On 18 December, IOC President Thomas Bach met HRH the Prince of Asturias at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, where issues such as the important role of sport in society were discussed. The Prince assured President Bach that Spain and its royal family remained fully supportive of and committed to the Olympic Movement. The IOC President was accompanied by the president of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco
President Bach then met the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. The two men discussed the important role played by sport in society, as well as the huge potential of Spanish sport within the Olympic Movement. President Bach was accompanied by Alejandro Blanco and IOC members Juan Antonio Samaranch, Marisol Casado and José Perurena.
The IOC President also met the heads of Spanish-speaking NOCs at the Spanish NOC headquarters, where the Spanish NOC’s new higher education programme, “Sports Higher Education”, was presented (see also under “NOCs”).
During his visit to Madrid, the IOC President also met the management team of Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS), including CEO Yiannis Exarchos and Vice-Chairman Manolo Romero. They discussed the latest preparations for coverage of the Sochi Games and the feasibility of creating an Olympic television channel.
Finally, President Bach met a group of Spanish research scientists, who presented a project aimed at improving methods for the detection of prohibited substances.
In the evening, President Bach attended the Spanish NOC’s annual gala, during which he received the “Juan Antonio Samaranch” special award from HRH the Prince of Asturias and Spanish NOC president Alejandro Blanco.
Jacques Rogge has been unanimously appointed honorary president of the Belgian NOC (COIB) by the COIB board. This honour was bestowed on him in recognition of his numerous contributions to sport both internationally and in Belgium in particular.
Meanwhile, at the Belgian Royal Sailing Federation’s annual awards ceremony, another tribute was paid to him through the creation of the “Fellow of Jacques Rogge”, a distinction that will be awarded for exceptional achievements or service in the world of sailing.
Nine candidates are in the running to fill two positions in the IOC Athletes’ Commission. From 30 January to 19 February 2014, all athletes participating in the Sochi Games will be invited to elect two candidates from two different sports in order to ensure varied representation of the sports in the Olympic programme. All the candidates either participated in the Vancouver 2010 Games or will be taking part in the 2014 Games in Sochi. The election results will be announced on 20 February at the Coastal Olympic Village media centre in Sochi. The two elected athletes will then be proposed to the IOC Session for IOC membership.
International Sports Federations
Through a partnership with the IOC, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has become an official supporter of the Olympic Youth Development Centre currently being built in Haiti as part of the IOC Sport for Hope programme. In agreement with the Haitian government, this centre, situated near the capital Port-au-Prince, will provide sports activities including boxing, as well as various educational programmes. The AIBA will provide a ring, around 180 pairs of gloves and 100 headguards, along with skipping ropes and other training equipment. Info at www.aiba.org
The Gymnastics Federation of Senegal hosted a successful International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) trampoline training camp in the city of Thies from 29 November to 3 December. For the first time in this region, the course was attended by participants from four countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Senegal. Partly sponsored by the FIG Development Fund for the African Gymnastics Union (UAG), this was the third and last camp of its kind to be held in the region in 2013. It followed an aerobic gymnastics camp held in Congo in September and another in artistic gymnastics in Senegal, also in September. Info at www.fig-gymnastics.com
From 13 to 15 December, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) gathered 23 of the world’s leading sports nutrition experts in London (Great Britain). At the end of the meeting, a FINA Consensus Statement on Nutrition in the Aquatic Sports was drawn up. The meeting tackled challenges and strategies concerning the nutritional needs of athletes in the five disciplines – swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming. The recommendations will now be sent to all FINA national member federations and to their medical and coaching staff. Info at www.fina.org
The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) has created a Sport for All Commission in order to encourage the wider sports community to take up modern pentathlon and to promote its development through the provision of low-cost equipment worldwide that will make the sport accessible to all. Chaired by Klaus Schormann, the commission is composed of experts from each confederation. The full list of members can be found at www.pentathlon.org
The nominees for the first ever ITTF Star Awards have been announced on the International Table Tennis Federation website, www.ittf.com. Seven awards, including three chosen by the fans, will be presented in Dubai on 11 January 2014. The proceeds of the event will go to the ITTF’s social responsibility programme, “Dream Building”.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that the 2013 ITF World Champions are the USA’s Serena Williams, who wins the award for the fourth time, and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, winner for the third consecutive year. Americans Bob and Mike Bryan were named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the tenth time, while Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won the women’s doubles award for the second year in a row. Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Alexander Zverev of Germany are the Junior World Champions. The winners in the wheelchair tennis category are Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands and Japan’s Shingo Kunieda, who becomes men’s champion for the fifth time. Info at www.itftennis.com
