POSTED: May 23rd 2013

Carrion fires up the IOC election for new Olympic chief

September 10 the IOC will elect their 9th leader in Buenos Aires at the 125th IOC Session / SFC
September 10 the IOC will elect their 9th leader in Buenos Aires at the 125th IOC Session / SFC

THE NEIL WILSON COLUMN / An exclusive, authoritative series from Sports Features Communications

(SFC) And then there were four. Soon there is likely to be six. Never has the presidency of the International Olympic Committee been fought over by more of its members.

The announcement by Richard Carrion on Wednesday that he would stand was as widely anticipated as that of boxing’s C.K. Wu on Thursday. Few doubt that Sergei Bubka, the world pole vault record holder, and rowing’s Denis Oswald will not be far behind their rivals in getting their names on the ballot paper before the June 10 deadline for September’s election.

Carrion informed his IOC colleagues of his candidature with a 14-page election manifesto – and an interview with Associated Press – that could be seen as brave, bold and rash at the same time.

Brave because he tied himself in great detail to a grand plan for his presidency, not something that most aspiring to great office like to do. Keep it general is the norm and you cannot be criticized when you cannot achieve each dotted i and crossed t in your programme.

Bold because he told the most conservative constituency on earth, the self-elective IOC which likes nothing better than the status quo, that they were going to have to change, and not in a small way. “We are at a cross roads. A lot of change is coming,” he told AP.

Rash? In my opinion Carrion’s boldness and bravery in speaking his mind with such openness may not have helped his cause. Not only did he promise huge change but he became the first senior IOC figure to voice concern over the next summer Games in Rio in 2016.

Not only did he say that it needs constant monitoring and that the IOC coordination commission, on which he sits, had been already to the Brazilian president with their concerns but suggested that a permanent IOC professional management team be installed.

That is a transparency of thought unusual in those seeking election. It questions the actions of the largest National Olympic Committee in South America, Carrion’s own backyard and likely his great bloc of supporters.

Thomas Bach and Ng Sen Miang, the first two to throw their hats into the five-ring circus as prospective presidents, kept their opening salvoes more general. None of the voters could find anything in their campaign openers with which to object. Wu spoke of looking to the young.

Carrion is moulded of a very different clay. For we journalists at least, he would make a very interesting president. We would never be short of a line. So on behalf of the world’s Fourth Estate, I wish him well.

If on the other hand I was a bookmaker I would not make his odds short. In IOC elections, winners are not usually those with most admirers but those who have upset fewest.

NEIL WILSON reported his first Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. He has since covered another nine summer and nine winter Olympics for various newspapers, including The Independent and the Daily Mail with whom he has worked for the last 19 years as Athletics and Olympic correspondent. He was Britain's Sports Journalist of the Year in 1984 and is the author of seven books.

Keywords · Neil Wilson · Richard Carrion · IOC · Olympics

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