To give athlete representatives from each IF, NOC, Continental Association and Organising Committee a physical platform to share their voice, so that they can exchange ideas and take solutions back to their respective athlete communities.
What is it?
Driven and hosted by the IOC Athletes’ Commission, the International Athletes’ Forum is held over three days every two years, bringing together more than 350 athlete representatives to discuss key topics.
How does it help athletes?
The programme blends panel discussions, Q&A sessions and interactive workshops to empower, excite and unite the global athlete community, and equip them with resources designed to strengthen their own athletes’ commissions.
How did it start?
The first IOC International Athletes’ Forum was held in 2002, and since then it has become a key fixture in the global sporting calendar, and a vital means for athletes to share their voice, and to discuss and resolve key issues.
The 9th International Athletes’ Forum, held in Lausanne in April 2019, was the biggest-ever gathering of athlete representatives, with more than 350 athletes attending the three-day event. For the first time, athlete representatives from each National Olympic Committee (NOC) were invited to join the representatives from each International Federation (IF), resulting in a truly global gathering representing the entire spectrum of Olympic Movement sports.
The programme of each Forum blends panel discussions, Q&A sessions and interactive workshops to empower, excite and unite the global athlete community, and equip athlete representatives with resources to strengthen their own athletes’ commissions. The Forum is driven and hosted by the IOC Athletes’ Commission, which, at the end of each Forum, then takes the key recommendations agreed by the participants to the IOC Executive Board. This can result in tangible changes to athletes’ lives.
A key outcome of the 2015 Forum, for example, was to increase the IOC’s support to athletes, in particular through funding for two-yearly Continental Athletes’ Forums. Since then, the Americas (Miami 2018), Asia (Tokyo 2018), Africa (Harare 2018), Oceania (Fiji 2019) and Europe (Monte Carlo 2017 and Dublin 2019) have all used the funding provided by Olympic Solidarity to hold their own Forums for athlete representatives in their respective continents.
At the 2019 Forum, one of the key issues that was raised concerned the solidarity funding model, and ensuring that NOC athletes’ commissions get greater support to conduct regular engagement activities with their fellow athletes. This resulted in a recommendation that up to USD 10 million in direct funding per Olympiad be provided to NOC athletes’ commissions, which was approved later in the year by the Olympic Solidarity Commission. Now, NOC athletes’ commissions can apply for a USD 10,000 annual grant to put towards their athlete-centred activities.
The aim of the Forum is to bring together all athletes’ commissions in person every two years, and for this global network of representatives to emerge stronger and more united, so that they can better advocate for change with one clear voice.