By David Owen at Beaulieu Lausanne

Richard Carrion Lausanne July 4 2013July 4 - After the amuse-bouche of the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic vote, the Big Beasts vying for the most powerful post in world sport were today unleashed, going head-to-head in successive 15-minute speeches in an effort to persuade their International Olympic Committee (IOC) colleagues that theirs were the right feet to step into Jacques Rogge's Presidential shoes.

The fact that the Belgian surgeon's successor will be only the ninth IOC President in 119 years underlines just how big a deal this is.

So does the rarity of these contests: this is, after all, the first IOC Presidential election for 12 years, and only the third in more than three decades.

As they walked away from 90 minutes of campaign pitches, two thoughts seemed uppermost in a cross-section of IOC members' minds.

The first was: the Movement is spoilt for choice with a plethora of ideas and six high-calibre candidates - Thomas Bach, Sergey Bubka, Richard Carrión, Denis Oswald, Ser Miang Ng and C K Wu.

The second: OK, now we know what the candidates propose to do; but they still have to explain to us how they will set about doing it.

As the dust settled, two candidates - Bach and Carrión - appeared to have done most to capitalise on the set-piece occasion.

In both cases, they achieved this by exposing slightly unexpected facets of their personality.

Bach, a German Olympic fencing gold medallist, is universally recognised to have a formidably strong Olympic curriculum vitae - it was he, after all, who handed the results of the Youth Olympic voting to Rogge.

Thomas Bach Lausanne July 4 2013Thomas Bach reinforced his position as favourite for the IOC Presidency

He recently revealed a thoughtful, wide-ranging manifesto.

But does he have the warmth of personality that the perfect candidate to act as figurehead of a high-profile global movement would possess?

How better to disarm this criticism than by incorporating a gem of an anecdote regarding advice he was offered by a doyen of the Olympic Movement on his own first day as an IOC member?

The advice: whenever you speak, start by praising the President.

That and sleep with open eyes.

This story appeared to have lodged firmly in members' minds, adding a personable gloss to a programme that includes improving governance and taking a long, hard look at the sports programmes of both Olympic and Youth Olympic Games while retaining a cap on athlete numbers and introducing one on permanent facilities.

Carrión, a high-flying banker, is the IOC's numbers man - no mean distinction when the Movement's finances are in such a healthy state.

But has he been a diligent enough networker over the years to build the web of alliances that will undoubtedly be needed to win the laurels in this high-octane contest?

Again, whether consciously or not, his presentation tactic of delivering his entire 15-minute address without notes, appeared to act as a perfect foil to this reputation.

"He spoke from the heart," was a reaction offered more than once.

This is potentially quite an important breakthrough, since the Puerto Rican is in some ways the status quo candidate.

"I am not proposing revolutionary changes," he later acknowledged, pointing to a string of successful recent Games, the strong finances and the Movement's high level of public esteem as justification for the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' approach.

There is also a sense, though, that with his business background, Carrión's hand would be by no means a bad one to have on the Olympic tiller if waters do get choppier.

"I don't predict a dark future, but it is in my nature to think, when things are going well, how they might go wrong," he said, joking that his wife was now high on his list of people to thank for sitting through 20 or so speech rehearsals.

Sergey Bubka Lausanne July 4 2013Sergey Bubka, the youngest Presidential candidate, impressed many with his performance

Outside the presentation hall, Ukraine 's Bubka, the youngest of the six candidates, was much the most impressive performer.

He spoke with impressive and genuine passion about the urgent need for the Movement to reconnect with young people.

If they continued to spend so much of their lives in front of computers, he warned, a "dangerous and very scary" situation might develop.

Social media, he suggested, was key to addressing this problem.

He proposes too a Council of Youth, incorporating "iconic personalities" capable of inspiring young people to better appreciate what sport could offer.

It was, he said, "time to invest.

"We are very strong today, but we need to invest now for the future."

Bubka also very sagaciously rejected the opportunity to moan about the luck of the draw, which saw him speak last of the six, thereby preventing him from witnessing the performances of any of his rivals.

"I respect the rules," he said, comparing his position to his life as the world's best pole-vaulter, when he used regularly to wait until late in the competition before entering the fray.

He appeared satisfied with his performance, remarking that he had set 35 pole-vault records and - "I think we set a 36th today."

Ng Ser Miang Lausanne July 4 2013Ng Ser Miang has a number of policies which could be potential vote-winners in the election

Ng, the Singaporean candidate, has run arguably the canniest campaign to date.

However, today's event seemed to have done little to enhance his reputation as a platform performer.

With characteristic skill, though, he used his remarks to press a number of buttons that could turn out to be potent vote-winners when the contest reaches its conclusion in Buenos Aires on September 10.

He spelt out in great detail, for example, just how he would set about ensuring he knew what his IOC colleagues had on their minds, pledging to "personally spend half a day with each member".

He also contrived very delicately to highlight the IOC's eurocentricity - only one of the eight IOC Presidents has not been European, and none have come from Asia - observing: "I believe that my heritage, my values and my lifetime of experience in sports, business and diplomacy represents a new approach for the Movement."

He managed too to draw attention to his exemplary record in IOC votes.

"Twice before I have come to the membership to ask for their trust," he said.

"In both cases I pledged that we would deliver spectacular results and both times I was honoured with their trust."

C K Wu Lausanne July 4 2013C K Wu's manifesto is the most far reaching of all the Presidential candidates

Wu, the Taiwanese candidate who is also head of boxing's International Boxing Association (AIBA), is emerging as the most consensual contender in many ways – and also the one whose vision most extends beyond the Movement itself.

His pitch includes urging his colleagues to "look beyond Olympism" to see what could be done to improve people's lives on a humanitarian level.

"We can help many people," he said.

Wu talks of inviting the other five candidates to sit down, select the best ideas from all of those proposed and formulate a "masterplan".

It is a beguiling concept, but, one suspects, also an elusive one.

The stage is now set for a tussle as gripping as any Olympic sporting contest over the next 68 days.

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