Tributes flow in after death of ex Olympic boss Jacques Rogge who organised Sydney Olympics

Julian LindenNews Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
Prime Minister John Howard is presented with the Olympic Order in Gold by IOC President Jacques Rogge. Chris Pavlich
Camera IconPrime Minister John Howard is presented with the Olympic Order in Gold by IOC President Jacques Rogge. Chris Pavlich Credit: News Corp Australia

Jacques Rogge, the former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president who was in charge of helping organise the Sydney 2000 Olympics, has died, aged 79.

Tributes are already flooding in from around the world for the Belgian orthopaedic surgeon, who represented his country in rugby and sailing before turning his hand to sports administration.

“First and foremost, Jacques loved sport and being with athletes – and he transmitted this passion to everyone who knew him. His joy in sport was infectious,” the current IOC President Thomas Bach said.

“He was an accomplished President, helping to modernise and transform the IOC. He will be remembered particularly for championing youth sport and for inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games. He was also a fierce proponent of clean sport, and fought tirelessly against the evils of doping.”

Rogge was selected as the eighth President of the IOC, serving from 2001 to 2013, and has been largely credited for helping restore the organisation’s credibility after the Salt Lake City corruption scandal.

He was well known, and liked, in Australia after being appointed as the chairman of the co-ordination commission for the Sydney Olympics, which then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch hailed as the best ever.

In 2003, Rogge personally presented Australian Prime Minister John Howard with the Gold Olympic Order as recognition of Australia’s role in the Games.

Rogge’s role in helping organise the Sydney Games laid the platform for his election as IOC president, elevating his reputation as a steady hand after the chaos of Atlanta 1996 and the revelations that Salt Lake City officials had used bribery to secure the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Rogge helped restore the political and financial stability of the IOC before completing his second term in 2013. One of his final roles before stepping down was announcing Tokyo as the successful host of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Prime Minister John Howard is presented with the Olympic Order in Gold by IOC President Jacques Rogge in Howards Sydney Office. Behind rightn Susie O'Neill and Phil Coles. PIC CHRIS PAVLICH 20/11/2003
Camera IconPrime Minister John Howard is presented with the Olympic Order in Gold by IOC President Jacques Rogge. Chris Pavlich Credit: News Corp Australia

Sebastian Coe, the head of World Athletics, tweeted: “I am beyond sad to hear the news of Jacques passing.”

The IOC said the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast for five days as a mark of respect and a public memorial service will take place later in the year.

At the Paralympics, currently tracking place in Tokyo, flags were also flown at half mast.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) awarded Rogge its highest honour, in 2017, recognising his contribution in bringing the Olympics and Paralympics closer together.

“During his time as IOC President, he signed several agreements that not only offered the IPC stability but enabled our organisation to grow and flourish,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said.

“We will forever be thankful for his assistance as the IPC would not be the organisation it is today without his support.”

Originally published as Tributes flow in after death of ex Olympic boss Jacques Rogge who organised Sydney Olympics

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