“Sport can not create peace”: Thomas Bach in an interview with AFP
IOC President Thomas Bach (d) speaks with AFP journalists at the Pyeongchang office in South Korea on February 12, 2018
“Sport can not create peace, it is up to political leaders to act,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in an interview with AFP on Monday in Pyeongchang, the scene of the Olympic Winter Games and of an unusual approach between the two Koreas.
Q: What did you feel in the joint parade of the two Koreas?
A: “It was a moment full of emotion, it’s true that we had Lausanne’s January 20 statement on Korean participation in the Olympic Games, but there was still a lot of work to be done, we said we would believe it when we saw it, When they arrived and went to the stadium together, there was a lot of excitement when that moment came in. There was great joy in being able to send that message of understanding, of peace, that Korean Olympic message to the world, it was particularly important that it came from the Korean peninsula. , where there was a strong political tension “.
Q: But maybe it’s just a truce, of mere appearance …
A: “Sport can not create peace, but sport can build bridges, open doors, we can demonstrate that a dialogue can lead to a positive outcome, as we demonstrate here through our debates and negotiations for several years. We will always limit ourselves to sporting aspects, while the rest will be responsible for acting on behalf of the political leaders (…) From the point of view of the IOC, this dialogue will continue, even after the Olympic flame goes out. We are politically neutral, and we try to treat all 206 committees in the same way, equally “.
Q: Do you agree with the striking presence of the North Korean cheerleaders during the sporting events?
A: “I have no problem with that, because that is part of the inter-Korean agreement, and the IOC is not concerned about that agreement.” In my opinion, it was well received among the Koreans, as a sign of their united team. In skating on the track the cheerleaders supported the South Korean athletes, it’s a positive sign. ”
Q: Does Russia have any real option to be reinstated before the end of the Olympic Games and to be able to parade in the closing ceremony under its own flag?
A: “Those issues correspond to our group for the implementation of the decisions of December 5. He oversees that and will present a report at the end of the Games to the IOC, which will make a decision on this.
Q: The informer Grigory Rodchenkov appeared with his face hidden in a television interview. What do you think about that?
A: “We listened to Rodchenkov in our various committees (by written statement under oath) He also testified before the CAS His testimonies played an important role in all our decisions, and the IOC repeatedly congratulated the fact that it has opened The way to reveal the facts There was also evidence beyond his statements that confirmed what he was saying, I do not know his personal situation, what I do know is that he is on the program of protected witnesses of the FBI.
Q: With the perspective of time, do you feel that you have made the right decision regarding Russia?
A: “We saw that we needed more evidence besides the McLaren report, since Mr. McLaren always said that it was not his mission to establish offenses against athletes’ anti-doping rules, even with the evidence provided by the Oswald and Schmid commissions, or the Mr. Rodchenkov, we did not succeed in 28 cases before the CAS (…) Once we had the tests we strictly followed our principles, we sanctioned the system, with the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee and we protected the clean athletes “.
Kim Yo-Jong, sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, observes the greeting between the head of State of his country, Kim Yong-Nam, and the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach (i), at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games of Pyeongchang
Q: Ski jumpers trembling with cold, nighttime schedules … the IOC has gone far with television broadcasting rights?
A: “It is not the decision of the IOC, but of the international federations, we have every confidence in the technical managers in which they make good decisions in the interests of the athletes and the competition.”
P: It does not highlight the presence of the public, beyond the roofed venues.
A: “I was on the slopestyle on Sunday, there was a great atmosphere and very relaxed, ‘cool’ as they defined it there was a nice interaction between the athletes and the public, on Monday I was in the figure skating and there was also a good ambient”.
Q: Bad weather disturbs the schedule of the Games. Are you worried about the delays?
A: “It’s too early, we’re in contact with the International Ski Federation, it’s the start of the Games, it’s an outdoor sport (…) do not worry, it’s going to be fine.”
* Interview by Thomas BACH (journalist of the AFP with the same name as the president of the IOC)