On 6 February, IOC President Jacques Rogge arrived in Sochi, the host city of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014, to celebrate the final countdown to the start of these Games. He was accompanied by Jean-Claude Killy, Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the 2014 Games.
The following day, with exactly one year to go until the start of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, President Rogge officially invited the NOCs to participate in these Games. This ceremony took place at the Bolshoi Ice Palace, in the presence of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and Jean-Claude Killy, as well as IOC members in Russia Vitaly Smirnov, Shamil Tarpishev and Alexander Popov, and the CEO of the Organising Committee for the 2014 Games, Dmitry Chernyshenko.
During this event, President Rogge personally handed over invitations to the representatives of the host countries of the previous, next and next-but-one editions of the Olympic Winter Games (Canada, Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea), and to the host of the next Games of the Olympiad (Brazil).
Prior to this, the IOC President joined OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart to unveil the countdown clock to the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. Eight OMEGA clocks were unveiled in ceremonies throughout the Russian Federation on 7 February.
The IOC President also held a meeting with the NOCs’ Chefs de Mission, who are holding a seminar in Sochi, and visited the Olympic venues. Detailed information on his Sochi trip can be found at www.olympic.org (“News” section).
Next week, President Rogge will chair the IOC Executive Board’s first meeting of 2013, which will be held in Lausanne on 12 and 13 February.
The first IOC Manual of Sports Injuries: An Illustrated Guide to the Management of Injuries in Physical Activity has just been published. This manual is the fruit of a collaborative effort between the IOC Medical Commission and a group of world-renowned experts to create an essential tool for people associated with the evaluation and care of athletes suffering from sports injuries. It addresses primary health care and is aimed at emergency doctors, physiotherapists, coaches, nursing practitioners and paramedics. More info at www.olympic.org (“News” section).
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The first of four International Judo Federation (IJF) seminars for referees took place from 11 to 13 January in Malaga (Spain). This seminar brought together 161 participants, including 96 referees and 65 coaches from 49 different countries. The three other seminars will be held in Marrakesh (Morocco), Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Mexico City (Mexico). More info at www.ijf.org.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) Executive Board held its first meeting of the year on 29 and 30 January at the headquarters of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in Lausanne. On this occasion, Cyprus was elected as the host of the 57th UIPM Congress, to be held in 2013. Furthermore, a Memorandum of Understanding between the UIPM and Peace and Sport was signed by these organisations’ respective presidents, Klaus Schormann and Joël Bouzou, who is also UIPM Vice-President. Detailed info at www.pentathlon.org.
On 20 January, the second edition of the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Snow Day was a huge success, with 435 events held in 39 countries. Children and their families could spend a day discovering and familiarising themselves with winter sports activities. In Norway, for example, an “Åpen Bakke” (open day) was held, with 99 resorts throughout the country opening their runs to some 120,000 people for a day of free skiing and snowboarding. And in France and Austria, children from “SOS Villages d’Enfants” visited the resorts of Megève, Chamonix, Lech/Zürs and St Anton am Arlberg for a full-on, unique snow experience. According to the organisers, the total number of participants could even approach the 300,000 mark for the 2013 edition. More info at www.world-snow-day.com.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The NOC of Bahrain has informed us that the third edition of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Women’s Games will be held in Bahrain from 3 to 13 March. There are nine sports on the programme of these Games: football, basketball, volleyball, athletics, table tennis, bowling, shooting, taekwondo and athletics for people with a disability. A GCC delegation recently visited Bahrain to meet the coordination and follow-up committee of these Games.
The NOC of Israel has crowned swimmer Yaakov Toumarkin as 2012 Athlete of the Year. The award, named after the late NOC President, Yoram Oberkovich, was presented to him in the presence of the 2011 winner, Lee Kurzitz; NOC President Zvi Varshaviak; Amit Oberkovich; and Noam Zvi, President of the Israeli Swimming Association. Yaakov Toumarkin finished seventh in the 200m final at the London Games and won two bronze medals in the European Championships in the 100 and 200m backstroke. Rhythmic gymnastics coach Ella Samofalov was named Coach of the Year for leading the Israeli team to eighth place in London and gymnast Neta Rivkin to seventh place. Noam Gershony, wheelchair tennis player and gold medallist at the 2012 Paralympic Games, won a special trophy for his exceptional performance. Info at www.olympic.one.co.il.
We have just learnt that the NOC of Cyprus inaugurated its Olympic Museum at the end of November last year. Located in the Cypriot Olympic House, the museum holds numerous objects, athletes’ and judges’ uniforms and a unique collection of official commemorative postal stamps dating from the Athens Games in 1896 to the Tokyo Games in 1964. The Cypriot Olympic Museum was inaugurated by the Minister of Commerce and Tourism, Neoclis Silikiotis, and NOC President Ouranios Ioannidis. Info at www.olympic.org.cy.
Chinese Olympic medallist in Laser Radial dinghy (bronze in Beijing and gold) Lijia Xu recently visited Singapore to share her experience with young Olympic hopefuls. Lijia was hosted at the headquarters of the NOC of Singapore by IOC Vice-President Ser Miang Ng, accompanied by the young Optimist world champions, Kimberly Lim and Yukie Yokoyama.
This event, which was attended by more than 400 people, including sailors, schoolchildren and parents, was held during a sailing symposium organised by the Singapore Sailing Federation. More info at www.singaporeolympics.com.