BEUNOS AIRES, Argentina — Thomas Bach of Germany was elected president of the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday, replacing Jacques Rogge as the head of one of sport’s most powerful groups.
Bach was elected in the second round of voting after international boxing association head Ching-Kuo Wu was eliminated in the opening voting, leaving five candidates for the final ballot.
Rogge, a 71-year-old who stabilized the IOC for 12 years as it recovered from corruption scandals, is retiring, and a record number of candidates vied to replace him at the 125th annual meeting in Buenos Aires. The new head for the Lausanne, Switzerland-based body may influence decisions for events through 2040, according to Michael Payne, who oversaw the IOC’s marketing from 1983 to 2004.
The potential power attracted the biggest field of candidates in the IOC’s history. Bach, a German lawyer and Olympic gold-medalist fencer, was labeled the frontrunner by some IOC members, including Dick Pound of Canada. The other candidates were Puerto Rican banker Richard Carrion, former world champion and current pole-vault record holder Sergey Bubka from Ukraine, Singapore’s Ng Ser Miang, Wu and Denis Oswald, a Swiss lawyer who was responsible for coordinating the 2012 London games.
Candidates and their supporters had been working to gather votes during the meetings, which started Sept. 4.
Bach, 59, was a team fencing champion at the 1976 Games in Montreal. He has degrees in law and politics.
Bach joined the IOC executive board in 1996, and four years later became a vice president, a post he still held. While South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo won the 2020 Summer Olympics during the current meeting, there has never been an IOC president from outside America or Europe.
Rogge was the eighth president of the organization, and defeated four opponents in the 2001 vote in Moscow. The Belgian served his eight-year term and then was voted in for an additional four-year extension.
The Belgian became an orthopedic surgeon after competing in the yachting competition at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. He joined the IOC executive board in 1998.