We are nearing the end of a momentous year for the Olympic Movement, and we have much to look forward to in 2010.
The splendid work of the XIII Olympic Congress in October will carry into the new year as we look for ways to put the Congress recommendations into action.
The keynote speaker at the Congress, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was instrumental in another landmark achievement in 2009. On 20 October, the United Nations granted the International Olympic Committee UN Observer status. The designation, which reflects the increasingly close cooperation between the two organisations, will ensure the IOC’s participation in UN debates related to sport.
We also rejoice in the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union. This Treaty contains an article on sport, a long-time goal of the Olympic Movement.
Attracting young people to sport and the Olympic values continued to be a major focus of the IOC in 2009. In conjunction with the Olympic Congress, which produced several recommendations specifically related to young people, the IOC unveiled a new and vastly improved web site, www.olympic.org. We also built stronger connections to young Olympic supporters with new initiatives on social media. Those efforts will increase as we near the opening of the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August 2010.
We also continued our efforts against doping. The 10th anniversary of the World Anti-Doping Agency in November was a chance to reflect on how far we have come — and how much more needs to be done. Our initiatives for 2010 will include steps to address the role of the athlete’s entourage and efforts to increase cooperation between sport and government. We will conduct nearly three times as many doping tests at the 2010 Vancouver Games as we did at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
Of course, the vast majority of athletes compete fairly, and the focus at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, which are fewer than 60 days away, will rightly be on them. Vancouver and Whistler are ready to welcome athletes and spectators from around the world in February. It is a great way to start what I’m sure will be a memorable year.
I wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season, and a great and prosperous 2010.