In a strong sign of the United Nations Member States’ confidence in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the resolution “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic Ideal”. This followed two hours of discussions between the Member States. The consensus for the Olympic Truce resolution included both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as the future hosts of the Olympic Games: Japan, China, France and the United States of America. The resolution is of special importance because, unlike previous resolutions, it specifically asked for Member States to “ensure the safe passage, access and participation of athletes, officials and all other accredited persons taking part in the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games”.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “For the athletes, this resolution will carry a special significance, a deeply personal one. With the Olympic Truce resolution, the United Nations General Assembly is creating the conditions for all athletes to compete in peace. They make it possible for all the Olympic athletes to realise their dream of a lifetime.” He continued: “The Olympic athletes show the whole world that it is possible to compete with each other while living peacefully together under one roof at the same time.”
In his remarks, the President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, said: “The Olympic Games and the United Nations aspire to the same ideal. This is an ideal based on humanity. It says that, no matter what is going on in state capitals around the world, people will always have a space in which to engage and connect.”
The resolution was formally submitted to the General Assembly by the Republic of Korea. Lee Hee-beom, President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 (POCOG), introduced it to the General Assembly. Yuna Kim, a Republic of Korea Olympic gold medallist and Honorary Ambassador for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2018, also addressed the General Assembly. Full press release here.
Before addressing the UN General Assembly, the IOC President, together with IOC Member Mario Pescante, met POCOG President Lee; the Korean Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Do Jong-hwan; and the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, Cho Tae-yul. Their discussions focused on the latest developments in the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and the situation on the Korean peninsula.
The IOC President held also a meeting with the President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák. In addition to the Olympic Truce resolution, the two leaders discussed the cooperation between the United Nations and the IOC on a range of issues, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular refugee programmes, as well as the Olympic Refuge Foundation, which was set up with the support of UNHCR; gender equality work with UN Women; and environmental projects being carried out with UNEP. Lajčák accepted the invitation to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and to run with the Olympic torch.
In New York, the IOC President met Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women. A Memorandum of Understanding strengthening the partnership between the two organisations was signed during this meeting. The MoU lays out the vision for the next five years of partnership, which will empower women and girls through sport, increase women’s leadership and boost gender equality. “Working together with UN Women, the IOC wants to empower women in sport and through sport. With this MoU, we will build on our efforts already underway to promote access to sport for girls and work towards gender equality,” stated the IOC President. “Sport is an invaluable tool to equip women and girls with leadership skills, reduce marginalisation and dismantle stereotypes,” said the UN Women Executive Director, who is also a member of the IOC Women in Sport Commission. “Together we can bring substantive equality – a Planet 50-50 – to the world of sport at all levels,” she added. Full press release here.
The President attended a meeting organised by the UN Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace which was open to all the UN Member States. He presented the IOC objectives with regard to the Sustainable Developments Goals established by the UN’s Agenda 2030. He also reiterated the IOC’s desire to work closely with the Member States in order to use sport as a means to promote this Agenda. The Olympic Refuge Foundation was one of the main projects presented by the President, and was met with great interest from the audience.
President Bach met Al Kelly, the CEO of Visa International, a Worldwide Olympic Partner. They discussed the upcoming editions of the Olympic Games and the longstanding partnership between Visa and the Olympic Movement.
Discussions between the IOC President and Henry Kissinger, IOC Honour Member and former US Secretary of State, focused on the current global situation, and in particular tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Throughout his trip, President Bach was accompanied by Mario Pescante, IOC Member and Permanent Observer of the IOC to the United Nations.
Jacques Rogge was awarded the Jean Borotra Trophy at the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP)’s World Fair Play Awards ceremony held on 17 November in Brussels (Belgium) in the presence of more than 200 people, including the Belgian First Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders. During its meeting, the CIFP Council decided to re-name its Youth Fair Play award – which it has been awarding since 2012 – to the “Jacques Rogge Fair Play Trophy for the Youth” award.
Princess Nora of Liechtenstein was appointed Member of the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP)’s Council at its meetings held recently in Brussels.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
Katowice (Poland) will host the first new-look Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Senior Championships – featuring a badminton festival – in 2019. During their year-end meeting in Jamaica, the members of the BWF Council, chaired by IOC Member Poul-Erik Høyer (pictured with the delegation from the Polish Badminton Association), voted for the city in the Silesian province of southern Poland to stage the popular age-group tournament, which is held biennially by the BWF. Meanwhile, the BWF World Junior Championships 2019 will take place in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. This two-week tournament encompasses a mixed-team championship and an individual event. More details here.
