ROME (AP) - Longtime IOC member Mario Pescante of Italy has endorsed Thomas Bach's bid to become the next president of the Olympic body.

A day after declaring his candidacy for IOC president, Bach attended a ceremony in Rome Friday marking the Italian Olympic Academy's 25th anniversary.

Academy founder Pescante called Bach the guest of honor, saying "it's our hope that in September he can become the new IOC president."

Pescante adds that the German "is a friend of Italian sport and maybe that's why he wanted to begin his complicated and ambitious challenge here in Rome among friends. ... Italian sport will be by your side."

Bach, an IOC vice president, is considered the front-runner in the race to succeed Jacques Rogge, who steps down in September.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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