IOC President Thomas Bach opened the 9th International Athletes’ Forum by calling on all the participants to come together, share their voices and work towards common goals. “You know best what athletes need, what the athletes want, what the athletes require. You are in a much more powerful position than just commenting on decisions from outside. You are the decision-makers,” President Bach said. He continued in encouraging the athletes to express their opinion openly and make their voices heard during this Forum. The President also participated in a two-hour wide-ranging question-and-answer session with the athletes. The Forum was the biggest-ever representation of legitimate athlete representatives. In all, there were 350 athlete representatives from 185 NOCs, 50 IFs, five continental Athletes’ Commissions (ACs), the ACs of all the Organising Committees of the upcoming Olympic Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the World Olympians Association (WOA). (see also the “Commissions” section).
The President also took part in the opening of a joint session between the International Athletes’ Forum and the World Olympians Forum. In his speech, he endorsed the collaborative approach of both the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the World Olympians Association (WOA) in supporting athletes and Olympians at all stages of their lives. He encouraged cooperation between the IOC AC and the WOA whilst at the same time underlining the clear responsibility of each.
President Bach also attended the 2nd World Olympians Forum organised by the WOA under the theme “Olympians for Life”. Around 150 Olympians from 107 National Olympians Associations took part in the Forum. Full details here.
The President also met the members of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Commission, which is chaired by Olympic biathlon champion Martin Fourcade. They had a meeting in Lausanne with the IOC Athletes’ Commission including the Vice-Chair, Danka Bartekova.
President Bach welcomed Novak Djokovic, current world tennis number one and Chair of the ATP Player Council for a very fruitful meeting. They discussed among other things the qualification system for the tennis tournament at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and players’ commitment to Olympic participation. Also at the meeting were, for the ATP, Alex Inglot and Ross Hutchins, and for the International Tennis Federation (ITF), its President, David Haggerty, COO Kelly Fairweather and Athlete Commission member Mark Woodforde.
As part of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion on the Olympic programme, The Olympic Museum hosted athletes from World Taekwondo (WT) and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) at a joint demonstration of the sport. In a speech before the demonstration, President Bach said, “You are building bridges and really living the Olympic values by showing that taekwondo is more than just a sport, it is a philosophy of life, just like the Olympic Movement.” The athletes from North and South Korea, from WT and the ITF, gave impressive demonstrations of the power and athleticism of the sport before joining together as one.
The President also had a meeting with the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder. They toured The Olympic Museum, and afterwards the former Chancellor joined the IOC President in attending the taekwondo celebrations.
The IOC President hosted the President and Secretary General of the Internationale Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), Klaus Schormann and Shiny Fang respectively. Their discussions covered various Olympic topics, including the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The President met IOC member and Czech NOC President Jiři Kejval, who was accompanied by NOC Vice-President Roman Kumpost. The three men discussed various topics related to sports development in the country, preparations for the forthcoming editions of the Olympic Games and the WADA reforms.
At a meeting of the Olympic Refuge Foundation Board in Lausanne, members reviewed the progress so far with the strategy and the priority project of the coming year. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, who is Vice-Chair of the Board, joined the meeting. Since its creation, ORF has been involved in piloting new sport for protection programmes in Turkey, Jordan and Kenya and has been working with existing programmes in Colombia, Mexico, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In all, 16’700 young people were involved in the programmes in 2018.
The IOC President also held a meeting with IOC Vice-President Uğur Erdener, Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission. They discussed the WADA reforms and a number of other issues.
IOC member Giovanni Malagò, also President of the Italian NOC (CONI) was also in Lausanne. He discussed with the IOC President the development of sport in Italy and the key role that CONI is playing.
The President also met IOC member and Secretary General of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Gunilla Lindberg. They discussed issues concerning ANOC and also the development of sport in Sweden.
The President welcomed Greek sculptor Angelos Panayotidis, whose work representing an olive tree will be on display in Olympic House, the new IOC headquarters in Lausanne.
IOC members Lydia Nsekera, Felicite Rwemerika and William F. Blick presented the participation diplomas to the athletes who took part in an Athlete365 Career+ programme seminar held in the framework of the Youth Games of Zone 5 of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) at the beginning of April in Kigali (Rwanda). The seminar covered the three topics of entrepreneurship, education and life skills.
