IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed Senegalese Head of State Macky Sall for an official visit to the IOC. Speaking at The Olympic Museum, the two leaders emphasised the essential role that sports play in bringing people together and promoting the values of peace and friendship. In his remarks, President Bach congratulated the Senegalese Head of State on the efforts of his government to promote sport in Senegal. “Senegal has shown a strong intention to put sport at the centre of society”, he said. The IOC President also acknowledged the excellent cooperation between the government and sport authorities in Senegal, highlighting the respect for the autonomy of sports organisations. President Sall welcomed the initiatives being taken by the IOC and stressed the importance of sport in society and the strong cooperation between the United Nations and the IOC. He also praised Olympic Agenda 2020 saying that it “helps to secure the future of sport and the Olympic Movement.” Senegalese NOC President and IOC Member Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye and the Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission Youssoupha Ndiaye were at The Olympic Museum, where Senegalese Head of State Macky Sall also signed the IOC’s Golden Book.
UNHCR / Susan Hopper
In a visit to the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, IOC President Thomas Bach and UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi spoke of the great partnership between the two organisations. Speaking to the UNHCR staff, President Bach said: “We have already been working together for 20 years, and we want to extend and expand our cooperation. This partnership helps us to put sport at the service of humankind.” High Commissioner Filippo Grandi described the partnership as “very important”. He added: “at the heart of our cooperation is the desire to use sport as a symbol of hope for people who have so few reasons to look to the future with optimism.”
During a separate meeting, the IOC President and the UNHCR High Commissioner reaffirmed their commitment to a number of upcoming initiatives using sport to improve the lives of refugees and displaced people around the world. They also discussed the future of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. President Bach updated UNHCR on the long term support for the 10 athletes who made up the team in Rio. They are no longer in a refugee camp and have all now been found accommodation and are being given support and advice by the IOC on education, training and their future beyond sport. Read the full press release here.
With the President of NBC Sports, Mark Lazarus, discussions focused on the partnership between the IOC, NBCUniversal and the US Olympic Committee which will see the launch of a national brand of Olympic Channel in the U.S. called the ‘Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA’ in the second half of 2017. This new linear Olympic Channel in the U.S. will be devoted to Olympic sports, athletes and stories. Preparations for the upcoming editions of the Olympic Games were also discussed. The IOC President was accompanied by IOC Member Alex Gilady.
Meetings with IOC Vice President Uğur Erdener, IOC Executive Board Member Ser Miang Ng and IOC Member Beatrice Allen also took place this week.
The Young Network of the German Council on Foreign Policy (DGAP) had invited the IOC President for a discussion about the IOC and the Olympic Movement. Last Wednesday, President Bach and 50 young members of DGAP under the age of 35 met in Berlin. They discussed the role of the Olympic Games in today’s society.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
On 21 March, the IOC joined the United Nations and a number of other organisations to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, an annual reminder that every person is entitled to human rights without any form of discrimination. Through a long-standing partnership with the United Nations, the IOC has been using sport to unite individuals and communities amidst their diversity and promote a culture of peace and humanity. “Practising sport, without discrimination of any kind, is a human right and a fundamental principle of the Olympic Movement,” the IOC President said. “We believe in the power of sport to build bridges between communities, and the Olympic Games are the embodiment of how sport can help stand up against racial discrimination, and unite people from all walks of life.” Read the full press release here.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
On 19 March, at its Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), the Badminton World Federation (BWF), whose President is IOC Member Poul-Erik Høyer (left of photo), unveiled a new tournament structure. Featuring six levels, the series will start next year and run until 2021. The more unified structure will strengthen brand awareness, thus helping to increase exposure and commercial revenues. Find out more here.
Meeting in Mies (Switzerland) on 18 March, the Executive Committee of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) discussed a number of topics, including the Mid-Term Congress set to take place on 4 and 5 May in Hong Kong. Recent developments concerning the launch of the FIBA Competition System 2017+, the draw for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers, the Basketball Champions League and women’s basketball were also on the agenda. Find out more here.
Finland’s Olympic bronze medallist Petra Olli and other Finnish coaches and athletes recently led the first-ever United World Wrestling (UWW) talent identification camp. Organised in collaboration with the Kuortane Olympic Training Centre in Finland, the camp was held from 25 February until 6 March, bringing together more than a dozen female athletes from Norway, Estonia, Russia and Austria, alongside potential scholarship grantees from South Africa, Australia and Nigeria. As well as technical sessions, the instructors carried out fitness tests, which will provide useful information for coaches on talent identification. More details on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.
