IOC President Thomas Bach highlighted the importance of the world of sport to embrace innovation, as he addressed an audience of sports leaders gathered at the SportAccord Convention opening ceremony in Aarhus (Denmark). “We live in a fast-changing world and the role of sport in society is constantly evolving too. Innovation becomes the key to adapt to this new reality. All international federations and all sports organisations are at the forefront of this rapidly changing landscape and many of you are demonstrating innovation every day,” he said. Praising the constructive involvement of the International Federations during the Olympic Games Rio 2016, he expressed his confidence that this strong engagement will carry on for future Olympic Games.
In his remarks, President Bach also stressed the need for innovation in reforming the WADA anti-doping system. He emphasised that a system that is equally independent from sports organisations and national interests would also be advantageous for international federations, as it would protect them from the risk of being held liable for a mistake or unjustified sanction.
President Bach also spoke about the importance to innovate the candidature process for the Olympic Games. He pointed out that the current reality of political decision making makes it more difficult to build a winning candidature. “We need to keep innovating and adapt our candidature process to this reality,” he said. “The purpose of the candidature process is to produce the best host city for the Olympic athletes. We need to adapt the process, making it less costly, more flexible, more effective, more streamlined.” Read the full press release here.
During a joint meeting with the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), chaired by Francesco Ricci Bitti, President Bach updated the IFs on issues including the preparations for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and in particular the programme of the Games. The anti-doping reforms and the IF governance review were also discussed.
With the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) whose President is IOC Executive Board Member Gian-Franco Kasper, preparations for upcoming editions of the Olympic Winter Games and the future candidature procedure for the Olympic Winter Games were addressed.
Accompanied by IOC Vice-Presidents Yu Zaiqing and Uğur Erdener, President Bach had a joint meeting with the Council of the Association of IOC-Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF). He congratulated ARISF President Raffaele Chiulli on his re-election and the elected members of the Council. Alongside the excellent cooperation between the two organisations, anti-doping work, good governance and integrity questions were also discussed. He also praised the ARISF for being the first International sports organization to have followed the IOC recommendation of a gender equal organization.
Speaking at the General Assembly of the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport (AIMS), chaired by Stephan Fox, President Bach emphasised that the values of sport are the same, regardless of sports organisations. In his special address, he underscored that it is up to each sports organisation to demonstrate, to prove and to work to be an important enabler for the many social values that sport can influence and promote. “Respect is at the basis of all social values,” said President Bach. “This is where sport and international sports federations can set a great example, because sport is always about respect. This is the responsibility that we need to take, to make the world a better place through sport.”
During a meeting with the Council of SportAccord, chaired by IOC Member Patrick Baumann, discussions centred on the forthcoming General Assembly as well as other current topics. They agreed to have talks about future cooperation between SportAccord/GAISF and the IOC following the Assembly.
President held meetings with IOC Vice-Presidents Yu Zaiqing, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Uğur Erdener; IOC Executive Board Member Angela Ruggiero; IOC Members Craig Reedie, who is also the WADA President; Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark; Alexander Zhukov, who is also Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022; and Lawrence F. Probst; as well as IOC Honorary Member Vitaly Smirnov. He also met Franz Schreiber, Secretary General of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), and Vladimir Lisin, ISSF Vice-President.
A breakfast was held for all IOC Members attending the SportAccord Convention. In all, 23 Members took part and discussed issues of interest concerning the Olympic Movement.
In separate courtesy meetings, the IOC President met the Mayors of the Olympic Games 2024 Candidate Cities, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Anne Hidalgo of Paris. He wished each of them well for the remainder of their candidatures.
A meeting with William Lewis, CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was also held.
On his way to Denmark, IOC President attended the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki (Finland), together with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. This was their second meeting in two months, as President Bach was in Finland last February for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti. During his stay in Helsinki, the President was able to see a number of events and had the opportunity to congratulate Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan on his victory in the men’s free skating event. IOC Executive Board Member Gunilla Lindberg and IOC Member Yang Yang were also present.
Before heading to Helsinki, the IOC President held a meeting with the President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), David Haggerty, with whom he discussed the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the ITF’s long-term strategic plan (ITF 2024), particularly regarding good governance and the protection of clean athletes. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Channel were also discussed.
In a meeting with the President of the International Judo Federation (IJF), Marius Vizer, President Bach highlighted the success of the judo tournament at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, and discussed the preparations for the tournament at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and other matters of common interest.
The President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), Ary Graça, held discussions with the IOC President on the preparations for the volleyball competitions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and good governance within the IFs.
In Lausanne, meetings were also held with IOC Vice-President Uğur Erdener and IOC Members Denis Oswald, Mario Pescante, Gerhard Heiberg, Nawal El Moutawakel, Patrick Baumann, Habu Gumel, Tsunekazu Takeda, Bernard Rajzman, Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski, Poul-Eric Høyer and Mamadou NDiaye. A range of topical issues were addressed.
The Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Etsuro Honda, was received by the President. The preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were at the centre of the discussions. IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda was also in attendance.
Uğur Erdener, President of World Archery and Ching-Kuo Wu, President of the International Boxing Federation, were elected respectively a member and Vice-President of the ASOIF Council at the ASOIF General Assembly held in Aarhus. Marisol Casado, President of the International Triathlon Union, was also elected as a member of the ASOIF Council.
Karl Stoss was re-elected as President of the NOC of Austria during the NOC’s Annual General Meeting in Vienna last month. He is going into his third term of office, which will see him at the helm of the NOC until 2021.
Gathered in Lausanne, the Evaluation Commission Olympic Games 2024, chaired by IOC Member Patrick Baumann, completed an initial review of the two candidates with praise for the creativity and strong legacy focus of both Games concepts. Following a new procedure that resulted from Olympic Agenda 2020, the Commission focused on key elements of the proposals submitted by Los Angeles (USA) and Paris (France) (Cities are listed in the order of drawing of lots). The two cities will be the first to receive the full benefits of Olympic Agenda 2020. Read the full press release here.
The Audit Committee chaired by IOC Member Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant held a meeting in Lausanne. The IOC President spoke on several important matters, highlighting in particular the importance of good governance within the sports movement.
other olympic news
On the occasion of the SportAccord Convention, IOC Vice-Presidents Yu Zaiqing, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Uğur Erdener met representatives of the Olympic Games 2024 Candidate Cities, Los Angeles and Paris. The delegations were led by their respective Mayors, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Anne Hidalgo of Paris. The discussions focused on the 2024 Candidature Process as it heads into the final phase, six months before the election of the host city in September 2017. Read the full press release here.
The IOC has announced a donation of 600,000 US dollars to support the immediate recovery efforts in Peru, following the devastating floods in large parts of the country. In a letter to the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, IOC President expressed his sympathy for the Peruvian people in this difficult time. The letter was handed over personally to President Kuczynski by the IOC Member in Peru, Iván Dibós. The contribution is being made jointly by the IOC, Olympic Solidarity and the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO), in close consultation with Iván Dibós, and it will support the humanitarian relief efforts in the country. Read the full press release here.
Following the decision by the NHL, the IOC issued the following statement: This must be a huge disappointment for the players who definitely wanted to play at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The IOC feels very sorry for the athletes. The decision is even more regrettable, as the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had offered the same conditions to the NHL as at previous Olympic Games, where the insurance and travel costs were covered. The IOC, which distributes 90 per cent of its revenue for the development of sport in the world, obviously cannot treat a national commercial league better than not-for-profit International Sports Federations which are developing sport globally. The ice hockey tournament at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will nonetheless be a very exciting one, because the players from all the other professional ice hockey leagues will participate, and will be very much welcomed by their Olympic teams.
On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), the IOC celebrates the Refugee Olympic Team and the power of sport to unite people and help build a peaceful and better world. The group of 10 refugee Olympic athletes not only made history at last year’s Olympic Games Rio 2016, but have become true ambassadors for the values of sport. Following the successful participation of the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio, the IOC is working on the definition of the “safe places” programme, as announced by the IOC President at the UN General Assembly in October 2016. In cooperation with the United Nations, this initiative will help improve the quality of life of displaced and disadvantaged children and young people worldwide by developing safe places for them to play sport. Read the full press release here.
On 30 March, the IOC announced that four athletes have been disqualified from the Olympic Games London 2012 (full press release here). On 5 April, three athletes have been disqualified from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and London 2012 (full press release here).
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
In collaboration with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the World Association of Basketball Coaches (WABC) has unveiled a new educational platform for coaches, available free of charge to basketball coaches of all levels around the world. As with the WABC coaches manual, this platform will be translated into different languages – including French, Spanish and Chinese, with Russian and Portuguese also targeted – over the course of 2017-2018. Read the full press release here.
On 29 March, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) marked 150 days to the start of the 2017 World Boxing Championships with the confirmation of dates and venues for the five continental qualification tournaments. The Championships will be held from 25 August to 3 September 2017 in Hamburg (Germany). The world’s top boxers will have to qualify via five continental qualifiers, which will take place in May and June. More info here.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has announced the publication of its Cycling for All Manifesto, which sets out the ambition, role and core activities the UCI will pursue to support cycling in all forms across the world. The Manifesto demonstrates how cycling advocacy is being embedded into all areas of UCI activity, ensuring the organisation is a leading advocate for everyday cycling, working with partners from grassroots through to high-level political engagement. Read the full press release here.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has signed a four-year agreement with Irish equestrian data science company EquiRatings, which will see the two organisations working together on risk management initiatives for both Eventing and Endurance. The partnership will see EquiRatings work with the FEI’s extensive database which, alongside competition and veterinary data, has been collating statistics on fences, falls and injuries in Eventing and other information related to risk management in international competition for the last 10 years, working closely with National Federations and stakeholders. Read the full press release here.
