OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHTS 01/04/2019
During its meetings from 26 to 28 March in Lausanne, the IOC Executive Board (EB) discussed the upcoming editions of the Olympic Games, the protection of the integrity of sport and the athletes, and other institutional matters.
Concerning the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; and John Coates, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, gave their respective updates on the latest activities. It was highlighted that, overall, Tokyo 2020 continues to deliver on key milestones in accordance with the agreed timelines, including the construction of new permanent venues.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, presented his report on the latest activities. Overall it was reported that Beijing 2022 is on schedule with the preparations. Beijing 2022 has launched its Legacy Plan, which highlights its ambitious goal of getting 300 million people to access and practise winter sports in China.
A delegation led by Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024, and Etienne Thobois, CEO of Paris 2024, were joined by Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, to present their respective reports on the preparations of the Olympic Games Paris 2024. It was emphasised that Paris 2024 was being guided by the principles of creativity, excellence and inclusivity for delivering the Games. The IOC EB has supported the recommendation of the Olympic Programme Commission to provisionally include Paris 2024’s proposed package of four additional sports - skateboard, sport climbing, breaking and surfing – for the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Full details here.
Concerning the Olympic Winter Games 2026, Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi gave an overview of the current situation of the candidatures of Stockholm-Åre and Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo. He pointed to public as well as government support as important factors for both candidatures, while emphasising that, thanks to Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm, there is a maximum use of existing and temporary venues with an average of 80 per cent for the 2026 Candidature Process. Also, projected 2026 candidature budgets are over 75 per cent lower than the average budgets of the 2018 and 2022 cities.
The sports programme for the Olympic Winter Games 2026 was also discussed. The EB agreed on the proposal of the IOC’s Olympic Programme Commission to have no changes to the programme for Beijing 2022 and to put forward the same seven sports to the IOC Session in June.
In order to further evaluate how to be best prepared for future Games, the EB proposed the creation of a Working Group to consider principles to apply to future candidature processes. The working group will be chaired by John Coates, who is also representing Oceania. The other members are: Danka Bartekova, representing the athletes and Europe; Li Lingwei, representing Asia; Lydia Nsekera, representing Africa; Gerardo Werthein, representing the Americas.
Virginie Faivre, the new President of the Organising Committee for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020; Ian Logan, CEO of Lausanne 2020; and Danka Bartekova, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, provided their respective progress reports. Further projects are underway to engage and involve local education institutions to ensure these are YOG by and for young people. There were also updates on youth engagement and public outreach activities, which are building visibility and awareness ahead of the YOG.
With regard to the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2022, Christophe Dubi presented a progress report of behalf of Kirsty Coventry, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission. He reported that construction of the Youth Olympic Village has started. Based on the sports programme, the venue planning will be finalised by June.
The IOC Executive Board recognised the resignation of IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda. With this recognition by the EB and, in accordance with the Olympic Charter, the cessation of his IOC Membership takes effect immediately. The EB expressed its highest respect for his decision and insisted once more on the presumption of innocence.
With regard to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, it was reported that the IOC contributed a record amount of USD 887 million to the success of the Games, which is USD 54 million more than for Sochi 2014. The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee is still on course to deliver a surplus of at least USD 55 million. Additionally, the IOC will reinvest its share of the surplus in Korea in sport through the newly-formed PyeongChang 2018 Foundation, further helping to ensure that the Games will benefit the region for decades to come. Building on this, the IOC EB approved an increase in financial support to NOCs and IFs for the development of sports and athletes around the world. This revenue distribution represents a total of USD 430 million, which is USD 32 million more than the amounts related to the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
Concerning anti-doping activities, the IOC EB was informed that the International Testing Agency (ITA) continues be fully operational and to develop its pool of expertise at the service of sports organisations. It is now working with approximatively 40 organisations, including the IOC. An update on the ongoing activities of WADA was also provided. The EB approved the reallocation of medals and diplomas for the two-man and four-man bobsleigh events at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, and the results have been adjusted accordingly by the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation.
