Preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics are going well, but
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge
cautioned organizers not to let their guard down until the end of
the Games Monday.
"The main challenge is that BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee
for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad) and the people of China remain
focused on the success of the Games," Rogge told China Daily while
attending the Fifth World Forum on Sport, Education and Culture in
"The main danger is complacency and a belief that all things are
OK. You have to stay focused until the closing ceremony of the
Games," he said.
Designed to update IOC officials on preparations for the Games,
the three-day Seventh plenary session of the IOC Co-ordination
Commission starts today.
Rogge said he was satisfied with Beijing's preparatory work so
"So far, I'm extremely happy. BOCOG is doing an excellent job,"
But he refused to compare the capital's efforts with previous
Games or give marks.
"I don't think you can give marks because giving marks is
comparing with other Games and you cannot compare with Games that
are held at a different time, in a different country, with a
different political, economic and cultural environment," he
"So, we are happy but we won't give a mark for our
About two years ago, when construction workers had just broke
ground for the Olympic venues, the IOC suggested that Beijing
should slow its pace of venue construction. But with the Games
drawing nearer, Rogge suggested "everyone must work very hard and
Some incidents during Chinese athletes' Olympic training
sessions also caught Rogge's attention.
Earlier this month, women's long distance runner Sun Yingjie one
of China's medal hopes said she had been forced to leave her coach
because he beat her severely with a belt.
Her former coach Wang Dexian rejected the claim.
Rogge said: "If the allegations that the athlete was beaten by a
coach are true, this is absolutely not acceptable.
"If it is true then it has to be stopped. And Chinese sports
authorities have to take action.
"I can't comment much because it is her claim, and whenever you
make accusations, you have to provide the proof," he said.
With the Olympics attracting more and more sponsors, some people
have expressed doubts over whether the Games are
over-commercialized. But Rogge disagreed.
"I would be very surprised if people say (they are
over-commercialized), because if you look at the Games, you will
not see adverting and billboards in the stadium like you would see
at any other major competition. And, we are the only major sports
competition where there is no prize money for the athletes.
"If the IOC didn't have the support of the commercial world and
distribution on television, then we could not afford to spend money
in developing countries like we are doing now."
(China Daily October 24, 2006)