As announced in the last edition of the Olympic Highlights, IOC President Thomas Bach was in Antalya (Turkey) for the World Archery Championships, organised by the World Archery Federation (WA), whose President is IOC member Ugur Erdener. Also in Antalya were IOC Vice-President John Coates; Executive Board (EB) member Sergey Bubka; and members Lambis V. Nikolaou, Ung Chang, Guy Drut, Melitón Sánchez Rivas and Habib Macki.
Last weekend in Brussels, President Bach attended a ceremony paying tribute to IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge, which was organised by the Belgian NOC, of which IOC member Pierre-Olivier Beckers is the President. Personalities from the Belgian and international Olympic world were present, including IOC EB members Nawal El Moutawakel, Craig Reedie, John Coates, Gunilla Lindberg, René Fasel, Patrick Joseph Hickey, Claudia Bokel, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., Sergey Bubka and Anita L. DeFrantz, and tennis players Sabine Appelmans, Dominique Monami and Justine Hénin. Info at www.olympic.be.
This week in Vidy, the IOC President met Honorary President Rogge and IOC members Mario Pescante, Sergey Bubka and Richard L. Carrión.
President Bach also hosted Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), accompanied by ASOIF Executive Director Andrew Ryan.
On 4 October, the IOC held a meeting with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in Lausanne, which was attended by IOC member Syed Shahid Ali; Faridullah Khan, the Federal Secretary to the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, representing the Government of Pakistan; and a delegation from the IOC-recognised NOC of Pakistan (POA), led by (retired) Lieutenant General Syed Arif Hasan. The situation of the Olympic Movement in Pakistan was examined and an agreement reached (details here).
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has informed us of the death of Russian legend Sergei Belov at the age of 69. As a player, he won the Olympic title at the 1972 Games in Munich, as well as two world titles. As a coach, he led the national team to two silver medals in the world championships. Belov was chosen to light the cauldron in the Loujniki Stadium at the Opening Ceremony of the Moscow Games in 1980. He was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2007. Info at www.fiba.com.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has announced that, after only two years of work, the AIBA World Boxing Academy will be inaugurated on 24 October in Talgar, in the Almaty region, Kazakhstan. This Academy will become a centre of excellence for AIBA’s member national federations. The aim is to provide state-of-the-art training facilities and programmes, not only to athletes but also to experts, coaches, doctors, judges, administrators and leaders involved in boxing. Info at www.aiba.org.
Jani Tanskanen, from Finland, and Elizabeth Tweddle, from the UK, will represent the artistic gymnastics within the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Athletes’ Commission (of which Tanskanen is Chairman) for the 2013-2016 period. They were elected by their peers, the gymnasts participating in the 44th World Artistic Championships in Antwerp (Belgium). Info at www.fig-gymnastics.com.
The President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Francesco Ricci Bitti, has been awarded the rank of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. This distinction, the nation’s highest award, was presented to him by Ambassador Pasquale Q. Terracciano at the end of September in London (Great Britain). Info at www.itftennis.com.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has just announced that the Olympic champion and six-time world champion in table tennis, Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner, has become the first living foreigner to appear on a Chinese postage stamp. This initiative is the result of cooperation between the Swedish and Chinese postal services. Waldner, who retired from sport last year, at the age of 46, remains one of the most famous sports stars in China. Info at www.ittf.com.
On 4 October, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) informed us of the death of Masae Nakamura at the age of 80. Nakamura was the captain of the Japanese women’s volleyball team, world champions in 1962 and Olympic champions at the Tokyo Games in 1964. After her sports career, she gave sports courses and conferences. In 1998, she participated in the Nagano Games Olympic Torch Relay. In 2004, she was head of the women’s team at the Athens Games, and in 1998 was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Info at www.fivb.org.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The oldest Australian Olympian, Basil Dickinson, died on 7 October at the age of 98. He was one of the 33 Australian athletes who took part in the Berlin Games in 1936, competing in the triple jump. At the Empire Games in 1938, he won two bronze medals in the long jump and triple jump. Dickinson was still very active in spite of his age. Last year, for example, he was one of the guests of honour at a reunion of the 1952 Australian Olympic team, which was held at the Sydney Rowing Club. Info on the Australian NOC website www.olympics.com.au.
On 5 October, a charity walk was organised by the British embassy in Bahrain, in cooperation with the Bahraini NOC, to commemorate the first anniversary of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. This three-kilometre walk was aimed mainly at young people and children with a disability, to make them aware of the practice of sport and the values of integration, peace and reconciliation conveyed by sport. During this walk, the NOC’s anti-doping section set up a stand to educate the athletes and the public about the dangers of doping.
Bill Sweeney is the new Chief Executive Officer of the British Olympic Association (BOA). Fifty-five-year-old Sweeney is a business leader with more than 25 years of experience in developing some of the most recognised and successful brands in the sports world. He will take up his role in mid-November. Info at www.olympics.org.uk
The Swedish Olympic Committee, Swedish Sports Confederation and Swedish Paralympic Committee have examined the possibility of staging the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Stockholm. The research was performed by an independent consultant, Jöran Hägglund, who concluded that organising these Games would be possible, both economically and technically, and in terms of snow conditions. Stockholm would host 94 of the 102 events, and Åre eight Alpine events. A more in-depth study should be performed. On 14 November, the NOC will inform the IOC if Stockholm will be in the race for the 2022 Games. Info at www.sok.se.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
On 6 October, the Olympic flame was officially handed over to the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014 (Sochi 2014). In front of 10,000 spectators at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896, the President of the Hellenic NOC, Spyros Capralos, passed the flame to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Kozak, thus marking the end of the seven-day relay in Greece which followed the official lighting ceremony in Olympia on 29 September. Arriving the following day in Moscow, the flame was transported to Red Square, where it was passed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who lit the cauldron, thus marking the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, which will culminate at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, on 7 February in Sochi. This relay will be the longest in the history of the Winter Games. Info on the Hellenic NOC website, www.hoc.gr, and at www.sochi2014.com.
Furthermore, Sochi 2014 presented “We are all under the sky”, the official anthem of the Olympic Torch Relay. This song by Russian singers Elka and Anton Mishenin, from the group Kasta, will ring out in each of the 2,900 cities and conurbations where festivities will take place to mark the passage of the Olympic flame. It was played for the first time in Moscow’s Red Square when the Olympic flame was presented to the Russian people after its arrival from Greece.
Meeting on 4 and 5 October in Porec (Croatia), the fourth General Assembly of European Athletes elected the members of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Athletes’ Commission for the 2013-2017 period. Composed of eight members (six from summer sports and two from winter sports), the Commission’s Chairman is Belgian table tennis player Jean Michel Saive. Besides this election, the 100-or-so participants, representing 34 NOCs, also addressed subjects such as planning a sports career, success after sport, the fight against doping and the next edition of the European Games, which will be held in Baku (Azerbaijan) in June 2015. Info at www.eurolympic.org.
With 150 days to go until the opening of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has released the names of the athletes who will be part of the “Ones to Watch” campaign before and during these Games. This campaign will showcase the best athletes throughout the world, with all of those selected having won medals on the international stage, in addition to strong appearances in the media. Furthermore, the IPC Honorary Board met on 8 October at the Palais Royal in Brussels, welcomed by Princess Astrid. Points on the agenda included the latest information on the growth of the Paralympic Movement over the past two years and activities linked to the 2012 Paralympic Games and future editions. Info at www.paralympic.org.