Bach heads to White House

23 June 2017

IOC: IOC President Thomas Bach visits the White House on Thursday to meet for the first time with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“I am looking forward to the meeting,” Bach tells Around the Rings in New York City where he took part in the launch of the Olympic sponsorship for Intel.

“We spoke on the phone last year after he was elected and then we agreed to meet in person,” he said.

Along with President Trump, aides Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are expected to attend the late afternoon meeting.

Bach will be joined by the three IOC members in the U.S., Anita DeFrantz, Angela Ruggiero and Larry Probst, who is also chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee. All three are actively campaigning on behalf of the Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Olympics.

The White House has issued a statement confirming the meeting with Bach and expressing support for the LA bid. Paris is the other contender.

Bach has not yet met with newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron but the two have spoken on the phone shortly after the May election.

The IOC president may have the chance to explain the possibility to Mr. Trump that the IOC will change its rules and select one
of the bids for 2024 and the other for 2028 when it votes in September. The decision on making the change comes next month, loaded with Olympic-style politics.

There seems to be a likelihood the IOC prefers Paris for 2024, followed by Los Angeles in 2028.

Presumably that kind of change would include vetting from all levels of government involved with the Los Angeles bid, including a White House with an “America First” philosophy.

The matter of Trump attending the IOC Session in Lima could also come up. But with the possibility of both cities being declared winners, the need vanishes for last-minute arm-twisting from either head of state.

In a practical sense, the absence of Macron and Trump from Lima will also reduce the hassle and costs of security and other arrangements. The scale of the IOC Session has already been reduced in recognition of the impact of floods in Peru earlier this year.

Ed Hula
Around the Rings

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