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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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With Olympic Ratings Down, IOC Making Bold Internal Moves

  • Governing body considers altering charter to keep Bach in power
  • List of new sports for Los Angeles 2028 Olympics formally approved
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Facing arguably an all-time low in its cultural status, the International Olympic Committee is looking to break its own internal rules in order to retain president Thomas Bach for another term.

During this week’s IOC Session in Mumbai, several committee members pushed for a revision of the organization’s charter and its existing 12-year maximum term for presidents, allowing Bach to seek another four-year term after his current one expires in 2025. 

The original limit was part of anti-corruption reforms passed following the IOC’s Salt Lake City bribery scandal in 1999.

The push to revise the IOC charter represents a move for leadership continuity when the Olympics posted record-low U.S. television ratings both last year in Beijing and two years ago in Tokyo. Next year’s Paris Olympics have also faced their own series of organizational challenges, including budget concerns, local outcry over ticket prices, and the city’s planned treatment of its homeless during the Games.

At a press conference Monday, Bach conveyed some openness to staying in his position: “It is a matter of mutual respect and personal relationships that you do not dismiss such a sign of support and friendship out of hand.”

Bach will turn 76 in 2029. He was first elected to his initial eight-year term in 2013, and reelected as an unopposed candidate in 2021. A 16-year stint atop the organization would trail only the 21-year-run of Juan Antonio Samaranch and the 20-year spell of Avery Brundage — both of which predate the 12-year limit. 

New Sports Confirmed

As expected, the IOC also formally approved flag football, lacrosse, baseball and softball, cricket, and squash for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Several of these additions are designed to boost the global appeal of both the Olympics themselves and those particular sports.

“The hope of an Olympic dream just became an active pursuit for countless athletes around the world,” said Janet Evans, LA28’s chief athlete officer. 

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