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Olympic Highlights 08/07/2019

Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
08 Jul 2019
Olympic News, IOC News, Olympic Highlights



IOC President Thomas Bach had the opportunity to address the world’s leaders at the G20 Summit in Osaka (Japan) on 29 June. He was invited by Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, the host country of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The world’s leaders received the speech with a round of applause. Prime Minister Abe praised the IOC and its President for their work and stressed the support for the mission of the Olympic Games.

Japanese Prime Minister Office
Before his speech, President Bach presented an original participant’s medal from the Olympic Games Stockholm 1912 to Prime Minister Abe. It was a symbolic gift as the Japanese team took part for the first time in Stockholm. The IOC President also had the opportunity to speak bilaterally to a number of Heads of State and Heads of Government. In his speech, the IOC President spoke about the role of the Olympic Games as the only event that unites the whole world in peaceful competition. “In a year from now, more than half of the world’s population will follow the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Olympic Games are the only event that brings the entire world together in peaceful competition. At the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the world will see athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team united,” he said (the full speech can be found here).

While praising the preparation and vision of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, whose President Yoshiro Mori had joined him in the luncheon room with the G20 leaders, Thomas Bach emphasised: “The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be not only the greatest sporting event in the world; they will also be an inspiration for sustainable growth. This approach is a perfect reflection of the IOC reforms to make sustainability central to all our activities. We walk the talk.”

He underlined that the IOC is a values-based organisation: “This is what makes us different from for-profit sports businesses. I hope you will take this into consideration whenever you have to take decisions that affect sport.” He also asked the political leaders of the world for their support for the IOC’s mission: “We can accomplish this mission only if we stay out of any political dispute. This means we have to be politically neutral. But this is not enough. We depend on your, the world leaders’, support for our mission and our neutrality.”

The IOC President closed by saying: “I am so grateful that I can ask you personally today to support this precious and unique unifying role of the Olympic Games, making them this great symbol of unity in diversity of all humankind.”

The participants at the G20 Summit are leaders from 19 countries and the European Union (EU). Additionally, there were leaders of invited guest countries and representatives of invited guest international organisations.

During his visit to Osaka the IOC President was accompanied by IOC Member John Coates, the Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission. Full news release here.

Office of the Australian Prime Minister
During the G20 Summit, the IOC President held a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The Prime Minister declared that his government fully supported a candidature from Queensland to host the Olympic Games 2032. He also made it clear that the Olympic Games would fit into the government’s 10-year infrastructure planning. At the meeting, the IOC President noted that this early commitment, and the well-known Australian enthusiasm for sport, were a great foundation for the Olympic Games 2032 in Queensland. The President was accompanied by John Coates, IOC Member in Australia.

Together with Coates, the Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission, the IOC President held meetings with Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, and Toshiro Muto, the Tokyo 2020 CEO, in Osaka.

IOC / Greg Martin
From Osaka, the IOC President travelled to Minsk (Belarus), where he attended the final day of the 2nd European Games. He went to watch the badminton competitions, where he was accompanied by European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Janez Kocijančič. The IOC President then went on to gymnastics and wrestling events, before attending the closing ceremony in the Dinamo Stadium. At the competitions, he awarded the medals in the men’s pommel horse and the men’s Greco-Roman +130kg (picture above), which was won by Belarusian Kiryl Hryshchanka in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. 

IOC / Greg Martin
President Bach was welcomed by the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, at the Independence Palace. The IOC President congratulated President Lukashenko on the excellent organisation, the good atmosphere and the success of the Belarusian team at the Games. The hosts won the second-most medals behind Russia. The two Presidents also discussed the further development of sport in Belarus after the European Games.

IOC / Greg Martin
At the Minsk Arena, where the gymnastics events took place, the IOC President met the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. In their meeting, President Bach congratulated him on the success of the Russian team, which won more than 100 medals in Minsk, while President Putin expressed his appreciation for the speech the IOC President had given at the G20 Summit in Osaka.

