IOC President Thomas Bach was in Lima, Peru, this week for the Pan-American Games. Before attending the opening ceremony, President Bach was guest of honour at the Pan Am Sports Congress. Welcomed by Pan Am Sports President and IOC Member Neven Ilic, President Bach gave a wide-ranging keynote speech.
He praised the progress made by Pan Am Sports under the leadership of Neven Ilic, with the organisation having embraced the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms through its Strategic Plan 2018-2023. He also underlined the importance of solidarity, especially when there is a growing tide of nationalism in the world. “It is a great opportunity for us to show how relevant, how important our values are. The Olympic Movement stands in contrast to this zeitgeist. We stand for dialogue, peace, diversity and universality,” he said, before adding: “The more our values are challenged, the more we stand together.”
Addressing the issue of solidarity, central to the Olympic Movement, he said: “One of the key pillars in accomplishing our mission to make the world a better place though sport is solidarity. Without solidarity, sport is simply not possible. If we don’t have solidarity we cannot have universal sport; solidarity among sports; solidarity between the National Olympic Committees (NOCs); and solidarity among countries.”
He also touched on the cooperation and support of the IOC for the Pan-American Games with various programmes in the Athletes’ Village, including the Athlete365 programme, with workshops informing athletes about its activities and preparing them for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and sessions on competition manipulation, gender equality and harassment.
The President was able to meet athletes ahead of the opening ceremony at the Pan Am Athletes` Village. Before joining several athletes in the dining hall, the President took part in a Q-and-A session with the athletes. During a session which lasted more than an hour, the President took questions on a range of topics, from the relationship of e-games to the Olympic Movement to helping athletes in their future careers and the role that the Olympic Channel can play in supporting sport, particularly the Pan-Am Games.
Later, the President was joined by the President of Peru, Martín Vizcarra, at the opening ceremony of the Pan-American Games at the National Stadium in Lima. This heralded the start of 16 days of sport, with 41 NOCs and more than 6,500 athletes taking part.