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30 Dec 2015
IOC News

New Year’s Message 2016

by IOC President Thomas Bach

When Olympic Agenda 2020 was adopted one year ago, my message to everyone in the Olympic Movement was: change or be changed. One just needs to look at the events over the last 12 months to realise that this message is even more urgent today to safeguard the credibility of sports organisations and to protect clean athletes. Undoubtedly, recent developments in some sports cast a shadow across the whole world of sport. As the role and relevance of sport in society continues to grow, so do the expectations of the public vis-à-vis the integrity of athletes and sports organisations. It is our shared responsibility in the Olympic Movement to provide new answers to new questions.

This is a great opportunity for the Olympic Movement to drive the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 further. Most of the reforms have already been implemented in just 12 months. With Olympic Agenda 2020, all stakeholders of the Olympic Movement have agreed to apply the principles of good governance. The IOC has already implemented internationally recognised standards of governance in all its activities, and has published the Olympic Movement Code for preventing competition manipulation. We have called on and we expect all sports organisations to follow our lead. With regard to protecting the clean athletes, the IOC has strengthened its commitment to making the world’s anti-doping system and the sanctioning of doped athletes independent from sports organisations. We are convinced that all these changes are necessary to better protect the clean athletes and enhance the integrity of sport.

While we see many elements of Olympic Agenda 2020 in action already today, our focus must be on the road ahead. Our process of change continues in 2016 with the same energy and determination. Only in this way can we continue to reinforce the role of sport in society – and to put sport at the service of humanity. In this respect we will even strengthen our partnership with the United Nations to contribute towards the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and help the millions of refugees across the globe through sport.

We have so much to look forward to in 2016. In just a few short weeks, we kick off a landmark Olympic year with the spirit and energy of the next generation of young athletes on full display at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016.

In August, the world will come together in Rio de Janeiro, for the very first Olympic Games in South America. I am confident that Brazil will enthusiastically welcome the world with their joy of life and their passion for sport. We know the current economic and political situation in Brazil will make the next months of final preparations more challenging, but together with the great support of the Cariocas and the Brazilian people, the organisers can count on the solidarity of the entire Olympic family to make the Games a success. The Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016 will bring the world a message of hope and joy during difficult times. The solidarity and unity of the Olympic Movement will be the key to success for delivering outstanding Games.

The Olympic Games are the time when the values of tolerance, solidarity and peace are brought to life. This is when the international community comes together to celebrate our common humanity. The Olympic Games are an inspiration that a better, more peaceful world is possible. What better occasion than an Olympic year to remind ourselves that the Olympic values are more relevant than ever before. In this spirit, I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Olympic Year 2016.

With best wishes,

Thomas Bach
IOC President 

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