The IOC President and the UN Secretary-General at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne ©IOC/Christophe Moratal
This week was marked by an official visit by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to the IOC President, Thomas Bach, in Lausanne. This visit comes less than two months after the signing, in New York, of an historic agreement between the two organisations. During their long bilateral discussion, the two leaders examined a number of issues as well as the joint action of the two organisations on several concrete projects.
In the presence of Mario Pescante, the IOC’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, and IOC Executive Board members Gunilla Lindberg and Patrick Joseph Hickey, the IOC President informed the UN Secretary-General about a recent joint meeting he had held with representatives of the Sudanese NOC and members of the South Sudan sports movements. The IOC has started to cooperate with the Sudanese NOC, IFs and training centres in the region to identify and help athletes who have the potential to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The meeting also addressed the possible launch of a joint initiative in the Central African Republic. The project, launched by the NOC and supported by the IOC, would mobilise more than 1,800 athletes and sports representatives to promote sport as a tool for peace. The initiative would also encourage political leaders to look for peaceful solutions to conflict. The UN, which is very active in this country, proposed that a feasibility study into the implementation of the project be undertaken.
The IOC President proposed cooperation between the IOC and the UN on an initiative aiming to support athletes living in refugee camps. Using the UN’s vast networks in these camps, promising athletes would be identified and, with help from the IOC and Olympic Solidarity, offered support and training possibilities. Ban Ki-moon also asked about the progress on Olympic Agenda 2020. He welcomed this initiative from President Bach and wished great success for the next steps.
Other issues addressed were the IOC’s commitment to sustainable development objectives; the upcoming visit of IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge (who was recently appointed as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Youth Refugees and Sport) to Jordan to meet Syrian refugees; and the inauguration of the new Sport for Hope Centre in Haiti, scheduled for July.
At a short encounter with the media after the meeting, President Bach said: “We believe that sport can be a strong driver for social change, and today’s visit by the UN Secretary-General strengthens once again our determination to use the values of sport to help build a better world. Whether it is with youth, refugees or wherever people are in need we are ready to serve. Sport can play a role, and we want to be at your side.” Secretary-General Ban said: “The United Nations and the International Olympic Committee are committed to work together to harness the power of sport to promote development, advance human rights and build peace.”
After touring the IOC headquarters, the IOC President and UN Secretary-General visited The Olympic Museum. There the two leaders stopped for a photo in front of the original Olympic flag, which turned 100 years old on 17 June, before attending a dinner with numerous IOC members present for the meetings of the Olympic Agenda 2020 working groups.
The UN Secretary-General left a written message in the IOC’s Visitors’ Book, which included the phrase “Let us carry, together, the flame of Olympic for world’s peace and humanity”
The President’s week in Lausanne was particularly busy, with meetings of the 14 working groups which will help formulate key recommendations for Olympic Agenda 2020. The working groups, which will meet until 24 June, have examined proposals, almost half of which were sent in by members of the Olympic Movement, and a quarter of which by the general public. Thousands of proposals have been put forward. Next steps: information to the IOC Executive Board (EB) then at the Olympic Summit, which will be held at the end of July and attended by the main stakeholders of the Olympic Movement – IOC members, athletes, IFs and NOCs. The contributions will then be submitted to the IOC commissions in September, before being discussed again and finalised as recommendations at the EB meeting in October. Finally, these recommendations will be presented to all the IOC members for discussion and approval at an Extraordinary IOC Session in Monaco on 8 and 9 December. Each working group is composed of representatives of the main stakeholders of the Olympic Movement - IOC members, athletes, IFs and NOCs – as well as experts from Non-Governmental Organisations, sponsors and civil society.
President Bach and Leandro Negre presenting the medals to the Dutch winners of the Hockey World Cup ©Frank Uijlenbroek
A few days before meeting Ban Ki-moon and the working group meetings, President Bach was in The Hague (Netherlands) for the Hockey World Cup women’s final, in which the Dutch team claimed victory over the Australians. He attended the event with the President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Leandro Negre, and the President of the Dutch NOC, André Bolhuis.
President Bach also met King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (photo), IOC honorary member. The two men discussed Olympic Agenda 2020 and addressed the future project of creating an Olympic television channel, as well as the IOC’s closer cooperation with the United Nations. The President was accompanied by IOC member in The Netherlands Camiel Eurlings.
