Golden 25 -- #1 Thomas Bach

(ATR) IOC president tops Golden 25 for second year in a row.

(ATR) After a year orchestrating an array of changes for the IOC, Thomas Bach faces the challenge of bringing them into force in 2015.

It’s the second year in a row for Bach to take the top spot in the Around the Rings Golden 25. He was saluted in 2014 for opening the doors to a wide ranging debate on how the IOC to change the way it goes about its business, from bidding for the Olympics, to selecting sports for the Games, to the way the IOC is organized.

The result of the debate was Olympic Agenda 2020, a list of 40 recommendations all adopted unanimously at the extraordinary IOC Session held last month in Monaco. Now it is up to Bach to decide the course of action to follow in 2015 to make these changes a reality.

Given the ease with which Bach engineered the passage of Olympic Agenda, implementation could be on a fast track.

Reforms to the bidding process for the Olympic Games must be put in place to accommodate the race for 2024 that starts this year. At the same time changes that put the emphasis on using existing and sustainable venues will mean adjustments to plans already made for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games.

A major project approved as part of Olympic Agenda 2020 is the formation of the Olympic TV channel. With the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro now on the horizon, 2015 is a crucial year in the development of this new IOC property.

A notable change to the internal organization of the IOC is expected this year with modifications to the commission structure of the organization.

With some two dozen commissions in place, consolidations are possible along with new chairmanships, which Bach largely kept in place in his first year in office. It will be interesting to see who will be named to these posts, key lieutenants for Bach to carry out Olympic Agenda reforms.

The IOC president has indicated the importance of working with governments at the same time maintaining autonomy from government rule. He has eagerly met with world leaders since taking office, a charm offensive needed to reverse perceptions that the Olympic Games are a yoke on the neck of host cities that brings few benefits.

Mention should be made of two individuals from Germany who keep Bach’s life on even keel. Chief of staff Jochen Faerber is from the IOC president’s home town and sport of fencing. And then, perhaps more importantly, there is spouse Claudia Bach, a constant companion for the president. The pair celebrated his 61st birthday on Dec. 29.

2014 ranking: 1

The Around the Rings Golden 25, now in its 19th year, is sponsored by EY.

The list spotlights 25 individuals who will have substantial influence on the Olympic Movement in the year ahead. The Golden 25 is compiled by the staff of Around the Rings, the world’s most experienced journalistic team dedicated to covering the Olympics.

The countdown from number 25 began December 20. The number-one position will be announced Jan 1, 2015.

Reported by Ed Hula.

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