IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the President of the Swiss Confederation, Guy Parmelin, to Olympic House in Lausanne on Friday 26 February. President Bach gave Mr Parmelin a tour of Olympic House, the IOC headquarters and one of the most sustainable buildings in the world. They both acknowledged the strong and mutual attachment of the IOC to Lausanne and Switzerland, where the institution has been based since 1915. Mr Parmelin stopped to sign the IOC’s “golden book”, wishing the Olympic Movement a bright future and all the very best.
During their meeting, the two leaders discussed Mr Parmelin’s intention to visit Japan this July to support the Swiss Olympic team that will be competing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. President Bach expressed to him the IOC’s warmest welcome to the Olympic Games. This was followed by a discussion about the comprehensive set of COVID-19 countermeasures in Tokyo already contained in the first version of the Tokyo 2020 Playbook, which President Parmelin warmly welcomed.
After hearing about the progress being made in the preparations and the next key milestones on the road to Tokyo, the Swiss President shared his optimism, and expressed his strong encouragement to the IOC and the Japanese organisers, and his best wishes for the success of the upcoming Games in Japan.
Mr Parmelin is the fourth Swiss Head of State to visit the IOC in the last four years.
IOC President Thomas Bach chaired an Executive Board (EB) meeting held remotely on 24 February. The EB received reports on the next editions of Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games as well as on several institutional issues.
New Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Hashimoto Seiko was welcomed by the IOC EB as she officially introduced herself and outlined her priorities for the Organising Committee. In welcoming the new Tokyo 2020 President on behalf of the IOC EB, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “With her report, she could already demonstrate that she knows the portfolio, that she is up to date with all the details of this organisation. So there is a very seamless transfer of power there within the Organising Committee. She highlighted her strategic priorities, which will focus on safety, gender equality and legacy. This is, as you know, fully aligned with the vision of delivering safe and secure Games for everybody - fully aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020.”
Following on from this positive feedback, in his report to the IOC EB John Coates, Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission, described the ongoing progress towards the publication of the second edition of the playbooks. This has been greatly facilitated by last week’s joint COVID-19 countermeasures working meeting held between Tokyo 2020, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Read the news release here.
The IOC EB decided to follow the recommendation of the future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad to enter into a targeted dialogue for the Games of the XXXV Olympiad. The IOC will start more detailed discussions with the Brisbane 2032 Committee and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) about their potential to host the Olympic Games 2032. The Future Host Commission chaired by IOC member Kristin Kloster Aasen, will now start a targeted dialogue with the Brisbane 2032 Committee and the AOC, and will report back to the IOC EB on the outcome of these discussions in due course. If all the requirements are met, the IOC EB can propose the election of the future host of the Games of XXXV Olympiad to the IOC Session. If the discussions are not successfully concluded, Brisbane 2032 will rejoin the continuous dialogue. At the same time, the Future Host Commission will also maintain the continuous dialogue with the other interested parties, in order to further develop their excellent and promising projects, be it for the Olympic Games 2032 if the Targeted Dialogue with Brisbane 2032 and the AOC is not successful, or for the Olympic Games 2036 and other future Olympic events. Read the full news release here.
With regard to the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024, the EB approved the event programme and athlete quotas for these Games, which will offer more young elite athletes than ever access to the Winter YOG environment, ensure a high-performance pathway for the participants, and achieve full gender equality. Read the full news release here.
A report was presented on the current situation of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). On 27 January, the IOC EB reiterated its serious concerns about the progress made by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in the areas of governance and anti-doping, including changes made to the IWF Anti-Doping Rules without prior consultation with the IOC. If the concerns are not addressed in a satisfactory and timely way, the IOC EB will have to review the place of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and future Olympic Games. In addition, the IOC EB may reduce the quota of IWF officials present at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More details here.
The EB also received an update on the Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020 and the support offered by Olympic Solidarity to the pool of Refugee Athlete Scholarship-Holders. Since Rio 2016, Olympic Solidarity has invested more than USD 2 million in support of refugee Olympic scholarship-holders preparing for the Olympic Games. Olympic Solidarity is currently supporting 55 Refugee Athlete Scholarship-Holders, who are training in the hope of competing at Tokyo 2020 this summer. They come from 13 countries and are hosted by 21 NOCs across all 5 continents, representing 12 sports. The composition of the Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020 will be decided by the IOC EB at its meeting in June 2021. Members of the team will be invited by the IOC to compete at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
An update was given on the Olympic Refuge Foundation. Currently, 200,000 young people in six countries are benefiting from sports programmes designed to improve their well-being and social inclusion. Most recently, the Uganda-based project “Game Connect” was formally launched in Kampala by a consortium of partners, including the Ugandan Olympic Committee, the Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI), UNHCR, Youth Sport Uganda and Right to Play. The Olympic Refuge Foundation recently received a donation from the French Government to support refugees and migrants through sport in France, with a view to launching an initial activities programme in the Paris region during the course of 2021. Read the full news release here.
During a video call with IOC member and Olympic swimming champion Daniel Gyurta, the IOC President discussed the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the situation of the Hungarian athletes preparing for these Games.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were also at the centre of the discussions between President Bach and IOC member Watanabe Morinari, who is also President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
In Geneva, President Bach met International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Jean Todt to discuss the cooperation between the IOC and FIA, particularly in the area of sustainability.
During a video call, President Bach and the new President of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Delphine Ernotte Cunci, underlined the excellent longstanding partnership between their two organisations and the EBU’s member broadcasters over many years. They talked about the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and how digital technology will transform the way we watch and experience the Games.
