Growing global support from the world of sport for Olympic Agenda 2020 proposals - Olympians and sports bodies back plans
Leading Olympians and representatives of the global sporting movement have added their voices in support of Olympic Agenda 2020. Top athletes from five continents, many of whom were involved in the process of creating the 40 recommendations, have strongly backed the plans. Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, will be discussed and voted on by the full IOC membership at the 127th IOC Session in Monaco this week.
The recommendations focus on the three themes of sustainability, credibility and youth, and are designed to safeguard the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthen the role of sport in society.
Support from all continents and throughout the sports world has been given to the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, which will be voted on one by one at the Monaco Session on 8 and 9 December.
Three-time Olympian and Sydney 2000 400m athletics gold medallist, Cathy Freeman said: “These reforms will be relevant to the future of many young Australians who dream of representing their country at the highest level in global sport, the Olympic Games; and I am proud that the Australian Olympic Movement has been involved in helping with this roadmap of reform.
Naturally, I am very pleased that the reforms highlight and will help to combat and curb the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs and medical technologies, match-fixing and other forms of illicit activity, and to protect clean athletes. This is vital to the credibility of every sport, everywhere.”
Ole Einar Bjørndalen, the most medalled athlete in the history of the Olympic Winter Games, with 13 Olympic medals, and an IOC member, said: “The recommendations in Olympic Agenda 2020 are designed to change the bidding process in a positive way. I think it is a step forward that the bidding cities will have the chance to focus on Games that work in the local context – socially, economically and environmentally.”
After a round-table discussion with President Bach and 10 other Olympians at the launch of the recommendations on 18 November, Marsha Marescia, a three-time hockey Olympian from South Africa, said: “Olympic Agenda 2020 for me is quite exciting. It shows a promising future for the athletes. It’s really fantastic that we as athletes were able to give some input and also be educated about it.”
Julie Chu, a US ice hockey player, and four-time Olympian with three silvers and one bronze medal, said: “The Olympic Agenda 2020 is a great step in ensuring the future success of the Olympic Games. We want our youth, who will become our future Olympians, to have an incredible Olympic platform to compete and to represent their countries. I also believe gender equality is critical in upholding the Olympic values and ensuring that all athletes are respected and have the same opportunity to chase their dreams, regardless of their gender.
I love the Olympics because they bring people from all walks of life together through the sports they love. We may all represent our countries in competition, but we are also all representing the Olympic spirit in our actions on and off the playing field. Olympic Agenda 2020 will help foster a greater Olympic spirit amongst the athletes, fans and countries, as it will continue to unite the world through sport.”
Japanese hammer thrower Koji Murofushi, a four-time Olympian and Athens 2004 gold medallist, and Sports Director for the Tokyo 2020 Games Organising Committee, also supported the recommendations: “Tokyo 2020 will be the first Summer Olympiad staged under the auspices of these reforms, which will pave the way for important changes to the Olympic Games, such as the inclusion of extra sports - sports that are relevant to the sporting passions and aspirations of future Olympic host cities and their communities.
These and other reforms, for example those relating to the bidding process and selection of future Olympic bid cities, will also be significant, and will assist future bid cities and countries to plan and stage the Games in ways that meet the prevailing priorities of host cities and especially their communities, as well as global and regional issues.”
Claudia Bokel is Chair of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, and an Olympic silver medallist in fencing: “Where do I start? There are a lot of recommendations regarding athletes. I like the one about protecting the clean athletes – that is what it’s about. We really need to protect the clean athletes with regard to anti-doping, corruption and Principle 6. Those are the ones, from an athletes’ point of view, that are most important. Put together, all 40 (20+20) recommendations are extremely important, and will benefit the athletes as they prepare for and compete in the Games.”
In addition to the many athletes who have come out in support of Olympic Agenda 2020, other Olympic Movement stakeholders have also voiced their approval.
The longest-serving IOC member, the “Doyen” Vitaly Smirnov said: “As the longest-serving member of the IOC I have seen a lot of changes in my time. Olympic Agenda 2020 is an exciting opportunity for the Olympic Movement to map out our future and to ensure that we can continue to connect with young athletes and young fans and make sure the Olympic Games remain a unique global event unmatched anywhere in the world. As I prepare to step down as a member next year, I am sure that these recommendations will guide us to a strong future - exciting and innovative, but grounded in our Olympic traditions.”
Some of the key areas addressed by the recommendations include a more flexible approach to the bidding process, including reducing the costs of bidding; more flexibility in the composition of the sports programme; including non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter; the launch of an Olympic TV Channel; and adapting and further strengthening the principles of good governance and ethics to changing demands. The athletes remain at the centre of all 40 of the proposals, with the protection of the clean athletes being at the heart of the IOC’s philosophy.
Full support has also been given by the General Assemblies of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), as well as by the Executive Board of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).
The ANOC Executive Council declared its unanimous support for the recommendations during its meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, last month.
The ASOIF Council discussed the 20+20 proposals in detail at its meeting in November before concluding that Olympic Agenda 2020 “maps out a future for the Olympic Movement that strengthens the role of sport in society”. The Council then called on the IOC Session to support the recommendations to “help maintain the relevance and strength of Olympic sport as it continues to progress and grow.”
There was also strong support from the Association of International Olympic Winter Federations (AIOWF). Their President, Gian-Franco Kasper, also an IOC member and FIS President, said: ”There has to be a place for a wide range of concepts for the Games, and the proposals contained in Olympic Agenda 2020 are designed to encourage more cities with different ideas on the size and scope of the Games to come forward. The IOC is listening and wants the bidding process to help cities and governments to propose Games that appeal to their citizens.
For winter sports, it is imperative that the Olympic Winter Games remain strictly for sports on snow and ice. We need to continue to spread their popularity and ensure that more cities come forward with bids that work for them, and that the Olympic Games remain attractive around the world.”
The 20+20 proposals are the culmination of a year of open, transparent and widespread debate and discussion that began in mid-2013. After the last IOC Session in Sochi, which saw a total of 211 interventions by the IOC members, more than 40,000 contributions from members of the public were received after they were invited to participate in the process by IOC President Thomas Bach.
Discussions on Olympic Agenda 2020 were conducted by 14 Working Groups, which were made up of key stakeholders of the Olympic Movement, including IOC members, athletes and representatives of the International Federations and National Olympic Committees. As part of the open and inclusive process, a number of experts were included from civil society, including representatives of leading international organisations, NGOs and business organisations. Some of the organisations represented were the United Nations, Google, The Clinton Foundation, Transparency International, the World Bank and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
These ideas were then further developed by the IOC Commissions, an Olympic Summit and the IOC Executive Board.
The 127th IOC Session will be broadcast live on www.olympic.org.
The Opening Ceremony will be broadcast on Sunday, 7 December, at 7 p.m. (CET). The Session starts this Monday, 8 December, at 9 a.m. (CET).
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.25 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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