The Executive Committee of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has approved the launch of the ISSF Junior Cup, a new international youth competition that will include the events contested at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. ISSF president and IOC member Olegario Vázquez Raña and ISSF secretary general Franz Schreibert announced that the city of Suhl (Germany) will host the first edition of the ISSF Cup from 26 May to 1 June 2014. Info at www.issf-sports.org
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced that the 2014 Winter Triathlon World Championships will be held in the Italian city of Cogne for the second consecutive year on 15 and 16 February 2014. Winter triathlon is composed of three disciplines: running, mountain biking on snow and cross-country skiing. Competitions will also be organised for under-23s, juniors and other age groups. Info at www.triathlon.org
With the inclusion of the luge team relay event in the Olympic Winter Games programme, the number of competition days for this sport has been extended. As a result, the disciplines of the International Luge Federation (FIL) will take place over six days for the first time at the Sochi Games in February. The luge competitions will conclude with the new team relay on 13 February. Info at www.fil-luge.org
The 2013 Journalist Award of the International Ski Federation (FIS) has been presented to two journalists: American John Meyer and Slovakian Milan Stanko. John Meyer has covered skiing for the Colorado newspaper “The Denver Post” for more than 30 years. Milan Stanko, a former cross-country skier, has been a television reporter for 44 years. Info at www.fis-ski.com
The International Surfing Association (ISA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. To mark the occasion, commemorative gold medals will be awarded to all past world champions at a special gala. Additionally, the World Surfing Games, to be held in Punta Rocas, Lima (Peru) from 1 to 9 November 2014, will commemorate the first ISA World Championships held in 1964. Info at www.isasurf.org
National Olympic Committees
A volleyball coaching course (first international level) was held at the Abdellah Fadel Technological Sports Institute in Ain Benian, Algiers from 4 to 6 December. The course was attended by 24 female participants, mostly former national team players. Organised by the Algerian NOC in close partnership with the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the Algerian federation, the course’s main objective was the social reintegration of former athletes through specific solidarity programmes. The closing ceremony was attended by the Minister for Youth and Sport, Mohamed Tahmi, the NOC president, Mustapha Berraf, and the president of the national volleyball federation, Gougam Okba. The minister presented a diploma to the top student of 2013, Oukazi Fatma-Zahra. Similar courses will be held for handball in 2014, basketball in 2015 and football in 2016. Info at
Two Australian historians were honoured at a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Australian NOC in Sydney in early December. Richard Cashman and Ian Jobling were awarded the Vikelas Plaque by the International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH), in recognition of their important contribution to Olympic research. David Wallechinsky and Tony Bijerk, ISOH president and secretary-general respectively, attended this event, which was hosted by NOC president and IOC member John Coates. Richard Cashman founded the Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of New South Wales before becoming the founding director of the Australian Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Technology in Sydney. Meanwhile, Ian Jobling is the director of the Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Queensland and a founding member and former president of the Australian Society for Sports History (ASSH). Info at www.olympics.com.au
The Belgian NOC has renewed its cooperation with Adecco as part of the Athlete Career Programme (ACP), while the Belgian Paralympic Committee has also signed an agreement with Adecco in order to enable Paralympic athletes to participate in the ACP. Thanks to support from the Inbev-Baillet Latour fund, a Belgian “ACP Fund” has also been set up to finance the studies and/or education of Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Info at www.olympic.be
Poliana Okimoto and Jorge Zarif have been named the best Brazilian athletes of 2013. After a vote by an electoral college and the general public on the Internet, the announcement was made at an awards ceremony organised by the Brazilian NOC in São Paulo on 17 December and attended by around 1,500 people. Poliana Okimoto won three medals at the 2013 FINA World Swimming Championships: gold in the 10km, silver in the 5km and bronze in the 5km team event. Meanwhile, sailor Jorge Zarif, at the age of 20, became two-time junior world champion and overall world champion in the Finn class. Torben Grael, five-time Olympic sailing medallist and current head coach of the Olympic sailing team, received the Adhemar Ferreira da Silva Trophy. The NOC also paid tribute to the athletes who participated in the Pan American Games held in São Paulo 50 years ago. Info at www.cob.org.br
