One of the main topics was the update on the preparations for Tokyo 2020.
IOC AC Vice-Chair Danka Bartekova presented the new athlete-related recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
A Q&A session was held, during which the IOC President, Kirsty Coventry, the IOC directors and the ITA Director General answered questions from the athlete representatives in attendance.
We fully understand the disappointment of athletes about the news regarding the international spectators. The Japanese parties did not reach this conclusion easily, but the safety of everyone has been the fundamental principle in every decision regarding the delivery of the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Update from the IOC Athletes’ Commission
IOC AC Chair Kirsty Coventry informed the athlete representatives that this year’s International Athletes’ Forum will take place digitally. The live sessions will be held on 26 and 27 May, following a series of breakout sessions in the week leading up to the event. For this edition, in addition to the Chairs, all Athletes’ Commission members will be invited to attend the Forum, which will bring together the largest number of athlete representatives ever.
Ongoing preparations for the Olympic Games
With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, Kirsty acknowledged the importance of ongoing feedback from athlete representatives around the world. She also highlighted the immense effort by all partners to ensure the safe delivery of the Olympic Games.
The first version of the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks was released in February this year. They were introduced in a number of dedicated calls with IFs, NOCs and ACs worldwide. The second version of the Playbooks is under development, and will be available at the end of April. The feedback received during the dedicated calls will be taken into account.
Kirsty also took the time to discuss the difficult decision to not permit international spectators at the Games: “We fully understand the disappointment of athletes about the news regarding the international spectators. The Japanese parties did not reach this conclusion easily, but the safety of everyone has been the fundamental principle in every decision regarding the delivery of the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Our collective and historic effort is to ensure the successful and safe delivery of the Games. This will enable 11,000 athletes to realise their Olympic dreams this summer.”
Olympic Agenda 2020+5
The IOC President presented the five trends (solidarity, digitalisation, sustainable development, credibility, and economic and financial resilience) of Olympic Agenda 2020+5, the strategic roadmap for the IOC and the Olympic Movement in the coming years, to the athlete representatives.
IOC AC Vice Chair Danka Bartekova took the floor and presented some of the athlete-related recommendations.
“Through the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC and IOC Athletes’ Commission fundamentally strengthened the support and positioning of athletes within the Olympic Movement,” she said. “But we also know that the world around us is changing and athletes’ needs are also changing. The athlete-related recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 will address this changing landscape through a number of concrete and meaningful actions.”
Highlights of the athlete-related recommendations included the strengthening of the athlete representation structure within the Olympic Movement, increasing the Olympic Solidarity budget for athlete development, and encouraging further transparency from stakeholders on their support to athletes. You can read more about Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and what it includes here
Through the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC and IOC Athletes’ Commission fundamentally strengthened the support and positioning of athletes within the Olympic Movement
International Testing Agency (ITA) report
ITA Director General Ben Cohen also joined the call and provided an update on the latest progress ahead of Tokyo 2020.
The Pre-Games Testing programme has so far already resulted in 2,400 tests of individual athletes and 400 tests on team sports, with more than 6,000 controls planned for the coming days and weeks. This has been possible thanks to all anti-doping organisations’ implementation of the ITA Pre-Games Expert Group’s recommendations. WADA will continue to oversee the level of testing and monitor the specific COVID-19 testing guidelines, which have allowed testing to continue. Thanks to the IOC’s extended jurisdiction, the ITA will be able to test out of competition two months ahead of the Games should it identify serious testing gaps.
It was also acknowledged that, despite the testing challenges in 2020 due to the pandemic, the quality and consistency of the level of testing have been maintained.
After the presentations, the floor was opened up to the athlete representatives on the call. The participants had the chance to put questions directly to the IOC President, the IOC Athletes’ Commission, the IOC administration and the ITA Director General.
How is the IOC ensuring ongoing effective athlete representation in new developments?
There is an obligation for NOCs and IFs to set up an AC and there has been four years to allow this to take place. Now that timeline will be looked at to further urge these organisations to have athlete representatives. The USD 10,000 NOC AC Activity Grant can be used to establish an Athletes’ Commission in NOCs that do not already have one. The Athletes’ Commission and the IOC will continue to work with the IFs and NOCs to ensure that all these organisations have an effective athlete representation structure.
What support is available for the international safeguarding certificate?
Olympic Solidarity will contribute to the fee of this course and many others through the NOCs. Funding for medical e-learning courses has been doubled for the next Olympiad, which will allow more people to access this type of training.
How can athletes find support on harassment and abuse when they are unsure where to find help?
There will be a Safeguarding Officer and other support networks at every edition of the Olympic Games, which is under the IOC’s jurisdiction. Outside Games-time, other organisations have jurisdiction, but the IOC reporting hotline is there to help point athletes to the right authorities, too. We are also currently helping stakeholders to use the safeguarding and mental health toolkits to put further measures in place to support athletes. More information on safeguarding is available for athletes on Athlete365.
Education on anti-doping is so important. What is being done to promote learning on this topic?
The ITA has put together a series of webinars for athletes and athlete support personnel which will be available in five languages and free for everyone. We also encourage everyone to make themselves aware of the whistleblowing platform at REVEAL.sport if you have any suspicion or information regarding doping.
As always, the objective is to ensure that we have a fair competition for the athletes. Tokyo 2020 will see the biggest testing programme ever, and all anti-doping organisations are encouraged to store samples of qualified athletes for Tokyo for 10 years after the Games for reanalysis at a later date, if required.
The Tokyo 2020 playbooks contain key information around your preparation for the Games. Find out more.