5 October: IOC AC global call discuss Tokyo 2020, safeguarding and athlete support

On Monday 5 October, the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) conducted a call with over 100 athlete representatives from International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the International Paralympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. The call allowed the IOC AC to share the latest news surrounding the preparations for Tokyo 2020, as well as presenting information about initiatives for safe sport and answering participants’ questions.

  • The virtual meeting was led by IOC AC Chair Kirsty Coventry, while IOC President Thomas Bach and IOC directors were present to provide updates and answer questions.
  • The IOC Safeguarding team joined the call to present the latest developments in preventing harassment and abuse in sport.
  • Other topics covered included athlete funding and support, and Tokyo 2020 qualification processes.
  • The support for some athletes in Belarus and the case of the Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari were also discussed.

 

Foreword by Kirsty Coventry

I would like to start by thanking everyone who attended the global call on Monday 5 October. It is vital that we continue to communicate and receive your feedback to continuously improve our direct engagement with and support for you.

Your participation in these calls is so important for us, and we appreciate you giving your time. It is a unique time – we see the positive side with the return of events in a number of sports but also very challenging times still in many regions and for many athletes.

President Bach joined us to discuss some important updates on the call, including ongoing preparations for Tokyo 2020, IOC AC activities, the current issues in Belarus and more.

We also took the time to reiterate our sadness at the execution of our fellow athlete, Navid Afkari. We continue to offer our thoughts and prayers to Navid’s family and friends.

In addition, we discussed the latest actions and our concern about the situation in Belarus. The IOC has proactively contacted the NOC of Belarus and asked for clarification to ensure that athletes are not punished for their political opinions while respecting the local laws. In the meantime, there were further developments which can be read here. The IOC EB decided to strengthen its investigation into the NOC of Belarus.

Against the backdrop of these two very important examples, I want to mention that we are very mindful of the consequences of our actions and public statements.

We must focus on results and the outcome that we want to achieve, and not on making headlines. This is why we always try to work through diplomacy and our existing channels. 

As ever, please share these communications with your fellow athletes, and do get in touch if you have any questions or feedback by emailing us at athlete365@olympic.org or by using the Athlete365 community app.

Kind regards,

Kristy Coventry Signature

Kirsty Coventry

Tokyo 2020 preparations

Questions

  • Can you give us more information on the measures that will be in place to ensure a safe environment for athletes in Tokyo?
  • Can we have more information on the qualification events?
  • Will the marathon and race walk events be in Sapporo in 2021?
  • Are there guidelines for a safe return to sport?

The safe and secure delivery of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – fit for a post-COVID world – remains a top priority, with the IOC President and the IOC directors reaffirming the importance of the need for all athletes to have a fair opportunity when competing in Olympic qualifiers.

Sports Director Kit McConnell explained that 57 per cent of quota places have been filled by NOCs and athletes, and the IOC remains in constant dialogue with IFs around the return to qualification and how to do so while giving athletes a level playing field.

The Japanese and Tokyo governments also remain fully committed, with rapid testing becoming more and more reliable, which could greatly facilitate the organisation of the Games.

Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi explained that preparations are being made for multiple potential scenarios next summer, with a toolbox currently being put together by experts, which will help with guidelines and information about measures to take ahead of the Games.

There are also guidelines from the World Health Organization on mass gatherings. You can find them here.

For updates from the International Federations on the safe return to sport, please see here.

Safeguarding

IOC Safeguarding specialists provided an update on the IOC’s Safe Sport initiative, including the IOC Safeguarding Toolkit and the webinar series aimed at IFs. Due to the success of the webinar series, it will begin to be rolled out to NOCs later this month.

Additionally, an international safeguarding course is due to start in September 2021. The course will be online and last five months, with the aim of ensuring that IF and NOC Safeguarding Officers have a minimum standard of training and are recognised with certification.

Athlete support

Questions

  • OS funding to ACs: can the IOC provide more information on the application process for the funding?
  • Will the NOC Activity Grant USD 10,000 be available in 2021?

The IOC President confirmed that 1,600 Olympic scholarships have been extended to 2021 and that the IOC will continue to support athletes directly and indirectly. It was also confirmed that, as of September 2020, 57 NOCs and ACs had applied for the Olympic Solidarity Activity Grant, with many of them using the COVID-19 situation to deliver support to their athletes. This yearly grant gives USD 10,000 to the NOC and NOC Athletes’ Commission to carry out activities.

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