Organised by the IOC Athletes’ Commission, the 9th edition of the International Athletes’ Forum (IAF) took place in Lausanne from 13 to 15 April. IOC AC Vice-Chair Danka Bartekova, led the discussions in the absence of Kirsty Coventry, who is about to give birth to her first child but joined the Forum online. The Forum ended with concrete proposals to further strengthen athlete representation, the solidarity funding model, direct financial support for NOC athletes’ commissions, support for career transition, the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping; to focus on athletes’ mental health; to support the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration; and to invite athletes to be ambassadors for the Olympic Movement. See the full news release here.
The IOC Medical and Scientific Commission hosted the 13th graduation ceremony for the Sports Nutrition programme and the first graduation ceremony for the Drugs in Sport programme on 12 April in Lausanne. The Commission Chair, Uğur Erdener, welcomed 21 students out of the 68 successful Sports Nutrition students, from 30 different countries, as well as 11 of the 23 successful Drugs in Sport students (photo), representing 12 different countries. Recognising the importance of the support team in promoting both health and performance, the Commission decided to launch these postgraduate programmes in 2006 for the Sports Nutrition programme, and in 2018 for the Drugs in Sport programme.
Four NGOs inspiring integration, equality and resilience were honoured on the occasion of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. FundLife International, Terres en Mêlées, Altus Sport and Cross Cultures Project Association North Macedonia are the latest recipients of the IOC Sport and Active Society Commission’s development grants. This year, the four grants on offer were based on the themes of social inclusion of refugees through sport; promoting gender equality at all levels of sport; bringing sport and physical activity to the urban setting; and engaging young people and the elderly in physical activities. Read the full press release here.
other olympic news
During the 4th IF Gender Equality Forum held in Lausanne on 12 April, fifty IF representatives in charge of gender equality and inclusion in their respective Winter and Summer Federations collaborated and exchanged concrete mechanisms to implement effectively the IOC Gender Equality Recommendations. Funding allocations, mechanisms to increase the pipeline of women for decision-making positions, governance, tracking and monitoring, coaches and technical officials at the Games and the collaboration between IFs, National Federations and NOCs were the main topics discussed at the Forum. It was organised by the IOC in partnership with the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and, for the first time, the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF). Full news release here.
The NBA, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Latvian Basketball Federation have announced that the 18th edition of Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Europe will be held from 9 to 12 June at the Elektrum Olympic Centre in Riga, marking the first time that the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach programme will be held in Latvia. BWB Europe 2019 will bring together the top male and female players aged 17 and under from throughout Europe to learn directly from current and former NBA and FIBA players, coaches and legends and to compete against the best young players from the region. More details here.
To mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the International Fencing Federation (FIE) was in Torun (Poland), where the 2019 Junior and Cadet Fencing World Championships are taking place. Olympic sabre champion and President of the FIE Athletes’ Commission Aldo Montano was also in Torun, to interact with young fencers from developing countries. The FIE sponsors programmes such as the one enabling elite athlete equipment donations to benefit underprivileged fencers in developing countries. These programmes extend beyond enabling the development of the sport, building positive relationships and principles for competition and interaction among athletes, officials and coaches, and carrying an underlying message of peace, communication and positive energy to the fencing world and beyond. Other members of the FIE Athletes’ Commission will also be at the Junior and Cadet Fencing World Championships. More details here.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has unveiled the names of its five Gymnastics Ambassadors for the World Championships in 2019. The Ambassadors will share their passion for gymnastics and their knowledge and experience of their discipline – not just with the latest generation of athletes but also with spectators and young gymnasts – at the upcoming World Championships 2019, which have gained even greater significance owing to the large number of places for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 that are at stake. Find out who the five Ambassadors are here. In addition, the FIG kicked off the 2019 Parkour World Cup Series, now a fully-fledged FIG discipline, with a first event held in Chengdu (People's Republic of China) on 6 and 7 April. The series will continue in Hiroshima (Japan) from 19 to 21 April, before the third and final event in Montpellier (France) from 31 May to 2 June. More details here.
