From 28 to 31 October, on his first visit to Sochi as IOC President, Thomas Bach met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the preparations for the XXII Olympic Winter Games. During this private meeting, President Bach received fresh assurances from President Putin that there would be no discrimination against the LGBT communities during the Games. Beforehand, the two men had officially inaugurated the Adler railways terminal, which will be the main artery linking the coastal and mountain venue clusters during the Games.
The agenda for this Sochi trip also included a meeting with Sochi 2014 Organising Committee staff and volunteers and students of the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU); the official presentation of staff and volunteer uniforms during the Games; a visit to coastal venues such as the Athletes’ Village, the Main Media Centre and the Fisht Olympic Stadium; and a visit to the mountain venues.
During this trip to Sochi, President Bach was accompanied IOC members Jean-Claude Killy, who is also Chairman of the Coordination Commission for these Games; Vitaly Smirnov; Alexander Zhukov, who is also President of the Russian NOC; Shamil Tarpischev and Alexander Popov.
On 30 October, the IOC President took part in the opening ceremony of the 10th World Conference on Sport and the Environment, which was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak, President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, and President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko. He also spoke at the first plenary session (see also Commissions section).
Concluding his visit to Sochi, President Bach said that he was confident that the XXII Olympic Winter Games next February would be “excellent and a perfect stage for the athletes to perform at their best”.
Back in Switzerland, the President travelled to Bern on 1 November for a meeting with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer, during which the two men addressed the ties that unite the Olympics Movement and Switzerland, as well as topics of common interest and importance for the Olympic Movement.
At the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, he received IOC Executive Board (EB) member Ching-Kuo Wu, followed by International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Bruno Grandi and Secretary General Andre Gueisbuhler.
On 2 November, President Bach will receive IOC Vice-Presidents Nawal El Moutawakel and Craig Reedie; EB member Claudia Bokel; IOC member and President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah; the President of SportAccord and the International Judo Federation (IJF), Marius Vizer; and the Secretary General of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), Franz Schreiber.
The following day, he will chair the 2nd Olympic Movement Coordination Meeting, which will bring together all of the Movement’s constituents.
The Olympic Order Council meeting and receiving a Chinese delegation led by NOC President Liu Peng are also on the President’s agenda for 3 November.
The 10th edition of the IOC World Conference on Sport and the Environment took place in Sochi from 30 October to 1 November. Organised in partnership with the United National Environment Programme (UNEP), the Russian government, the Russian NOC and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, the theme of this edition was “Changing Today for a Better Tomorrow”. The subjects addressed included Russian legacies pre- and post-Sochi 2014, the sustainable development landscape following Rio+20, sustainable development legacies of previous and future Olympic Games, and the role of the UN system. The more-than 500 participants adopted the “Sochi Declaration”, which contains a set of sustainable development recommendations addressed to the various stakeholders in this field. In addition, the five continental winners of the 3rd IOC Sport and Environment Awards were announced and recognised for their outstanding initiatives in the field of the environment and sustainable sport.
The IOC has launched its Olympic Athletes’ Hub app, bringing the searchable directory of the social media activities of Olympic athletes to mobile devices for the first time. In addition to providing aggregates of Olympians’ Facebook and Twitter feeds on one easy-to-use platform, the Hub now also offers the content athletes publish on Instagram, the online photo- and video-sharing social networking site.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
After the 2013 World Championships in Almaty (Kazakhstan), the International Boxing Association (AIBA) organised its annual awards ceremony to recognise the best athlete (in various categories), coach, technical official, supervisor, judge and referee, as well as the best sportsmanship of 2013. See the list of winners at www.aiba.org. In addition, the AIBA World Boxing Academy was officially inaugurated on 24 October in Talgar, in the Almaty region, in the presence of AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu, AIBA Executive Committee members, directors of the Kazakh Boxing Federation and representatives of AIBA member national federations.
In close cooperation with Olympic Solidarity (OS), the International Gymnastics Federation organised an OS-FIG Academy for the first time. This was a Level 1 Academy (level 1) for trampoline coaches, held in Pretoria (South Africa) from 13 to 20 October, and in which 14 coaches took part. Earlier this year, the FIG concluded an agreement with OS so that OS technical courses could double as FIG Academies and vice-versa. In addition, a symposium on Olympic qualification brought together representatives of federations affiliated to the FIG in Lausanne at the end of October. The new system should come into place on 1 January 2017 and be used for the qualification cycle for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Info at www.fig-gymnastics.com.
