Golden 25 - #5 - IOC President Thomas Bach

(ATR) Bach gets ready to lead his first Summer Olympics as IOC chief…

BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 21:  IOC President Thomas Bach talks to the media during a press conference after the IAAF Council and IOC Executive Board meeting at Intercontinental Beijing Beichen Hotel on August 21, 2015 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 21: IOC President Thomas Bach talks to the media during a press conference after the IAAF Council and IOC Executive Board meeting at Intercontinental Beijing Beichen Hotel on August 21, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)

(ATR) The IOC president will be closely monitoring final preparations for Rio 2016 and making some key decisions in the New Year.

Thomas Bach is number 5 in the Around the Rings Golden 25 for 2016. Now in its 20th year, the survey ranks 25 individuals or events expected to have a major influence on the Olympics in the year ahead.

In his third year in one of the most powerful jobs in world sport, Bach is counting on his crack squad of experts on Rio 2016 led by Nawal el Moutawakel and Gilbert Felli to iron out problems to ensure the first Olympics in South America are an unqualified success.

The IOC president, who turned 62 on Tuesday, has some big decisions ahead. These include when to push the button on the launch of his pet project, the Olympic Channel, before the Games or delay until it is fully equipped with innovative, digital ready content to make a big impact on the world’s youth.

Another key decision is appointment of the new IOC director of strategic communication to grow the IOC and Olympic brand in conjunction with the aims of the Olympic Channel. Further implementation of Agenda 2020 recommendations is also on his radar.

Bach will keep an eagle eye on stages two and three of the 2024 bidding process. With four candidate cities remaining, the IOC’s top officials are tasked with guiding the bids through the obstacles that could further winnow the field on the road to the IOC vote in Lima in 2017.

On the federations front, the IOC president will surely be hoping for a much better year for FIFA and the IAAF, which were mired in corruption scandals in 2015. He is concerned that the misdeeds of such high profile federations affects the image of other sports organizations, including the IOC.

Doping issues in sport will doubtless gain his attention through the year, with Russia’s overhaul of its anti-doping system front of mind in the opening months and out-of-competition testing crucial to catching the cheats before they descend on Rio. For now, Russian track and field athletes are not able to compete in Rio, a circumstance that Bach would like to avoid.

Appointing the head of the IOC 2022 Olympic evaluation commission is another big decision, if Beijing’s ambitious Games and legacy plans are to be realized.

2015 ranking: 1

Written by Mark Bisson.

20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.

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