On the occasion of WADA’s Play True Day, the International Hockey Federation (IHF) published a story on its anti-doping programme while strengthening its aims for a clean sheet when it comes to drugs. Also featured is an exclusive interview with Argentinian player and FIH Athletes’ Committee member Carla Rebecchi. Full details here. In addition, in the past few weeks, Marijke Fleuren, the European Hockey Federation (EHF) President and FIH Executive Board member who is also a member of the IOC Women in Sport Commission, has been at a sports conference in Cairo to push the message of gender equality to a representative group of women involved in hockey administration across Europe, and at a conference in Romania. Her travels have led her to draw two key conclusions: a sport that is 50/50 when it comes to participation must have equality in all other areas, particularly administration and leadership; and progress is being made, but the road to true equality is a long one. Full details here.
This month, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) launched the FINA Scholarships Programme for Diving athletes. The main goal of this initiative is to identify, prepare and qualify a limited number of athletes aspiring to participate in the upcoming editions of the FINA World Championships and Olympic Games. A total of 19 promising athletes from the five continents were selected at this initial stage of the FINA Scholarship Programme for Diving. More details on www.fina.org
On 10 April, World Rugby joined WADA and the global sporting and anti-doping community in supporting Play True Day and underlining its commitment to Keep Rugby Clean, harnessing the Rugby World Cup 2019 as a major vehicle for awareness, education and engagement. As such, there will be a dedicated “Keep Rugby Clean” day at the World Cup on 5 and 6 October, to inspire the next generation to be committed to a level playing field. More details here.
The member federations of the International Surfing Association (ISA) and surfers around the world celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Surfers from all five continents took part in the celebration, sharing stories from countries including Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iran, Japan, Oman, Panama, Senegal, and Spain about the constructive roles that surfing and SUP (Stand Up Paddle) are playing in their particular communities. More details here.
Former tennis player Gabriela Sabatini (photo) has been awarded the Philippe Chatrier Award, the International Tennis Federation (ITF)’s highest distinction, which recognises individuals or organisations that have made significant contributions to the sport of tennis both on and off the court. Sabatini, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006, enjoyed an outstanding career as a player, winning 27 singles and 14 doubles titles, and the singles silver medal at the Olympic Games Seoul 1988. She has also worked to promote tennis and help children around the world, working in particular with UNICEF, UNESCO and the Special Olympics, and as an Athlete Role Model at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. More details here.
The 5th World Table Tennis Day saw a record 862 events organised in 104 countries. This International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) event seeks to bring people together from all corners of the world to promote social inclusion through table tennis, in line with the vision of the TT4ALL programme. This year, the flagship event on 6 April was held in Kampala (Uganda) (see photo above). Set up by the ITTF and ITTF Foundation with Slum Ping Pong, a table tennis club which has around 100 children attending regularly, the event was aimed at using the sport to break barriers and develop positive messages on children’s, girls’ and women’s rights. More details here.
The Executive Board of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) met recently in Madrid (Spain). ITU President and IOC member Marisol Casado chaired the meeting, during which the members debated changes to the ITU Constitution and reviewed the implementation of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. The Board members approved a new safeguarding policy against harassment and abuse in triathlon, as well as an increase in the representation of athletes on the Board, with a second member, with voting rights, of the ITU Athletes’ Committee on the decision-making body. More details here.
In addition, the ITU has announced the complete selection of Technical Officials for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. There will be 42 National Federations represented at either or both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and 47 per cent of the officials selected are female, the highest percentage in history for the ITU. In a significant move to push for gender balance, the ITU has selected 12 female officials out of 28 for the Olympic Games, and 13 out of 27 for the Paralympic Games. Full details here.
NationaL OlympiC COMMITTEes
On 6 April, the Algerian NOC celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in Algiers, with the first edition of the “Peace and Sport Run”. Under the patronage of Olympic champion Nouria Benida Merah, the Run took place in the presence of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Raouf Salim Bernaoui, NOC President Mustapha Berraf and IOC honorary member Mustapha Larfaoui. The Minister started the 3km race, in which around 1,000 participants of all ages took part. More details here.
