Gosper will not run for IOC presidency

Kevan Gosper, Australia's top Olympic official, has withdrawn as a candidate to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as IOC president.

Kevan Gosper, Australia's top Olympic official, has withdrawn as a candidate to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as IOC president.

The 66-year-old IOC vice president said he felt "totally fulfilled" by his Olympic experience, as an athlete in the 1956 Games and an organiser of the Sydney Games.

"I go in a race if I think I can win, and I've certainly thought up until recently I could," Gosper told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio Monday.

"If you want something like the presidency you've got to want it very, very much and I simply found at the end of the (Sydney) games I didn't want it that much."

He said he would have had to spend much of the year overseas lobbying support. He added that he will now be able to spend more time with his family.

Gosper's announcement appears to leave two contenders - Canada's Dick Pound and Belgium's Jacques Rogge. Samaranch is retiring in July.

"I believe that the power base of my two competitors was stronger," Gosper said. "Jacques Rogge, after all, lives in Europe where half the numbers are. And Dick Pound lives in North America, where the Americas have many votes. ... It would have been a very tough haul."

Rogge praised Gosper for his work in Sydney but would not comment on his decision because it is "something very personal." Rogge said he will decide on his plans by the end of year. The deadline for declaration of candidacies is early April.

"There's no hurry for making up my mind," he said. "I have to think at ease with my family."

Gosper, an IOC member since 1977, was a founding member of the IOC's ethics commission but resigned from the panel this year after he came under investigation in the bribery scandal surrounding the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by the panel.

He also apologized to Australians for allowing his daughter to become the first Aussie torchbearer of the Olympic flame.

Gosper remains head of the IOC's Press Commission.

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