Wu's IOC vision: education

C.K. Wu of Chinese Taipei, the president of the international boxing association and a member of the International Olympic Committee's policy-making executive board, on Thursday announced he is running for the IOC presidency. Stressing that the Olympic movement ought to reach deep into communities worldwide to emphasize not just sport but culture and, especially, the education of young people, Wu said, "This is the way to look to the future."

He added, "The Olympic values should start early. When you are young, we all have family education. We learn a lot through the family. When I look at the problems facing us -- doping, match-fixing -- and beyond, all the issues that we care about, issues that are part of our responsibilities, you ask, how to tackle these?

"I am emphasizing the education."

International boxing association president and IOC executive board member C.K. Wu

Wu, 66, made his announcement at a news conference in Taipei, becoming the fourth candidate in the race, joining Richard Carrión of Puerto Rico -- who issued a statement on Wednesday -- as well as Ser Miang Ng of Singapore and Thomas Bach of Germany.

Sergei Bubka of Ukraine is also widely expected to join. Switzerland's Denis Oswald has been dropping hints, too, about getting in.

The IOC will elect its new president on Sept. 10 in Buenos Aires.

Jacques Rogge of Belgium has served since 2001. He replaced Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain, who served for the 21 years before that.

Wu, a hugely successful architect who played a key role in developing the Milton Keynes project in Britain, has been an IOC member since 1988.

He served on the Beijing 2008 Games coordination commission and is on the same panel for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games. He also was a member of the 1998 Nagano Winter Games coordination commission.

He served on what was called the Cultural Commission from 1992-99 and since 2000 has been on what is now called the Culture and Olympic Education Commission.

For the past 11 years, he has been a member of the Philately, Numismatic and Memorabilia Commission -- that is, stamps, coins and other collectibles.

He and Samaranch shared an avid interest in collecting. Indeed, Samaranch bequeathed Wu his collection and, last month, the Samaranch Memorial Museum opened in Tianjin, China -- designed and financed in part by Wu.

Some may assess this 2013 presidential race and be tempted to underestimate Wu.

Wu, though, has a profound civility about him. And important allies. And a knack for beating the odds.

That museum, for instance? The first time the Chinese government allowed such a memorial to a foreign figure. In Wu, moreover, the project was overseen by a non-national. All that, and it got done -- and then some two dozen IOC members showed up at the dedication.

Wu has been president of AIBA since 2006. There were those who thought the controversial former president, Anwar Chowdhry, might never leave; Wu managed to oust him that year in an election. The next year, an AIBA ethics report outlined a series of financial irregularities during Chowdhry's 20-year reign.

Under Wu, AIBA has continued to undergo a series of reforms.

Last year, Wu ran for the IOC's executive board. Some thought, no way. He won.

In an interview, Wu said his idea for the presidency rests on those three core elements of sport, culture and education but emphasized that the president's ability to "transform and realize" Olympic ideals into practice is, and always will be, key.

Under the principle "beyond Olympism, together," he said, the IOC could "significantly enhance" its "contribution to humanity."

Through any and all tools, he reiterated his commitment to education worldwide with an emphasis on the Olympic values -- and even perhaps, he suggested, Olympic museums in host countries with programs supported by the IOC.

He said the IOC members should actively position themselves as part of "an organization that leads the effort in making our world a better place not only for our athletes and the Olympic family, but also for our neighbors and society at large.

“I strongly urge that we concentrate more on education than ever before. I truly believe that there is no better solution to fighting against these problems than providing young people with education early on. This is one of the best ways to bring the IOC well beyond what it has achieved ..."

In other areas, Wu suggested that all Olympic sports should be "protected" -- an intriguing note given the controversy over wrestling's bid to get back onto the program for the 2020 Summer Games. As for new sports, he suggested, the IOC might want to re-visit the idea of demonstration sports.

Wu proposed that the IOC revisit the age-70 limit set as part of the reforms enacted as a response to the late 1990s Salt Lake City scandal.

IOC membership is now set at 115. Wu suggested 130 on the grounds that it would bring in more national Olympic committee and international federation presidents.

For those who wish to underestimate him, Wu said with a gentle laugh, "Gradually, they will understand. I will talk with the colleagues. Last year's [executive board] election -- I got a very high vote. The members -- they recognize what I have done. At AIBA, the work I have done once seemed impossible and now people say, you have done it.

"The museum -- this is the culture side. We need a president with a cultural background. The body and the mind -- we need that, and education. The new president can emphasize the importance of this."

He also said, looking ahead to the campaign, "Competition is only for three or four months. Friendship is for forever."