Charmaine Crooks, member of the executive board of the Canadian NOC, recently received the Order of Canada from the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on 13 December. The distinction was awarded in recognition of her outstanding achievements and remarkable dedication to the community. A true role model in the world of athletics and voluntary work, she represented Canada on the international scene for 17 years, winning silver at one of the five Olympic Games in which she participated. Info at www.olympic.ca
The presidents and delegates of the Latin American NOCs met at the headquarters of the Spanish NOC at the initiative of the Spanish NOC president, Alejandro Blanco, and the president of the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM), José Luis Mendoza. The NOC and UCAM signed a cooperation agreement creating a higher education programme for Ibero-American countries, entitled “Sports Higher Education”. This new programme was presented to all the participants, and to President Bach during his visit to Madrid on 18 December. That evening, the Spanish NOC presented awards to various athletes and sports personalities at its annual gala. HRH the Prince of Asturias received the NOC’s Olympic Order in Gold, for example. Info at www.coes.es
On 11 December, a formal ceremony was held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the Lithuanian NOC at the parliament headquarters (Seimase). The NOC leaders, participants in the restoration process and athletes were greeted by the parliamentary speaker, Loreta Graužinienė, and Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius. A speech was given by NOC honorary president Artūras Poviliūnas. Representatives of the Latvian, Estonian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian NOCs were also present. An extraordinary session of the NOC General Assembly was then held, including a speech by former Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus. Current President Dalia Grybauskaitė had sent a letter of welcome. Commemorative NOC medals were also presented. Info at www.ltok.lt
The NOC of Peru has launched a training programme for modern pentathletes and their coaches in preparation for the Pan American Games in Lima in 2019. Last week, the NOC president, José Quiñones González, opened the first training course, held under the auspices of the NOC and the South American Modern Pentathlon Confederation. The programme includes theoretical and practical modules in all five modern pentathlon events.
A cooperation agreement recently signed between the Peruvian NOC and the National Fishing Association (SNP) will benefit athletes and their daily nutrition as part of efforts to optimise their performance in the programme leading up to the Pan American Games in Lima in 2019. Under this agreement, the SNP will help the NOC to develop its programme aimed at improving young athletes’ performances in various disciplines. Info at www.coperu.org
The NOC of Ukraine will celebrate its 23rd anniversary on 22 December. Since its creation, the NOC has put a lot of effort into developing and promoting sport. It has facilitated the preparation and successful performances of Ukrainian athletes at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. The numerous projects that have been implemented include Olympic Day, the “Olympic Stork” Sport for All event and educational initiatives such as “Olympic Corner” and “Olympic Book”. Info at www.noc-ukr.org
Youth Olympic Games
On 20 December, the IOC announced the winner of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Medal Design Competition. The winner is 23-year old Slovakian Matej Čičkas. His design, entitled “Track of Winners”, was chosen from among more than 300 projects from over 50 countries by a prestigious IOC jury that described it as “modern, fresh and dynamic” during their deliberations earlier this month.
Each year, in order to assist with the educational and information activities of the anti-doping community, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) offers its partners 100 free copies of the current List of Prohibited Substances and Methods. This pocket-sized document is available in French, English and Spanish. To receive copies, send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org by 27 January 2014.
The city of Cochabamba, Bolivia will host the South American Games in 2018. The decision was taken on 14 December in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) at the General Assembly of the South American Sports Organisation (ODESUR), whose president is IOC honorary member Carlos Arthur Nuzman. Other items on the General Assembly agenda included the presentation of the Organising Committee for the 2014 South American Games in Santiago (Chile) and confirmation of the dates of the South American Beach Games, which will be held in Vargas (Venezuela) from 14 to 24 May 2014. Info at www.odesur.org
On 5 December, the 31st General Assembly of the Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs (FICTS) was held in Milan (Italy), where FICTS president Franco Ascan was joined by representatives of the federation’s 113 member countries. It was unanimously decided that an event entitled “EXSPORT – Milano Worldwide FICTS Festival” (2015 World Sport Movies and Television Championship) should be held during EXPO 2015 in Milan in order to promote and disseminate the values of sport and culture through sport. The 15 festivals to be held across the five continents in 2014 were also presented. Info at www.ficts.com
On account of the end-of-year festivities, the next edition of Olympic Highlights will be published on 10 January 2014. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all our best wishes for 2014.