Speaking in Punta del Este (Uruguay) at the elective General Assembly of the Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO), IOC President Thomas Bach underlined the excellent work PASO has carried out the past two years under the leadership of its President, IOC Honorary Member Julio César Maglione. He also praised PASO and all its member NOCs for having adopted Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms. While underlining the good health of the Olympic Movement and the trust of the Olympic partners, the President also recalled that the IOC had to continue its reforms, particularly as regards the Olympic Games candidature procedure.
The President congratulated Neven Ilic on his election as PASO President for the next four years. Currently President of the Chilean NOC, Neven Ilic succeeds Julio César Maglione, who becomes PASO Honorary President and to whom the IOC President presented the Pierre de Coubertin bust as a sign of friendship between the two organisations.
During his trip, the President held bilateral meetings with IOC Executive Board Member Willi Kaltschmitt Luján, IOC Members Nicole Hoevertsz, Richard Peterkin and Gerardo Werthein, as well as IOC Honorary Member Olegario Vázquez Raña. He also met a delegation from the NOC of Panama, led by its President, Camilo Amado. President Bach also hosted a lunch for all IOC Members attending the PASO General Assembly.
From Punta del Este, the President flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to review the progress of the Youth Olympic Games 2018. President Bach met the President of the Argentine Republic, Mauricio Macri with whom he discussed the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in the city next year. President Macri, who was joined by his Education and Sports Ministers, said that the YOG "would bring great benefit to the city and the country, before, during and after the Games." President Bach highlighted the "visionary and innovative approach to the Games by the Organizing Committee under the leadership of IOC Member Gerardo Werthein", which will "bring sport to where young people are, with many events including the opening ceremony in an urban environment." He was also able to brief President Macri about the 'Olympism in Action' Forum which will now also be held in Buenos Aires just ahead of the YOG. The two leaders also discussed the important role of sport in international society. The country is currently also considering a potential candidature for the Olympic Games 2032. President Bach was accompanied throughout the visit by IOC Member and President of the Argentinean NOC, Gerardo Werthein, who is also President of the Organizing Committee for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. Read the full press release here.
During his visit to Buenos Aires, President Bach was given a tour at the Youth Olympic Park by athletes who form the Young Athletes’ Commission, providing advice and support to the local organising committee. The Commission members updated the President on the developments within the Youth Olympic Park and gave their views on the innovations that will be introduced for Buenos Aires 2018. They also shared their personal hopes and aspirations for the YOG, as the event comes to South America for the first time. Gerardo Werthein, IOC Member and President of the Argentinean NOC, Willi Kaltschmitt Luján, IOC Executive Board Member, Leandro Larrosa, CEO of Buenos Aires 2018 and the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, joined the IOC President and athletes on the tour. Read the full press release here.
Before going to South America, the IOC President met Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, the Deputy Secretary of State in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, in Lausanne. They discussed cooperation between the United Nations, governments, sports organisations including the IOC, and NGOs in developing a framework for human rights policy in relation to large sports events. The Mega Sporting Events platform, which has the IOC on its steering committee, is a multi-stakeholder platform which helps apply the UN Guiding Principles for sports events. The Guiding Principles are already referenced in the new Host City Contract for the Olympic Games 2024.
With the IOC Member in Peru Iván Dibós, President Bach talked about the 130th IOC Session in Lima in September as well as the current situation in the country after the devastating floods that have affected it, and to which the IOC has responded by contributing to the immediate aid efforts. On 13 April, the IOC and the Peruvian government confirmed that preparations for the IOC Session are going ahead as planned. This decision was taken by the IOC Executive Board, which also decided that the first Olympism in Action Forum will now be held in Buenos Aires in conjunction with the Youth Olympic Games 2018. Read the full press release here.
The President attended the ceremony of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI)’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to Prince Faisal bin Abdullah Al-Saud by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, in the presence of over 300 delegates of the FEI Sports Forum. President Bach presented the FEI with the IOC President’s Trophy. Read the story here.
Latvian NOC President Aldons Vrublevskis, has presented the IOC President with the third volume of “Olympic Encyclopaedia”, a publication produced by the NOC in collaboration with Latvian Olympic historian Genadijs Maricev.