On the occasion of the closing ceremony, a meeting was also held with the President of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian.

At the European Games, the IOC President also met IOC Members Sergey Bubka, Nenad Lalović, Daina Gudzineviciute and Spyros Capralos.

IOC / Greg Martin
The IOC and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aiming at strengthening their collaboration on promoting ethics, integrity and good governance, as well as peace and sustainable development in sport. The agreement was signed in Lausanne by IOC President Thomas Bach and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Whilst the IOC’s vision is to build a better world through sport, the OECD works to build better policies for better lives. Therefore our organisations have many synergies − it is a natural match,” said President Bach. “The IOC is looking forward to making the best use of the OECD’s remarkable expertise in anti-corruption and in addressing social, economic and environmental challenges. We will also spread its evidence-based solutions within the Olympic Movement,” the IOC President added. For Angel Gurría, “it is the next important step in our cooperation after the OECD and the IOC have been both founding partners of IPACS. This MoU illustrates our common objective to combat corruption, to promote integrity in sport, to ensure responsible business conduct, and to foster sustainable and inclusive growth which helps improve the integrity and credibility of sports organisations.” This cooperation with the OECD is another step forward by the IOC in its new approach to good governance and the fight against corruption. With Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC has turned the page. However, it still has to deal with issues and cases from before these reforms and does so with great determination. The partnership with the OECD will facilitate these efforts. Full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin
President Bach received Norwegian two-time Olympic Alpine skiing champion Aksel Lund Svindal, with whom he spoke about various issues regarding the role of the athletes within the Olympic Movement. In four Games editions, Svindal won four medals and became the first-ever Norwegian Olympic downhill champion at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

In the evening of 5 July, the President attended the Athletissima athletics meeting in Lausanne, where he met Virginie Faivre, the President of the Organising Committee for the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.



Tony Estanguet, President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, has been named on the list of 100 young leaders with a key role in sports development in France. The #ChoiseulSportBusiness ranking was established by the Choiseul Institute.

Honour Members


In an editorial published on, Henry Kissinger, IOC Honour Member and former US Secretary of State, stresses that the Olympic Games offer a look into what a better and more peaceful future could be. “The Olympic Games exemplifies the positive possibilities of the modern world’s unprecedented interconnection. Under the auspices of the Games, in spite of the differences in culture and history that define their diverse systems, the nations of the world gladly take the opportunity to come together. In the peaceful competition of the Olympics, the achievement of one nation encourages the efforts of others, spurring all on to new heights in human excellence”, wrote Kissinger before adding: “Of course, the Games alone will not prevent wars or end conflicts. But the Olympics may be taken as inspiration in an international search for understanding through and alongside contestation.” He concluded by saying: “Unlike in eras past, the orders of today’s world are inextricably linked. They will continue to affect each other and, in some places, compete. Some see this as a challenge but the Olympic Games can be a valuable symbol of how to compete in a peaceful way. In my view, it is an opportunity: By looking beyond this moment in history, we may build a concept of the future in which our multiplying networks are transformed into bonds that enhance mutual understanding, promote peace, and drive our shared pursuit of the many forms of human greatness.” Full text here.

Other olympic news

On 5 July, the Executive Board of the IOC fully lifted the suspension of the Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) as a result of the successful implementation of a roadmap agreed between all parties. The decision was made by postal vote. Full news release here.

The International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS) decided, during a meeting of its Steering Committee held in Paris on 1 July and hosted by the French Presidency of the Council of Europe, to set up a new task force in order to increase the cooperation between criminal justice authorities/law enforcement and sports organisations. While sports organisations can impose sanctions on corruption occurring within their fields of responsibility, criminal justice authorities have a leading role to play in dealing with criminal offences. These often prove to be of a transnational or international nature, adding to the complexity of how cases are dealt with. Enhanced cooperation between criminal justice authorities and sport will generate greater efficiencies and longer-lasting impacts. Full press release here.

