01 Sep 2021

Jacques Rogge, the eighth President of the International Olympic Committee, being in office from 2001 to 2013, passed away on Sunday 29th August.

Born in Ghent a port city in northern Belgium on Saturday 2nd May 1942, he was 79 years old.

by Ian Marshall

Notably it was during his presidency that the Youth Olympic Games was inaugurated, first being held in 2010 in Singapore. Now after the third edition was staged in 2018, the multi-sport celebration is a major international meeting on the sporting calendar.

It is an event in which table tennis is well established, for junior players it is the pinnacle.

Noted as an administrator, in his younger days, Jacques Rogge was a most worthy athlete. He excelled at rugby being no less than 16 times the Belgian national champion; however, his main claim to fame was in the yachting world.

He became world champion and competed in the Finn Class on three occasions at the Olympic Games. He was present in Mexico (1968), Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976).

An illustrious sporting career but it is overshadowed by his official roles.

He was President of the Belgian Olympic Committee from 1989 to 1992, President of the European Olympic Committee from 1989 to 2001, becoming a member of the International Olympic Committee in 1991.

Resulting from his dedicated efforts, he was knighted in 1992, a decade later in 2002 he was named a Belgian count by King Albert II.

Following his resignation from the position of IOC President, he was awarded the gold Olympic Order by Thomas Bach, his successor .

Most notably, on Tuesday 25th February 2014, HRH Anne, the Princess Royal presented the award of Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) at Buckingham Palace to mark his years of unstinting service to the Olympic movement; in particular the award recognised his efforts in making the London 2012 Olympic Games such a success.

Later, on Monday 28th April 2014, Jacques Rogge was appointed Special Envoy for Youth Refugees and Sport by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the task to promote goodwill and inclusion.

Known for his involvement in the Olympic Games, poignant at the time of his passing is the fact it was during the period of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

In 2017 the International Paralympic Committee awarded Jacques Rogge, the Paralympic Order, the highest honour; the award was made in recognition of the fact he saved the organisation from financial disaster.

The cause of death has not been announced officially; however, it is known he was suffering from Parkinson’s.

Jacques Rogge is sadly missed; the International Table Tennis Federation extends condolences.


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