At the invitation of the World Rowing President, Jean-Christophe Rolland, President Bach joined him to take part in a rowing experience with several young rowers from the Vidy Lausanne Sport Rowing Club.
Alongside the Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod, the President attended the start of the final stage of the “Tour de Romandie” cycle race, outside The Olympic Museum.
Other olympic news
Yusra Mardini, the Syrian swimmer who competed at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 as a member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team, has become the youngest Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. Taking on the role at a time when over 65 million people across the globe have been driven from their homes by war and persecution, the Syrian swimmer said she was proud and honoured by this appointment, which at 19 years-old, makes her the youngest of Ambassadors. Congratulating the Olympian on her appointment, IOC President said: “The participation of Yusra and her fellow athletes of the Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 sent a message of hope to all refugees in the world. It demonstrated to a global public that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society. It is my hope that through her role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Yusra will continue to inspire refugees, reminding us that anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit.” Read the full press release here.
The IOC has announced the composition of the IOC commissions for 2017. Some 38 per cent of places are now taken by women – a historic high. That is a 70 per cent increase since 2013. The new make-up of the IOC commissions is also marked by a broader geographical representation and by a number of new faces from a new generation who will be the leaders of tomorrow. Read the full press release here.
Protecting the integrity of sport against competition manipulation and other threats was the focus of a joint IOC and INTERPOL workshop and a two-day meeting of the INTERPOL Match Fixing Task Force (IMFTF), both held in Bangkok, Thailand, between 26 and 28 April. The IOC-INTERPOL workshop brought together over 70 participants from law enforcement, the NOC, National Sport Federations and public authorities in Thailand. Participants identified current best practices and ways to prevent competition manipulation and corruption in sport at national level, in addition to recognising ways of responding to possible breaches of integrity. Opening the event, IOC Member Nat Indrapana said: “This first IOC-INTERPOL National Workshop here in Thailand is crucial to protect the youth of our country. The Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect must not be jeopardised by unethical behaviour such as competition manipulation. The NOC of Thailand is committed to safeguarding sport from competition manipulation.” Full press release here.
On 24 April, the IOC announced that two athletes have been disqualified from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and from the Olympic Games London 2012, for failing anti-doping tests. Read the full press release here.
Worldwide TOP Partner Coca-Cola has created a “Collaborative Water Resource Management Project”. Involving the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee, the Gangwon Provincial Government, the Korea National Park Service and EcoGreen Campus, the project supports the objective of successfully hosting eco-friendly Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018. The Project originated through Coca-Cola’s global water replenishment concept. The long-time Worldwide Olympic Partner was keen on leveraging the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 to build a sustainable clean water environment for the Republic of Korea. An MOU for the project was signed one day prior to ‘World Water Day’ (March 22nd). Read the full press release here.
international sportS fEDErations
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced the death of BWF Council member Akhilesh Das Gupta (photo) in Lucknow (India) on 12 April. A former badminton player for India between 1977 and 1983, he was President of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and Vice-President of Badminton Asia. As BAI President, he initiated projects to develop the sport in his country, both at elite and grassroots levels. Elected to the BWF Council in 2013, he was a member of three committees on the Council: Events; Development and Sport for All; and Marketing. Read the full news here.
The #AIBAFamily campaign has been launched to bring together AIBA’s 201 member National Federations, their boxers, coaches and officials on the road to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a shared commitment to the sport, its laws and its Code of Ethics. The campaign includes far-reaching educational programmes directed at all levels of the sport with emphasis on ethics and behaviour as well as taking a look back at the legends past and present who have played a central role in the International Boxing Federation (AIBA)’s story. Read the full news here.