President Bach meeting Prime Minister Samaras in Athens ©Nepit
After The Netherlands, President Bach travelled to Athens, Greece, where he met Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on 16 June. The two men discussed Olympic Agenda 2020, the current economic situation in Greece, its impact on sport and the role of Greece within the Olympic Movement. Later in the day, the President gave a speech at the opening ceremony of the 54th International Olympic Academy (IOA) Session for Young Participants. During his stay in Athens, the President also met IOC member Lambis V. Nikolaou, IOC honorary member King Constantine, NOC President Spyros Capralos, IOA President Isidoros Kouvelos, and the Vice-Presidents of the International Olympic Truce Foundation, George Papandreou and Fani Palli Petralia. He also had a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, during the latter’s state visit to Greece. He also chaired the session of the Greek NOC, which had met specially on the occasion of the IOC President’s visit.
Upon his return to Lausanne, making the most of the Olympic Agenda 2020 working group meetings, President Bach met the following Chairs of the Working Groups – Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sam Ramsamy, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Ser Miang Ng, John Coates, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Gerardo Werthein – as well as a great number of IOC members, including Doyen Vitaly Smirnov, and EB member Ugur Erdener in his capacity as Chairman of the IOC Medical Commission.
The IOC President also met the following Presidents of sports organisations: Francesco Ricci-Bitti (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations - ASOIF), Marius Vizer (SportAccord), Philip Craven (International Paralympic Committee - IPC) and Valery Rukhledev (International Committee of Sports for the Deaf – ICSD).
He also spoke with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt about a potential enhancement of the cooperation between the IOC and Google; and with Sergey Bubka, President of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee, concerning the current situation of athletes in this country.
And, last but not least, President Bach met Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the British Olympic Association; and Carlos Arthur Nuzman, President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
During this week, President Bach also chaired the meeting of the International Olympic Truce Foundation.
Just a week after President Bach’s visit to Japan, the IOC signed a new television deal with its broadcast partner, Japan Consortium, awarding it the broadcast rights in Japan for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang and the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2020 in Tokyo, as well as the broadcast rights for the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. The Japan Consortium has also acquired the right to broadcast the third summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018. The Japan Consortium, which includes NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association, has acquired the broadcast rights across all media platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription television, internet and mobile.
This week, the IOC Director General received a visit from the Romanian Minister of Youth and Sport, Gabriela Szabo, who was Olympic 5,000m champion at the Sydney Games in 2000.
As President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Tunku Imran has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow (Great Britain). This title was given to him in resignation of his important role in sport, particularly as head of the CGF. Glasgow will host the XX Commonwealth Games from 23 July to 3 August.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Spanish Basketball Federation have unveiled the custom-made official courts for each city that will host matches of the 2014 Basketball World Cup, which will take place from 30 August to 14 September. For the first time ever, the six cities hosting the action - Barcelona, Bilbao, Gran Canaria, Granada, Madrid and Seville - each have their individual colour scheme as part of FIBA's efforts to take the brand identity of its flagship event to a new level. Info at www.fiba.com.
The first International Canoeing Federation (ICF) Canoe Slalom World Cup of the season was contested from 6 to 8 June at the 2012 London Olympic Canoe Slalom venue in the Lee Valley. The venue has gone from strength to strength since the Games, and is now the permanent base for the GB Elite Slalom squad, as well as the hub for canoeing development programmes. The World Championships will be held at the same venue from 16 to 20 September 2015. Info at www.canoeicf.com.
On 15 June, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) Bureau voted in “United World Wrestling” as the IF’s new name. The Bureau also approved a new logo as well as measures for improving brand consistency of marquee wrestling events around the world. The United World Wrestling logo will be released at a later date. The new name and logo will be proposed to the FILA Congress, which will be held on 7 September 2014 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) before the World Championships. Info at www.fila-official.com.
The schedule of the 2014 edition of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Swimming World Cup has just been finalised, with seven legs in three clusters. The event will start in Doha (Qatar) on 27 and 28 August, and will continue in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Hong-Kong (Hong-Kong, China), Moscow (Russian Federation), Beijing (People’s Republic of China), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore (Singapore), with the final leg taking place on 1 and 2 November. Info at www.fina.org.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) has confirmed that the World Rugby ConfEx 2014 conference will be held in London (Great Britain) on 17 and 18 November. This conference will allow the global rugby community to share experience, knowledge and networks. It will feature speeches, workshops and exhibitions on themes including rugby development and increasing fan engagement. Info at www.irb.com.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has informed us that the 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships were the most followed in history. Twenty-two television channels provided 475 hours of coverage throughout the world. Almost a million people watched these Championships live and on demand on the IF’s broadcast platform, itTV. Some 6,284 articles appeared in newspapers or on the Internet, written by the 904 media accredited for the Championships and the thousands of journalists who followed the event from the outside. Info at www.ittf.com.
