'We want the Olympic rings to keep their value'

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge defended the Vancouver Organising Committee on Tuesday, saying the Olympic brand needs to be protected from improper use.

Rogge, who was making his first visit to Vancouver since the Canadian city was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics, said the organising committee was right to ask local business’ to stop using Olympic names and logos.

“We want to work to make this Olympics as pure as possible,” Rogge said. “We want the Olympic rings to keep their symbolism and their value.”

Rogge also called the Olympics hypocritical for not going after corporate involvement prior to 1960.

“Once upon a time, the Olympic movement did not want to be associated with the corporate world. The Olympic committee was working in isolation,” he said.
“It was hypocritical at that time because the games were very elitist. Only the rich countries could participate.”

Rogge, who met with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and other dignitaries earlier in the week, said television has made the games more inclusive.

Security also remains a major concern, Rogge said.

“No one can hide the fact that we are living in a different world where security is of paramount importance,” he said. “We are extremely pleased by the preparations and the close cooperation between the [Vancouver] organising committee and the public authorities.”

Rogge also spoke about the new steroid designed to avoid detection in standard doping tests, which was uncovered by Canadian scientists.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Rogge said of the substance—called desoxy-methyl-testosterone, or DMT. “The fight against doping will be eternal.”

Vancouver will be the third Canadian city to host the Olympics.

Montreal was the site of the Summer Games in 1976, and Calgary hosted the Winter Games in 1988.—Sapa-AP

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