The President of the Medical & Anti-Doping Commission of United World Wrestling (UWW), Babak Shadgan, presented his study on “Wrestling Injuries during the Olympic Games Rio 2016” at the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury & Illness in Sport in Monaco. The main outcome of the study is that the injury rate for wrestling was lower in Rio (a total of 352 athletes only sustained 22 injuries) than in London and Beijing. Better education, improvements in wrestling rules and regulations and more attention to wrestlers’ health care might explain this difference. More info on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.
As part of its development of aquatic disciplines throughout the world, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has organised three seminars for coaches, officials and referees since the start of the year. Kigali (Rwanda) played host to 59 coaches for a seminar on 11 and 12 January (see photo above). A training course was held for local open water swimming officials in Cairo (Egypt) on 21 and 22 January. A course for water polo referees took place in Los Angeles (USA) from 27 to 29 January and brought together 46 referees and several coaches from the Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. More info on www.fina.org.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) launched its new Laser-Run City Tour in Tbilisi (Georgia) on 1 April with more than 200 athletes taking part. The LRCT is designed to spread the sport of laser-run through cities and communities around the world. More than 60 cities and 300,000 athletes will participate in the inaugural 2017 season. More info on www.pentathlon.org.
On 6 April, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, World Rugby announced the five organisations which have been selected to join its Spirit of Rugby programme. All five are using rugby for societal development, be it on a local or international scale, with activities in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The work of the Spirit of Rugby partners is closely aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by using rugby to tackle key issues such as health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities, climate action and partnerships for the attainment of the SDGs amongst others. Read the story here.
The President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), Ary Graça, was “amazed” after seeing snow volleyball played for the first time at the “Volleyball Goes Europe” event held in Wagrain-Kleinarl in the Austrian Alps. The tournament was also a chance to attend top-level men’s and women’s matches. Read the full story here.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) has announced that Kalevi Häkkinen, the Finnish speed skiing legend and former Chair of the FIS Speed Skiing Committee, died at the age of 89 on 21 March. Häkkinen took part in the alpine combined event at the Olympic Winter Games Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956. In 1992, he took part in the speed skiing demonstration event at the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville. He broke a number of records and helped design the tight-fitting racing suits and special helmets which racers now use. Within the FIS, Häkkinen served as Chair of the Speed Skiing Committee for many years, and was subsequently made an Honorary Member. Read more here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
On 20 March, the NOC of Argentina launched the fourth edition of the advanced sports administration course for 2017. Under the auspices of Olympic Solidarity, this year the course brought together 55 student representatives of national federations, the national institute for high-level sport and the state sports department. At the ceremony, 39 students who completed the course last year received their diplomas.
The Bangladesh Olympic Association organised several activities to commemorate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in Dhaka. A colourful rally took place with the participation of members of the NOC Executive Committee, athletes from all the National Sports Federations, students and people from all walks of life. A seminar was held to discuss the importance of the day and to spread its message to all parts of society. Among those present were Mostafizur Rahman, Minister of Primary and Mass Education, Syed Shahed Reza, NOC Secretary General, and Mahfuzur Rahman Siddique, National Course Director and Honorary Director of the National Olympic Academy. More info on www.nocban.org.
Organised by the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) in Rio de Janeiro on 29 March, the Brazil Olympic Award honoured the main sporting highlights in 2016. The Best Athletes of the Year were Rafaela Silva, gold medallist in judo at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, and Isaquias Queiroz, the first Brazilian to win three medals at the same edition of the Games (two silver and one bronze in canoe sprint). The two-time Olympic volleyball coach Bernardo Rezende received the Adhemar Ferreira da Silva´s Trophy. There was also the medal ceremony for the re-allocation of a bronze medal from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 for the women's 4x100m relay team. Lucimar Moura, Rosangela Santos, Rosemar Coelho Neto and Thaissa Presti received their medal from COB President and IOC Honorary Member Carlos Arthur Nuzman. More info on www.cob.org.br.
From 27 to 29 March, the Cape-Verdean Olympic Committee organised a workshop devoted to the topic “Female Leadership in Sports”, which involved representatives of every island of the country, and countries from Zone II of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA). The opening session was attended by the NOC President, Filomena Fortes, and Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, who pointed out the importance of working for equity in sport in the country. The workshop was aimed at empowering women to ensure leadership positions in sport, a topic which has been developed by the Chair of the NOC Women and Sports Commission, Cristina Ferreira. Before this workshop, the NOC also organised a Women and Sports Forum with the aim of sharing experiences and finding solutions to increase female participation in sport at national level. Read the full story here.
