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IOC / Greg Martin IOC / Greg Martin
01 Mar 2019
Olympic News, IOC News, Olympic Highlights



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.

IOC / Greg Martin
Whilst at the Congress, President Bach visited Worldwide TOP Partners Intel’s and Samsung’s showcasing. With Intel’s recently appointed CEO Bob Swan and Sandra Rivera, SVP and GM of the Network Platforms Group, he had the chance to experience Intel’s 5G technology and discuss plans for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

IOC / Greg Martin
The IOC recently extended its longstanding partnership with Samsung through to 2028, and at the Samsung showcase, DongJin Koh, President, Samsung Electronics, Mobile Communication Business, and Younghee Lee, Chief Marketing Officer of Samsung Electronics, demonstrated to the IOC President first hand some of the company’s latest mobile technology innovations.

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

World Rugby

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.


NOC of Azerbaijan
On the occasion of 150 days to go to the XV European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), the NOC of Azerbaijan launched the “Olympic Culture and Education Programme” (OCEP), in the presence of many personalities such as NOC Vice-President Chingiz Huseynzade, Education Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov and representatives from 10 NOCs of Europe and Asia. The OCEP is organised as part of the EYOF taking place in Baku next July. The programme is also supported by Olympic Solidarity, the NOC of Azerbaijan, the Baku 2019 EYOF Organising Committee and the Ministry of Education, along with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The main aim of the programme is to promote culture and sport, and the Olympic Movement, among young people in the member countries of the European Olympic Committees. More info at

Bahrain Olympic Committee
The Bahrain Olympic Academy, under the umbrella of the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC), discussed possible forms of cooperation with a visiting delegation from Northumbria University in the UK. Academy Director Nabeel Taha, joined by Olympic Solidarity Manager Maryam Mardana and Training and Development Executive Coordinator Mahmood Yateem and training and development specialist Ahmed Hafed, had a fruitful meeting with Katy Storie, International Development Manager at Northumbria University, and Zahra Munther. The University has successful experience in linking academic achievement to sport, in addition to organising a series of sports programmes that help to enhance students’ abilities in both sporting and scientific and academic aspects. More info at

Brazilian Olympic Committee
Brazil will be sending a mission headed exclusively by women to the South American Beach Games Rosario 2019, which will be held from 14 to 23 March. The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) will send a team of nine sports professionals (photo above) to coordinate the delegation of 62 athletes who will be entering the competitions in nine sports disciplines. Mariana Vieira de Mello, COB Planning and Sport Performance Manager, will be acting as Chef de Mission. More info here. In addition, as the pre-Olympic season starts, the COB Olympic Laboratory is working at full capacity. One of the legacies of the Olympic Games  Rio 2016, the Laboratory has been in full operation since 2017. Last year,  2,256 evaluation actions were offered to 325 athletes from 16 different confederations. The COB’s goal is that, by the time of Tokyo 2020, services will have been provided to all the Brazilian Olympic confederations. More info here.

Colombian NOC
The first module of the Olympic sports management advanced course (GOLD), organised by the Academic Department of the Colombian NOC, was held in the auditorium of the University of the Andean Region on 22 and 23 February. Sixteen of the 49 participants gave their presentations as part of chapter 1, Managing an Olympic Sports Organisation. More info here.

COE / Nacho Casares
On 26 February, the Spanish NOC (COE) held its monthly Executive Committee meeting with King Juan Carlos I in the chair. COE President Alejandro Blanco thanked the King for his presence at the Spanish Olympic headquarters. For his part, the King was keen to learn about the work done by the COE and congratulated Alejandro Blanco for his achievements during “14 years at the forefront of Spanish Olympism”. More info here.

Moroccan NOC
The Moroccan NOC has just informed us that, at the Moulay Rachid National Sports Centre, the Royal Moroccan Rowing Federation last year organised a training session for 27 national coaches, under the aegis of Olympic Solidarity. For the Federation, this session meets the objectives of its 2016-2021 project, for which the motto is “train to win”. The Federation is thus seeking to train rowing technical managers to promote the growth of the sport and prepare the human resources needed to use the new boats that will be purchased in order to develop the national sports structure. More info here.

Venezuelan NOC
The Venezuelan NOC has launched a course in sports administration, an initiative which is part of the Olympic Solidarity programme. This initiative comes after five NOC members (Staff Coordinator Carina Vásquez, Technical Director Magdampi Marín, Olympic Solidarity Coordinator Félix Correa, Train the Trainers Director Zuleika Seikas and the Director General of Physical Education in the Education Ministry, Esteban Álvarez) took part in a similar course in Bogotá (Colombia), and decided to share their knowledge by organising the same course in Venezuela. The course participants include members of national sports federations, the Organising Committees of the Bolivarian Games Miranda 2021 and Playa de Vargas 2019, and physical education teachers.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020

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

Recognised organisations

EOC EU Office
The European Olympic Committees (EOC)’s EU Office has announced that, at the beginning of February, the second phase of the POINTS project was launched, with the start of educational seminars for the Single Points of Contact for Integrity (SPOCs) nominated by partner organisations. For this first meeting, 18 participants from 11 organisations met at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat in Lyon (France), to work on the topic of competition manipulation in sport. The aim of this seminar was to provide participants with a solid understanding on the subject of competition manipulation in order to empower them when dealing with challenging situations in their roles as SPOCs. Led by the IOC Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions and INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport Unit, the seminar contained several sessions covering a wide range of aspects including rules and regulations, the sports betting environment and awareness-raising and education on the topic. More info here.
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