Golden fencer Thomas Bach has the edge in Oympic president race

 

Thomas Bach has been fencing since he was a five-year-old growing up in Bavaria. It appears to have equipped him perfectly for the cut and thrust of sporting politics that leaves the 59-year-old as the man to beat in Tuesday’s election to succeed Jacques Rogge as president of the International Olympic Committee.

He would be Rogge’s choice – not that the discreet Belgian would ever come out and say so – having been a trusted vice-president. Bach is seen as the strong favourite in the six-man field ahead of the Puerto Rican banker Richard Carrion, the man who has done so much to fill the IOC’s coffers (always a vote winner), and another vice-president in the Singaporean Ng Ser Miang.

Bach has a CV that attracts admiring glances in this world. He has a sporting pedigree in that his fencing skills took him to Olympic gold in 1976, and also trained as a lawyer to acquire another skill-set that has served him well. As he switched from athlete to administrator Bach had the early support of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Spaniard who ran the Olympic movement for more than two decades, and has served his time in key positions such as heading anti-doping.

Bach also leads his national Olympic association. In Germany he has been accused by journalists of using his positions to gain work. He rejects all such allegations but did couch the denial by stating that there were “areas where personal friendships that might be a result of the honorary work [as IOC vice-president] overlap with the work as a lawyer.”

Bach’s key backer is Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a wealthy Kuwaiti sheikh and an influential figure in the Olympic movement. Ahmad broke IOC rules by publicly backing the German ahead of the election and in the sometimes impenetrable politics of the IOC it remains a possibility that there may be enough members opposed to the Bach/Ahmad ticket to come together behind an opponent late in the day. Carrion, who likes to give off-the-cuff speeches with no notes, is gaining late support.

The election follows the same process as Saturday’s vote for the 2020 host with candidates being eliminated over a series of rounds. Sergei Bubka, the great Ukrainian pole vaulter turned politician, is thought to be vulnerable to an early exit.

Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
life
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower