(ATR) His first year as IOC president could define the entire term of Thomas Bach, who tops the Around the Rings Golden 25 for 2014.
While the new IOC president has declared that he "seeks evolution, not revolution", Bach has set in motion a process that could produce the biggest changes in years to IOC governance as well as to the staging of the Olympics.
Whether it’s how IOC members are selected and retained or how room will be made to expand sport program for the Games, Bach plans to have what he calls Olympic Agenda 2020 in place by the end of 2014.
In the coming months he will lead the IOC and stakeholders in vetting ideas for change that ultimately will form specific recommendations. An extraordinary IOC Session in December will put those proposals to their ultimate test.
Bach is working on changes to the structure and membership of the two dozen commissions that handle IOC business. He’s made only one appointment so far, John Coates as chair of the Tokyo 2020 coordination commission. Anticipation is high over who will be selected for the key postings in finance, marketing and media. The reshuffle ahead brings a shakeup not seen in years and the emergence of more junior members taking their turn at IOC leadership.
Bach will travel to Brazil in January to meet with President Dilma Rousseff on the state of preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The visit comes less than six months after he took office, underscoring the IOC’s concerns about progress toward the Games. Rousseff will be running for reelection later this year and will need to walk a careful line about spending on both the Games and the FIFA World Cup to avoid provoking voters who are demanding better service from the government.
Since his election in September, Bach has traveled to Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, meeting world leaders along the way and establishing his presence as IOC president.
But his real debut on the world stage is just weeks away in Sochi, where he will oversee his first Olympics. From the spotlight of the opening ceremony to how he handles potential controversies at these Winter Games, Bach will earn his stripes in February.
Bach just turned 60 and has been an IOC member in Germany since 1991. Outside the IOC he had a career as a lawyer. An Olympian in fencing, he won gold in 1976 in Montreal.
Reported by Ed Hula
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