On 13 April, the Bahrain Olympic Committee launched the biggest children’s sports event in the country, as the Second Bahrain Baby Games got underway in Riffa. Around 1,029 children aged from 3 to 5, including 563 representing 35 nurseries and 466 from 34 kindergartens, took part in this event, organised by the NOC for the second consecutive year in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development.
In addition, according to the NOC, it has been confirmed that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Sport Dispute Resolution Authority will have its permanent headquarters in Bahrain. This was announced at the 88th meeting of the Executive Office of the NOC Presidents of the GCC-member countries, in Muscat (Oman).
On the 10th anniversary of the Brazilian Olympic Institute (IOB), the Brazilian Olympic Congress was attended by over 1,200 people in São Paulo on 13 April. Sponsored by the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the first edition of the Congress brought together global sports management leaders. Subjects such as sports organisation systems, strategies for increasing competitiveness, team management, training loads for Olympic athletes, health in sport, ethics, governance and compliance in sport, and talent identification and development were discussed. More info on www.cob.org.br
Juan Sebastián Sánchez, a member of the IOC’s Young Change-Makers (YCM) programme, has completed his four-month Vuela la Paz (Peace Takes Flight) project, which was led by the Academic Department of the Colombian NOC in cooperation with the Valle del Cauca Flying Disc League. The aim of the project was to use Ultimate Frisbee as a means of resolving conflict and fostering social integration, offering the community of Buenaventura the chance to enjoy a sports experience as an athlete, coach or leader. More details here.
On 3 April, the Côte d'Ivoire NOC sponsored the “VDS” radio programme, in a special 1,000th edition broadcast. The NOC’s Executive Committee was represented by 1st Vice-President Georges Ngoan, Namama Fadiga, 4th Vice-President in charge of communication, Secretary General Nah Aminatah Fofana and legal adviser Souleymane Sakho. During the programme, they expressed their congratulations and encouragements to Radio Côte d'Ivoire and its journalists for their work, and talked about the missions and objectives of the NOC, which is a longstanding partner of VDS, and the NOC’s work for the sports movement.
The President of the Hellenic NOC, Spyros Capralos, alongside Olympic and world champions and numerous other high-level athletes celebrated the 6th edition of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. More details on www.hoc.gr
The Kazakhstan NOC has issued a limited-edition calendar featuring #teamKZ athletes. For this special project initiated by the NOC, athletes had the opportunity to become a model for a day and try out new looks. Olympic.kz shares the outcome of the project which involved 30 representatives of the Kazakhstan Olympic team. The IOC President was presented with the #teamKZ limited-edition calendar during the 9th International Athletes’ Forum (photo). More details on www.olympic.kz
With the help of Olympic Solidarity, the Uruguayan NOC has set up a scholarship for coaches. Taking advantage of this, Sebastián Allende (centre of photo) is currently taking part in the 41st course in sciences applied to sport, a course for coaches taking place from 4 April to 2 July 2019 in Barcelona (Spain). Before leaving for Spain, he was received by NOC President and IOC honorary member Julio Cesar Maglione (left) and Lionel de Mello, President of the Uruguayan Athletics Federation (right). More details here.
Ahead of the Pan-American Games in Lima (Peru) this year, the Venezuelan NOC is holding technical meetings for national sports federations, organised in cooperation with the sports ministry. So far, 217 Venezuelan athletes have qualified for Lima.
organising committees for the Olympic games
The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) has revealed an outline of its four planned contributions to the Tokyo 2020 Nippon festival, a programme aimed at promoting Japanese culture within Japan and globally, and encouraging a greater awareness of diversity in the build-up to the Games in 2020. The festival is scheduled to run from April to September 2020. Tokyo 2020 also unveiled a concept film and the Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival catchphrase – “Blooming of Culture” – which will be used to embody the objectives and values of the festival. Designed to reflect the experience of meeting new people and the importance of the four seasons in Japanese culture, the catchphrase and its Japanese equivalent are easy to remember and pronounce, and will help generate interest in the Festival across Japan and all over the world. More details here. In addition, on 16 April, Tokyo 2020 announced the order of events for each sporting session at next summer’s Olympic Games (full schedule here). Featuring a record 33 sports and 339 events, there will be more opportunities than ever to go to the Games and watch world-class athletes in action. More details here.
