Olympic champion Thomas Bach has been re-elected for an additional four-year term as President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). At the 137th IOC Session held virtually today, the 67-year-old German received 93 yes and 1 no votes from the 94 valid votes.
“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for this overwhelming vote of confidence and trust. For me, this is even more overwhelming considering the many reforms and the many difficult decisions we had to take, which affected all of us,” said President Bach after the election. “You know that this touches me deeply. It also makes me humble. When you elected me for the first time as your President in 2013 in Buenos Aires, I said that I wanted to lead the IOC according to my campaign motto ‘Unity in diversity’ and be a President for all of you and for all our stakeholders. This commitment is also true for my second and last term. My door, my ears and my heart remain open for each and every one of you. I hope that I can count on your continued dedication, support and friendship also during these four more years.”
Thomas Bach, who won gold in with the German foil fencing team at the Olympic Games Montreal 1976, was elected as IOC President at the IOC Session in 2013 in Buenos Aires for a first eight-year term. This term will finish on the closing day of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on 8th August this year, as decided by the IOC Executive Board. His second term as IOC President will start immediately after, and will conclude in 2025.
The Olympic challenge will keep on Faster, Higher, Stronger, but also Together
“In the meantime you know me well enough that I would like to achieve ambitious goals with you also in the post-coronavirus world. We learned during this coronavirus crisis the hard way that we can live up to our Olympic slogan ‘faster, higher, stronger’, in sport and in life, only if we are working together. Therefore, I would like today to inspire a discussion whether we should not complement this slogan by adding after a hyphen the word ‘together’: ‘Faster, higher, stronger + together’. This could be a strong commitment to our core value of solidarity and an appropriate adaptation to the challenges of this new world,” said Thomas Bach.
There will be lots of opportunities because recovery from COVID-19 will need for the Olympic values
“We can already see that the world is continuing to evolve and we have to keep changing. That is very clear and this is why we have already devised the vision for 2025 and this will be about making the Olympic family, the Olympic community, fit for the post-coronavirus world and to address the different strengths we can already see.
There will be more digitalisation, there will be a threat to solidarity, we are living in an age of mistrust then we have to continue to address the questions of credibility in the entire Olympic Movement. So there are many, many issues which we can turn into opportunities because what we have to offer to this post-coronavirus world are our values and these values in this post-coronavirus world will be very, very much important for all of us to recover from this crisis,” Thomas Bach informed.
World-class fencer and founding member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission
As an athlete, Thomas Bach was a world-class fencer, winning the Olympic gold medal, but also two gold medals with the German foil fencing team at the World Championships in Montreal in 1976 and in Buenos Aires in 1977.
He was a founding member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission in 1981, on which he remained until 1988. In 1991, he became an IOC Member and sat on the IOC Executive Board between 1996 and 2013. He served as IOC Vice-President from 2000 to 2004, 2006 to 2010 and from 2010 until his election as IOC President in September 2013.
During his Presidency Thomas Bach received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize in October last year, a prize which President Bach said belonged to the entire IOC and the whole of the Olympic Movement. Without the support of so many around the globe, the achievements for peace through sport could never have been accomplished, he stressed. In 2019, President Bach was awarded the Cem – Papandreou Peace Award in Athens. This award is given to individuals and groups who have made “an outstanding contribution to peace”.