The EB also reviewed the positive steps taken over the past 18 months by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to strengthen its anti-doping programme, and recognised how this change is designed to be sustainable through a series of long-term IWF initiatives for clean weightlifting. Considering the progress made, the EB decided to lift the status of conditional inclusion of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 subject to the finalisation of the agreement between the IWF and the ITA and confirmation of a successful transition of key areas of the IWF’s anti-doping programme to the Agency. Once this is completed, the IOC EB decision will be enforced with immediate effect. Full details here.
With regard to the International Boxing Federation (AIBA), an interim report by the ad-hoc Inquiry Commission was delivered by Commission Chair Nenad Lalovic. The final report will be presented during the EB meeting in May 2019.
The IOC EB received updates on the activities of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) as well as the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). It was reiterated that the IOC strongly encourages the efforts by ASOIF and AIOWF to improve their good governance structures.
There was an update on the IOC’s new Advisory Committee on Human Rights. In a consultation between the IOC President and the Committee’s Chair, HRH Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, both agreed that, prior to the IOC’s Advisory Committee commencing work, it was necessary and more effective to devise a strategic framework on human rights for the IOC, which Committee members could then reflect and advise on. To that end, Prince Zeid, together with Rachel Davis, the Managing Director of Shift a non-profit centre of expertise on business and human rights –, will work during this year to develop that framework, building on an internal analysis conducted in 2018. In parallel, the IOC will continue to work on a number of human rights priorities which require immediate action in cooperation with Shift – and external stakeholders.
There was also a report on the recently held working meeting to discuss sports cooperation between the Republic of Korea (KOR) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (PRK). Building on this tripartite meeting, the IOC EB approved several principles guiding the participation of unified Korean teams at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Under the new targeted approach to selecting host cities for IOC Sessions, the IOC EB was in favour of hosting the IOC Session in 2021 in Athens, Greece, and has asked the administration to prepare a feasibility study for the next EB meeting on 22 May.
Concerning NOCs, the IOC EB noted that the name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of North Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia (short form: North Macedonia) formally took effect at United Nations level as of 14 February 2019. As a result, the NOC’s name will be updated accordingly from Olympic Committee of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Olympic Committee of North Macedonia.
IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper gave an overview of the key deliverables in 2019 for the continued Olympic Agenda 2020 implementation plan.
On the latest developments of the esports strategy, it was reported that an Esports Liaison Group was being created. Chaired by David Lappartient (UCI), this group will centralise the collaboration between the Olympic Movement and the esports ecosystem, provide strategic advice and ideas for mutually beneficial collaboration, and encourage the exploration of projects between sports and esports to promote the Olympic values of respect, excellence and integrity.
The EB decided to continue with the Olympism in Action Forum. It tasked the IOC administration with looking into the option of holding the Forum, starting in 2023, at the same time in Lausanne every four years, if possible in combination with another IOC event.
There was a report on the activities of the Olympic Channel which continues to grow and expand. Since its launch in August 2016, the Olympic Channel has had a total of 2.2 billion video views across all its different platforms. The number of followers on social media has now reached 8.6 million.
The EB members also visited the site of Olympic House, which will be officially inaugurated on 23 June.
President Bach welcomed a delegation from the NOC of São Tomé and Príncipe, composed by NOC President João Manuel Da Costa Alegre Afonso and NOC Secretary General Laureana Lima Ferreira Soares, accompanied by the Minister of Youth, Sport and Business, Vinicius Xavier de Pina. They discussed the situation of sport in the country, Olympic Solidarity programmes and athletes’ preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Discussions with the President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Francesco Ricci Bitti, were focused mainly on preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, IF governance and the SportAccord Convention, which takes place in May in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, and which the IOC President will be attending.
President Bach and Kate Caithness, President of the World Curling Federation (WCF), discussed the preparations of the Olympic curling tournament at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and other Olympic topics of mutual interest.
The IOC President and Joël Bouzou, President of the World Olympians’ Association (WOA) and of the Peace and Sport organisation, discussed the cooperation between the IOC, through its Athletes’ Commission, and the WOA.
