The 117th International Olympic Committee Session was held for the first time in Singapore from 2 to 9 July 2005. Two important decisions were made through voting during the session – namely the selection of the hosting city for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and a review of the 28 sports currently represented in the summer games.
- 1 Proceedings
- 2 World's impression of Singapore
- 3 Media confusion
- 4 Olympic Anthem criticism
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Banner of the 117th IOC Session outside the venue at Raffles City
Official car sponsored by Mercedes-Benz
1 July 2005
An exhibition was launched at the podium of the Raffles City Shopping Complex, that would continue until 10 July.
2 July 2005
The IOC Session commenced.
3 July 2005
The IOC's Executive Board started two days of meetings.
4 July 2005
The Executive Board meetings resumed with updates on the progress of preparations for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver by their respective representatives. The board approved Beijing's request to hold the equestrian events in Hong Kong, which is a separate NOC from mainland China in the "best interests of the competition and the well-being of the horses".
5 July 2005
The opening ceremony was held at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay and the guest of honour was the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, who officially opened the session. A special type of hybrid orchid had been bred to commemorate the IOC Session in Singapore. It was named Vanda IOC. A cultural performance of dance and songs was held with the theme of "One Voice, One Rhythm, One World".
6 July 2005: 2012 Olympic host city election
Each of the five bid cities had 45 minutes to make a final presentation to the IOC members, after which voting commenced and the final results were announcenced at 19:30 Singapore time. Local sailor Griselda Khng handed an envelope holding the result of the vote to IOC president Jacques Rogge, who announced: "The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing, that the games of the 30th Olympiad, in 2012, are awarded to the city of London."
The result of the vote was as follows:
|City||NOC||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|New York City||United States||19||16||—||—|
7 July 2005
The final evaluation report of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens was presented and the Athens Games were finally closed. Reports on the progress of preparations for future Games were also submitted.
8 July 2005: Review of Olympic sports
The 28 sports in the Summer Olympics programme that existed at that time were all put up on the ballots, three years after a similar attempt failed to gain support from IOC members during the 114th IOC Session in Mexico City. Prior to the voting, baseball, softball, modern pentathlon, taekwondo and fencing were considered as most likely to be dropped. Five non-Olympic sports would then be voted to get in, in case any of the existing sports would be dropped, as IOC rules allow a maximum of 28 Summer Olympic sports. These sports – golf, roller sports, squash, rugby and karate – were recommended by the IOC Olympic Games Program Committee, which has shotlisted the sports that applied to be included. Golf and rugby were considered the favorites to be voted in, both mainly for their popularity and also for their relatively small number of events (each one, if accepted, would have consisted of 2 events).
IOC President Jacques Rogge has been a keen supportive of this move, which was one of his agendas since being elected in 2001, while the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) said changing the current set of 28 sports risked changing the "magic combination of team sports and individual sports", attributing one of the success factors of the Olympic games to the current programme.
A few days before the votes were cast, the IOC accepted the ASOIF request that the number of votes given for each sport will not be published, only "yay" or "nay". The reason given for the unusual request was in order to avoid a "popularity ranking" of all Olympic sports. Any sport that would get a simple majority of "nay" would be dropped from the Olympic program in 2012, but would remain eligible for readdmision in future Games.
In the morning IOC members voted to remove baseball and softball from the games. The decision has triggered dismay in some nations such as the United States where both sports originated from, and Canada, where both have a strong following. Some attributed the exclusion of baseball to the fact that Major League Baseball did not allow its players to participate in the Olympics, held during the season (unlike the National Hockey League that allowed it since the 1998 Winter Olympics) and the widespread use of prohibited drugs in the professional leagues. The main reason for exclusion of softball was that it was included as a women-only sport mainly to be a gender-equalizer bat-and-ball sport for baseball (men-only sport), and with baseball out this reasoning no longer existed. Another reason given was that both sports consist of large teams and their elimination will make room for many athletes, in comparison to modern pentathlon, for example, which only consist of 64 athletes.
