London: IOC President Jacques Rogge has affirmed his commitment to achieving gender equality in the sports movement.
“This is the first time,ever, that all our NOCs include women at an Olympic Games. This is an important signal for us,” Rogge told media during the launch of the Omega Olympic Activities here on Monday.
In attendance were Nick Hayek, CEO, Swatch Group; Stephen Urquhart, Omega President and Peter Hurzeler, Omega Timing Board member.
“This [not having women in sports] is a big issue for us. There was no gender equality in sport, but for the first time we have accomplished this in London,” he added.
“However, there is still a lot to be done.”
Rogge praised Omega’s dedication to the cause of the Olympic Movement as seen by their continuous sponsorship of subsequent Olympic Games since 1932.
“And the values of Omega are similar to the Olympic values,” Rogge said.
The IOC president was also appreciative of the British government’s resolve to create a sporting system at schools level leveraging on the success of the organisation of the London Games.
“This will be a great inspiration for generations to come,” he noted.
“The goals are the same, but the identity is different,” he added.
Going back in time, Rogge narrated how he rated Bob Beamon’s record leap of 8.90 metres in the long jump as the moment that has had the biggest impression on him. “Go home and measure 8.90m and see the distance to try and fathom how unbelievable this feat was,” Rogge smiled.
To put it into perspective, Beamon’s world record jump was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the five greatest sports moments of the 20th century. His world record was finally broken in 1991 when Mike Powell jumped 8.95m at the World Championships in Tokyo but Beamon’s jump is still the Olympic record.
More than 40 years later, it remains the second longest wind-aided jump on record.