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09 Oct 2015
IOC News

Athletes’ Forum gets underway with big topics and big questions

Still an athlete at heart, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach kicked off the 7th International Athletes’ Forum with a lively Q&A session and updates on Olympic Agenda 2020’s athlete-related recommendations.

Over 100 athletes from 40 countries, with 100 Olympic medals and 200 Olympic appearances between them, were in attendance as the Forum got underway this morning. President Bach detailed the progress being made on implementing the reforms outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement.

“The athletes have to be the heart of the Olympic Movement and have to be at the heart of the Olympic Movement,” said the IOC President. “With Olympic Agenda 2020, we have started a reform process serving as a catalyst to bring initiatives to empower athletes one step further. In these reforms, we wanted first of all to serve the athletes, and this is why they were at the very beginning of all the considerations.”

He outlined the new programmes developed to empower and support athletes, placing particular emphasis on protecting clean athletes. He concluded by calling on athletes to help the IOC implement the reforms from Olympic Agenda 2020 and to also improve them where necessary.

IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Claudia Bokel in turn presented an overview of the actions and status of the recommendations since the previous Forum in Singapore in 2013. Calling on the athletes to continue their active engagement, she said: “Your input is really valuable here. […] I encourage you all to be interactive, to ask questions, to share and exchange experiences.” She added: “This is your Forum.”    

The athletes then had the chance to put their questions to both the IOC President and Claudia Bokel. It was an invitation that saw the participants lose no time in putting forward big questions on big topics, from the Olympic programme and legacy to Athletes’ Commissions and reforms within International Federations and National Olympic Committees.

After the Opening, participants took part in plenary sessions and panel discussions. They also had the opportunity to participate in an interactive practical session on “Inspirational Leadership” aimed at equipping the Athletes’ Commission representatives with key management principles and strategies. The panel was led by Erwin Lebon, Senior HR Manager at Worldwide TOP Partner GE, which is a strong supporter of the IOC Athlete Career Programme. He was joined by Olympians Angela Ruggiero and Tony Estanguet, both members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Collectively, they discussed examples of leadership at GE and key learnings for the participants to consider and implement in order to be empowered and effective leaders.

Athletes “test-drive” and give feedback on new initiatives

On Thursday, the Forum participants were given a unique opportunity to discover and advise on the latest athlete-centred initiatives in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, including the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, the Integrity e-learning platform and the IOC Athlete Learning Gateway.

In its final stages of development, the revamped Olympic Athletes’ Hub will become a one-stop-shop for athletes to find relevant IOC and Games-specific information and services. It was exclusively previewed and tested by the Forum participants, who fed back first-hand impressions and recommendations to fine-tune the platform ahead of its launch at the beginning of 2016.

An IOC Integrity e-learning platform which educates athletes on competition manipulation was also tested out for the first time. Set to launch early next year in 10 languages, this interactive programme uses a scenario-based learning approach to teach users how to safeguard the integrity of their sports and outline vital dos and don’ts that should always be respected.

About the 7th IOC International Athletes’ Forum

The three-day event, which includes discussions, plenary and practical sessions, covers a number of topics affecting athletes – from effective leadership and Athletes’ Commission management to athletes’ services and welfare, communication and experiences during Games time and beyond. For the 7th edition of this biannual Forum, over 100 athletes are taking part, including Athletes’ Commission representatives from the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), International Federations, Continental Associations and, for the first time, athlete representatives from the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games. The event is an invaluable platform for athletes to exchange ideas and discuss topics that concern them, both on and off the field of play.

The 7th IOC International Athletes’ Forum concludes on Saturday 10 October.

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