Denis Oswald to run for IOC top spot

LONDON -- The race for the IOC presidency is getting crowded, with Switzerland's Denis Oswald becoming the fifth declared candidate to succeed Jacques Rogge.

Citing his long experience as an Olympic athlete and administrator, the 66-year-old lawyer and president of the international rowing federation announced his decision Friday to run for election.

"My 40 years of service to the Olympic movement have provided me with a comprehensive understanding of our organization as well as its role and significance in the wider world," Oswald said in a letter to IOC members.

"This knowledge and experience ... will enable me to advance the Olympic cause and enhance the IOC's authority as the leader of world sport."

Oswald joins a group of candidates that already includes IOC vice presidents Thomas Bach of Germany and Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico and C.K. Wu of Taiwan.

Former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka of Ukraine is expected to announce his bid next week, completing a six-person field for the leadership of the International Olympic Committee.

Rogge is stepping down in September after 12 years as president. The election will be held on Sept. 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There were five candidates in the last presidential vote in 2001, when Rogge was elected in Moscow.

Oswald is the second European in the race and his candidacy is seen as a direct threat to Bach, a lawyer and former fencer who has been considered the front-runner. Any split in the European votes could hurt Bach's chances.

Of the IOC's eight presidents, all have come from Europe except for one -- Avery Brundage, an American who ran the committee from 1952-72.

Oswald did not release his campaign platform Friday, telling members he will present his "vision and philosophy" in coming weeks. He scheduled a news conference for June 3 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Bach was the first to declare his candidacy two weeks ago, followed a week later by Ng. Carrion, chairman of the IOC finance commission, and Wu, president of the international amateur boxing association, launched their bids this week.

Oswald has been an IOC member since 1991. He competed in rowing at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the fours event in Mexico City in `68.

Oswald has been president of rowing federation FISA since 1989, with his term ending later this year. He served as head of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations from 2000-2012, which gave him a place on the policy-making IOC executive board for that period.

Oswald gained standing in the IOC as chairman of the coordination commission for the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2012 London Games, a position that required oversight of all preparations.

Oswald is also a lawyer based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, and has served as an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport.