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Olympics-IOC’s choice for 2016 not motivated by money – Rogge

October 6th, 2009

iocThe decision to elect Rio de Janeiro as the host of the 2016 Olympics was not driven by money, otherwise the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have picked Chicago, IOC chief Jacques Rogge said on Monday.

“It is clear that the IOC in its choice has not chosen for the big money,” Rogge said, speaking at the end of the IOC Congress in the Danish capital.

Rio triumphed over Madrid in the final round of voting on Friday after Chicago were surprisingly eliminated in the first round and Tokyo in the second.

“Had we had big money as our consideration we would have gone to Chicago,” he said. “That shows we did not go to big money.”

Chicago had the backing of U.S. President Barack Obama, who attended the final presentation in Copenhagen, but still managed to get only 18 out of 94 votes.

Rogge said while the IOC’s choice was not financially motivated, he did not expect it to be a loss-making operation.

“But let’s wait and see,” he said.

The IOC, among 66 recommendations adopted at their three-day congress, decided to set up a task force to make best use of digital technology as it seeks to attract younger viewers, Rogge said.

The IOC has been urged to re-examine its broadcasting rights deals, largely with traditional television stations, with on-line viewers and mobile phone users providing a huge, growing and lucrative market.

“We are still not there where we want to be,” Rogge said, adding any action should take into consideration the digital divide among developing and developed nations.

The IOC also urged governments to spend more on sports to improve facilities and battle what Rogge said was young peoples’ inactivity.

He said young people would be a top priority for the IOC, less than a year before its inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore, designed to attract a younger audience to the Games and fight obesity.

The IOC will set up a commission to deal with matters relating to coaches, trainers and the athletes’ entourage, similar to its existing athletes’ commission.

The congress also adopted a recommendation to have the physical and psychological health of the athlete as priority, a move that could impact busy competition schedules for some sports.

By Karolos Grohmann

(Editing by Alison Wildey)

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