Jacques Jean Marie Rogge was born on May 2, 1942 in Ghent, Belgium, the son of Charles and Suzanne Rogge. His father was an engineer and his mother was a housewife. He learned from his father the sailing skills that would later take him to the Olympics.
“My father sailed and children do what their father does,” he told The Times in 2001.
His father also played hockey and urged his son to take it up.
“I was fit and fast, but had no technique, so I kept sailing,” he told The Daily Telegraph of London in 2011. “Then, later in life, I picked up rugby.”
Meanwhile, he was on his way to become a surgeon, studying at the University of Ghent, with a focus on the knee, “the most difficult joint to work on,” as he explained.
“I just liked the challenge,” he said.
As committee chairman, he was concerned with, among other things, the extent to which there should be a link between the government of a country and the Olympic team. It was something he had to deal with when he led the Belgian Olympic team in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter called on the United States and its allies to boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. . Belgium was such an ally, but Dr. Rogge urged the team to compete in Moscow anyway, and it eventually happened.
“This was a milestone in my life,” he said years later after becoming IOC president. “We felt it was our duty to participate in the Olympics. I still feel sorry for the athletes who were denied the Games they deserved. It made me decide that while we must work closely with governments to develop sport, we must maintain our independence.”