International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach sat down with CBC's Heather Hiscox in a wide-ranging interview that touched on a potential Toronto bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, the IOC's relationship with human rights-violating countries, and the future for transgender athletes.
"I think Toronto could be a good candidate [for the 2024 games] but we still have to see now the Pan Am Games, how it's working here," said Bach. "The Pan Am Games can give a boost to a [Olympic] candidate."
The committee, he said, goes through an extensive selection process.
"We want to know, from a potential candidate, how they think that Olympic Games would serve them best," said Bach, "with regards to sports development, with regard to sustainable development, with regard to economy, with regard to the ecological system, and so on."
The two candidates for the 2022 Winter Olympics are Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China — two cities Hiscox said have "less than stellar" records concerning human rights. Bach said the IOC's role is politically neutral, but not apolitical.
"We have to respect the sovereignty of countries," he said. "On the other hand with the Olympic Games we want to send the message of a peaceful, tolerant society."
Bach also said the IOC has been looking into the matter of transgender athletes for some time and that he has confidence in the committee's scientific commission, who have already begun developing policies regarding athlete eligibility.