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In this file photo dated November 16, 2020, Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), speaks during the joint press conference between the IOC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. (AP photo)

GENEVA – Thomas Bach was re-elected as President of the International Olympic Committee for a final term of four years on Wednesday, focusing directly on this year’s late games in Tokyo.

The German lawyer was unopposed and won the vote 93-1 with four abstentions after an opening mandate of eight years, which was dominated by the Russian doping scandal and the first Olympic Games in peacetime.

“Thank you very much for this overwhelming vote of confidence,” said Bach during an online meeting of IOC members.

Bach said Tokyo was “the best-prepared Olympic city ever,” reiterating that the Games opened on July 23, despite restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic would.

“The question is not whether, but how these Olympic Games will take place,” he said.

Because of the pandemic, Bach spoke to one Wall of screens connecting members online instead of at a meeting scheduled for June in Athens.

“Let’s not forget the sea of ​​problems we have had to deal with since 2014,” said Bach, making a note of the year of the Sochi Games, which were marked by Russia’s state-sponsored doping program.

Russian teams and athletes are not allowed to compete in Tokyo under the name or flag of their nation, as this is the final penalty for the consequences of the scandal.

Despite postponing the Tokyo Games, Bach secured the IOC’s long-term future by extending key broadcast and sponsorship deals through 2032.

He also signed the future Olympic hosts Paris and Los Angeles, while Brisbane is now for 2032 is accelerated – a step that aims to avoid expensive campaigns and allegations of vote buying.

As Bach in September 2013 as the newly elected IOC President in Buenos Aires walked off the stage, he received a phone to speak to Vladimir Putin.

The aftermath of the Russian doping program that weighed on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi five months later will continue into Bach’s second term.

It was an “unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games,” the German said on Wednesday.

Since then, Russia has sent fewer athletes to each Olympiad, or will send fewer athletes for increased scrutiny or under a different name. The country’s team will be known as the ROC (for the Russian Olympic Committee) in Tokyo and at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Russia’s penalties from the IOC and the Sports Arbitration Court could have been more severe. However, Bach opposed a general ban on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a proposal by the World Anti-Doping Agency and some athletes.

Russia’s current sanctions will expire at the end of 2022. The country will then be fully restored as a valuable host option for Olympic sports federations.

The Summer Games are the Olympic Games for most sports fans and have presented the Bach-led IOC with serious challenges and its most radical decisions.

The Rio- 2016 games were financially and logistically chaotic – “before and during,” Bach said on Wednesday.

Tokyo joined Rio by exceeding its budget targets before the pandemic. Both host votes before Bach became president are affected by ongoing criminal investigations in Brazil and France.

However, Bach has protected the future of the Olympics by ending controversial campaigns and voting. Subsequent hosts will also be discouraged from spending on new venues.

The future also lies in youth-oriented, gender-neutral events in cheap, urban venues: 3-on-3 basketball, skateboarding, sport climbing, break dancing. Virtual sports could follow.

Bach has secured the IOC finances with more and longer-term trading deals. The $ 1 billion IOC sponsorship program for Tokyo is set to triple Paris in 2024, Bach said.

The foundation is NBC’s American broadcasting rights, which rose by $ 7.75 billion at the start of his first term Were extended in 2032. Long-time supporters Coca-Cola, Omega and Visa have also been retained until 2032.

Members of sports leaders, businessmen and royal families, including the Emir of Qatar and a British princess, appear to be stamping new proposals with little public debate. Filter major issues through handpicked working groups and summit meetings that arrive at the conclusions expected at the beginning.

Rare disagreement from active athletes who were elected as IOC members was not welcomed. An influential and long-time ally of Bach, Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah from Kuwait, was allowed to “suspend” himself after being charged with forgery in Switzerland.

A German athlete group this week posed a “legitimacy problem and the democratic deficit of the IOC leadership “and called for a reduction in the” concentration of power “.

The IOC faced ongoing challenges to rules that limit the ability of athletes to promote themselves and to protest against the Olympic Games.

The power of sports governing bodies has also been challenged in legal cases involving speed skaters in Brussels and swimmers in California.

Olympic champion swimmer Kirsty Coventry represents athletes on the IOC board, but her views largely coincide with leadership.

It will be a challenge for Bach to criticize China’s treatment of the Uighur people, a problem that does so led to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing being referred to as the “Genocide Games”.

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