- 17 Mar 2021
In the run-up to Tokyo 2020, an increasing number of active or retired athletes have joined the IOC’s Believe in Sport campaign, to help raise awareness of the threat of competition manipulation among athletes, their entourage members and officials.
The IOC has worked closely with the International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to recruit these ambassadors in their respective sports or countries. Most recently, the following eight new ambassadors from different sports and continents were trained thoroughly during an introductory webinar:
- Louise Bawden (Beach volleyball - Australia)
- Gilberto Godoy Filho (Volleyball - Brazil)
- Telma Monteiro (Judo - Portugal)
- Ryan Nelsen (Football – New Zealand)
- Fernando Pimenta (Canoeing - Portugal)
- Alexis Pritchard (Boxing - New Zealand)
- Lindsay Tarpley (Football - USA)
- Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (Badminton - India)
Training for the new ambassadors
During the onboarding session, these new ambassadors learnt about the threat of competition manipulation, why it could happen to everyone, and the potential repercussions for everybody involved. They were made familiar with the Believe in Sport campaign, the educational tools that come with it and, of course, details of their important role and related activities.
“In my opinion, it is very important to create awareness, and inform and educate athletes about the dangers of the manipulation of sports competitions. Only by doing this regularly can we fight for cleaner and healthier sport,” said Fernando Pimenta after his training. “I believe I can help to make a difference together with other athletes, the IOC, the NOC of Portugal and their Athletes’ Commission, hoping that if an athlete or other participant was asked to manipulate a competition, they would be aware of the sporting and legal rules in place. They should know how to request support, what the consequences can be if they accept any benefits, and the subsequent impacts for their life and career. Hopefully, they would then take the right decision and make the right choice for a clean and fair path.”
Telma Monteiro, who took part in the same training, added: “I think the biggest problem is the lack of information. Educating athletes can greatly contribute to preventing them from being involved in harmful situations in the future.”
Support on the ground
The ambassadors work closely with the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC), and with their IF and/or their NOC to implement awareness-raising opportunities which target qualified athletes and their entourage members in the run-up to Tokyo 2020. In addition, they soon will be featured in a dedicated social media campaign on Athlete365 ahead of and during the Games.
Telma Monteiro explained: “My current plan is to benefit from the opportunity to spread the word during Olympic athletes’ meetings and educational sessions delivered by the NOC of Portugal and their Athletes’ Commission. These moments are ideal, as we gather a big range of athletes in one room. It’s a perfect occasion to approach these issues in a direct and practical way, so the athletes can be actively involved and feel part of the process. With such initiatives, we are able to share different perspectives and demonstrate the importance of the matter.”
Are you an IF or NOC that knows a current or former athlete who would be suitable to support the cause as an ambassador? If so, please contact email@example.com. The IOC is keen to keep growing this important ambassador network!