In the framework of the 2019/2020 edition of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme, the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC), with the support of its Grant Selection Committee and the IOC administration, has awarded grants to seven research projects, underlining their academic quality and strategic and operational relevance to the IOC’s activities. These grants will allow the researchers to carry out their research projects, benefit from exchanges with the IOC and, if relevant, consult the OSC’s archives and resources in Lausanne. The results of the research are expected by June 2020. More information about the OSC and its activities and programmes can be found here.

International federations

Summer ifs


The Executive Committee of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) met on 28 June at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball in Mies (Switzerland). The main topics of discussion were the preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Beijing in September, the 2021 FIBA Continental Cups qualifiers, the Olympic qualification tournaments for Tokyo 2020 and 3x3 basketball events. More details here.

With the 18th FINA World Championships set to take place imminently, from 12 to 28 July, in Gwangju (Republic of Korea), the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that a series of key meetings will be held ahead of and during the competition. The FINA Congress, during which important changes to the FINA statutes will be reviewed, will take place on 19 July, following the FINA Bureau meeting on 10 July. In addition, the host cities for the 2025 and 2027 editions of the World Championships will be announced on 11 July at a press conference. More info on

national olympic committees

NOC of Azerbaijana
A delegation made up of representatives from the NOCs of Azerbaijan and Belarus, EOC representatives, athletes and other guests paid a visit to the Francisk Skorina Gymnasium No. 1 in Minsk (Belarus). The gymnasium is twinned with school no. 164 in Baku (Azerbaijan) in the framework of the Olympic Culture and Education Programme being run as part of the Baku 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF). The programme, which is supported by Olympic Solidarity, is an initiative of the NOC of Azerbaijan and is being implemented as an EYOF legacy project. Forty-nine schools in Baku have been twinned with other schools across Europe. Twinned schools learn about the culture, history, art and sport of other countries in the programme and share knowledge about their own, while promoting the Olympic values and principles. More info on

Brazil Olympic Committee
The Hall of Fame of the Brazilian Olympic Committee will have 10 new members in 2019: Chiaki Ishii, who became Brazil’s first-ever Olympic judo medallist at Munich 1972; Hortencia and Paula, Olympic silver medallists in basketball at Atlanta 1996; Joaquim Cruz, Olympic champion in the 800m at Los Angeles 1984; the late Guilherme Paraense, Brazil's first Olympic gold medallist (Antwerp 1920, shooting); João do Pulo, two-time Olympic bronze medallist in athletics; Maria Lenk (swimming), the first South American woman to compete in the Olympic Games, at Los Angeles 1932; Sylvio Magalhães Padilha, the first South American to compete in an Olympic final, in athletics in Berlin in 1936; and volleyball coaches Bernardinho (two-time Olympic champion) and José Roberto Guimarães (three-time Olympic champion). The 10 sporting idols will leave their mark by casting moulds of their hands or feet – with images of the faces of posthumous honourees to be used – at events such as Olympic Day, the one-year-to-go celebrations for Tokyo 2020, the Youth School Games and the Brazil Olympic Prize ceremony. More details here.

Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee
To celebrate Olympic Day 2019, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) presented a series of Move, Learn and Discover events. In total, more than 1,000 sports enthusiasts took part in the month-long celebration in Taipei City and National Taiwan Sport University. A 3km Olympic Day Fun Run, co-hosted by the CTOC and the Olympian Association, brought together hundreds of participants at the university. Representatives from national federations and sports enthusiasts participated in the Olympic Protocol workshops and in “My Olympic Story” seminars with Olympians who shared their Olympic experience. Participants also had the chance to try archery initiation activities run by Olympians. More info at

Cuban NOC

A number of Olympic medallists, including three-time Olympic volleyball champions Regla Torres and Marlenis Costa, took part in the Olympic Day Run in Havana, together with hundreds of other participants of all ages. The run was started by Cuban NOC President Roberto León Richards and his counterpart from the National Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), Osvaldo Vento Montiller.