The academic section of the Colombian NOC, in cooperation with the Boyacá regional sports institute, organised a sports seminar in Tunja on 23 and 24 March. More than 60 people, including coaches and technical personnel from the region, took part in the training course, which focused on the technical aspects of high-level sport. Methodology, support for sports programmes, and women and sport were among the topics addressed. More info on www.coc.org.co.
El Salvador NOC
The El Salvador NOC was visited by five pupils from the Lamatepec de San Salvador secondary school. The pupils met the NOC President, Eduardo Palomo, and talked to him about sport, physical education and the history of national and international sport. The aim of the pupils’ visit was to collect information about traditional and non-traditional sports ahead of an exhibition to be held at their school on 9 and 10 June. Read the full story here.
On 30 March, the Spanish NOC hosted a women’s sport forum, which was opened by NOC President Alejandro Blanco and the Chairman of the National Sports Council, José Ramón Lete. The topics addressed included the rapid growth of women’s sport in Spain, especially thanks to the results achieved by Spain’s female athletes at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games; the increase in women’s participation in sport; and media reporting on women at the Olympic Games. More details on www.coe.es.
The Georgian NOC joined the celebrations for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by calling for various sporting and educational organisations to mark the occasion. The celebrations on April 6 were led by members of the NOC Athletes’ Commission, who gathered at the NOC headquarters. Commission Chair Varlam Liparteliani focused on the significant role of sport and the Olympic Movement in promoting solidarity, peace and tolerance within society. Furthermore, the Imereti regional NOC organised in Kutaisi (the seat of the Georgian Parliament) a number of large-scale sporting events in several sports together with cultural programmes, such as an exhibition of children’s art work with the key topic “Sport for development and peace”. More info on www.geonoc.org.ge.
As part of the celebration of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), the Olympic Committee of Israel hosted students from the "Achva" School in Taibe, who toured the Olympic Experience in Tel Aviv and had a lecture from Loris Ofra, a karate elite athlete from the Arab sector who lives in Akko. They also heard a lecture in Arabic about a healthy lifestyle. This event was part of the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP), which is being implemented in almost 100 schools in Israel involving around 10,000 students. More info on www.olympic.one.co.il.
The Mongolian NOC celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace at the Olympic House in the presence of Ts.Damdin, NOC Vice-President, E.Badar-Uugan, Secretary-General, and Ch.Zorigtbaatar, President of the National Olympic Academy. Some 60 schoolchildren from a sports school also took part in the ceremony.
Commemorating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (PNGOC) took part in a series of events emphasising the value of sport and the benefits of staying active under the theme of the 2017 IDSDP, “Time to Get Moving”. Activities were held in Port Moresby and Lae. In the nation’s capital, the day kicked off with a fun sports-based session with children joined by Team PNG athletes. PNGOC Secretary General and IOC Member Auvita Rapilla joined in the activities. PNGOC also joined staff from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and led a sports session reflecting the IDSDP theme and Olympic values. More info on www.pngolympic.org.
The President of the Polish NOC Andrej Kraśnicki, and the Director for Olympics and International Relations Director, Marzenna Koszewska, were recently in Japan at the invitation of the Mayor of Takasaki, Kenji Tomioka. They took part in the inauguration ceremony of the Takasaki Arena multifunctional sports complex. The NOC’s cooperation with the City of Takasaki began at the end of 2015, when the Mayor, together with city representatives, visited the NOC headquarters and presented the new complex, which will host athletes and provide them with sports facilities before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Polish delegation also met representatives from the Japanese Olympic Committee and discussed future cooperation between the two NOCs. More info on www.olimpiijski.pl
The Venezuelan NOC hosted a Day of Medicine and Applied Sciences in Karate-do, organised by the Venezuelan Karate-do Federation. Under the auspices of the NOC and Olympic Solidarity, the event was attended by a large number of students, athletes, coaches, referees and people interested in the discipline. Topics addressed included the issue of health in sport and the consideration athletes need to give to improving their health levels. Weight control, sports psychology and how to act in the event of injury were also discussed.
Organising committees for the Olympic Games
The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has begun the nationwide collection of discarded and obsolete electronic devices, including smartphones, digital cameras, handheld games and laptops, in order to use the metal they contain in the production of the medals that will be awarded to athletes at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A launch event took place in Otemachi, one of the central districts of Tokyo, with Olympian Takeshi Matsuda and Paralympian Takuro Yamada attending (see photo above). More info on www.tokyo2020.org.
At the 35th edition of the international “Sport Movies and TV 2017” festival, which will take place in Milan (Italy) from 15 to 20 November, an exhibition will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the birth of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. A selection of photos will portray Ali’s life in and out of the ring. The event is being organised by the International Sport Movies TV Federation (FICTS). More info on www.sportmoviestv.com.