The President also met with IOC Vice President Yu Zaiqing; IOC EB member Sergey Bubka; IOC Member Anant Singh; and IOC Honorary Member Sam Ramsamy.
Ryu Seung-min was appointed President of the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation at a ceremony in Seoul (Republic of Korea) on 25 March. The foundation, which will be launched officially in the coming months, will be responsible for managing several of the venues built for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and various programmes for developing winter sports and youth activities in Korea.
Other Olympic news
The Olympic rings remain one of the world’s most widely recognised symbols, with nine out of ten people correctly identifying the symbol, according to consumer research conducted after the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. With regard to the IOC, when given a selection of choices, respondents around the world identified “promoting peace through sport” as the organisation’s most important role, followed by “promoting sport and its benefits, including a better quality of life for all”, “running global initiatives, which mix culture and sport, to improve people's understanding of the Olympic ideals”, “social development through sport” and “leading the Olympic Movement”. The research also confirmed that the Olympic Games continue to be the most appealing sports and entertainment property in the world. Full details here.
As part of the process of additional analyses on the samples collected from the Olympic Games London 2012, the IOC announced on 29 March that three athletes have been disqualified from the 2012 Games. Full details here.
The FIFA Foundation, established in 2018 by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), has published a list of 93 non-governmental organisations that will benefit from support in 2019. The range of social initiatives supported is very broad, including programmes in the areas of education, health, peace-building, refugees, leadership and gender equality. One of the associations that is part of the FIFA Foundation’s social programme is Red Deporte in Cameroon. The association delivers social services to refugees affected by civil war in the neighbouring Central African Republic. Its programmes focus on gender equality, health and environmental awareness. More info here.
Working closely with its national member federations, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has organised 18 Schools and Certification Courses since the beginning of March 2019, covering five of FINA’s six disciplines and the five continents. Pristina (Kosovo) hosted a FINA Swimming Coaches Certification Course from 1 to 5 March, while Tashkent (Uzbekistan) staged a FINA Diving Certification School for Judges from 1 to 3 March as well as an Artistic Swimming Certification School for Judges from 9 to 11 March. A Swimming Clinic for Coaches was also organised in Tafuna (Samoa) from 6 to 10 March, and Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) hosted a Swimming Certification Course for assistant level from 8 to 10 March. A FINA Open Water Clinic for beginner level was hosted in Accra (Ghana) while a Water Polo Development School took place in Christ Church (Barbados). More info at www.fina.org.
In 2019, the Foundation of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) will fund six projects as part of the TT Dream Building Fund, an annual call for projects using table tennis to support humanitarian projects and promote social welfare across the globe. A total of 74 applicants from 31 countries put themselves forward. A shortlist of ten applicants was subsequently created, based on eligibility criteria, project quality and potential social impact. Each of the projects is committed to using table tennis as a means to reach winder humanitarian objectives linked to one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Of these ten projects, six have been selected for the TT Dream Building Fund for 2019. More details here.
The World Curling Federation (WCF) has awarded the World Mixed Curling Championship 2019 to Aberdeen, Scotland. The event will take place from 12 to 19 October. In 2018, Aberdeen hosted the junior world championships. The year 2020 will see another Scottish world championship, as the World Men’s Curling Championship will be played in Glasgow from 28 March to 5 April. More details here.
National Olympic Committees
With the support of Olympic Solidarity, the Albanian NOC held a Technical Course for Coaches in Cycling (Level II) with experts from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) from 18 to 23 March in Elbasan. The participating coaches from clubs all over Albania were awarded a level II certificate issued by the UCI. The course was in line with the NOC’s role to train instructors and support the sport of cycling. More info at www.nocalbania.org.al.
Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, chair of the Women’s Sport Committee of the NOC of Bahrain and of the Women’s Committee of the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees, chaired the International Conference of Arab Women’s Sports from 27 to 30 March in Cairo, Egypt. The conference, organised by the Egyptian Sports Association, discussed women’s sport in the Arab world, future challenges, the sporting culture of Arab women, and strategies for developing women’s sport. More info at www.boc.bh
The Brazil Olympic Committee welcomed an illustrious visitor on 25 March; Aída dos Santos (right on the photo) was the only female athlete in the Brazilian delegation to the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. She participated in a debate on women in sport, along with two-time Olympic champion Fabi Alvim and UN Women’s Project Manager Carolina Ferracini. The 82-year-old athlete told her story of overcoming resistance, at a time when women suffered a great deal of prejudice in sport. The event highlighted how far women have come in various sectors of the sporting world. Today, the COB has 128 women and 108 men, with women holding 43.5% of leadership positions. In addition, in partnership with UN Women, the NOC has developed a Policy for Preventing and Combating Moral and Sexual Harassment in Sport. Another fact to be celebrated was the success of the 100% women-led mission to the 2019 South American Beach Games in Rosário (Argentina). More details here.
The Colombian NOC has announced that the city of Cali has been chosen as host city for the very first Junior Pan Am Games in 2021. The decision was made by the Executive Committee of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), chaired by IOC Member Neven Ilic, at its meeting in San José (Costa Rica). The Junior Pan Am Games will welcome athletes from 41 countries aged from 18 to 22. The city of Cali has already hosted several international sports competitions, including the World Games in 2013, the 2015 World Junior Athletics Championships and the U-20 World Cup in 2011. More info here.
The NOC of El Salvador recently held its General Assembly, with the presidents of national sports federations and members of the Executive Committee, including NOC President Eduardo Palomo. On the agenda was the activity report for 2018, the action plan for 2019 and the financial statements. The assembly welcomed a proposal from the city of Santa Ana to host the first Junior Panamerican Games in 2021. More info here.
On 27 March at the Spanish NOC headquarters in Madrid, an agreement on the creation of an Olympic Study Centre in the city of Puente Genil (Cordova) was signed. The agreement was ratified by NOC President Alejandro Blanco, the President of the Spanish Royal Olympic Academy, Conrado Durántez, the mayor of Puente Genil, Esteban Morales, and his special advisor for sport and education, José Antonio Gómez. Through this agreement, the centre in Puente Genil will be able to provide access to Olympic-themed publications, and will organise conferences throughout the year on sporting topics, as well as being involved in programmes to promote Olympic values in primary schools around the province. More info here.
Team Singapore gymnast Tamara Ong received a sports scholarship from the NTUC FairPrice Foundation in recognition for her gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. Eighteen athletes represented Team Singapore in ten sports in Buenos Aires, and returned with one gold medal, one national record and five personal best performances. As she is currently studying and training in Melbourne (Australia), Ong was represented by Karen Norden, General Manager of Singapore Gymnastics, who received the scholarship from Seah Kian Peng, the Chief Executive of NTUC FairPrice and Director of the Singapore Olympic Foundation. The ceremony was held in the presence of Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament and Singapore NOC President, Chef de Mission Tao Li, and the rest of the Singapore contingent. More info here.
From 21 to 23 March the NOC of Venezuela organised a coaching course as part of Olympic Solidarity’s training programme. The participants from sixteen national federations of team and ball sports attended lectures on sports legislation, Olympic Solidarity, teaching motor skills, sports coaching methods and sports biomechanics. This joint initiative by the NOC and Olympic Solidarity is split between three modules. The next courses on the agenda will be for other sports federations.
Organising Committees for the Olympic Games
The Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) has published its latest sustainability progress report, highlighting progress made towards the delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Sustainability Plan. Version two of the Sustainability Plan was published in June 2018 under the guiding principle of “Be better, together – for the planet and the people.” The progress report details achievements to date in the areas of climate change, resource management, the natural environment and biodiversity, human rights, labour and fair business practices, as well as involvement, cooperation and communications. It was published in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a set of international standards governing sustainability reporting. More info here.
The Athletes’ Council of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has published its first strategy that aims to place athletes firmly at the heart of the Paralympic Movement. Released after two years of consultation with athlete representatives and stakeholders across the Paralympic Movement, “At the heart” aims to act as a guide to both athletes and the IPC membership as to how the IPC Athletes’ Council can build athlete leaders and ensure the Paralympic Movement is athlete-centred. More details here.