When he announced in Paris, on a winter's evening in 1892, the forthcoming re-establishment of the Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin was applauded, but nobody at the time imagined the scale of the project entailed by reviving the ancient Olympic Games, appointing a committee in charge of organising them and creating an international movement. The IOC was created on 23 June 1894; the 1st Olympic Games of the modern era opened in Athens on 6 April 1896; and the Olympic Movement has not stopped growing ever since. The Olympic Movement encompasses organisations, athletes and other persons who agree to be guided by the principles of the Olympic Charter. Its composition and general organisation are governed by Chapter 1 of the Charter. The Movement comprises three main constituents:
- The IOC: the supreme authority of the Movement;
- The International Federations (IFs): these are international non-governmental organisations administering one or several sports at world
level and encompassing organisations administering such sports at national level (More information about IFs).
- The National Olympic Committees: their mission is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in their respective countries. The NOCs are the only organisations that can select and designate the city which may apply to organise Olympic Games in their respective countries. In addition, they alone can send athletes to the Games. (More information about NOCs)
The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind, in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
The Olympic Movement is defined also by the numerous activities in which it engages, such as:
- Promoting sport and competitions through the intermediary of national and international sports institutions worldwide.
- Cooperation with public and private organisations to place sport at the service of mankind.
- Assistance to develop "Sport for All".
- Advancement of women in sport at all levels and in all structures, with a view to achieving equality between men and women.Help in the development of sport for all.
- Opposition to all forms of commercial exploitation of sport and athletes.
- The fight against doping.
- Promoting sports ethics and fair play.
- Raising awareness of environmental problems.
- Financial and educational support for developing countries through the IOC institution Olympic Solidarity.
The Olympic Charter
The Olympic Charter is the codification of the Fundamental Principles, Rules and Bye-laws adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It governs the organisation and running of the Olympic Movement and sets the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games.
"Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles."
Olympic Charter, Fundamental principles, paragraph 1
The members are volunteers who represent the IOC and Olympic Movement in their country (they are not delegates of their country within the IOC).
New members are elected by the IOC Session. Each candidature file is analysed by the IOC Nominations Commission, then forwarded to the Executive Board. The latter submits its proposals to the Session, which elects new members by secret ballot.
Since 12 December 1999, the number of members has been limited to 115, which includes a maximum of 70 individual members, 15 active athletes, 15 representatives of the IFs, and 15 representatives of the NOCs.
The term of office of members is unlimited for members elected before 1966. An age limit has been set at 80 for the members elected between 1967 and 1999, and at 70 for those whose election took place after 1999.
The President represents the IOC and presides over all its activities. He is elected by the Session. The members vote in a secret ballot. In the past unlimited, the length of the President’s term of office is now fixed at eight years (entered into force 12 December 1999), renewable once for four years. Rule 20 of the Olympic Charter defines the role of the President, particularly his or her representation function.
Created in 1921, the Executive Board (EB) is the executive organ of the IOC. The Executive Board sees to the management of IOC issues and ensures respect for the Olympic Charter. It is the only body competent to propose Charter modifications to the Session, submit names of persons it recommends for election and appoint the IOC Director General.
Originally composed of five members, the EB of today has 15: the IOC President, four Vice-Presidents and 10 members. The Vice-Presidents and members are elected by the Session in a secret ballot for a term of office of four years.
Today, the IOC has 22 commissions which have the function of advising the President, EB and Session. There are also coordination commissions for each edition of the Olympic Games, as well as an evaluation commission for candidate cities. The commissions can be permanent or ad hoc.
The IOC President defines the mission of each commission and appoints its members. These are chosen according to their expertise in the commission’s area of activity. Only IOC members may chair a commission. Some of these commissions are mixed, including IOC members, representatives of the International Olympic Sports Federations and the National Olympic Committees, athletes, technical experts, advisers and sports specialists.
The mission of the IOC is to promote Olympism and to lead the Olympic Movement. According to the Olympic Charter, the role of the administration is the:
- preparation, implementation and follow-up of decisions taken by the Session, Executive Board and President;
- preparation and follow-up of the work of all commissions; permanent liaison with the IFs, NOCs and OCOGs;
- coordination of preparation for all Olympic Games;
- organisation and preparation of other Olympic events;
- circulation of information within the Olympic Movement;
- advice to candidate cities;
- relations with many international governmental and non-governmental organisations dealing with, in particular, sport, education and culture;
- liaison with Olympic Solidarity and implementation of many other tasks of an ongoing or ad hoc nature assigned to it by the President and the Executive Board.
The administration of the IOC is placed under the responsibility of the Director General who, under the authority of the President, runs it with the assistance of the directors; the latter are at the head of small units responsible for dealing with business in their respective sectors of competence (Executive Office of the President, Office of the Director General, Office of the Deputy Director General (for Relations with the Olympic Movement), Olympic Games Department, Department for Corporate Development, Brand and Sustainability, Finance Department, Sports Department, Technology and Information Department, Strategic Communications Department, IOC Television & Marketing Services SA, Legal Affairs Department, Medical and Scientific Department, Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, Olympic Solidarity, Olympic Broadcasting Services SA, Olympic Channel Services S.A., Spokesman’s Services, Ethics and Compliance and Internal audit).