Olympic Congress Puts Priority on Youth and Athletes
The XIII Olympic Congress today approved a set of recommendations with a strong focus on youth and athletes, declaring that “youth and athletes are equally at the heart of the Olympic Movement.”
Wrapping up a three-day meeting in Copenhagen’s Bella Center, the Congress embraced digital technology and the Youth Olympic Games as powerful tools for sharing Olympic values with the world’s young people. The 66 recommendations included proposals to get young people engaged in sport; to better protect athletes - medically, psychologically and after their sporting careers; to take full advantage of new digital technology; and to use the new Youth Olympic Games as a model for youth competition worldwide.
“The XIII Olympic Congress will be remembered as the Congress of Youth and Athletes. It has delivered clear guidance that serving young people and athletes should be our top priority,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said. “We will find new ways to share Olympic values with the world’s young people and get them involved in sport. We will redouble our efforts to protect the health and safety of athletes, and help them prepare for life after sport.”
Recommendations related to athletes included:
- “Protecting the physical and psychological health of all athletes must be a major priority for the entire Olympic Movement.” (Recommendation 4)
- “Congress recommends the establishment of an IOC Commission in charge of matters relating to coaches, trainers and the athlete entourage.” (Recommendation 13)
- “All involved in the Olympic Movement should develop and implement a standard code of conduct and certification system in order to protect the rights of athletes towards agents, managers and sponsors.” (Recommendation 6)
- “The Olympic Movement reaffirms its strong opposition to the trading of nationalities and passports, which abuses the spirit of competition inherent in the world of sport.” (Recommendation 14)
- “Athletes from across the globe and from all sports should have access to an appropriate level of basic legal advice and guidance throughout their sporting careers.” (Recommendation 10)
- “The Olympic Movement should at all times seek to promote equal opportunities for women, both in their participation in sports competition and in administration and coaching.” (Recommendation 18)
Recommendations related to youth and digital technology included:
- “To pursue the interests and aspirations of young people it is proposed the IOC design a comprehensive strategy to promote and respond to the needs and challenges faced by young people…It is recommended that the IOC consider establishing the most appropriate forms of institutionalized and interactive dialogue.” (Recommendation 50)
- “All constituents of the Olympic Movement should call on all governments to renovate, upgrade and construct more sporting facilities and allocate more time for the practice of sport in all schools, at all ages and at all levels.” (Recommendation 56)
- “Everyone involved in the Olympic Movement must become more aware of the fundamental importance of physical activity and sport for a health lifestyle…and must reach out to parents and schools as part of a strategy to counter the rising inactivity of young people.” (Recommendation 51)
- “At the national level, sports clubs and local schools should cooperate more closely, by, for example, developing more sporting events and competitions for young people at all levels.”(Recommendation 57)
- “The Youth Olympic Games are a unique opportunity in the history of the modern Olympic Movement to raise the bar worldwide in terms of the delivery of educational and sports programmes for all young people, and to determine future action by the IOC and the Olympic Movement with regard to youth educational and sports programmes.” (Recommendation 53)
- “The Olympic Movement should use the opportunity of the Youth Olympic Games to disseminate information to International Federations and all other stakeholders on educational and cultural programmes and initiatives aimed at inspiring the world’s youth.” (Recommendation 55)
- “The establishment of a Digital Taskforce including the IOC and other stakeholders is recommended; with a mandate to optimise the development and exploitation of digital technology.“ (Recommendation 64)
- “The Olympic Movement should strengthen its partnership with the computer game industry in order to explore opportunities to encourage physical activity, and the practice and understanding of sport among the diverse population of computer game users.” (Recommendation 66)
The recommendations cover each of the five themes that Congress delegates discussed under the overarching theme of “The Olympic Movement in Society.” The five topics were “The Athletes,” “The Olympic Games,” “The Structure of the Olympic Movement,” “Olympism and Youth,” and “The Digital Revolution.”
The recommendations were drawn from hundreds of ideas and suggestions offered over the past two years by Olympic Family members, academics, medical specialists, coaches, referees, athletes, journalists, representatives from non-governmental organisations and members of the general public. More than 1,700 contributions were delivered via the “Virtual Olympic Congress,” an online forum.
Congress delegates refined the proposals and offered their own perspectives over the course of their three-day meeting in Copenhagen.
Rogge will appoint working groups to review the proposals before forwarding them to the appropriate decision-making bodies within the Olympic Movement.
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