NOC of Panama

The 2019 edition of Olympic Day organised by the NOC of Panama saw more than 7,000 people take part in over 20 sports demonstration activities in various parts of the Altaplaza shopping centre. The participants had the opportunity to try their hand at a number of sports disciplines and familiarise themselves with the Olympic values under the direction of the NOC Athletes’ Commission. On 22 June, the 76 athletes who have qualified for the Lima 2019 Pan-American Games were presented at “Plaza Olímpica”. On 23 June, the traditional 5km run was organised by Panama Runners, the Panama Triathlon Union and the Panama Athletics Federation. More details here.

Singapore Olympic Foundation
On 29 June, more than 1,500 participants gathered at the Kallang Practice Track and Singapore Sports Hub to celebrate Olympic Day, which this year was organised in conjunction with the Singapore Tennis Festival. The participants walked alongside Olympians such as C. Kunalan (athletics), Ajit Singh (hockey) and Tao Li (swimming). Ser Miang Ng, IOC Executive Board member and Chairman of the Singapore Olympic Foundation, got the walk underway at the National Stadium. He was joined by Angelita Teo, who will become the new director of The Olympic Museum in Lausanne in October; Chiang Hock Woon, Deputy Chief Executive of Sport Singapore; and Jessie Phua, Tan Eng Liang, Edwin Lee and Chris Chan, members of the Executive Committee of the Singapore National Olympic Council. More info on

Venezuelan NOC
The Venezuelan NOC awarded the Jesús Eduardo Lizarraga Order to nine journalists in recognition of their contribution to the promotion of Olympic sport in Venezuela. Jesús Eduardo Lizarraga was the founder of the Mundo Deportivo magazine and set up the NOC’s Ethics and Values Commission. The journalists also voted to choose the Venezuelan flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Lima 2019 Pan-American Games on 26 July. Daniel Dhers (BMX) was the athlete selected. More details here.

organising committees for the olympic games

Tokyo 2020

Getty Images
The Japanese capital continued to gear up for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by successfully hosting its first major international modern pentathlon event since the 1964 Games. A total of 72 athletes from more than 20 countries lined up for the 2019 modern pentathlon World Cup final, with the sport’s leading names all hoping to grab one of two qualifying places for the Games next summer. With the staging of the 2019 World Cup final, modern pentathlon has become the third sport to hold a test event for Tokyo 2020, and the second to do so in the Japanese capital, following on from the sailing and water polo events organised in late 2018. The modern pentathlon event will be followed by six more test events in July, including the Japan Open badminton championships at the same Musashino venue, and four events staged by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee under the official brand name “Ready, Steady, Tokyo”. More details here.

organising committees for the youth olympic games

Lausanne 2020

The Organising Committee for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020 has announced that its Olympic cauldron, the construction of which began on 17 June 2019, will be powered by wooden pellets, making it the most ecologically responsible in the history of the Olympic Games. This innovative, environmentally friendly concept is the result of an unprecedented partnership between several organisations in the region which, together, are building a unique value chain for the cauldron from design to completion. The design of the Olympic cauldron has been entrusted to industrial design Bachelor’s students from the Lausanne-based ECAL arts school. More details here.

recognised organisations

Ahead of its 30th anniversary later this year, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has published its latest Strategic Plan 2019-2022. This Plan can be downloaded from the IPC website in English and will be available in French, Spanish and German later this month. Reflecting this, the IPC has refined its vision and developed a new mission statement that better reflects its purpose in using sport as a catalyst to create a better world for all. More details here.

The 26 member states of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (ICMG) will be present in Patras (Greece) from 25 to 31 August 2019 for the 2nd Mediterranean Beach Games. A total of 1,020 athletes will be taking part in the competition. More info here.

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