As part of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, celebrated on 6 April, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) presented some of the projects around the world that are bringing communities together through the power of sport. Read about these projects carried out in Zambia, Australia, Haiti, India and Turkey here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has informed us of the organisation of several Diving and Swimming Schools and Clinics last February. Thus in Córdoba (Argentina), 16 participants followed a course on the fundamentals of diving. A Swimming School brought together 22 aspiring swimming officials in Lusaka, (Zambia). The city of Baku (Azerbaijan) hosted a Clinic for Swimming Officials, including coaches and PE teachers. More info on FINA Development projects can be found at www.fina.org.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) joined the whole Olympic Movement in celebrating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The FIVB played its part though the #VolleyballYourWay for Peace movement, which encapsulates the objectives of the initiative. Read the press release here.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) mobilised its 100 Member Nations to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Surfers from four continents took part in the celebration, sharing stories from Afghanistan, Costa Rica, France, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Panama, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom about the role that surfing and stand up paddle is playing in their particular communities. Read the news here.
nationaL olympiC COMMITTEES
The Algerian NOC paid tribute to several Paralympic medallists and former presidents of the Algerian Disabled Sport Federation (FAH) at a ceremony organised at the Olympic and Sports Museum in Algiers. Those present included the Director General of People with a Disability within the Ministry of National Solidarity, the Family and Women’s Rights, Rezgui Ali Nabaoui; NOC Vice-Presidents Mohamed Meridja, Nouria Benida Merah and Abdelhafid Izem; and several representatives of the national sports movement. Alongside an exhibition devoted to sport for people with a disability, the NOC awarded several distinctions to former FAH presidents and Paralympic medallists.
In addition, the NOC celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in coordination with the Ali Boumendjel School in Algiers. The programme included a discussion on the career of Olympic champion and NOC Vice-President Nouria Benida Merah, as well as sports and artistic activities.
The Argentinean NOC has announced that Enrique Morea (photo), a former tennis player and five-time President of the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT), has died at the age of 92. Twice a semi-finalist at Roland-Garros in 1953 and 1954, Morea was also a Davis Cup captain and referee, and later held high-level administration roles as both AAT President and International Tennis Federation (ITF) Vice President. Within the ITF, he was also a member of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Junior Committee, member of the Davis Cup Committee and was appointed Honorary Life Counsellor in 1993. He was married to Alicia Masoni de Morea, First Vice-President of the Argentinean NOC. Info on www.coarg.org.ar.
The Brazilian Olympic Committee has announced the new members of the Athletes’ Commission for the new Olympic Cycle. Tiago Camilo, a judo silver medallist at Sydney 2000 and bronze medallist at Beijing 2008, will chair the Commission alongside Yane Marques, the modern pentathlon bronze medallist at London 2012. The members of the Commission were elected by Team Brazil athletes who participated in the last two Summer Olympic Games (London 2012 and Rio 2016). More info on www.cob.org.br.
On 6 April, the “Pierre de Coubertin” Committee of the Cyprus Olympic Committee successfully organised the 6th Cyprus Student Conference entitled “The impact of Olympic ideology in the development of a healthy society”, which brought together 150 students. Before the Conference, the Cypriot Minister of Culture and Education unveiled the Olympians’ plaque, listing all the Cypriot Olympians ranked from 1st to 8th place from the ancient Olympic Games to the present. In addition, on 4 April, in the presence of the President of the Cypriot Republic, the NOC awarded its highest distinction of “Excellence and Honour” to its former President, Ouranios M. Ioannides, for his contribution to Cypriot society. More info at www.olympic.org.cy.
In the framework of the IOC’s Athlete Career Programme, the Academic Department of the Colombian NOC organised a workshop earlier this month in Cali. The aim was to give expert advice on developing the skills required to enter the employment market after a sports career, such as preparing for interviews and writing CVs.
To celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the NOC of Gabon produced a TV programme on the theme “sport can help youngsters and adolescents to move past a trauma”. The report’s aim is to motivate people with a disability and other victims of trauma to practise sport. The broadcast on four TV channels allowed for the whole national territory to be covered. Watch the programme here.
On the occasion of Nepali New Year 2074, the Nepal Olympic Committee organised a meet, greet and reception programme in Kathmandu. Present at this ceremony were Ivo Ferriani, IOC Member and President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF); NOC members; the Joint Secretary of the Youth and Sports Ministry; members of sports federations, sports commissions and the National Sports Council; and journalists and Olympians. In his thank-you speech, NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha also pledged to improve sports in Nepal. Info at www.nocnepal.org.np.
