Thomas Bach

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Thomas Bach
Thomas Bach (13951010204).jpg
Bach visiting Doha, April 2014
9th President of the International Olympic Committee
Assumed office
10 September 2013
Preceded byJacques Rogge
Personal details
Born (1953-12-29) 29 December 1953 (age 67)
Würzburg, Bavaria, West Germany
Alma materUniversity of Würzburg (Dr. iur. utr.)
Sports career
Personal information
Height171 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Weight65 kg (143 lb)
ClubFencing-Club Tauberbischofsheim[1]

Thomas Bach OLY[2] (born 29 December 1953) is a German lawyer, former Olympic fencer and Olympic Gold Medalist who serves as the ninth and current president of the International Olympic Committee. He is also a former member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation executive board. Bach is the first ever Olympic Champion to be elected President of the IOC.

Early life and education[edit]

Thomas Bach was born in 1953 in Würzburg, West Germany. He grew up in Tauberbischofsheim, where he lived with his parents until 1977. Bach earned a doctor of law (Dr. iur. utr.) degree in 1983 from the University of Würzburg.[3][4][5] He speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and German.[6]

Fencing career[edit]

Bach is a former foil fencer who competed for West Germany. He won a team gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics,[1] as well as silver, gold, and bronze team medals at the 1973, 1977 and 1979 world championships, respectively.[7]

On 11 November 2017, Bach became the first Olympian formally granted the use of the post-nominal letters "OLY".[8]

DOSB presidency[edit]

Sign at the house of Thomas Bach from 1953–1977 at the Sonnenplatz in Tauberbischofsheim

Bach served as the President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), prior to becoming President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He resigned as the head of the DOSB on 16 September 2013, having served as President since 2006. He was replaced by Alfons Hörmann, and remained a member of the DOSB Executive Board. Additionally, he resigned as the head of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Bach will however continue to serve as the head of Michael Weinig AG Company, a company in the industrial woodworking machinery industry that has its headquarters in Bach's hometown of Tauberbischofsheim, Germany.[9]

Bach headed Munich's bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.[10] In the host city election, Munich secured 25 votes as Pyeongchang was elected as host city with 63 votes.

IOC presidency[edit]

Like his predecessors Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge, Thomas Bach lives in the Lausanne Palace when he is in Lausanne.[11]

On 9 May 2013, Bach confirmed that he would run for President of the International Olympic Committee.[12][13]

2013 IOC Presidential Election[edit]

Bach was elected to an eight-year term as IOC President at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires on 10 September 2013. He secured 49 votes in the final round of voting, giving him the majority needed to be elected. He succeeds Jacques Rogge who served as IOC President from 2001 to 2013.[14] Bach will be eligible to run for a second four-year term at the 134th IOC Session in 2019 until 2025.[15]

Bach's successful election came against five other candidates, Sergey Bubka, Richard Carrión, Ng Ser Miang, Denis Oswald and Wu Ching-Kuo.[15] The result of the election was as follows:

Election of the 9th IOC President[16]
Candidate Round 1[17] Round 2
Germany Thomas Bach 43 49
Ukraine Sergey Bubka 8 4
Puerto Rico Richard Carrión 23 29
Singapore Ng Ser Miang 6 6
Switzerland Denis Oswald 7 5
Chinese Taipei Wu Ching-kuo 6

Bach officially moved into the IOC presidential office at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 17 September 2013, a week after being elected president.[18]

At a meeting of The 137th Session of the International Olympic Committee Wednesday 10 March 2021, Bach was re-elected to an additional four-year term as President. Bach, 67, was re-elected by a 93-1 vote from 94 valid votes during the session which was held virtually. This will be Bach's final term as IOC President, as under IOC rules, he will not be eligible to run for re-election in 2025. [19] [20]

Olympic Agenda 2020[edit]

Following his election as IOC President, Bach stated that he wished to change the Olympic bidding process and make sustainable development a priority. He stated that he felt that the current bidding process asks "too much, too early".[21] These proposed reforms became known as Olympic Agenda 2020. These forty proposed reforms were all unanimously approved at the 127th IOC Session in Monaco.

Olympic host city elections[edit]

The first bidding process over which Thomas Bach presided as President was the bidding process for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Bids were due in November 2013 and the host city, Beijing was elected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July 2015. Lausanne was elected to host the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics during that same session.

During the bidding process for the 2024 Summer Olympics, President Bach proposed a joint awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics after several bidders withdrew. The IOC later approved a plan to award the 2024 Olympics to Paris with Los Angeles securing the right to host the 2028 Olympics. President Bach presided over the elections where Paris was elected to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Los Angeles was elected to host the 2028 Summer Olympics at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru. Both cities were unanimously elected.

Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo was elected to host the 2026 Winter Olympics at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland. The full IOC membership will elect the host city at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne, home of the International Olympic Committee.

