured. “We were taken by surprise by these claims.” For the Olympic director, the presidents of the Ecuadorian federations were the ones called to address these concerns. “We want to be part of the solution,” he remarked.

Ecuadorian weightlifter Neisi Dajomes was recorded last Sunday as she competed, wearing different colored shoes, in the final of the women's 76 kg weightlifting category at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (Japan). EFE/Fazry Ismail
Ecuadorian weightlifter Neisi Dajomes was recorded last Sunday as she competed, wearing different colored shoes, in the final of the women's 76 kg weightlifting category at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (Japan). EFE/Fazry Ismail

“We will always keep the door open. We have an important background through life in sport to understand the needs of these young people,” specified who will be the first Olympic athlete at the head of the EOC.

In Tokyo 2020 Ecuador recorded a historic performance with two gold medals, Richard Carapaz, in the cycling invidual route, and Neisi Dajomes, in weightlifting (76 kg). It also won a silver medal in weightlifting, with Tamara Salazar (87 kg). It also won four Olympic Diplomas. Ecuador finished in 38th place in the medal table by country.

“The bar that Tokyo has left us is very high and forces us to an “aggressive” program towards Paris”, anticipated Delgado for an unusual three-year Olympic cycle that will begin for Ecuador along with the rest of the countries of the continent with the First Pan American Junior Games starting on November 25 in Cali.