In the afternoon, a secret vote by IOC members gave squash and karate over 51% of votes, but a subsequent vote to include them in the list of Olympic sports in the Olympic Charter has failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority needed for such amendment. Therefore, by the end of the day two sports were dropped and none added, and the program of the 2012 Summer Olympics was reduced to 26 sports.
9 July 2005
Lambis Nikolaou of Greece and Chiharu Igaya from Japan were elected as Vice presidents. Singapore's IOC member, Ng Ser Miang was elected to the IOC Executive Board to replace Nikolaou, whose term as board member was due to expire.
World's impression of Singapore
A Canadian television report said that the session had placed the country in the centre of the sporting universe and that the spotlight was on six cities, not just the five candidate cities.
The media said that most visitors' first taste of Singapore was an annoying ding-dong alert sound produced in a taxi when it exceeds the speed limit. The speaking of the slang Singlish was highlighted, together with the country's chewing gum laws.
References were made to Singapore's tough drug laws, the traffic jams and the tight security checks. The British daily, The Guardian wrote on the terrorism spectre that stalks the Games, noting that "Even here in Singapore, during the meeting of the 116 members, security has at times been stifling. Access to the Swissôtel, where the members are staying, has been severely restricted and squadrons of Gurkhas armed with hand- and machine-guns patrol inside and outside the hotel."
Two years later in 2008 Singapore was awarded the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.
There was some kind of confusion by the foreign newspapers mixing up the high-end Raffles Hotel with the Raffles City. Reuters wrote "It is a national monument, the jewel in Singapore's crown, and this week, Raffles Hotel will becoming a bubbling cauldron of lobbying and politics as it stages the most keenly contested Olympic venue vote in the history of the Games. Its Colonial style salons and parlours will be overrun by bid officials and consultants, celebrities and spin-doctors." Later, it clarified that the vote was actually at the adjacent Raffles City Convention Centre and not the hotel.
British paper, The Guardian, in a report on the London team isolating themselves on Sentosa wrote, "They have deliberately retreated from the hothouse atmosphere of the Raffles Hotel complex, the venue for the IOC congress, to perfect a final pitch they believe will be crucial in gathering the votes London requires to win."
The Weekend Australian reported, "First order of the business that day at Raffles Hotel will be determining whether any changes are to be made to the Olympic programme......" The Bangkok Post said, "Members of the International Olympic Committee from around the globe will meet 6 July-9 July at the historic Raffles Hotel to pick the hosts of the 2012 Games of the Olympiad."
Olympic Anthem criticism
The trio who sung the Olympic Hymn in Greek was criticised by both the media and the audience. They were Singaporean soprano Khor Ai Ming, Singaporean tenor William Lim and Japanese soprano Satsuki Nagatome. The trio sung with gusto just before the announcement of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The Guardian reported on their operatic rendition "Two Singaporean sopranos and a tenor dressed like a maître d' subjected the Olympic anthem, a tune whose primary virtue is to be heard only once every four years, to a fearful mauling." The Times of the UK described them as "three Orientals... one distinctly off key".
- "2008 Olympic equestrian events to be held in Hong Kong". USA Today. 8 July 2005.
- "New format spares modern pentathlon the axe". TODAY. 9 July 2005.
- "Olympic programme may get overhaul; Move to include more sports after softball, baseball were booted out". TODAY. 28 October 2005.
- "Canadian Olympic Committee Disappointed in IOC's Decision to remove Baseball and Softball from Olympic Program". Canada Newswire. 9 July 2005.
- "IOC slams door on new events; Karate, squash, golf, roller-sports and rugby fail to win approval". South China Morning Post. 9 July 2005.
- "Rogge gives Singapore full marks". The Straits Times. 9 July 2005. Retrieved 30 April May 2013.
- The Guardian – One sweet word: London
- Hamilton, Alan (7 July 2005). "It was the best of times..." London: The Times. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
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