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Olympic Highlights

25 Mar 2014
Olympic News


President Bach and his wife Claudia with (from left to right) Anant Singh, Ahmed Katrhada, Barbara Hogan and Tokyo Sexwale

On 22 March, the IOC President, Thomas Bach, welcomed at The Olympic Museum a group of friends of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela: Ahmed Katrhada, Member of Parliament, and Tokyo Sexwale, former Minister of Human Settlements, who were both imprisoned with Mandela in Robben Island; Barbara Hogan, a former anti-apartheid activist and the former Minister of Health and of Public Enterprises; and Anant Singh, the producer of the film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, based on the biography of Mandela. Two days previously, President Bach attended a screening of the film at the United Nations Office in Geneva, in the presence of the film’s producer, Anant Singh.

On 17 March in Lausanne, President Bach met IOC member Franco Carraro.

On the same day, President Bach took part in a meeting of the Olympic Museum Foundation Executive Committee, in the presence of IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge.


Anita L. DeFrantz, Chairwoman of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, recently represented the IOC alongside Mike Fennell, a Commission member, at the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York (USA). The IOC thus demonstrated its commitment to reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the efforts it makes to promote equal participation opportunities for women at all levels of sport.

Also present in New York was Angela Ruggiero, IOC Athletes’ Commission Vice-Chair, who on 17 Marchaddressed this 58th Session, highlighting the power of sport to defy gender stereotypes, promote equality and empower women and girls worldwide. Read her full speech here.


Phillip Walter Coles recently received the Service to the Sport award by Triathlon Australia to honour his significant contribution to the development of triathlon in Australia.


The sixth visit of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2016 Games took place from 19 to 21 March in Rio de Janeiro. Led by its Chairwoman, IOC Vice-President Nawal El Moutawakel (right in photo), the Commission met the Games Organising Committee chaired by IOC honorary member, Carlos Arthur Nuzman (left in photo) and its public authority partners to learn about the latest progress made in the preparations for the Olympic event. With just over two years to go until the Games open on 5 August 2016, the Commission indicated that a constant, concerted and integrated effort is required for the successful delivery of the Games and their legacy.


On 17 March, the IOC published the list of the 37 role model athletes who will be present at the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from 16 to 28 August 2014 in Nanjing. Selected by the 28 IFs whose sports are on the programme, the list features many legendary names from the world of sport, including Olympic and world champions. In Nanjing, they will play a key role in supporting and advising the 3,800 youngsters taking part in the Games.


The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has announced the launch of World Running, a new web site whose aim is to bring the world of runners together, giving them the opportunity to compare themselves to their peers worldwide. In addition to rankings, there will also be advice from training specialists, a discussion network, race calendars, exclusive interviews with elite athletes, reports and profiles. Info at

In order to reduce the critical risk of heart problems among rowers, known as Sudden Cardiovascular Death in Sport (SCD), the International Rowing Federation (FISA) has introduced a pre-competition screening procedure. This screening will be required of rowers competing in the Junior World Championships in August 2014. In 2015, all rowers taking part in the Junior, Under-23 and Senior Championships will have to submit to it. For all other events, it is strongly recommended. Info at

The Badminton World Federation (BWF), in partnership with the Dubai Sports Council and “Peace through Sport”, will organise the first Peace and Sport Cup in Dubai from 26 to 30 April. This event will see two female players and one coach from 10 Arabic-speaking countries take part in various components: a doubles tournament, coaching workshops for players and coaches, and training for technical officials. The countries participating are: Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. Spearheaded by the BWF’s Women in Badminton Commission, this initiative aims to encourage women’s participation in the sport and physical activity at local and regional level, while fostering cross-cultural goodwill, friendship and peace. Info at

Meeting in Istanbul (Turkey) on 16 March, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Extraordinary Congress unanimously adopted the new General Statutes, which will bring changes in the FIBA governance structure and will strengthen the organisation. A record number of members were present at this Congress: 198 of the 214 FIBA-affiliated national federations were represented. Info at

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has announced that 105 nations have entered athletes (606 in total: 506 men and 100 women) in the Youth World Boxing Championships, which will be held from 10 to 20 April 2014 in Sofia (Bulgaria). This competition will serve a qualifier for the Nanjing YOG. As part of the Road to Dream project, a training camp will be set up in Sofia on 29 March and will host 60 athletes (48 men and 12 women) and 18 coaches from 31 countries. This project was set up by AIBA to allow athletes and coaches who would not have the possibility of participating in major AIBA events not only to take part, but also to train on site two weeks before the competition. Info at

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has informed us that, at the South American Games in Santiago (Chile), the South American Canoe Confederation (COSURCA) re-elected its Board of Directors, thus showing its confidence in the Board members, who have significantly developed the sport across the continent. The COSURCA President, Brazilian João Tomasini, who is also 3rd Vice-President of the ICF, thus continues his term for the next four years. Info at

This week, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) allocated the hosting of several international tournaments for the coming years. The women’s Hockey World League Semi-finals (qualifiers for the 2016 Games) will be organised in Spain in 2015; the final round of this league will be held in New Zealand in 2017; and the men’s Champions Trophy will be held in 2018 in the Netherlands. Info at

