IOC President Thomas Bach attended the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, host city of the Games of the Olympiad in 1992, where he delivered a keynote speech (full text here) at the world’s largest mobile technology industry fair. Addressing an audience of 2,000 industry leaders and experts, the IOC President outlined his vision of how digital technology will transform the way that people experience the Olympic Games. “People today are connecting with the Olympic Games in more ways than ever before, they are doing so digitally, and they are doing so on mobile,” said President Bach. “This is not a challenge to overcome. This is a huge opportunity to reach even more people with the values of sport and the magic of the Olympic Games.” In his address, President Bach highlighted several ways in which the IOC is already shaping the digital future of the Olympic Games, thanks to the technology of many of the its Worldwide TOP Partners, such as Alibaba, Intel, OMEGA and Samsung. In this regard, he emphasised the rise of 5G technology as holding great opportunity for the Olympic Games of the future. He also noted that the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 marked the first time ever that 5G technology had been used at a global event.
A meeting was held with Mats Granryd, GSMA Director General; John Hoffmann, GSMA CEO and Director; and Therese Jamaa, GSMA General Manager. GSMA is the owner and organiser of the Mobile World Congress.
Throughout the visit to Barcelona, the President was accompanied by IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch, IOC Members Marisol Casado and José Perurena, and Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco. Read the full news release here.
Before the Congress, President Bach took part in a private roundtable discussion led by King Felipe VI of Spain on the topic of intelligent connectivity, in which the opportunities that 5G and other technologies offer the sports movement as well as their impact on society, politics and the economy, were discussed.
While in Barcelona, the President met Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), with whom he discussed the close partnership between the IOC and the UN, particularly with regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of sport as an “important enabler” to realise the SDGs.
He also met Patrick Adiba, Group Executive Vice President Human Resources - Olympics & Major Events from Worldwide TOP Partner Atos.
At the Mobile World Congress, the IOC President also met Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon and former President of the Swedish NOC.
In Lausanne, President Bach welcomed a delegation from the NOC of the Central African Republic led by its President, Gilles Gilbert Gresenguet. The situation of sport in the country, the Olympic Solidarity programmes and the athletes’ preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were discussed.
The IOC President met the President of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President, Riccardo Fraccari, accompanied by WBSC Treasurer Angelo Vicini. Their discussions centred mainly on the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024.
Narinder Batra, President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH), visited the IOC headquarters. Meeting the IOC President in his capacity as FIH President, he addressed the preparations for the hockey competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020; while in his role as IOA President, the situation of sport in India was discussed, including recent problems with regard to hosting international sports events in the country.
The IOC President met Matlohang Moiloa-Ramoqopo, President of the NOC of Lesotho, during her visit to the IOC headquarters. They discussed the situation of sport in the country and other topics of mutual interest.
international sportS FEDERATIONS
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that Kristina Panasenko of Kyrgyzstan was the first-ever athlete to join the latest FINA-approved Development Centre in Kazan (Russian Federation), the city that hosted the 16th FINA World Championships in 2015. Panasenko, 16, who specialises in breaststroke, is a member of the Kyrgyz national swimming team and took part in the FINA World Championships in Budapest (Hungary) in July 2017 as well as the Asian Championships in 2016 in Tokyo (Japan). In addition to the strict training agenda, the young talents at the Centre will be offered cultural and educational activities such as language lessons and own brand management courses. Sports events and outdoor activities complete the comprehensive care support. More info at www.fina.org.
World Rugby has underscored its continued player welfare commitment with the appointment of Éanna Falvey (photo). He will join on 1 March in the newly created role of Deputy Chief Medical Officer, before taking over the position of Chief Medical Officer from incumbent Martin Raftery in January 2020. Dr Falvey has been working with elite athletes for more than 15 years, covering a wide range of sports including football and boxing, and has been a vital member of World Rugby’s Medical Commission Conference and Concussion Working Group. More info here.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has opened the bidding processes for the 2020 Paratriathlon World Series, the 2020 Winter World Championships and World Cups and the 2022 World Multisports Championships. Cities interested in hosting these events can find the bid guidelines and bid submission deadlines here. Full news release here.
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
Organising Committees for the Olympic Games
On 28 February, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) announced that smoking will not be permitted at any of the Olympic or Paralympic venues for the duration of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The ban will extend to heated tobacco products and other vaping devices. From 1 April 2020, an amendment to Japan’s Health Promotion Law, as well as Tokyo’s new regulations to reduce the incidence of passive smoking, will be fully enacted. Based on the development of the law and regulations and guidance from the IOC, Tokyo 2020 has decided to adopt a stricter non-smoking policy to protect the health and safety of athletes, spectators and officials and will ban smoking in indoor venues, outdoor venues and in venues’ secure perimeters operated by Tokyo 2020 – a similar policy to that enacted during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. More info at www.tokyo2020.org