The Palestine Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education, represented by Gibreel Rajoub and Minister Sabri Saidam, opened the 3rd School Olympic Week in a ceremony held on the Hebron indoor stadium. On the programme were various Olympic activities held across different cities and performed by children’s teams from schools in various locations in Palestine. Organised by the NOC with the involvement of the government, the School Olympic Week aims to integrate sport into routine education to promote and develop Olympic sports as well as the Olympic values in Palestine. Info at www.poc.ps
For 52 years, to commemorate the first Olympic Games of the Modern Era, the Polish NOC has organised every April the “Central Inauguration of the Olympians’ Days”. This year, the main event was hosted in Parkowo from 6 to 8 April. The programme featured the final of the “One World, One Dream” contest; sports tournaments for various age categories; an exhibition on ‘The history of the Olympic Club, Barcelona 1992”; and an Integration Olympic Run to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. On 7 April, many Olympians took part in the Olympic gala “Barcelona ’92 – Silver Jubilee”. NOC President Andrzej Kraśnicki, Secretary General Adam Krzesiński and representatives of the parliamentary and local authorities were present in Parkowo. More info at www.olimpijski.pl.
José Manuel Constantino has been re-elected President of the Portuguese NOC. The swearing-in ceremony was chaired by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who wished all the best to the new team who will manage the NOC for the next four years. Info at www.comiteolimpicoportugal.pt.
The Swedish Olympic Committee, together with the Power of Sport Foundation, arranged the first conference to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The conference was held in the framework part of “UN Camp Sweden”, which brought together young leaders from around the world. The conference highlighted different perspectives of the role of sport as an arena for development and peacebuilding. Among the speakers were former UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Olympic champion Carolina Klüft, Olympic medallist Therese Alshammar and Swedish NOC President Hans Vestberg. Info at www.sok.se.
organisinG COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has unveiled its plans for the Olympic Torch Relay routes and the selection of Olympic torchbearers. Coinciding with the 100-days-to-go mark on 1 November 2017, and following the lighting of the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece, one week earlier, the Olympic flame will arrive in the city of Incheon. It will then spend 101 days making its way around 17 cities and provinces across the Republic of Korea. A total of 7,500 torchbearers will take part in the Olympic Torch Relay. Read the news here.
In addition, more than 300 people came together on 7 April in PyeongChang to celebrate Arbour Day by planting tree seedlings as part of PyeongChang 2018’s environment and sustainability efforts. The event took place at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, which will host the luge, skeleton and bobsleigh events at the Olympic Games. In total, 546 seedlings were planted – the number is of particular significance, as it represents the total number of gold, silver and bronze medals which will be awarded at next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Read the news here.
The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) has launched a national education programme to promote the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to schoolchildren across Japan. As part of the initiative, Tokyo 2020 will give special certification to schools using the Olympic and Paralympic-related educational materials it produces and authorises. The programme, which goes by the name “Yoi Don!” (Japanese for “Get Set”), is backed by a website offering a range of free resources for teachers, including ideas for activities and projects, as well as films on the Olympic and Paralympic values. Teachers will also be able to share their work and ideas and collaborate with each other through the site. Full press release here.
Furthermore, Tokyo 2020 and the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee have signed a landmark collaboration agreement under which the two organisations will exchange knowledge and resources to maximise benefits and impacts for their respective events – two of the world’s biggest – being hosted by Japan over the next three years. Full press release here.
The Executive Council of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) met in Madrid, Spain, for its first meeting of 2017 and heard a number of reports and updates focused on ensuring that ANOC continues to improve and develop the support it provides to its NOCs. The meeting was opened by ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah before the Sports Director General from the Spanish National Sports Council, Jaime González Castaño, and Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco welcomed the ANOC delegates to Spain. ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg provided an update on the latest work of the organisation, including the results of the NOC debrief for Rio 2016 and the creation of working groups with the IOC to study accreditation, transport, ticketing systems and collaboration with the IFs for future Olympic Games. Reports were given by each of the nine ANOC Commissions and Working Groups. Read the full press release here.