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After two editions in Lausanne then Dubai, the International Athletes Forum has chosen Marrakech for its fourth edition, at the invitation of the Moroccan Olympic Committee, at the initiative of the Olympic champion Hicham El Guerrouj, a member of the IOC and its Athletes’ Commission.Priority number one for the Olympic Movement, the athletes have always played an important role in the development and success of the Olympic Movement and the Games. This was the starting point for the creation by the IOC Athletes’ Commission, whose Chairman is Frank Fredericks, of an International Forum for athletes from all over the world and representatives of the International Federations of Olympic sports and the five Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees.
The aim of this two-yearly Forum is to offer the athletes a platform for discussion and exchanges on topics of direct concern to them, as well as others which go beyond the confines of the stadium. Today, being an athlete does not stop at an athletics track, a pool or a court… Like any other citizen, athletes have the right and the duty to voice their concerns and recommendations on the position they occupy within the sports movement and society in general; on their life and career choices; and even the preparations for and holding of the Olympic Games or any other sports event. The athlete has to take part on and off the field of play.
Playing a greater role and making its voice heard within the local, national, regional and international sports movement, as well as in society at large: that is the IOC Athletes’ Commission’s goal. This mission sits perfectly within the framework of the general subject of the 2009 Olympic Congress, “the role of the Olympic Movement in society”. By devoting one of its themes to the athletes, the Congress will be a further stage in promoting the role of athletes in society.
At the heart of the Forum discussions in Marrakech will be three of the sub-themes from the Copenhagen Congress, which are key concerns for today’s and tomorrow’s athletes:
- Relations between athletes, clubs, federations and NOCs;- Health protection during training and competition;- The social and professional life of athletes during and after high-level sport.