The final day of the 8th IOC International Athletes’ Forum saw all participants pledge their support to the IOC Athletes’ Commission Strategy – with a focus on support, communication and credibility
With the existing and improving support available to athletes having been explained to representatives during the first two days of the IOC International Athletes’ Forum, the final day saw discussions and workshops looking at the most effective and practical ways of using these support structures to strengthen the athletes’ voice.
A new Strategy, a stronger voice
And having covered three of the four pillars of its new strategy – Represent, Empower and Support – in detail over the course of the weekend, the IOC Athletes’ Commission now hosted a session on promoting athlete involvement in decision-making across the Olympic Movement. With participation from key Olympic Movement stakeholders, the session provided an ideal opportunity to share best practices and identify case studies, highlighting the wide-ranging benefits that the consideration of the athletes’ voice can bring to an organisation.
Specifically, a panel consisting of Sergey Bubka, Yang Yang and Carl Probert spoke about their proudest achievements in athlete representation; the biggest challenges they have faced; and the advice they’d give to fellow athlete representatives. In a break-out session, athlete representatives then contributed ideas on the “one thing” that they should start, stop and continue doing to promote athlete involvement in Olympic Movement decision-making, which were written down and placed on a board to frame the next steps.
With a ringing endorsement for the Strategy from the global athletes’ network, it was time to reflect on everything achieved from the two-way dialogue of the previous three days. “It speaks volumes that you’re all here. Most athletes won’t know who you are; you’re working behind the scenes, but you’re effecting change,” declared IOC AC Chair Angela Ruggiero, as she summed up the key outcomes based on what the IOC AC had heard from athletes over the three days of the Forum, which were as follows:
- A strong network of athletes’ commissions that supports and helps each other
- Independence, transparency and credibility among athletes’ commissions
- Better communication that must be coherent and consistent
She continued: “Through your feedback, we’re going to build tools for the benefit of everyone. This Forum has been about creating a framework that we can integrate as a collective body of global athletes’ representatives.”
“Focusing on athlete priorities”
Following an open discussion on the pressing issue of medal reallocation ceremonies, it was time to bring the curtain down on the Forum and leave each participant feeling informed and inspired, through interactive workshops covering the six key themes of Athlete365: voice, learning, wellbeing, finance, careers and Games time. Participants rotated between tables to learn about the resources on offer for each strand, and departed The Olympic Museum feeling better supported and better represented, more involved and more empowered than ever before.
“We’ve really tried to make the most of the time we’ve had with everyone here, and get as much honest feedback as we could to make sure that we’re leading the global athletes by focusing on what we’ve heard as priorities,” said IOC AC member Kirsty Coventry as she wrapped up an enlightening three days of ideas, discussion and progress at The Olympic Museum. “Next year is going to be really exciting, and now that we have finalised the Strategy, we can really get into implementing it.”