Born in Ghent, Rogge is an orthopedic surgeon by profession. Rogge was educated at the University of Ghent. He competed in yachting in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics, and played on the Belgian national rugby union team. Rogge served as president of the Belgian Olympic Committee from 1989 to 1992, and as president of the European Olympic Committees from 1989 to 2001. He became a member of the IOC in 1991 and joined the Executive Board in 1998. He was knighted and was elevated to Count by H.M. King Albert II of Belgium. In his free time, Rogge is known to admire modern art, and is an avid reader of historical and scientific literature.
Rogge was elected as president of the IOC on July 16, 2001 at the 112th IOC Session in Moscow as the successor to Juan Antonio Samaranch, who had led the IOC since 1980.
Under his leadership, the IOC aims to create more possibilities for developing countries to bid on and host the Olympic Games. Rogge believes that this vision can be achieved in the not too distant future through government backing and new IOC policies that constrain the size, complexity and cost of hosting the Olympic Games.
At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Rogge became the first IOC President to stay in the Olympic village, to enjoy closer contact with the athletes. He also acted decisively in handling the judging and doping scandals. As a result, the first Olympic games under Rogge's presidency were hailed by many critics as a new era in the Olympic Movement, as it sent a message that the IOC would not tolerate corruption. All three Olympic Games that Rogge has presided over have begun with athletes taking an oath against doping.
Under his term, baseball and softball have been removed from the Olympic Programme. The decision was approved at the IOC Session in July 2005 in Singapore and will be in force for the London 2012 Summer Olympics. However, Rogge stated at the time of the decision that both sports would be eligible to win back their place in future Olympic Games.
In February 2008, Rogge responded to questions by journalists regarding U.S. director Steven Spielberg's withdrawal from the position of artistic advisor for the Beijing Olympics due to Spielberg's position on Chinese involvement in the Darfur crisis. "Spielberg's absence will not harm the quality of the Games. The Beijing Games are much stronger than individuals." He declared that the IOC is "a sporting, not a political, association.", and that "one should not call on the IOC to solve the world's problems.". Two months later, on April 7, 2008, Rogge stated in Beijing that he was "very concerned" about the 2008 Tibetan unrest, but downplayed talk of a boycott of the 2008 Summer Olympics.Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Rogge said, on April 10, 2008, he was nonetheless "saddened" by the protests in San Francisco. "The Games are about generosity," Rogge said. "We have 120 days to achieve this."
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