Athletes across the world have expressed strong interest in getting involved and helping shape the Athlete Charter – an athlete-driven collaborative project which sets to understand what’s important to athletes and reflect their needs, rights and responsibilities.  

This follows a first wave of surveys to a focus group of athletes earlier this year, where the clear majority of respondents were keen to be part of the Athlete Charter movement and its development; with 75 per cent happy for their names to be published as contributors to the Athlete Charter and 73 per cent agreeing to further contact in regard to their answers.

Putting the wheels in motion
At the 8th International Athletes’ Forum in Lausanne last November, the Athlete Charter initiative was discussed at length by the newly formed Athlete Charter’s Steering Committee, which comprises representatives from International Federations, all of the five NOC Continental Associations, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Olympians Association.

The initiative is being coordinated by the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) as part of its ongoing commitment to increase support for athletes, a central theme to the IOC Athletes’ Commission Strategy, launched in September 2017.

To identify the issues that are most important to athletes, and discover what really matters to the global athlete community, an in-depth survey was produced in six languages – English, Spanish, French, Russian, Mandarin and Portuguese – and was sent to Athletes’ Commissions across the world.

As well as asking participants if they were interested in helping with the development of the Athlete Charter, the survey also sought their feedback on key themes and topics, such as governance, career transition and sports competition.

Positive engagement with quality feedback
In all, 193 surveys were completed by Athletes’ Commission members and representatives from across the Olympic Movement, providing detailed and quality feedback from 66 countries and 77 sports disciplines, while 12 additional interviews were conducted by phone or in person. Eighty-five per cent of respondents were aged between 25 and 44 (53 per cent men, 46 per cent women, and 1 per cent preferring not to answer).

Integrity and clean sport was identified as the most critical area, with 96 per cent of respondents saying it was either very or extremely important. The other key topics were ranked in the following order: governance (84 per cent), career transition and well-being (79 per cent), communication (77 per cent), sports competition (76 per cent) and marketing (60 per cent).

Other important areas highlighted by those who completed the survey included: being safe and protected from abuse, discrimination and harassment; and being an equal member of the sporting community at all times.

A next wave to the wider athlete community
Following the success of the first survey, last month the Athlete Charter’s Steering Committee met for the third time to discuss the results and how the themes would be included in the first draft of the Athlete Charter.

The next step will be to seek the views of the wider athlete community; as such, a second survey will be created – which aims to be the most widely distributed survey of athletes ever produced – as it aims to listen, and then respond, to athletes across the world, and address their needs in the Athlete Charter.

The Athlete Charter is the latest example of the IOC’s continued commitment to strengthen support for athletes and ensure their voices are heard, following the development of the new IOC AC Strategy and the launch of Athlete365, uniting the global athlete community and increasing athlete representation in decision-making within the Olympic Movement.

Interested in joining the conversation and helping shape the Athlete Charter? Learn more and sign-up here.