IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) Chair Angela Ruggiero reflects on key recent events in the Olympic Movement, and gives an update on what the IOC AC will be working on in the run-up to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018
It’s been a whirlwind couple of months for the IOC Athletes’ Commission, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to welcome athletes’ representatives from all over the world to Lausanne in November for the International Athletes’ Forum.
This year we took a detour from previous forums, by using the framework of our new Strategy – which all the representatives had a hand in creating over the past year – to discuss key athlete-focused issues. Our Commission can do a lot of things under the Strategy’s four pillars, but we wanted to ask the global athlete representatives directly: what is it that you want us to focus on in the immediate future and prioritise?
Valuable feedback and exciting outcomes
We received a lot of positive and valuable feedback over the three days, which has now been collated and reviewed and is currently being used to flesh out the project plan for the Strategy. Pillar two, in particular – supporting athletes on and off the field of play – seemed to be a lot of representatives’ primary focus, and the key outcomes are going to be better communication, more resources and more support for athletes and athletes’ commissions worldwide.
Overall, it was a really positive environment; people were very proactive, and you could tell that everyone really cared. And it sends you, the global athletes, a strong message: that your representatives are active and really want to do the right thing – and are searching for ways to do that. One thing is for certain: we are all united coming out of the Forum to do more and work harder for athletes.
Protecting clean athletes
Three weeks later, I was back in Lausanne for the IOC Executive Board (EB) meeting. After the decision was made to suspend the Russian National Olympic Committee, while creating a path for clean Russian athletes to compete in PyeongChang under the Olympic flag, we had a call with 68 registered Athletes’ Commission Chairs to discuss the outcome of the decision. I led the call alongside the IOC President, the IOC Director General and the IOC Sports Director, who were all available for questions.
No one wins in this situation, but on the whole, the feedback received was that the athlete representatives felt that the IOC did the right thing, while leaving the door open for clean athletes – which sends the right message to the global athletes’ community.
Athletes at the heart of planning for PyeongChang
At the EB meeting, it was also approved for the IOC AC to create a recommendation for medal reallocation in PyeongChang, focusing on the minimum standards of who should be reallocated a medal, and what the medal ceremony should look like. This ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we want to set a minimum standard for all of the athletes.
The topic of reallocating medals was discussed at the Athletes’ Forum, and the feedback we obtained from the participants went into the preliminary proposal that I submitted – a great example of a process that’s being designed by the athletes, for the athletes.
We will be working hard on refining that proposal over the next month, while also getting ready for our own work on the ground in PyeongChang, which will include the election of two new members to our Athletes’ Commission – members who will become full IOC Members as well.
In the meantime, check out our brand new ‘Get Ready’ video, which is full of useful information about what to expect from your Olympic Winter Games experience. And don’t hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions, suggestions, or feedback.
Wishing you a happy holiday season, and all the best in 2018!
In the Olympic spirit,