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced the opening of an ITU development centre in Cairo (Egypt), in collaboration with the African Triathlon Union (ATU), in the presence of Marisol Casado, ITU President and an IOC member (right in photo). The centre’s staff will assist in implementing development programmes in African and Arab regions, focusing on educating coaches, officials and athletes. The centre opened thanks to the support of the ITU and of the Egyptian government and the Egyptian Minister for Sports and Youth, Khaled Abd El-Aziz. During the Congress of the Arab Triathlon Confederation, the Bahrain national federation joined this Confederation. Info at


The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has awarded to Tunisia the organisation of its very first Congress, which will be held in Hammamet on 10 and 11 May 2014. This Congress will, for the first time, bring together the national organisations affiliated to the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF). Never before has an IBAF or ISF congress been held in Africa. Info at

The International Mountaineering and Climbing Association (UIAA) has presented its first Mountain Protection award to the Menz-Guassa Community Conservation Area (GCCA) in Ethiopia. This community has re-introduced traditional practices for managing natural grasslands to create jobs and protect endangered species. By combining sustainable conservation efforts with local tourism management, the GCCA eco-tourist project creates the possibility for its communities to protect their environment and increase their economic self-sufficiency. Info at


Arlington Butler receives the IOC trophy

The former President of the Bahamas NOC, Arlington Butler, has been honoured at an NOC gala organised at Government House, during which he received the IOC Pierre de Coubertin trophy and the NOC President’s award. It is the first time that these awards have been presented to a Bahamian. Numerous Bahaman personalities, including Prime Minister Perry Christie, attended to pay tribute to a man who has been a student, athlete, teacher, cricket player, lawyer, politician and President of the Bahamas Athletics Association. President of the NOC for 36 years, Butler has been highly involved in developing the Olympic Movement in the Bahamas. Info at
Course for coaches in Bahrain

The Training and Development Section of the Bahrain NOC has announced that a total of 300 coaches and PE teachers have taken part in various courses this year. Organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, these courses covered various sports such as football, athletics, badminton and swimming, as well as management, strategic planning and physiotherapy.

In addition, representatives of the Bahrain NOC and the Ministry of Education have agreed to launch a new project called School Olympics. This project is part of the NOC’s vision and strategy and its partnership with the Ministry aimed at identifying young talents in various sports.

On 18 March, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Pieter De Crem (left in  photo) and Belgian NOC President Pierre-Olivier Beckers (right in photo) signed an agreement to support elite athletes and young hopefuls in the armed forces though exchanges of services and resources. Thus, in the next few years, 30 elite Belgian athletes will be able to totally concentrate on their sporting objectives under the aegis of the Defence Ministry. Info at

Kostas Panagopoulos, recipient of the IOC trophy

The Hellenic NOC has informed us that the 2013 IOC trophy, “Pierre de Coubertin – sport as a school of life”, was awarded to Kostas Panagopoulos at the NOC’s annual gala organised on 14 January at the NOC headquarters in Athens, during which awards were also presented to the best athletes of 2013. Kostas Panagopoulos was honoured in recognition of his important contribution to the development of the Athens Marathon. President of the organising committee since 2006, he revised the structure and communications programme, which led to a broader competition programme, improved worldwide promotion and participant numbers increasing from 5,000 to 31,000. Sports and cultural events are organised in parallel, making this marathon the biggest mass sport event in Greece.

The Hellenic NOC has also informed us that fencer Vassiliki Vougiouka has been appointed to the Athletes’ Commission of the International Mediterranean Games Committee (CIJM). She came second in the European championships in 2013 and 2012, and fifth at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Info at


Phil Craven and the seven recipients of the Paralympic Order

The day after the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) presented the Paralympic Order – the highest accolade of the Paralympic Movement – to seven individuals who played instrumental roles in the success of the Games. IPC President and IOC member Philip Craven awarded the Paralympic Order to: Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia; Anatoly Pakhomov, Mayor of Sochi; Alexander Tkachev, Governor of Krasnador; Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee; Oleg Syromolotov, Chief of the Interagency Security Command Centre, Sochi 2014; Alexander Gorovoy, Deputy Chief of the Interagency Security Command Centre, Sochi 2014; and Vladimir Lukin, President of the NPC of Russia. Info at

The South American Games concluded on 18 March in Santiago (Chile). Opened on 7 March in the presence of the Chilean, President Sebastian Piñera, and the President of the South American Sports Organisation (ODESUR), IOC honorary member Carlos Arthur Nuzman, these Games brought together 3,543 athletes from 14 countries who competed in 42 sports, 13 of which were qualifiers for the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto. The next South American Games will be held in 2018 in Cochabamba (Bolivia). Info at

At the beginning of March, a meeting of the Executive Committee of the International Workers and Amateurs in Sports Confederation (CSIT) took place in Lapland (Finland). The main topic was the election of the host city for the 4th CSIT World Sports Games 2015. These Games were awarded to the Italian city of Lignano. In order to provide all delegates and in particular the technical sports commissions with an impression of the new host city, the next CSIT Congress will be held in Lignano from 13 to 19 October 2014. Info at

The European Sport for All Union (UESpT), whose President is Franco Ascani, and the Union of Professionals Ki Life (UPKL, a non-profit association) have signed a four-year agreement. The aim is to implement sports and social teacher training programmes at European and international level. This agreement is part of that which the International Sports Movie & TV Federation (FICTS, whose President is also F. Ascani) signed in 2010 with the International Sport for All Federation (FISpT) with the main objective of carrying out projects and initiatives in the framework of promoting Sport for All and the values of sport. Info at

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