"The Beijing Olympic bid committee decided on a tactic of strategic alliance-making. We would link Chinese support for Rogge in exchange for European committee members' support for Beijing," Yuan writes. "Of course, we also made some promises to link up with some of our friends in supporting Rogge. This tactic was our overall strategy."
Rogge and Beijing were selected at the same IOC meeting in Moscow. The IOC, not at all surprisingly, denies the accusation, pointing out that Rogge was elected by a "large majority," so China's lone vote didn't make the difference. But Yuan's assertion that China corralled "some of our friends" to support Rogge weakens that defense considerably.
Yuan says there was no written agreement, so evidence would be hard to come by (Hmm… sounds like another Chinese sports corruption case--Corruption scandal hits Chinese diving).
I'm not too familiar with the inner workings of the IOC, but it all sounds pretty likely to me. On the one hand, you have an international organization that is driven as much by politics and commerce as it is by sports, and operates with no real oversight. On the other hand, you have a country that desperately wanted to host the games, with a bid committee full of people who surely know how to leverage political power in underhanded ways, and who operate with no real oversight. Too bad Rod Blagojevich is headed to prison—he would have made a great IOC committee member.
News of the accusations in the memoir is coming out just after Rogge gave a lot of face to Chinese leaders in sports and politics, sitting near Hu Jintao at the opening ceremony for the Chinese National Games, and stopping by the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament.
It's an interesting story, but behind it there's another one--what happened to Yuan Weimin that made him want to rat out the Chinese Olympic Committee?
Rogge/Hu Jintao image: Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affaris
Tags: Beijing Olympics, corruption, IOC, Jacques Rogge, Shanghai Masters, Yuan Weimin