International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board member Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國) yesterday officially announced his bid for the committee’s presidency.
If successful, Wu would become the first Taiwanese and the first Asian to head the world’s most powerful sports organization since 1894.
Two IOC vice presidents, German Thomas Bach and Singaporean Ng Ser-miang (黃思綿), as well as Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, who chairs the IOC’s financial commission, have already announced their candidacies.
Wu submitted his candidacy letter on May 17 to IOC president Jacques Rogge, whose 12-year term ends this year.
Commenting on his chance of winning, Wu said no prediction could be made on the September election. He said that he garnered more than 90 percent of the votes when running for IOC executive board member last year, which had surprised him.
Asked if he would consider changing Taiwan’s designation — Chinese Taipei — or flag in the Olympics, he said the most important thing is for Taiwanese athletes to be protected and be able to compete in the Games.
Commenting on whether his candidacy would be endorsed by IOC members from China and Hong Kong, Wu appeared to be confident that he would win their support.
“I have been with the IOC since 1988, which is the longest of all the candidates,” Wu said. “I have been friends with my colleagues from China and Hong Kong for many years. So far, the responses I have received from them have been positive. I believe that they all share the consensus that people of Chinese descent should not be missing in the election.”
Wu also laid out a series of reforms he plans to execute if elected.
He said the host cities for future Olympic Games should be given the right to propose one new sport as demonstration sport. The practice has been followed in the past, but was stopped for various reasons, he said.
Wu vowed to change the rules of the bidding process for the host countries of the Olympics, adding that the commission is scheduled to select the country that will host the 2020 Olympics Games in September. However, he said that IOC members have been banned from visiting any of these bidding cities since a scandal in the Salt Lake City in 1999, which he thinks should be addressed.
“I have talked to many cities that lost the bid and asked them how they felt, and they asked how members who had never visited their city could make decisions,” Wu said. “I think this is the basic principle: We have to let every voting IOC member visit each city and to see what it has to offer, including the facilities, hotels, accommodations and transportation. All these must be inspected and reviewed by IOC members. The trips have to be organized by the IOC management, which can prevent any potential wrongdoing by the bidding cities.”
Wu said the IOC organized the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore, with the next ones to be held in Nanjing, China, next year.
He said those cities that have a chance to bid for the Olympics Games should also be allowed to bid for the Youth Olympic Games.