This week, IOC President Thomas Bach chaired a five-party meeting with Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko, International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Marukawa Tamayo. During the meeting, the participants reiterated their pledge to ensure safe and secure Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 for athletes, officials, spectators. It was agreed that a decision on international spectators is envisaged for the end of March.
President Bach discussed the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 with Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for these Games.
President Bach and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, met by videoconference to discuss the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
During a phone call, the IOC President spoke with the President of the Korean NOC, Lee Kee-Heung. Together, they discussed the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the situation of the Korean athletes preparing for these Games.
In other news, President Bach discussed a number of topical Olympic issues with IOC Executive Board member Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski.
Other Olympic news
With OBS Cloud, the broadcast footprint at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be 30 per cent smaller than it was at Rio 2016, while content production will be up by about 30 per cent. Tokyo 2020 will also be the first Games at which coverage will be natively produced in 4K HDR. The challenge of producing more than 9,000 hours of sports content over 17 days in the current climate is clearly very real. Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) CEO Yiannis Exarchos talks about the new opportunities offered by this innovative broadcasting solution here.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) completed another successful window of Continental Cup qualifiers at the end of February. Some 83 qualifying games featuring 74 teams and 943 players were held in protected environment bubbles, across 14 different cities on five continents, as per the September decision of the FIBA Executive Committee. These games were possible thanks to the continued implementation of extensive precautionary measures, developed by the FIBA Medical Commission after consultation with the World Health Organization, and thanks to a concerted effort by FIBA's Regional Offices in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. More details here.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has published a guide for rider safety at men's and women's road cycling events. This document, aimed mainly at organisers, teams and riders, gives an instructive explanation of the new measures in force from 2021. These measures, announced on 4 February after being adopted by the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) and the UCI Management Committee, are part of a global plan for rider safety, announced in 2020. Full details here.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has released the revised version of the Tokyo 2020 Qualification System for the Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline Gymnastics events that includes a few adjustments enabling the qualification process to conclude on time. All these amendments have been approved by the IOC. Full details here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) Marathon Swim World Series 2021 is kicking off on 13 March in Doha (Qatar), as 99 athletes from 27 countries confirmed their participation. The season-opening meet will take place under very strict COVID-19 protocols, which will ensure the safety and well-being of the athletes, coaches and officials. The Qatar Swimming Association has been hosting this event since 2018, and will welcome the FINA World Championships 2023 in Doha. More info at www.fina.org. In addition, during its first 2021 meeting held online on 3 March, the FINA Bureau accepted the resignation of Cornel Marculescu, the FINA Executive Director for the past 35 years. It was also decided that, from 4 March, Marcela Saxlund Medvedev, until now FINA Deputy Executive Director, will serve as FINA Interim Executive Director. In addition, Pedro Adrega, the current Head of the FINA Communications Department, is taking on the role of FINA Interim Deputy Executive Director.
The World Sailing Trust (founded in 2018 by World Sailing) is launching a global Participation Study to assess the status of sailing in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion. Almost two years after the launch of the Trust's global survey on women in the sport, the mission of the Participation Study is to build a sport that is able to attract, retain and enable talent in all its forms, and one that has a robust equity, diversity and inclusion policy. Full info here.
A total of nine qualification places for table tennis at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be up for grabs when the World Singles Qualification Tournament gets underway in Doha (Qatar) from 14 to 17 March 2021. The tournament is being hosted and organised by the Qatar Table Tennis Association, under the auspices and authority of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Four spots will be reserved for men and another five set aside for women. More details here.
national olympic committees
On 23 February, the President of the Algerian NOC, Abderrahmane Hammad (right in photo), received the Serbian Ambassador to Algeria, Aleksandar Janković (left), at the NOC headquarters. The two men discussed bilateral cooperation prospects between the two countries in the area of sport and Olympism. Other topics addressed included the 19th Mediterranean Games, which will be held in Oran from 25 June to 5 July 2022, and the likely visit of the Serbian NOC President. More info here.
The 3rd edition of Sport BootCamp brought together 24 young participants in February, both in person in the city of Santa Cruz and virtually. The Camp was organised jointly by the Cape Verdean Olympic Committee and the local council. Supported by Olympic Solidarity, the Camp was aimed at young people in the municipality, which wants to provide them with the knowledge they will need to create profitable sports projects. Over five days, the participants were mentored by business managers and specialists in innovation, entrepreneurship, communication and marketing who have extensive experience in sport. More info at www.coc.cv. In addition, the Portuguese version of the Manual for the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) has been published on the IOC website (olympic.org). This version has been translated into Portuguese by the Cape Verdean NOC in a joint initiative with the Pierre de Coubertin Committee in Brazil. Details here.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has appointed Dr Niall Elliott (see photo) as its Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Elliott will work with the BOA on a year-round basis, in addition to Games-time periods, and will fulfil this part-time role alongside his current position as the Head of Sports Medicine at the SportScotland Institute of Sport and as Team GB’s CMO for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Tokyo will be Elliott’s eighth major Games across both winter and summer editions and Commonwealth Games. More details here.
