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"IOC voters an eclectic bunch"


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I got this (the link) on an email from the United States Olympic Committee -- which I am happy to share with the board.  GB Founder is mentioned and credited.

Olympic voters are an eclectic bunch

By JOHN BRENNAN, STAFF WRITER, North Jersey Media Group // June 29, 2005

Copyright 2005 North Jersey Media Group Inc.,

All Rights Reserved

The International Olympic Committee's list of 116 voting members, hailing from 77 countries, reads like a casting call for "The Surreal Life."

A pharmacist from Togo. An anchorwoman from Italy. A dentist from Switzerland. A brewery executive from Thailand. The former president of the Liechtenstein Girl Scouts. Even a couple of dozen former Olympic medalists.

They will all gather next week in Singapore to decide the fate of New York's 2012 Summer Olympics bid.

"It's a fairly unpredictable group, if you look back at where the Games have been and where they were expected to go," said Kevin Wamsley, director of the International Center for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario.

Is it any wonder, given the collection of voters? Among them:

*-Princess Nora of Liechtenstein. She's the former Girl Scouts executive (1973-94). If you're going to try to win her vote by baking a batch of cookies, they had better be good.

*-Dr. Robin E. Mitchell, an immunologist from Fiji. He speaks English and Fijian, but perhaps the best way to butter him up would be by speaking to him in Rotuman, another language that the IOC Web site credits him with speaking. It wouldn't hurt for the New York delegation to brush up on its Putonghua, Woloff and Urdu, too, because those languages are spoken by various other voters.

*-Antun Vrdoljak of Croatia. Gymnastics and handball are his favorite sports, but he's also a stage and film actor and director, a sports journalist and general manager of the national Croatian television and radio stations.

*-JoHavelange of Brazil is 89 years old. He swam in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Adolf Hitler's "master race" showcase. He also led soccer's world governing body from 1974 to 1998.

"The IOC used to choose a lot of political heads of state, political leaders and business leaders," said Rob Livingstone, who runs the Olympics-related Web site, gamesbids.com. "But now there are a lot more former athletes involved, on the idea that they are the ones who would know best which site would be good for the athletes."

All four new members from 2004 are past Olympians, joining legends such as skier Jean-Claude Killy of France, track star Kip Keino of Kenya and sprinter Valeri Borzov of the Ukraine as IOC voters.

These voters will be asked to decide a five-city race considered to be the most competitive ever. Although Paris is considered the favorite, its proponents should not be too cocky because even less-contested site battles have produced unexpected results in the past.

Take the 2006 Winter Olympics vote.

Heavily favored Sion, Switzerland, was beaten, 53-36, by Turin, Italy. Livingstone said it is widely thought that many IOC voters were angry with the father of the Sion bid's director and retaliated by picking Turin. The father - IOC member Marc Hodler - blew the whistle on a bribery scandal involving Salt Lake City's successful 2002 Winter Games bid.

In the 2000 Summer Olympics voting, Beijing held a slight lead after each of three rounds. But Sydney, Australia, ultimately won in a 45-43 vote. The Australian Olympic Committee president later admitted he offered $35,000 apiece to two African members the night before the vote in exchange for their support. The official denied any wrongdoing, because he gave the money to the Kenya and Uganda National Organizing Committees.

The confirmation of cash payments to delegates before the Salt Lake City election - and additional allegations of prostitutes being hired, free college educations being doled out and campaign contributions being given to various members before several elections - led to extensive IOC reforms in 1999. Members no longer can freely visit the candidate countries, schmoozing with bid leaders who are hungry - sometimes desperate - for votes.

But there's no guarantee that under-the-table deals still aren't being made, and it's almost certain that horse trading will continue. That's because this five-way race is seen as offering the highest caliber of candidates in Olympic history.

Another bit of intrigue also may come into play: If New York is not the winner, then a European capital will be. That means the European also-rans likely won't be able to gain a Summer Games bid for at least another eight to 12 years, because the IOC prefers to "spread the wealth" of Olympics selections around the globe.

If Paris is perceived as the biggest threat to future Olympic chances, backers of each of the other European cities may switch to New York as their choices are eliminated.

"That's why I haven't written off New York, even though I don't think they have a good plan anymore," Livingstone said, referring to this month's reluctant switch from a Manhattan-based bid to a Queens-based version after the collapse of the West Side Stadium effort.

Livingstone and Wamsley said that many voters won't even bother to read the technical report presented by an IOC Evaluation Commission on June 6 that reserved its highest praise for Paris and London.

"A lot of voters represent sports federations of their countries, like swimming or cycling, and they tend to focus on their narrow interests," Livingstone said. "So you're the head of your swimming federation, you might really want to vote for the city with the best pool. You can't tell these voters how to vote."

So NYC is very much alive!!

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I read this very same article on the news agency wires about ten minutes ago. I think it just goees to show how hard it is to pick bloc votes, etc. It just makes clear the IOC is an organisation full of individuals all with their own personal reasons for voting as they do.
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I read this very same article on the news agency wires about ten minutes ago. I think it just goees to show how hard it is to pick bloc votes, etc. It just makes clear the IOC is an organisation full of individuals all with their own personal reasons for voting as they do.

I agree....this just reminds us that the vote is truely undpredictable....

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Amazing isn't it...whilst certain folk have been continually reiterating the individuality of the IOC members and their potential voting here in the forums, we have still seen so many think that because an IOC delegate speaks the same first language, or has some historical link with the country of a bidding city, then therefore it's a lock that they'll vote that way (and yes, I am referring to all those Paris supporters who droned on and on about the Francophones, the Madrid supporters expecting the Latino vote to go their way, the London supporters thinking the Commonwealth members will fall in line behind the so-called mother country, and everyone who hate Bush and the current presidency will vote against NYC.

Whoever has any understanding of the IOC will always look at their byzantine and almost crab-like machinations and be able to say with surety that the 2012 vote is just about anyone...

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Makes me wonder if those nations with more than 1 IOC member vote "together as a bloc" or go their separate ways. For example, how would those IOC members from Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Australia vote on Wednesday? Will they vote "as one" or will each one of them choose as they see fit?
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Further evidence, if it was ever needed, that nobody knows which City is going to win the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

Well, like the runes of old, there are signs that can be read, i.e., taking "the temperature of the water."  I mean, certain parties have taken a sounding but since 3 of the bids are rated so closely, this is going to be a squeaker.

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