The six candidates vying to succeed outgoing International Olympic president Jacques Rogge in September presented their personal visions of the future of the movement in Lausanne.
While none were believed to have landed a knockout blow, the process – the first time this has been done – was declared a useful exercise by both the candidates and their fellow IOC members, who will vote on who replaces Rogge in Buenos Aires on September 10.
Rogge – who is stepping down after a successful 12 year spell in charge – said that the innovative move had been a success.
“The membership liked it very much. It was very interesting with very good programmes and I am very happy with the process,” said the 71-year-old Belgian.
The all male sextet professed themselves happy with being able to address their electorate – which is the one and only time they will do so.
Puerto Rican Richard Carrion, a 60-year-old banker and who negotiated the record $4.38 billion (3.3 billion euros) deal with NBC for exclusive broadcasting rights in the United States through to the 2020 Games, was the first to go, although under the rules his rivals could not watch his performance.
“I spoke from my heart and let them know what was on my mind,” he said.
“I told them we are facing tough challenges now and will do in the future and I was able to guide them through those.
“Also, that my leadership would be based on values close to my heart.”
Singapore’s Ng Ser Miang, who like Carrion and Taiwan’s Ching-Kuo Wu are bidding to become only the second non European to head the IOC, went second and expressed his satisfaction.
“I told them obviously my vision of what the IOC would be under my leadership,” said the 64-year-old, who is Singapore’s ambassador to Norway.
“I talked about protecting our independence.”
Thomas Bach, generally regarded early on as the front runner, was the third to go and the 59-year-old lawyer and 1976 Olympic team fencing gold medalist said it had been almost like his days as a sportsman waiting to compete and then once up on stage performing to one’s best.
“I wanted to show them what the principles guiding me are and to show them also my history in the IOC,” said Bach, who has adopted the motto ‘unity in diversity’.