BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
THERE IS virtually no chance of the Caribbean ever hosting the Olympic Games, the current International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has said.
In an exclusive interview with CMC Sport on his recent Caribbean trip, Rogge said the expansive requirements for staging the Olympic Games would place it beyond the reach of Caribbean countries.
"I'll be very candid and very honest ... the demands on a country for the Olympic Games are higher than what your countries could give," said Rogge when asked if the Caribbean could dream of ever staging the Olympic Games.
"And the fundamental question is whether it would be useful for your countries. I think you have other priorities than just wanting to stage the Olympic Games," added Rogge, as he appeared on CMC's CaribVision television show Newsmakers.
Rogge, IOC president since 2001, suggested that establishing the infrastructure alone for competition venues would put too much strain on the region to achieve.
Sports world-class facilities
"You'd need approximately 26 Olympic sports world-class facilities and not all the Olympic sports are practised in your countries, so you would have to build from scratch for many sports."
The International Cricket Council (ICC) awarded the 2007 Cricket World Cup to the West Indies and nine Caribbean countries combined to successfully stage the event over seven weeks.
But Rogge thinks the monumental requirements for accommodation, telecommunication and security for the Olympics would seriously challenge the Caribbean's capacity to stage the world's biggest sporting event.
"You would need to have a big hotel capacity of 35,000 persons in the same countries, not scattered between different islands, you would need state of the art telecommunication systems, you would need a huge security force," he said.
In the past, the Caribbean has staged major multi-sport games, like the Pan American Games, staged by Puerto Rico in 1979 and Cuba in 1991.
Jamaica were hosts of the 1966 Commonwealth Games and Rogge suggests that the Caribbean would logically have to settle for some of these lower level events.
"Intermediate games, Pan Ameri-can Games, Youth Olympic Games, these definitely you could do, there's no doubt about that. The Com-monwealth Games maybe as it has grown since 1966, might be a bit difficult but all the other games yes," Rogge said.
New Olympic Centre
Rogge, originally from Belgium, made a speedy trek through several Caribbean countries in mid-March including Barbados, where he opened the new Barbados Olympic Centre.
This week, the 65-year-old Rogge welcomed an early indication from India to bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Rogge, who represented Belgium in yachting at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics, said there will be stiff competition to stage those Games but encouraged the Indians.
He said India "definitely has many assets" but added that winning the prize to stage the Games "is never easy".
The IOC wants all applicants for the 2020 Games to be submitted by 2013.
In the meantime, Rogge's IOC is facing a building crisis surrounding the 2008 Olympic hosts Beijing, China, and its standing on human rights.
China's human rights record took a blow last month when protests in Tibet turned into violence against Chinese rule.