IOC chief Jacques Rogge rules out F1 as Olympic sport
By Rob Harris ,AP
July 10, 2012, 12:41 am TWN
SILVERSTONE, England -- IOC President Jacques Rogge ruled out Formula One as an Olympic sport, saying that the games are a contest between athletes, not engines.
However, Rogge said during a visit to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone that the International Olympic Committee can learn a lot from the F1 management about organizing mega sporting events three weeks before the London Games.
“There are many similarities between Formula One and the Olympic Games. Both are high quality sports and the competitors have the same spirit, the same mind,” Rogge told The Associated Press while touring the paddock at Silverstone with the F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday.
“The Formula One riders are very great athletes, very fit, they are very courageous ... and they also have to have strategic thinking and I have a lot of admiration for them,” Rogge said.
He called the F1 circuit “one of the sacred places of automobile racing,” but firmly denied the possibility of Formula One becoming an Olympic sport any time soon.
“Frankly speaking, the concept we are having is the games are about the competition for the athletes not for equipment,” Rogge said. “Therefore, while having a lot of respect, they will not be included into the Olympic program.”
Speaking later in the media center, Rogge insisted that F1 has the “same pursuit of excellence” as the Olympic movement.
“I went to the broadcasting center, the pits, and everything is very well organized. Believe me, there are a lot of things we can learn from the organization here,” Rogge said before seeing Red Bull driver Mark Webber win Sunday's race.
One thing that can't be controlled, though, is the weather.
With the London Olympics starting on July 27, fears of a rain-blighted games were exacerbated by two days of torrential downpours that heavily disrupted Saturday's qualifying session at Silverstone.
However, Rogge said rain was not a threat to Olympics.
“We'll manage,” he said. “I live in Belgium, so whatever rain arrives in Belgium is left over from England.”