One of the highlights of the International Triathlon Union (ITU)’s 25th anniversary celebrations will be the launch of the IF’s very first Hall of Fame. The launch ceremony will take place at a gala held during the ITU's World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Edmonton (Canada), on 1 September 2014. The ITU will also publish a commemorative book, and will hold its last Executive Board meeting of the year in Avignon (France), which hosted its first Congress, in 1989. Info at www.triathlon.org.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced recently that Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) will host the inaugural 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final at the end of November 2014. The ISAF Sailing World Cup is the annual circuit of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors. Info at www.sailing.org.
The (FAI) has announced that the 2015 edition of the World Air Games has been awarded to the United Arab Emirates, and will be held in Dubai in December of that year. At a meeting in Lausanne between representatives of the FAI and a UAE delegation, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by FAI President John Grubbström (right of photo) and Nasser Al Neyadi (left), President of the Emirates Aerosports Federation. Info at www.fai.org.
13 June was World Softball Day. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) called upon its 141 member national federations and people of all ages and from all backgrounds to participate in softball-based activities. This initiative aims to place softball at the service of society; to promote health, physical activity and social integration; and to inspire future generations to seek excellence and mobilise through sport and softball. Info at www.playball2020.com.
The Secretary General of the International Basque Pelota Federation (FIPV), Angel Arraiza, and the Chief of Facilities, Rafael Araujo, have made an inspection tour of Zinacantepec (Toluca-Mexico), where the 17th edition of the World Basque Pelota Championships will be held, from 11 to 21 September. Info at www.fipv.net.
A press release from the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) has informed us that the New Zealand Water Ski Racing Association will host the 2015 World Championships in Wellington, from 8 to 19 April. This is the second time that New Zealand will host these Championships, following the 2007 edition in Rotorua and Taupo. Info at www.iwwfed.com.
On 20 June, the International Surfing Association (ISA) invited its member federations to celebrate International Surfing Day. 2014 also marked the 50th anniversary of the ISA. Info at www.isasurf.org.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
Olympic pins are handed over to the Chilean athletes © Chilean NOC
The athletes from the Chilean delegation at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games received their participants’ pins at special award ceremony. Chilean NOC President Neven Ilic, the NOC Executive Board and the National Sports Institute’s Head of Physical Activity and Sport, Rodrigo Grimalt, handed over the medals in the presence of the Team Chile athletes’ friends and family. Info at www.coch.cl.
Children’s environment workshop in Colombia © Colombian NOC
Some 20 children participated in ECOKIDS: niños por el planeta [children for the earth], organised by the Colombian NOC in the framework of World Environment Day and Olympic Day. The aim of this workshop is to make children aware of the importance of protecting the earth for a better future. Those present included NOC Secretary General Andrés Darío Tigreros Ortega; NOC Education Director Luz Cristina López; and representatives of the Colombian Sports Institute (Coldeportes) and the Bogotá Recreation and Sport Institute. Info at www.coc.org.co.
Olympic concert in Tokyo © Japanese NOC
On 6 June in Tokyo, the Japanese Olympic Committee organised the Olympic concert, a cultural event that has taken place since 1997. With its theme, “The Wonder of Sports Recreated through Images and Music”, this event is a classical concert mixed with Olympic images and interviews of Olympians projected onto screens. The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra played at this event in front of a very large audience. Info at www.joc.or.jp.
Launch of “Living Sport” in Jordan © Jordanian NOC
The President of the Jordanian NOC, IOC member Prince Feisal Al Hussein, has just launched Living Sport, a new initiative by the NOC which will allow it to realise its ambition of seeing sport play a role in the life of all Jordanians. The launch took place during the celebration of Olympic Day at the Al Hussein Sports City sports centre, which hosted representatives of 34 sports federations affiliated to the NOC on this occasion. Some 200 children took part in activities linked to Living Sport and the Olympic values. The NOC also made an award to Hisham Bakkar, the 30,000th fan of its official Facebook page. Info at www.joc.jo.
Participants in the Lithuanian NOC project ©Lithuanian NOC
The Lithuanian NOC, supported by the IOC, has started a new women’s leadership project entitled “Let’s start the change!”. Eighteen participants from various sports organisations (staff and former elite athletes) are taking part in this new project. A recruitment campaign through the media and the NOC partners’ and sports organisations’ websites has been launched. The project will last for more than six months and will comprise 13 conferences addressing subjects including the daily and strategic planning of sports organisations, sports project management, legal issues, improving the efficiency of the organisation, etc. Info at www.ltok.lt.