During an event organised at l’Usine, an event venue in Seine-Saint-Denis, which brought together representatives of the employment, professional integration, training and finance sectors, the bodies involved in preparing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 announced a totally new approach: between now and 2024, small and medium-sized businesses, the social and solidarity economy, jobseekers and those starting work will receive support to help them take advantage of the economic and professional benefits of the Olympic Games Paris 2024. More details here.
organising committees for the youth Olympic games
The Organising Committee for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 and the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 have signed a collaboration agreement that focuses on sharing their expertise and best practice, with the aim of ensuring that these two events are efficiently organised and innovative. The agreement was signed at the Delivery Partners Meeting, which was held with the IOC at France’s INSEP national sports institute by Lausanne 2020 President Virginie Faivre and CEO Ian Logan, and Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet and CEO Etienne Thobois. This collaboration is in line with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, which aims to encourage Organising Committees to come together and discuss a range of subjects with a view to optimising the organisation of the Games. More info here.
The Flame of Peace for the Baku 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival was lit on 12 April in Rome (Italy) at an elaborate Shine Ceremony held at the Ara Pacis Augustae, a monument built by Emperor Augustus to celebrate peace throughout the Roman empire. Representatives from the European Olympic Committees (EOC), the local organising committee for the EYOF and regional dignitaries were on hand to celebrate the lighting of the torch, which took place exactly 100 days before the start of the event that will run from 21 to 27 July. More info here.
The Executive Committee, the Executive Bureau and the Technical and Medical Commissions of the International Committee for the Mediterranean Games (ICMG) met recently in Patras (Greece), which is hosting this year’s Mediterranean Beach Games. There was also a joint meeting of the ICMG with the Organising Committee of the Mediterranean Beach Games “Patras 2019”, in the presence of the Greek Deputy Minister of Sport, George Vassiliadis. On this occasion, the ICMG Executive Committee approved the final locations for and the number of sports disciplines, as well as the Games plan. More details here.
Lima 2019 (the Pan-American and Parapan American Games Organising Committee), Panam Sports and WADA have launched an anti-doping course for Spanish-speaking sports doctors as part of Play True Day. The programme will allow around 200 Peruvian doctors to receive official WADA certification ahead of the Lima 2019 Pan-American and Parapan American Games. The course will be hosted online on the WADA website and offered at no cost to registered physicians. This is the first course of its kind to be held in Spanish. Similarly, Peru’s National Anti-Doping Commission (CONAD) is developing an anti-doping course for Peruvian athletes entitled “Rumbo a Lima 2019” or “Heading to Lima 2019”, hosted online on the CONAD website. More details at www.panamsports.org.
With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games opening in just over 500 days’ time, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced the creation of its first official video game, The Pegasus Dream Tour, with the aim of boosting the popularity of Paralympic sports. This innovative use of video games is part of the IPC’s strategy to increase the engagement of the youth market in the Paralympic Games. More details here.
On 10 April, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) celebrated Play True Day along with athletes, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, sports federations, Major Event Organisers and other anti-doping stakeholders from around the globe. Play True Day is dedicated to clean sport, and is intended to raise awareness among athletes, the sporting public and others about the global fight against doping. More details here on the Play True Day official website.
Generations For Peace has announced a new three-year partnership with the Olympic Refuge Foundation in an effort to improve overall status of the vulnerable female and male Syrian refugee and Jordanian youth from host communities in Amman, Irbid, Mafraq, and Zarqa. Working within the frameworks of the existing Generations For Peace Nashatati (“My Activities”) and Maharati (“My Skills”) Programmes, this new programme will increase equal access to sport-based activities for refugee and Jordanian youth in 108 schools and 76 youth centres across the four Jordanian governorates with the highest number of Syrian refugees. The number of anticipated direct beneficiaries will near 12,000, including 216 teachers and 156 youth centre workers trained and mentored by Generations For Peace, in addition to 11,600 children and youth directly participating in activities. An additional 41,600 children and youth are expected to be indirectly impacted beneficiaries of this programme. More details here.
Until 30 April, young architects and designers can submit innovative designs and concepts for sports, leisure and recreational facilities for the award launched by IOC, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS). More details at www.iaks.org.