Rotorua Daily Post

And the gold medal for arrogance goes to . .

- James Corrigan of the Telegraph

The IOC president is

often referred to as being equivalent to “a head of state”, but,

plainly, to Bach’s mind his role is way

more illustriou­s.

It might seem like a particular­ly loaded field, but is it possible to say, unequivoca­lly, that Thomas Bach is the most arrogant person in all of sport?

It must be. Because in March he provided the picture of arrogance and this week his words delivered the very height of arrogance.

So, go on then, give me a Floyd, a Conor, a Novak, a Bryson, or even a Zlatan and a Jose, and insist their egos pose a challenge. Not even close.

They are but a Benjamin Disraeli to Donald Trump, an Edward R Murrow to Piers Morgan, a Kate Middleton to Kim Kardashian.

Bach versus Bacchus would have been one mighty clash of selfdom; one claiming to grant the world the gift of revelry, the other being a Roman god . . .

You might have missed the German’s re-election as Internatio­nal Olympic Committee president. If so, lucky you.

There was only one vote against and to mark what he called “my stunning victory” — in truth, the only “stunning” aspect was that someone had the bottle to press the other button — he stepped in front of a bank of TV screens and spread his arms wide, enacting a hugging motion. Then he clasped his hands.

Then he touched his heart.

Then, tears in his eyes, he raised his arms.

Watch it on Youtube, if you wish, but be sure to fast forward through the 30 messages, from delegates, that ranged from “You’re so great” to “You’re so, so great” to “You’re so, soooooo great”.

The New York Times called it a “bath of obsequious­ness”. Try an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Nero would have blushed.

Bach was back for more and who could fault him? After all, he had

stuck to his word in cleaning up the organisati­on.

Yes, the 2022 Winter Games went to Beijing, and, yes, the Russia doping scandal elicited such a brutal slap on the wrist that Vladimir Putin could not form a fist for a full 30 seconds. But these are surely minor quibbles.

When Bach needs to be strong, he is strong. Namely when telling the

Japanese people that the IOC’S coffers hold priority over their safety.

Oh yes, plus all that “ray of light in the gloom” claptrap.

“Cancellati­on was never an option for us,” Bach said on Wednesday, basically telling the Japanese that, despite their fears about an ongoing pandemic, despite the Tokyo Medical Practition­ers Associatio­n warning

that hospitals in the capital “have almost no spare capacity”, that their concerns were not even considered. Never. Not once.

In the same speech, Bach expressed his dismay that some critics had dared accuse the IOC of “blindly forging ahead at any price”, despite him saying there was “never an option to cancel”.

Whatever the spin, that is “blindly forging ahead at any price”, putting a sports competitio­n ahead of an entire country.

The IOC president is often referred to as being equivalent to “a head of state”, but, plainly, to Bach’s mind his role is way more illustriou­s.

He gets to tell elected heads of state — and even some unelected heads of state — what to do.

If Bach or the IOC had any humility whatsoever, they would have paused their breathtaki­ng belligeren­ce during this crisis and asked: “What are we actually doing this for and why on Earth do we have this power?”

Of course, the answer is money, and naturally they will justify their tyrannical acts by citing how the Games finance good causes.

Bach will doubtless go all pompous, all Samaranch and Blatter, and remind us that the IOC’S “ultimate goals are to cultivate human beings, through sport, and contribute to world peace”. He will declare this with a straight face and be applauded by the lickspittl­es who surround him.

Arrogance does not get bigger than believing sport is more important than life itself.

If you are actually the man deeming that it is, then your motto might be: “Censorius, Artificiar­ius, Fictitius.”

Shameless, in any other language.

— Telegraph Group UK

 ?? Photo / AP ?? IOC President Thomas Bach has dismissed Japanese fears as the Olympics roadshow rolls in.
Photo / AP IOC President Thomas Bach has dismissed Japanese fears as the Olympics roadshow rolls in.

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