At its 34th Ordinary Congress held in Doha (Qatar) at the end of October, the International Handball Federation (IHF) re-elected its President, Hassan Moustafa. The delegates from the 163 nations present also chose the host countries for the 2019 World Championships: Japan will host the women’s edition, while Denmark and Germany will jointly organise the men’s. All Congress decisions can be found at www.ihf.info.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that the second World Tennis Day will be held on 3 March 2014. Many events will take place on the day, featuring former and current professional players, enhanced by activities developed by the national associations. In 2013, the first edition was held in 55 countries. Info at www.itftennis.com.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) continues its programme to award scholarships to under-18 surfers worldwide. This programme was created in 2007 and has since awarded 172 individual scholarships. The objective is to give financial assistance to young surfers, many from developing countries, to allow them to acquire surfing experience while raising awareness of the importance of education. Info at www.isasurf.org.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
On 28 October, for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Algerian NOC, its President, Mustapha Berraf and the Executive Committee welcomed the Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, the Minister for Youth and Sports, Mohamed Tahmi, as well as several political and sports personalities, including Lassana Palenfo, President of the Association of NOCs of Africa and IOC honorary member; Issa Hayatou, President of the African Football Confederation and an IOC member; as well as the Presidents of the French, Malian and Egyptian NOCs, Denis Massiglia, Habib Sissoko and Khaled Zein Eldin respectively. A tribute was paid to the two best Algerian athletes of the last 50 years: Hassiba Boulmerka and Noureddine Morceli. The festivities kicked off on 20 October with the “Olympic Streets” programme, which saw the main streets in Algiers become a theatre for sports activities and introductions to sports for children. Info at www.comiteOlympicalgerien.com
On 30 October, a seminar on strength and physical preparation was organised by the Bahrain NOC’s Sports Training and Development Section. It was an opportunity for the participants to set up physical preparation programmes and to review the latest research in the field.
The British Olympic Association has informed us that, with 100 days until the Sochi 2014 Games, Team GB have launched their #RoadToSochi social network campaign. This 11-week programme will highlight each winter sports discipline in which Team GB will compete. From November 2013, fans will be able to relive historic moments of the Winter Games, follow blogs or watch athletes’ video diaries. They will also be able to take part in live chat sessions with Olympic hopefuls on Facebook. Info at www.olympics.org.uk.
To mark 100 days to go until the 2014 Games, the Japanese NOC unveiled a campaign to allow thousands of fans to share and show their support for the Japanese athletes competing in the Games. The event was hosted by Seiko Hashimoto, seven-time Olympian and speed skating bronze medallist, with seven members from the women’s ice hockey team qualified for Sochi. A mobile phone app, entitled “Nippon Call Project” and available only in Japanese, will create a song from the cheers left by fans across the country. Info at www.joc.or.jp.
At a ceremony held at Olympic House, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolian NOC President Demchigjav Zagdsuren awarded the 2013 IOC trophy, “150 Years, Pierre de Coubertin, Sport as a School of Life”, to D. Surenkhorloo in recognition of 40 years devoted to sport and Olympism. A former cross-country skier, Surenkhorloo worked in the world of sport first as an athlete, then as a coach, Secretary General of the ski federation, an NOC member, director of a sports club, and director of government sports institutions.
One hundred young athletes and their coaches came together in Stockholm from 25 to 27 October for an Olympic youth camp. For these three days, they trained together, assisted and motivated by the country’s best experts in physical and mental training and nutrition. This camp marked the start of the Swedish NOC’s Challenger project, whose objective is to double the number of athletes in the NOC programme for top and talented athletes aiming at the Rio Games in 2016 and beyond. This is a long-term project in line with the NOC’s vision of winning 20 Olympic medals at the 2020 and 2022 Games. Info at www.sok.se.
On 17 October, the Uruguayan NOC celebrated its 90th anniversary. The ceremony brought together sports officials, representatives of the national authorities and the media, staff, athletes and Olympic medallists. One of the highlights was the screening of a video message from the IOC President. NOC President and IOC member Julio César Maglione underlined in his speech the values of Olympism and the NOC’s rich history, as well as its commitment to the development of sport and Olympism and the promotion of their values. Info at www.cou.org.uy.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The Sochi 2014 Organising Committee has celebrated 100 days to go until the Games with a series of events across Russia, including the unveiling of the official uniform for volunteers and staff. The 100-day countdown to Sochi 2014 was marked across Russia, with the official Omega Countdown Clocks – which are located in nine cities around the country – displaying the milestone at exactly 20.14 on 29 October. Other events included the installation of Olympic Ring “spectaculars” in Sochi, Ryazan, New Urengoy, Salekhard and Kaluga, as well as a Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay celebration in Kaliningrad. Info at www.sochi2014.com.