SYDNEY — Australia’s top Olympic official Kevan Gosper said on Sunday that if he had the support he would stand to replace the retiring International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Gosper, an IOC vice-president, said he was confident in his ability to do the job despite an Olympic torch relay controversy in May which led to him taking a low profile in the past two months.

Gosper left himself open to accusations of nepotism after he allowed his 11-year-old daughter Sophie to replace a Greek-Australian Sydney schoolgirl as the first Australian to carry the torch after it was lit in Greece in May.

Gosper later said ‘fatherly pride’ had clouded his judgement.

Gosper is a member of the organising committee (SOCOG) for the Sydney Games which start on September 15.

‘My focus is absolutely on a successful Games and we’ll get one. After that’s over and all the dust has settled, if I think I have the support I’ll go for it,’ Gosper told Sky TV.

Gosper said two other IOC officials, Canadian Dick Pound and Belgian Jacques Rogge, would also be excellent contenders for the presidency when Samaranch steps down in 2001.

‘Of course I believe I could do the job and I suppose somebody will say there he goes, he’s being arrogant again, which I’m starting to think is almost a compliment,’ said Gosper. ‘But you have to be confident about your own qualities.’

Reuters

Source: SOCOG