ASOIF is greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Jacques Rogge, former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), at the age of 79.
Jacques Rogge was the eighth President of the IOC, from 2001 to 2013, after which he became Honorary President. An orthopaedic surgeon with a degree in sports medicine by profession, he was also an accomplished athlete: Jacques Rogge was a Belgian rugby player and represented his country on the national team. He was a 16-time Belgian national champion and a world champion in sailing and competed in this sport at three editions of the Olympic Games.
After his career as an athlete, Jacques Rogge became President of the Belgian and European Olympic Committees (EOC) and was elected President of the IOC in 2001. During his time as IOC President, he initiated several reforms to modernise the organisation and open it up to everyone in the Olympic Movement.
Jacques Rogge was a great supporter of good governance and a strong defender of the autonomy of sport. In addition, he was a fierce proponent of clean sport and fought tirelessly against doping. In 2011 he created the Olympic Summit, which brings together the key stakeholders of the Olympic Movement to discuss pressing topics. It has been organised annually ever since. Jacques Rogge also advocated for stronger inclusion and presence for the athletes’ voice. He was firmly committed to promoting sport and its educational values among the younger generation and created first the European Youth Olympic Festival (during his tenure as EOC President) and later the Youth Olympic Games.
ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Jacques Rogge was passionate about sports, the athletes and the Olympic values which he embodied himself – a kind, genuine and very wise man, fully committed to serving the Olympic Movement. As someone who had the privilege to work closely with him, I also appreciated his distinct sense of humour. We will always gratefully remember his enormous contributions to the Olympic Movement at a crucial time, his great personality and leadership. We will dearly miss him.”
ASOIF’s thoughts are with his wife Anne, his children and grandchildren at this difficult time.