Profile: IOC chief Thomas Bach
- 10 September 2013
- From the section Europe
German Thomas Bach - an Olympic gold medallist himself - has been elected as the new International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, becoming the most powerful political figure in world sport.
The 59-year-old lawyer and businessman won a six-way contest to replace Jacques Rogge, who is stepping down after 12 years in charge.
Bach has pledged to reduce the cost of bidding for and hosting the Olympic Games, to continue Rogge's drive to connect with a new generation, and fight doping and illegal betting.
But he said his first priority would be to ensure the smooth delivery of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, which have been subject to building delays, budget overruns and concerns over the warm weather.
Bach says he is also anxious about the potential for a public backlash against the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets during June's World Cup rehearsal, the Confederations Cup.
In an interview with the BBC's sports editor David Bond, he said the IOC needed to act urgently or risk facing similar protests.
Bach was born in 1953 in Wurzburg, Franconia, in southern Germany.
As a young boy he says he would play "football out in the street from morning to night, there was not much time for kindergarten".
However, his parents enrolled him - against his wishes - at the local fencing clubs
"There was a lively discussion between my parents and myself and tears on my part flowed as a result, but I ended up at the fencing club," he said in an interview with the AFP news agency.
In 1976, he returned as an Olympic hero after winning the team foil fencing event.
"At the time you win the gold you really don't appreciate what you have achieved, that the thing you have dreamed about has come true," he said.
"I still get goosebumps when I speak of that. I remember the one sentence I said [to the crowd]: 'You have made me feel what it feels like to be an Olympic champion.'"
He says his involvement in sports politics was driven by West Germany's boycott of the 1980 Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the government's disregard for athletes' concerns.
Bach became an IOC member in 1991 and has served as vice-president three times. He was also chairman of the legal commission and head of anti-doping investigations.