IOC member Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul has been presented with a commemorative medal by the Thai Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, for the success of the three major badminton tournaments held in Bangkok last month. Patama Leeswadtrakul, who is also a Board member of the Olympic Council of Asia, was recognised in her role as President of the Badminton Association of Thailand. During the ceremony at Government House, Patama Leeswadtrakul thanked the Thai government for their support and assistance, and underlined that the Bangkok badminton events would be used as a model for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More details here.
Other Olympic news
The IOC is among the organisations that have signed the World Health Organisation (WHO) “Vaccine Equity Declaration” (read the WHO news release here). While COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed in more than 70 countries across the world, vaccination has not started in the majority of low- and middle-income countries. The WHO declaration asks that this inequality be corrected, with health workers’ access to vaccines prioritised in these countries too. The declaration is a strong call for global solidarity, which is why the IOC has invited the Presidents of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to sign it with their NOC or personally, and to support the WHO communication around this topic. The IOC also encourages them to use this WHO declaration as a key part of their discussions with their governments on how and when Olympic and Paralympic teams can be vaccinated in their home countries ahead of the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games in line with national immunisation guidelines.
The 15th edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships 2021 in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) has been moved to the following dates: 16 to 21 December 2021 (previously scheduled from 13 to 18 December). The International Swimming Federation (FINA) and the national and local authorities are fully committed to hosting the Championships up to the highest standards and to providing a safe environment for the athletes, coaches and people involved in the organisation of the event.
The United Arab Emirates will be hosting these Championships for the second time, after a successful 2010 edition in Dubai. The FINA Aquatics Convention, always held in conjunction with the Championships, will be organised in the same city from 13 to 15 December. More info at www.fina.org.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) has received reports from around the world of the positive impacts that its Solidarity Fund has had on the communities that it has supported. With the support of the ISA Solidarity Fund, positive stories (read here) have emerged from challenging situations across four continents, such as food supplied to families who had lost their income during the pandemic; private tutoring and classes for students unable to attend classes due to school closures; and support for programmes that help marginalised children gain access to surfing and education.
O n 26 February, the World Curling Federation (WCF) announced that the Kenya Curling Federation had become its 67th Member Association following the approval of its conditional membership earlier in the month. Kenya is now the second African member of the WCF, following Nigeria, which joined in 2018, and will compete in the Pacific-Asia zone. More details here.
national olympic committees
As part of the cooperation agreement signed between the Algerian NOC and the National School of Journalism and Information Sciences, a training course was held at the NOC headquarters on 22 and 23 February. Master1 journalism and sports communication students took part, alongside NOC President Abderrahmane Hammad. The topics covered included national and international sports organisations, the history and status of the Algerian NOC, Algeria’s participation in the Olympic Games and Algerian Olympic medallists. More details on www.coa.dz.
On 23 February, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) launched the Abuse and Harassment Out of Play Course – a youth-oriented version of the Prevention and Confrontation of Harassment and Abuse in Sport Course – for athletes from 12 to 17 years old, from initiation to high performance. The course, developed by the Brazilian Olympic Institute, the COB's education branch, aims to spread the message by making the entire sports community aware of its importance, in addition to showing how it can manifest itself in the sports environment and providing information about preventative action, reporting channels, confronting harassment and abuse, and victim support. The course, which is free of charge and delivered remotely, is divided up into three main themes: Learning about Abuse and Harassment, Recognising the Signs, and Seeking Help. Full details here.
From 24 to 26 February, the Colombian NOC and the National Sports School, with the support of the Sports Ministry and Panam Sports, organised the 4th International Congress on sports training theory and methodology. Entitled “Reinforcing the technical and method-based approaches in Colombia”, the aim of the Congress was to discuss developments in identifying talented athletes both nationally and internationally. Held virtually, the Congress was attended by sports training theory and methodology professionals within sports organisations. More details on www.coc.org.co.
The Moroccan NOC participated by videoconference on 24 and 25 February in the first edition of the Virtual Welcome Days organised by the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. The NOC also met on 26 February with officials from the regional academy for education and training in order to discuss the organisation of Olympic visits for the benefit of public schools. Info on www.cnom.org.ma.
On 24 February, there was an online meeting of the Executive Committee of CONPaaS, the digital services platform created for NOCs by the Spanish NOC and funded by Olympic Solidarity. The meeting was attended by representatives of the 22 CONPaaS member NOCs, including 17 NOC presidents and two IOC members, Filomena Fortes and Luis Mejía Oviedo. Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco opened the meeting, with the NOC’s New Technology Director Manuel Pastrana. They presented the latest improvements to the platform and announced that, as of 24 February, each NOC will be able to include its own web page, as the Spanish NOC has done by launching its new site, with the Portuguese NOC set to follow suit next Monday. More details here.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has announced the phase one priorities for the USOPC College Sports Sustainability Think Tank, which includes three concepts focused on sports sustainability, sports structures and vertical partnerships. Developed by the USOPC Think Tank, the concepts emphasise partnerships across the collegiate space and the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, and recognise that increased alignment can result in operational efficiencies, untapped revenues and a unified vision of the sports pathway for athletes. Following a deep dive within each concept area, actionable recommendations will be developed by the full USOPC Think Tank and shared with the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council for review. Final recommendations will be shared with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), college leaders and the USOPC Board. More information at TeamUSA.org/ThinkTank. Full news release here.
On 24 February, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) signed a far-reaching memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The MOU formally establishes and facilitates a mutual framework for cooperation and information-sharing between the two agencies in the broad area of sports doping. Full details here. In addition, the WADA has published a new Question and Answer (Q&A) document for athletes related to anti-doping and COVID-19, which is an update to the previous version that the Agency published on 25 May 2020. The topics addressed include the evolving nature of the pandemic, the changing testing environment and the fact that a growing number of Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) have resumed normal testing. Full details here.