LONDON (AP) — Germany's Thomas Bach is set to become the first member to declare he is a candidate to succeed Jacques Rogge as president of the International Olympic Committee.
An official with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Bach will announce his candidacy at a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been publicly disclosed.
Rogge, a Belgian surgeon who succeeded Juan Antonio Samaranch in 2001, steps down as president on Sept. 10 after 12 years as head of the IOC.
The 58-year-old Bach, a German lawyer and IOC vice president, has been widely expected to run for president and is considered the leading contender among a possible half dozen candidates. Bach, a 1976 Olympic fencing gold medalist in team foil, is also head of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, or DOSB.
"All I can confirm is that we will have a press conference tomorrow in Frankfurt," DOSB spokesman Christian Klaue told the AP.
Bach has been on the policy-making IOC executive board as a regular member or vice president since 1996. As chairman of the IOC juridical commission, he leads most of the investigations into doping cases.
The deadline for declaration of candidacies is not until June 10, three months before the vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But an unofficial election campaign has been going on for months, with prospective candidates traveling the world to attend various Olympic gatherings to talk to members.
The list of potential contenders has been an open secret in IOC circles.
Singapore's Ng Ser Miang, another IOC vice president, is expected to formally announce his candidacy soon. Richard Carrion, a former executive board member from Puerto Rico, is another likely leading contender.
Ng led the organizing committee for the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010. Carrion heads the IOC's finance and audit commissions and led negotiations that secured a record $4.38 billion deal with NBC for U.S. TV rights through 2020.
Sergei Bubka of Ukraine, the former pole vault champion who still holds the world record in the event, is another likely presidential candidate.
Two Swiss members, Rene Fasel and Denis Oswald, have been weighing their options. Fasel is president of the International Ice Hockey Federation. Oswald is the former longtime head of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. It's unlikely both will run.
Nawal El Moutawakel, the Moroccan who won a gold medal in the women's 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, has considered a possible run but members say they do not expect her to be a candidate.
Follow Stephen Wilson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap