Regrets I've had a few, says IOC's Rogge
Jacques Rogge, outgoing International Olympic Committee president, during a press conference in Buenos Aires on September 4, 2013. He admitted at his final solo press conference as IOC President he would step down with a few regrets over his 12-year reign.
The 71-year-old Belgian -- who was elected in Moscow in 2001 to replace long-time IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch -- added he would not be feeling nostalgic when he hands over to his successor after the presidential election on September 10 in Buenos Aires.
Rogge, a former Olympic yachtsman who also represented Belgium in rugby union, said the role he had performed for over a decade had brought him many different experiences and memories.
"Have I enjoyed it? Not always. Was it exciting? Definitely, and it was a privilege of course to be president," said Rogge.
"You have good and bad moments but the fact is the biggest reward for me was the athletes welfare and in that I was successful."
Rogge, whose greatest achievement perhaps was to restore the image of the IOC after Samaranch's reign ended sourly with the bribes for votes scandal surrounding the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, was clear about what he saw as being the highs and the lows.
"The moments that pleased me the most was appearing at the closing ceremonies for three Summer Games and three Winter ones as well as two Youth Olympics and being able to say that all were very good Games for the athletes.
"For athletes are the core of the Games.
"The worst moment and one that I will never forget was the death of the Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili (killed in a training accident on the day of the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010)."
Rogge said he wasn't going to sit back and reflect that everything had been rosy.
"I'm a perfectionist, being an athlete you always strive to be better, so yes there are things which could have been better but I am glad that the athletes had very good Games which they competed in," he said.
Rogge, who cites former South African President Nelson Mandela as the most impressive person he met during his time as head of the IOC, said the final days of his tenure would be emotional.
"Of course it will be emotional, but I'm going without any nostalgia," said Rogge.
"I will look to the future. I will still attend IOC meetings as an honorary member. This is not a farewell to the IOC."
Rogge, who leaves having seen his brainchild the Youth Olympic Games become a reality, said he left satisfied that while the ogre of doping still haunted sport, it was a far riskier enterprise now for those who did take doping substances.
"I can say with certainty that it is far harder to get away with doping than it was 10 years ago," he said.
"Of course you can't be naive and say it has gone away entirely."
Rogge, who will also spend his retirement reading, visiting art galleries and driving his grandchildren to school and sports days, bowed out with one of his moments of dry humour when asked what he would have liked to have achieved but wasn't able to.
"It is not a matter that I wasn't able to, but I was not successful in going to bed early and sleeping late in the morning."