Rogge: IOC finances solid ahead of 2nd term

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Jacques Rogge formally announced his candidacy for another term as IOC president Thursday, vowing to build on four successful Olympics under his stewardship and fight against drug cheats and childhood obesity.

No one is expected to challenge the 66-year-old Rogge at the International Olympic Committee's assembly in October 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, making his re-election for a final four-year term through 2014 a formality.

Rogge became IOC president in 2001 and has overseen the games in Salt Lake City (2002), Athens (2004) and Turin (2006) along with Beijing this year. He said the IOC's steps to prevent doping will increase for the upcoming Olympics.

"We have brought the number of tests from 2,500 in Sydney to 4,700 in Beijing," he said at a news conference. "We will exceed 5,500" at the 2012 games in London.

"I want to fight as hard as possible against doping. It is for me priority No. 1 in the world of sports," he said.

The IOC recently decided to retest blood samples from the Beijing Games to look for traces of CERA, a new version of the endurance-enhancing hormone EPO. The decision came after a French lab retested samples from the Tour de France that exposed four riders for CERA use.

Rogge said the IOC is working with the World Anti-Doping Agency to decide which athletes and samples from Beijing should be retested based on suspicion and intelligence.

"We want to target which athletes we are going to retest," he told The Associated Press in a separate interview, adding the entire process could take several weeks. "It makes no sense to retest everyone and everything."

Rogge said the testing will target athletes who posted "unusually good performances" or have not been seen and tested regularly outside of the Olympics.

Six athletes were disqualified for doping violations during the Beijing Games, and three other positive cases are still pending.

The IOC stores doping samples for eight years, so they can be retested when new detection methods become available.

"There is a message," Rogge told the AP. "Those who have cheated at the games can be caught eight years after."

Rogge's next term would take him through the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, 2012 Summer Olympics in London and 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Another priority for Rogge's second term is combatting youth obesity and encouraging young people to participate in sports. This coincides with his pet project, the Youth Olympics, whose first summer edition for athletes aged 14-18 will be in Singapore in 2010. The first Winter Youth Olympics will be in 2012.

Rogge, meanwhile, said he foresees no immediate threat to the Olympics from the global credit crunch and economic slowdown.

"It is a real crisis in the world, but it is too soon to make an assessment for the Olympic world," Rogge he said.

However, he said the tough financial times could squeeze out potential Olympic spectators and ticket buyers.

"What will be the effect on people going to the venues, I cannot tell you today," he said. "Things are changing so fast. But definitely there is a possibility that because of a loss of buying power there will be fewer people at the venues.

"It would be naive and shortsighted to say that nothing will happen. Yes, the situation is so volatile that it is too soon to draw conclusions."

He said the IOC's own finances and reserves were strong, with television contracts and most sponsorship deals locked up through 2012.

Negotiations on U.S. television rights for the 2014 and 2016 games could be put off until after next October's vote on the 2016 host city. The candidates are Chicago; Madrid, Spain; Tokyo; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"We are no in hurry for that," Rogge said in the interview. "We have plenty of time."

The financial situation for the 2010 Winter Games "seems very sound," he said.

London organizers have had to use contingency funds as they struggle to secure private financing for the $1.6 billion Olympic village, where the apartments are to be sold afterward.

"That money could be offset by further private funding," Rogge said. "If not, of course the government will get it back when the village is being sold."

He said the IOC has received assurances from London organizing chief Sebastian Coe that the local committee has "good control over their budget."

Russia, which is dealing with the financial pinch and a drop in oil prices, recently appointed a deputy prime minister to oversee preparations in Sochi, where nearly all venues are to be built from scratch.

"Things are moving in the right direction," Rogge told the AP. "There are technical challenges and construction challenges, but not a major funding issue today. It's a priority project for the Russian federation and (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin, and we are confident the funding will be there."


AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson in London contributed to this report.