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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rogge Elected 8th IOC President in Easy Victory

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Jacques Rogge was elected the new president of the International Olympic Committee on Monday with a landslide victory.

The 59-year-old surgeon, who succeeds Juan Antonio Samaranch, beat out four rivals to gain a majority of the votes cast by the 100-plus IOC members in a second round of a secret ballot.

The election results were announced in the Column Hall in downtown Moscow — the same place where Samaranch was declared IOC president 21 years ago to the day.

A convoy of buses with all the IOC members had left the voting chamber at the International Trade Center to make the journey to the hall for the announcement.

The symbolism was deliberate, if clumsy, as members sweated heavily waiting for the short ceremony where Samaranch announced the winner. Afterward, Rogge presented Samaranch with the IOC's highest honor, the Olympic Order in Gold.

Rogge immediately pledged to modernize the IOC while continuing its fight against drugs and corruption in sports.

"I will devote all my energy to the credibility of sport, which is under attack by doping, corruption and violence," Rogge said.

"The fight against doping is the No.1 priority," he said, adding that the IOC needs to innovate according to "changes in society."

Rogge was elected for an eight-year term. He can run for an extra four-year term at the end of the eight years.

With a reputation for his diplomatic skills, Rogge had been the favorite for the post and becomes the eighth president in the history of the IOC.

"There was a consensus," said Hungarian candidate Pal Schmitt, who finished fourth in the race. "He ran a smooth campaign."

"He's a good diplomat," said former Olympic pole-vaulter Sergei Bubka. "He'll bring good success to the IOC."

The Ukrainian, who is an IOC member, said Rogge had impressed him with the way he leads meetings.

Rogge will need all his diplomatic skills to make the 2008 Olympic Games a success. The awarding of the Games to Beijing, one of the last acts of Samaranch's tenure, has been criticized because of China's poor human rights record. With the Games taking place a year before Rogge's term runs out, success in 2008 will likely decide whether he gets re-elected.

Rogge beat out two tough IOC veterans for the post, South Korean Kim Un-yong and Canadian Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Rogge won with 59 votes, while Kim had 23 votes, Pound had 22, and Schmitt of Hungary had six.

Rogge's two closest rivals suffered setbacks in the last few days of the campaign. Kim was questioned by the IOC ethics commission after a newspaper reported he would offer each IOC member $50,000 a year with an office and expenses if he won.

Kim, while denying the report, said the negative publicity it generated cost him votes. The IOC gave Kim a warning after a corruption scandal over the awarding of the Winter Olympic Games to Salt Lake City.

U.S. candidate Anita DeFrantz, a former rower, dropped out after the first round. She said she lost votes because her supporters feared by casting their votes for her they would allow an undesired candidate to win a majority.

Rogge, who took part in three Olympics as a yachtsman, only joined the IOC in 1991 but has risen through the ranks quickly. He joined the ruling executive board in 1998 and is head of the European Olympics Committee. He was IOC coordinator of the 2000 Games in Sydney.

His task as the new president will be to polish the image of the IOC after the Salt Lake City scandal.

"Most people think of us as horrible people," said DeFrantz, adding that Rogge and the IOC members need to do a better job of explaining that "we work as volunteers."

The IOC's image was, arguably, not improved Monday when Samaranch's son, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., had his nomination for IOC membership approved. Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. is vice president of the International Modern Pentathlon Federation. The nomination was made against the advice of many senior IOC members, who thought it would reinforce the public's image that the IOC is a club for the elite.

Meanwhile, Vitaly Smirnov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, was elected as one of the IOC's four vice presidents. Smirnov was the only candidate for the vacant post. The Russian has held the position twice before, from 1978 to 1982 and from 1991 to 95.