Russian doping[edit]

One of the biggest challenges President Bach has been faced with as IOC President is having to deal with Russia's state-sponsored doping scandal. This program did begin prior to his presidency, but nonetheless it has become a pressing issue during his tenure. It had been discovered that Russia tampered with the anti-doping lab at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and that the government had sanctioned doping amongst the Russian Olympic athletes for many years.[22][23] Speaking at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics, his call to "respect the rules and stay clean" was widely interpreted as a reference to the Russian scandal.[24] Bach was harshly criticized for what many see as turning a blind eye to Russia's state-sponsored Olympic doping effort. Jim Walden, attorney for Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, called Bach's move to reinstate the Russian Olympic Committee following the 2018 Winter Olympics despite the failed drug tests during the Games, "weakness in the face of evil".[25]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

On 5 March 2020, Bloomberg News reported that Bach said "Neither the word ‘cancellation’ nor the word ‘postponement’ was even mentioned" regarding the 2020 Summer Olympics to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic at the IOC’s executive board meeting the previous day.[26] On 22 March 2020, the IOC announced that within four weeks a decision would be made on whether Tokyo 2020 will be staged as planned or whether a rescheduling is necessary.[27] Canada announced its withdrawal from the Games later that day, and Australia did the same on 23 March in protest against the IOC's refusal to postpone the Olympics in light of the pandemic.[28][29] Later in the month, the IOC announced the unprecedented postponement of the Olympics until 23 July - 8 August 2021.[30]


Marina Hyde admonished Thomas Bach in The Guardian for comparing the IOC positively to FIFA with regard to corruption.[31] Also in The Guardian, Owen Gibson accused Bach of hypocrisy for agreeing to be involved with the 2015 European Games hosted in Azerbaijan.[32] Twenty-nine journalists signed an open letter to Bach calling for him to condemn Azerbaijan's jailing of dissenters and attacks on freedom of expression.[33]


State honours[edit]

Honorary doctorates[edit]


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Thomas Bach". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  2. ^ "WOA Leadership". World Olympians Association. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Mr Thomas BACH – Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund , IOC Member since 1991". 29 December 1953. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Vita Thomas Bach : Olympiasieger im Fechten, DOSB-Präsident" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Rechtsanwalt Dr. iur. utr. Peter Zimmermann – About me – Dr. iur. utr". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Lord of the Rings: new IOC chief Thomas Bach | Sports | DW.COM | 10 September 2013". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  7. ^ Fechten – Weltmeisterschaften (Herren – Florett).
  8. ^ "ATR First: A New Honor for Olympians Only". Around The Rings. 11 November 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  9. ^ Mackay, Duncan (15 September 2013). "Exclusive: Bach to officially resign tomorrow from DOSB after being elected IOC President". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Exclusive: Quality of the 2020 Olympic bidders has put the IOC in a very comfortable position, reveals Bach".
  11. ^ (in French) Laurent Favre and Servan Peca, "Le CIO fait sa mue", Le Temps, Wednesday 15 April 2015, page 9.
  12. ^ "Nachfolger von Jacques Rogge: Thomas Bach kandidiert für IOC-Präsidentenamt". Spiegel Online. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Thomas Bach announces IOC presidential candidacy". 9 May 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  14. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (10 September 2013). "Thomas Bach elected as ninth IOC president". NBC OlympicTalk. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Next IOC President to be elected this Tuesday". 9 September 2013. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Thomas Bach elected new IOC President". Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  17. ^ Ser Miang Ng won round one tie-break vote with 56:36 against Ching-kuo Wu.
  18. ^ Mackay, Duncan (17 September 2013). "Bach moves into office at IOC headquarters after becoming new President". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  19. ^ "German Thomas Bach re-elected IOC president". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  20. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ IOC President Wants Changes. (11 September 2013)
  22. ^ Butler, Nick (2 November 2017). "Bach accuses critics of Olympic movement of ignorance and aggression". Inside the Games. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Ahead of Russia decision, Thomas Bach warns critics". NBC. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  24. ^ Lauletta, Tyler (9 February 2018). "IOC president Thomas Bach took a shot at Russian doping during his speech at opening ceremony". Business Insider. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  25. ^ Young, Henry. "Russian Olympic Committee's reinstatement is 'weakness in the face of evil', says lawyer". CNN. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  26. ^ Zimmerman, Max (5 March 2020). "IOC President Reaffirms Commitment to Tokyo Olympics". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  27. ^ "Olympische Spiele: Das IOC will in vier Wochen entscheiden". (in German). Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Coronavirus: Olympic doubts grow as Canada withdraws athletes". BBC News. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  29. ^ Vera, Amir; Martin, Jill (23 March 2020). "Canada and Australia will not send athletes to Tokyo Olympics". Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  30. ^ "IOC, IPC, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Announce New Dates for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020". 30 March 2020. Archived from the original on 30 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  31. ^ Hyde, Marina (5 August 2016). "Fifa is awful but the Olympics take the gold medal for sleaze". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  32. ^ Gibson, Owen (26 June 2015). "Silence over European Games in Azerbaijan is a grim indication of future". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  33. ^ "Open Letter to Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee President, on Khadija Ismayilova's Imprisonment". Pen America. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix Archives - Greek City Times".
  35. ^ "S. Korean president confers state decoration on IOC chief | Photos | Yonhap News". Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Caid Essebsi decorates IOC President with Grand Cordon of National Merit in Sport". Tunisia News Gazette. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  37. ^ "Thomas Bach". UCAM. 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  38. ^ "IOC chief Bach receives honorary doctorate | Photos | Kyodo News". Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  39. ^ "IOC President Bach to receive Seoul Peace Prize | Olympic News". Retrieved 24 October 2020.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Manfred von Richthofen (Olympic official)

as President of the Deutscher Sportbund
President of the Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund
Succeeded by
Preceded by

as President of the Nationales
Olympisches Komitee für Deutschland
Preceded by
President of the International Olympic Committee