The NOC of Lithuania (LNOC) and the Lithuanian Olympic Fund have successfully held their second mass virtual sports event. Over 2,000 participants joined the LTeam Winter Festival 2021 from 17 to 21 February. They were able to choose from a number of sports and disciplines: jogging, cycling, skating, skiing, Alpine skiing and snowboarding. LTeam athletes, friends and partners had prepared 14 different virtual training sessions specially for the Festival, which will be also available on the LNOC and LTeam YouTube accounts for those who could not try them during the Festival. In addition, there were more than 2,000 photos or videos posted on social media by participants. Info at www.ltok.lt.
The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC)’s 6th Sport IndustryTT Conference was held virtually on 4 March. The theme was “The Future is Now: COVID-19 Implications for the Sport Industry”. Among the speakers were TTOC President Brian Lewis; Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe; Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat; and Canadian Olympian Heather Moyse, a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the two-woman bobsleigh and an international rugby player. More details here. In addition, Rowena Williams was elected President of the T&T Cycling Federation for the period 2021-2023, following the virtual Annual General Meeting held on 27 February. This is her third term in office, after serving as President in 2010-2012 and 2012-2014. More info here.
The President of the NOC of Uzbekistan, Rustam Shaabdurakhmonov (left in photo), welcomed his colleague from the Turkish Olympic Committee, President of World Archery and IOC Member Uğur Erdener (right), to the NOC headquarters in Tashkent. The two leaders discussed cooperation and plans for the future. A memorandum of cooperation between the two NOCs was signed, which will involve organising joint training camps for national teams in preparation for major competitions, and cooperation and exchanges of experience in the field of sports medicine and pharmacology. More info here.
The Venezuelan NOC has announced that Yulimar Rojas (centre in photo), the Olympic medallist and world triple jump champion, received the Ibero-American Community Trophy at the annual national sports awards ceremony organised by the Spanish National Sports Council (CSD). Rojas received the award at the El Pardo Royal Palace in Madrid. Those in attendance included the King and Queen of Spain (see photo), the Minister for Culture and Sport, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, and Secretary of State for Sport and CSD President Irene Lozano. More details here.
Organising Committee for the Olympic Games
At a Council meeting on 3 March, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) appointed 12 new Executive Board members, all women. It also increased the maximum number of Executive Board members to 45, in order to reflect a broader range of opinions during preparations for the Games. At an Executive Board meeting held on 2 March, Executive Board member Arakida Yuko was also appointed Vice-President, with the aim of further promoting gender equality and respect for diversity at the Tokyo 2020 Games. More info here.
At its first meeting of 2021, on 2 March, the Council of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) agreed to organise its General Assembly virtually on 8 June, due to the ongoing global pandemic. During its virtual meeting, the Council agreed that it would propose to the General Assembly amendments to the ASOIF statues, aimed at improving gender balance in the representation of IF delegates at the General Assembly. IF good governance, preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the European Sport Model were also on the Council’s agenda. Full info here.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has launched a dedicated Tokyo 2020 anti-doping webpage with a summary of key information for National Paralympic Committees, National Anti-Doping Organisations and International Federations ahead of this year’s Paralympic Games. This new webpage includes information about the IPC Anti-Doping Code, the Tokyo 2020 Doping Control Guidebook and other key pieces of information for Games participants about the anti-doping programme and how it will be conducted. Full details here.
The Education to sport through footage initiative, aimed at spreading sports culture, fair play and the Olympic values among young people, is being promoted by the Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs (FICTS). For the first time online, the initiative is part of the Trofei di Milano - Education, Culture and Sport for Youth inter-school sports and training activities for 53 primary and secondary schools. This event is now in its 58th edition, which, since 1964, has seen three-and-a-half million students taking part. The programme of meetings is free of charge, and will have 10/20 classes (200/400 students) taking part. FICTS President Franco Ascani will introduce the meetings, which will feature videos on the importance of sport as a social investment, as a tool for health, education, training and inclusion. The topics will include the next editions of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the contemporaneous birth of cinema and the modern Olympic Games, and the spirit of peace between peoples. More info at www.sportmoviestv.com.