In September 1997 members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted for a city to host the 2004 Olympic Games. Many observers fancied South Africa's Cape Town: internationally respected president Nelson Mandela has a residence there, no African city has hosted the Games (Africa is the 'missing black' of the five Olympic rings), and Africa's 21 IOC members rallied behind the city which also supposedly had support from the Committee's president, Juan Antonio Samaranch. In the event, Athens and Rome beat Cape Town into third place, Mandela failed to impress IOC members and many Africans withdrew their support. None the less, within hours talk turned to a South African bid for 2008.2 Until recently, however, South Africa was the pariah of world sport: the international sports community considered the Republic's apartheid policies, which discriminated against black people, the antitheses of sporting ideals. The IOC invited South Africa to the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona after the last apartheid ruler, F. W. de Klerk, repealed the legislative foundations of apartheid. These were the first Games at which South Africa had participated since Rome in 1960. After some thirty years of isolation and ostracism South Africa had officially returned to international competition.