The fourth edition of the “Soirée des Étoiles” (Evening of the Stars), the world aquatics gala organised by the International Swimming Federation (FINA), will be held in Sanya (People’s Republic of China) on 2 December. The best athletes of 2017 will be announced at this event. The first edition of the gala was held in Doha (Qatar) in 2014. The coaches of each winning athlete will also receive a reward for their personal commitment and remarkable work in contributing to the athletes’ achievements. More info on www.fina.org.
Meeting in London (Great Britain) on 15 November, the Council of World Rugby awarded the Rugby World Cup 2023 to France, which will be hosting rugby’s showcase men’s event for the second time. More info here. World Rugby also held its 13th General Assembly in London. The Assembly was opened by the Federation’s President, Bill Beaumont. Strategies in game growth and the acceleration of women’s rugby were among the topics on the agenda. More details here.
World Sailing has launched the first virtual World Sailing Championships. The eSailing World Championships will be held every year from 2018. A new set of regulations will be used to adapt the Racing Rules of Sailing to the virtual world. More details here.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the launch of the first-ever official five-on-five street baseball competition, the “WBSC Baseball5 Championships”, which will take place from 23 to 24 November in Havana (Cuba). The WBSC also revealed the new logo that will become the visual identity of the new urban discipline, along with the hashtag #PlayEverywhere. The competition on the streets of Havana will serve as a pilot event to further develop the new discipline, which was successfully launched at the Friendship Games in Burundi in August. More details here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
On 12 November, the Algerian NOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the HEC Alger Business School, continuing the successful partnership between the two institutions. In 2016, the NOC set up a doctorate programme entitled “Management and Marketing in Sport” in conjunction with HEC Alger. Six doctorate students benefited from this training programme in 2016. Teachers from Algeria and other countries and sports figures shared their experiences with the participants throughout this course. Classes were held at the NOC. In addition, the NOC recently organised a meeting with representatives of the national sports movement. The NOC President, Mustapha Berraf, chaired the meeting, which was attended by a number of Algerian female sports figures (former athletes, sports leaders and senior figures in national sports organisations). Several topics of discussion addressed women’s involvement in national sports institutions and their role as leaders. More info on www.coa.dz.
On Sunday 19 November – this year’s national day of remembrance – German sport commemorated the victims of the terrorist attacks during the Olympic Games Munich 1972. The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and its member organisations, with a membership of over 27 million people, paid their respects to David Berger, Ze’ev Friedman, Yossef Gutfreund, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Romano, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andre Spitzer, Yakov Springer, Moshe Weinberg and Anton Fliegerbauer. More info on www.dosb.de.
The former President of the NOC of the Bahamas, (see photo), died on 9 November in Nassau, at the age of 79. NOC President from 1972 to 2008, he was also a former member of the Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO)’s Executive Committee, and was part of the Commonwealth Games Federation. In 2014, he received the IOC’s Pierre de Coubertin Award for his outstanding contribution to the Olympic Movement. He was also the first Bahamian to receive the Bahamas NOC President’s Award. More info on www.bahamasolympiccommittee.org.
Once again, the Belgian NOC organised an autumn multidisciplinary training course for Team Belgium athletes and their coaches on the island of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. More than 50 athletes from nine sports disciplines – all of whom have a real chance of competing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – took part in the course, which offered high-level athletes the chance to exchange ideas and experiences. During the workshops, the participants received additional information about the Games in 2020 and heard from various experts. More details here.
The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee hosted its 3rd National Olympic Athlete Seminar, entitled “Athlete Career Programme”, on 8 and 9 November. Organised in cooperation with the Sports Administration and the Ministry of Education, the seminar was attended by more than 100 participants from sporting and academic fields. Numerous active and retired athletes shared their views on career transition from sport. Patrick Glennon, Senior Vice-President of the Adecco Group, and Kadidiatou Kanoute Tounkara, a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Athletes’ Commission, were the keynote speakers. Taekwondo Olympians Ann Chen and Li-Wen Su encouraged the athletes in attendance to stay focused both on and off the field of play. A wide range of topics were addressed at the seminar, including nutrition, training, the sports industry and the media. More info on www.tpenoc.net.
