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13 Jan 2012
Olympic News

Highlights of the week


Since yesterday, IOC President Jacques Rogge has been in Innsbruck, which is hosting the first Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from 13 to 22 January.

Today, a few hours before the Opening Ceremony, YOG and the IOC members officially met the Federal President of the Republic, Heinz Fischer, at the Imperial Palace in Innsbruck, in the presence of the Governor of Tyrol, Günther Platter, and the Mayor of Innsbruck, Christine Oppitz-Plörer.


As part of its centenary commemoration, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has created a special section on its web site.


World champion pole vaulter Fabiana Murer and double world and Olympic 50m freestyle swimming champion Cesar Cielo have won the Brazilian NOC’s 2011 Olympic trophy. They were elected following a vote by a jury and the public on the internet. The NOC awarded the Piauí Badminton Federation the 2011 IOC “Sport and Social Responsibility” trophy for its “Young Talents” project, involving social inclusion work developed through badminton. The NOC also launched its Athlete Support Programme. Info on

The governing board of the Chilean NOC has awarded an IOC diploma to athlete Macarena Benvenuto, now a friendship ambassador at the first Winter YOG in Innsbruck. Also honoured were the sailing, triathlon, archery and Paralympic federations, whose athletes won world titles in 2011. The 2011 IOC Sport and Social Responsibility trophy was awarded to Claudio Orrego Larraín, the Mayor of Peñalolen, in recognition of his contribution to improving social and education conditions for the population through sports practice, thanks to the construction of numerous sports facilities in his town. Info at

The Colombian NOC has informed us of the opening in Medellin of the Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, whose consultant is Clemencia Anaya. The inauguration was attended by many personalities in local and national sport. Info at

At the end of December, the Croatian NOC organised the traditional awards ceremony, including for the IOC Sport and Social Responsibility trophy. The ceremony enjoyed wide-scale media coverage. Info at

As part of its educational programme, the NOC of the Dominican Republic, whose President is Luis Mejía, has announced the creation within the Olympic Academy of a branch aimed at national athletes whatever their level. Named “Polón Muñoz”, who was a symbolic figure in Dominican sport, this announcement was made in the presence of Aleida Muñoz, NOC Secretary General Antonio Acosta and Nelly Manuel Doñe, a member of the NOC. Info at

The list of recipients of the 2011 Olympic Athlete of the Year trophy, awarded by the British NOC, was revealed at the end of December. Since 2005, a trophy has been presented to each of the 33 winter and summer Olympic sports federations to award to their top performing athlete of the year. See the list of recipients at

We have just learnt that, in early December, over 600 medallists, officials and guests celebrated the 60th anniversary of the NOC of Hong Kong, whose President is IOC member Timothy Tsun-Ting Fok. Commemorative medals were presented to the medal winners of the Olympic, Asian, East Asian, Commonwealth and National Games. Hong Kong’s very first Olympic champion, windsurfer Lee Lai Shan, spoke on behalf of all the athletes. A publication entitled “Ever Onward” retracing the 60-year history of sport in Hong Kong was also issued. Info at

The Israeli NOC has named Lee Kurzitz, world windsurfing champion, as Athlete of the Year. Some 300 people attended the ceremony organised in Tel Aviv, including the Minister of Sport and Culture, Limor Livnat. Leonid Kaufman (swimming) was named Coach of the Year, while windsurfer Oren Jacob and taekwondo athlete Ron Atias were named Young Athletes of the Year. Info at

Pentathlete Laura Asadauskaite has been named Lithuanian Athlete of the Year. Silver medallist in the World Cup Finals and bronze medallist at the World Championships, Asadauskaite obtained her ticket for London at the European Championships. She therefore received the traditional Lithuanian NOC prize: a sculpture entitled “The Archer”, at a ceremony held in early January in Vilnius. Basketballer Jonas Valanciunas and track cyclist Simona Krupeckaite were in second and third places respectively. Info on

The Luxembourg NOC has informed us that Sports Minister Romain Schneider and NOC President Marc Theisen welcomed Michael Bates at the British Embassy in mid-December. Michael Bates is walking from Olympia to London, to highlight the Olympic Truce during the Games in the British capital in 2012. Info at

The President of the Malaysian NOC, who is also an IOC member, Tunku Imran, has presented the IOC 2011 Sport and Social Responsibility trophy to Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, a member of the Administration Board of the Saujana Golf & Country Club. In partnership with the NOC, this club organises the annual Tan Sri Alex Lee Charity Golf Tournament, which collects money for an athlete education fund. Over 600 people attended the ceremony, which was broadcast live on Malaysia’s only sports channel. In addition, the NOC organised its annual Women and Sport Forum. The theme of this 9th edition was “Nurturing Young Talents”, and was followed by the presentation of the NOC’s Women and Sport 2011 trophies. Detailed info at

The Mongolian Sports Press Union has revealed the 10 best national athletes of 2011, resulting from a survey among 74 of the country’s sports journalists. The winners were honoured at the “BURTE CHONO” Olympic gala, organised by the Mongolian NOC. Purevdorj Serdamba, bronze medallist at the World Boxing Championships, was named Athlete of the Year. Detailed info at

An agreement has been signed between the Peruvian NOC, the Olympic Athletes Association and the Peruvian Sports Institute, the three most representative institutions of national sport, to strengthen support for athletes in terms of training and preparation. A day after the signing, NOC President Jose Quiñones and the Institute’s Sports Director, Akio Tamashiro, went to Chile and, with Chilean NOC President Neven Ilic), visited the Olympic training centre facilities. Info at

At the NOC Day celebration on 23 December, the Serbian NOC announced its Athletes, Teams and Coaches of the Year. The Athletes of the Year were world tennis no. 1 Novak Djokovic and European volleyball champion Jovana Brakocevic. The men’s water polo team and the women’s volleyball team, and Marjan Vajda, Novak Djokovic’s coach, were the other winners. The 2011 IOC Sport and Social Responsibility trophy was awarded to the volleyball federation for its “Volleyball Connects” development project.  Info at

The Slovenian NOC, whose President is Janez Kocijancic awarded the 2011 IOC Sport and Social Responsibility trophy to Petra Majdic, at the NOC’s 20th anniversary celebration, which was broadcast live. Many personalities attended this ceremony, including Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees and IOC member, and the President of the Republic, Danilo Turk, who presented the highest Slovenian award to the NOC. Info at

The clothing collection of the Czech Olympic team was officially unveiled in mid-December in Prague. Rower Ondřej Synek, a medal hopeful for London, modelled it on the catwalk. This collection was inspired by the painting “Amorfa - Fugue in Two Colors”, one of the most valuable Czech paintings of all time, which “celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2012 and is dominated by Czech national colours”, said Milan Jirásek, Czech NOC President. Info at


On 9 January, London marked 200 days until the start of the 2012 Games with the handover of the Olympic Park to the Organising Committee (LOCOG) by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). LOCOG will now transform the Park into a fully operational Olympic and Paralympic space, fitting out venues and staging test and licensing events. In addition, British Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a Cabinet meeting in the Park to discuss the work of LOCOG and the legacy opportunities which will arise from hosting the Games. Info at


On 7 January in Innsbruck, the village of the very first Winter Youth Olympic Games officially opened its doors. The flags of the 70 competing countries are now flying there. The newly built complex is made up of 13 impressive buildings and has 444 apartments in total. As well as being at the cutting edge of design, the Youth Olympic Village is also the largest environmentally-friendly complex in Europe! On and, you can follow this first winter edition, which begins today, 13 January, and closes on 22 January.

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