Olympic Day celebration in Lima © Peruvian NOC
Some 600 children from various schools in Lima (Peru) participated in the 14th edition of the Olympic Day drawing and painting competition organised by the Peruvian NOC under the auspices of TOP partner Samsung. Olympic athletes were present at the symbolic lighting of the Olympic fire and the reading of a message from the IOC President. Furthermore, the NOC, through the National Olympic Academy, organised a sports medicine seminar as part of the annual training programme. Another sports administration course took place under the auspices of Olympic Solidarity. Opened by the NOC President, José Quiñones, this course brought together 36 participants. Info at www.coperu.org.
© Portuguese NOC
In partnership with the Oeiras City Council, the International Council for Coaching Excellence and the Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, the NOC of Portugal has organised two seminars on the themes of “Serial Winning Coaches” (photo) and “Body Composition and Energetic Regulation in Sport”. The first one, held on 7 June, addressed preparing the next generation of Olympic coaches, while the second, on 15 June, concerned the body, health and performance. International experts made speeches on these occasions. Info at www.comiteolimpicoportugal.pt.
Olympic Day children’s run in Kosutnjak © Serbian NOC
The Serbian NOC has informed us that this year’s Olympic Day had the slogan “Be Humane, Win Together”. This Day was celebrated for the 20th year in Kosutnjak, near Belgrade. On this occasion, the Serbian delegation for the Summer YOG in Nanjing participated in the Olympic Day Run, thus providing their support for those evacuated during last May’s floods. Runs for children, families, people of all ages and people with disabilities were proposed. The members of the Serbian team took part in a “Chat with the Champions”. The IOC President’s message was read by Natasa Kovacevic, a basketball player and winner of the 2014 IOC Trophy. Info at www.oks.org.rs.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
On 11 June, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio (Rio 2016TM) announced the start of a new stage in building line 4 of the urban metro, an infrastructure project that is essential for the upcoming Games. The tunnel, which links Barra da Tijuca with São Conrado, and which will connect the Olympic Park with the rest of Rio de Janeiro, now has its first 400 metres of rail. This new line will also offer Rio inhabitants connections with Copacabana, as well as the centre and the north of the agglomeration. Info at www.rio2016.com.
YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES
On 17 June, the IOC announced that it had received files from two cities wishing to host the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2020: Brasov (Romania) and Lausanne (Switzerland). The 2020 YOG Evaluation Commission, which is chaired by IOC member Yang Yang, will now study the candidature files and prepare a report, which will be presented to the IOC Executive Board, which will then decide which cities will be subject to an in-depth study at its meeting next December. After this additional evaluation and video conferences with the Candidate Cities selected, a report will be sent to the IOC members, who will elect the host city at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in summer 2015. The IOC will not publish these candidature files, but has informed the cities that they were free to make them public as from 18 June.
(l. to r.) Chingiz Huseynzada, Patrick Joseph Hickey, Spyros Capralos and Azad Rahimov. ©EOC
Last week, Baku (Azerbaijan) celebrated the symbolic date of D-365 before the opening of the first European Games, in the presence of representatives of the European NOCs. This first edition will take place in Baku from 12 to 28 June 2015, with more than 6,000 athletes participating in 19 sports. The President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), IOC member Patrick Hickey; the Chairman of the Coordination Commission for these Games, Spyros Capralos; the Vice-President of the Azerbaijani NOC, Chingiz Huseynzada; and the Azerbaijani Sports Minister, Azad Rahimov, participated in this ceremony. Info at www.eurolympic.org.
To mark three months since the closing of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) launched a short film entitled “Sochi 2014 - Breaking Down Barriers”, which shows the highlights of these Games. This film can be viewed on http://bit.ly/sochi-highlights. Furthermore, the summer edition of the IPC’s magazine, The Paralympian, which has just been published on line, commemorates the organisation’s 25th anniversary. Info at www.paralympic.org.
During a CSIT EXCOM meeting in Austria, the President of the International Workers and Amateurs in Sports Confederation (CSIT), Harald Bauer (right of photo), and the President of the Italian Union (AICS), Bruno Molea (left), who is also the President of the Organising Committee for the Lignano 2015 Games (LIGNOC), signed the contract for the 4th CSIT World Sports Games. These Games will take place between 7 and 14 June 2015 in Lignano (Italy). Furthermore, during these Games, the CSIT will provide a chiropractic service for the first time. The International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS) will thus provide its services to athletes, coaches, volunteers and other accredited people taking part in the Games. Info at www.csit.tv.