On 15 November, at the headquarters of the Spanish NOC, the NOC and the DISA Foundation renewed the current agreement between the two institutions to continue the “All Olympic” campaign to promote the Olympic values in schools across the Canary Islands. The NOC President, Alejandro Blanco, and the Foundation’s Director General, Raquel Montes, signed the agreement, which will see more than 7,440 children aged between 9 and 12 benefit from the initiative. The programme will be implemented in 93 schools across the Canary Islands. More info on www.coe.es.
From 4 to 10 November, the Lithuanian NOC organised an international “Olympism for values education” training course, which was attended by representatives from nine European countries (Germany, Bulgaria, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Portugal and Romania). The training course was co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme and the NOC. The course offered participants the chance to learn new methodologies on working in groups and understanding the values and principles of Olympism. The Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) 2.0 was also presented. During a visit to the “Adolfas Ramanauskas – Vanagas” gymnasium in Altyus, the participants were able to put into practice everything they had previously learnt, by putting on a series of activities for young people, including sports exercises, workshops and discussions on fair play, respect, excellence and other sports values. The NOC also held its first sports film festival from 26 to 29 October. Organised in cooperation with the University of Vilnius, eight films from nine countries were screened in the country’s major cities as part of this festival. More than 1,000 people attended the screenings and had the chance to chat with the directors and athletes involved. More info on www.ltok.lt.
The President of the Mongolian NOC, Demchigjav Zagdsuren, awarded the first set of grants to athletes for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as part of the Olympic Solidarity scholarship programme. Seventeen athletes in wrestling, judo, boxing, shooting, weightlifting, archery, athletics and taekwondo will benefit from this programme. Since the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, 35 Mongolian athletes have been part of this programme, and five Olympic medals (one gold, two silver and two bronze) have been won by scholarship-holders.
The Sudan Olympic Committee (SOC) will start distributing sports equipment in five camps in Darfur as a part of the “No War No More; Sport is a Core” project funded by the IOC. The main objective of the programme is to use sport as a tool for peace. The distribution ceremony will be held on 6 December 2017.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES
BUENOS AIRES 2018
The competition to create the winning medal design for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 opened on 16 November and runs until 12 January 2018. The winning design and two runners-up will be selected by a judging panel made up of the Young Change Makers and Young Reporters who have been involved in the YOG since the inaugural Singapore 2010 edition of the Games. Also joining the panel will be IOC Members and sporting legends Angela Ruggiero, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and ice hockey Olympic champion, and Li Lingwei, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Buenos Aires 2018 and badminton star. The winning design will be selected at the end of January 2018, and this will then feature on the gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to athletes in Buenos Aires from 6 to 18 October 2018. More info on www.medal-design-competition.com.
South African swimmer Chad Le Clos has been announced by the IOC as an Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. The announcement took place on 17 November in Singapore, the place where Chad came to international attention when he won five medals at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010. The Olympic champion in the 200m butterfly at the Olympic Games London 2012, who agreed to act as an Ambassador for the Nanjing 2014 YOG, had no hesitation in renewing his commitment for the next edition that is set to take place in Buenos Aires in October next year. Full release here.
Meeting in Seoul (Republic of Korea), the Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) endorsed WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee’s (CRC’s) recommendation to maintaining the non-compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). Other decisions taken included the approval of an 8 per cent increase in WADA's budget for 2018 and the approval of a third revision of the World Anti-Doping Code, which will commence in December 2017. The next Foundation Board meeting is scheduled for 17 May 2018 in Montreal (Canada). Detailed info here.
The 25th edition of the International Congress of the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) brought together over 400 guests and delegations from 39 countries from 7 to 10 November in Cologne (Germany). The Congress offered excellent opportunities for an exchange of information between international experts and decision-makers. Experts from Europe, Canada, the USA, Russia and Australia presented the worldwide trends for the future of sports and leisure facilities. The IOC, IPC and IAKS international architecture prizes were awarded during the Congress. More info on www.iaks.org.
The country of Androulla Vassiliou, winner of the IOC Women and Sport Trophy for Europe, is Cyprus, and not Greece as was reported in the previous issue of the “Olympic Highlights”.