Rogge: Africa must show it wants Olympics

Published May 18, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya – IOC president Jacques Rogge says Africa needs to show it wants the Olympics, and a candidate must come forward soon if the continent is to host the 2020 Games.

Rogge said Wednesday that Africa's chances of hosting the Olympics for the first time would depend on the country's willingness to back its bid.

"I would hope the (African) candidate will come as soon as possible," Rogge said. "But that would be at the earliest, if the city is successful, for the 2020 Games."

When quizzed about a possible African bid, Rogge said South Africa's campaign to host the World Cup was an example of how a country should pitch for a major event.

After South Africa's attempt to host the 2004 Olympics in Cape Town failed in 1997, the country focused on hosting the 2010 World Cup and ultimately won the bid, Rogge said.

Rogge is in Kenya for a three-day visit. He opened the world's first Olympic Youth Development Center in Zambia on Tuesday.

It is thought Africa, and maybe South Africa, will launch a bid to host the Summer Games in 2020. South Africa's east coast city Durban will stage the 123rd IOC session in 2011, where the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be announced.

Rogge also said he has no concerns about the change of government in Britain having any negative effect on the 2012 London Games.

He said it is standard practice for the IOC to hold talks with both the government and opposition parties in a country that may see a political change before an Olympics.

London and Rio de Janeiro, in 2016, are the next Olympic hosts.

The city chosen to organize the 2020 Olympic Games will be announced in 2013. Durban, Cape Town and Rabat in Morocco have been touted as possible African candidates.

Written by TOM ODULA, Associated Press Writer

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