BEIJING -- The International Olympic Committee had no plans to stop the Beijing Olympic torch relay, IOC president Jacques Rogge said in Beijing on Thursday.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge walks towards his seat to attend a news conference in Beijing April 10, 2008. Rogge said on Thursday that the IOC had no plans to stop the Beijing Olympic torch relay on Thursday. [Agencies]
"This scenario is definitely not on the agenda," Rogge told reporters when asked whether the issue of cutting short the relay would be discussed when IOC executive board members meet in Beijing later on Thursday and Friday.
The IOC chief added that the IOC would only evaluate the outcome of the torch relay after the Beijing Games which take place from August 8 to 24.
"We're going to begin a global debriefing of the Olympic Games at the end of October, and obviously, we're going to discuss the torch relay," he said.
The Beijing Olympic torch relay had been disrupted by Tibetan separatists and their supporters in the Paris and London legs, and Rogge said he was "saddened" by the violent protests.
"We were saddened by what we saw in London and Paris. We were sad for the athletes and torch bearers. We were sad for the children who watched their heroes and role models being booed," Rogge said. "Athletes in many countries are in disarray and we need to reassure them."
Rogge admitted that what happened recently surrounding the Olympic Games was a "crisis", but insisted that the IOC would survive the crisis as ever.
"It is a crisis," said Rogge, who added that the IOC has experienced many big crisis like the tragedy at the Munich 1972 Olympics and boycotts of the Olympics in 1980 and 1984.
"The history of the Olympic Games is flowed by a lot of challenges. This is a challenge, but you cannot compare to what we had in the past," he said.
Speaking to the delegates at a joint meeting between the IOC and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Rogge urged sports leaders from the 205 NOCs to reassure their athletes that Beijing was on track to stage a successful Olympics.
"Tell them that whatever they have seen and heard, the Games will be very well-organized," he said. "Tell them that we will rebound from this current crisis."
In regard to the freedom of speech, Rogge said there would be "no limitations" on athletes, but propaganda would not be permitted during Games time.
"They can speak freely (at Olympic sites) but what they cannot do is conduct propaganda there," said Rogge.
The Olympic Charter, drawn up by the IOC, states "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sits, venues, or other areas."
Rogge didn't specify what sanctions could be imposed on athletes if they breach the regulations.
"I am not in sanction mode," he said. "What we are doing today is telling the athletes what they are entitled to do and what the restrictions are in the venues.
"The IOC will examine each case in its own merit."