Hungary’s three-time Olympic and five-time world champion swimmer Katinka Hosszu (pictured) was chosen to unveil the countdown clock of the 17th International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships taking place in Budapest (Hungary) from 14 to 30 July this year. The clock was started in Erzsebet Square in the heart of Budapest at 9.53 a.m. on Sunday 19 March. The timing was deliberate, as the countdown started at exactly 117 days, 11 hours, 7 minutes and 17 seconds before the opening ceremony for these Championships. More details on www.fina.org.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has assembled a panel of experts to supervise the roll-out of its new Laser-Run City Tour (LRCT) venture. These experts took part in a workshop in Monaco on 13 and 14 March aimed at preparing them for the 2017 competition season, which begins in Tbilisi (Georgia) on 1 April. LRCT is designed to spread the sport of Laser-Run through cities and communities around the world. Find out more here.
World Rugby informed us that it has joined the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in developing a ground-breaking protocol for multi-surface playing fields that could revolutionise how shared sports grounds are used and enjoyed around the world. After many years working together on this project, including detailed discussions with industry leaders, the three Federations have managed to balance player welfare and performance with playability for an initiative named the “One Turf Concept”. Read the full story here.
On 15 March, the headquarters of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) in Lausanne hosted a National Federations Strategic Meeting. Chaired by FIVB President Ary S. Graça F°, this meeting of representatives of the National Federations of some of the world’s wealthiest countries looked at how volleyball could be developed within their nations and how they could contribute to the development of the FIVB. Representatives of Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and the USA took part, alongside FIVB Secretary General Fernando Lima and several FIVB administration directors. Find out more here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The headquarters of the Argentinean NOC recently hosted the second meeting for female sports leaders. Those attending included leaders from all the national federations and the members of the NOC’s Women in Sport Commission. Chaired by NOC First Vice-President Alicia Masoni de Morea and Commission Chair Patricia Sangenis, the meeting addressed the results of the survey conducted at the previous meeting, aimed at obtaining the views of men and women on the role of female athletes and/or sports leaders and identifying the differences and similarities in the views of people from different sports bodies. More details on www.coarg.org.ar.
The Women and Sport Commission of the Cyprus NOC organised a conference on “Women in Sport: A Catalyst in Solving Social Issues” on 22 March at the NOC Olympic House in Nicosia. The guest speakers were Aggeliki Aroni from the Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs and Tegla Loroupe, Chef de Mission of the Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. During her stay in Cyprus, Tegla Loroupe visited the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the village of Kofinou. She was accompanied by the NOC Director General, Olga Piperidou, the NOC Woman and Sport Commission Chair, Kalli Hadjiosif, and representatives from UNHCR Cyprus. More info at www.olympic.org.cy.
On 22 March, the new Executive Committee of the Colombian NOC met for the first time. NOC President Baltazar Medina swore in the Committee members, who will be leading the NOC’s programme during the current Olympic cycle (2017-2020), with a focus on the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The meeting agenda included various topics linked to the Olympic cycle. More details here.
On 20 and 21 March, the NOC of El Salvador was visited by Brazilian NOC President Carlos Arthur Nuzman, accompanied by Mario Cilenti, who was Executive Director of the Olympic Village at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. On this occasion, Carlos Nuzman, who was also President of the Rio Games Organising Committee, addressed various topics including the creation of networks to benefit sport, establishing a culture of sport and the work of sports clubs. More details on www.teamesa.org.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has signed training venue contracts with three sports facilities in Japan, securing Team GB’s multi-sport preparation camp for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Keio University, Todoroki Stadium and Yokohama International Pool will provide Team GB’s athletes with optimal pre-Games training in world-class facilities ahead of the Games. The three sites, all based in the Greater Tokyo area in the cities of Kawasaki and Yokohama, will make up the BOA’s biggest ever pre-Games preparation camp and be able to accommodate up to 90 per cent of Team GB’s selected athletes for the Games. Find out more on www.teamgb.com.
The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has entered into a partnership agreement with the Finnish NOC. Both parties will actively support officials, staff, their own athletes and coaches in taking part in exchange programmes and benefitting from other opportunities. Both parties will exchange marketing knowledge and information, and will share information in relation to the Olympic Movement. The agreement was signed by JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda and Finnish NOC President Timo Ritakallio during a ceremony held in Tokyo. As of today, the JOC has already signed agreements with 41 NOCs. More info on www.joc.or.jp.
A delegation from the Korean Cultural Centre headed by its director Hyunjum Kim visited the Olympic Centre, the headquarters of the Polish NOC. The NOC was represented by the Director for Olympics and International Relations, Marzenna Koszewska and Director for Education Department, Katarzyna Deberny. The purpose of the meeting was connected with the upcoming Olympic Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 and the cooperation between the two organisations especially on the educational and cultural aspects as well as at the 19th Sports for All Festival that will be celebrated on 3 June 2017 in Warsaw. More info at www.olimpiski.pl.
The Venezuelan NOC recently held its ordinary general assembly for 2016 at the NOC headquarters. The management and financial reports for 2016 were presented by NOC President Eduardo Álvarez and the Executive Committee. The agenda for the assembly included the NOC’s activities, administration and organisation. Also attending were nine Olympic medallists who are part of the “Olympic for Ever” (Olímpicos por Siempre) programme, and who were honoured on this occasion.