IOC President Thomas Bach delivered a keynote speech at the Sporting Chance Forum 2017 in Geneva. Organised this year by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, the Forum brings together all the leading representatives of governments, UN agencies, sports governing bodies, host cities, trade unions, non-governmental organisations, sponsors and broadcasters, as well as the IOC.
The Sporting Chance Forum is a platform to discuss the respective human rights duties and responsibilities of the participating organisations. The Forum also highlights the work done through the Mega Sports Events (MSE) Platform. Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and current Chair of the MSE Platform for Human Rights, served as the Chair of the Forum.
Speaking at the Forum, President Bach underlined that the IOC is committed to improving the protection, promotion and respect of human rights, as these relate to the Olympic Games’ organisation. “Human rights are in fact firmly anchored in the Olympic Charter,” said President Bach. “Therefore, our mission to put sport at the service of humanity goes hand-in-hand with human rights.” he added. “We have recently made changes to the host city contract, which now includes a specific section designed to strengthen and protect human rights. The obligations now include that human rights are respected in line with international agreements and standards, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” the IOC President continued. Full text of President’s speech here.
Also speaking at the Forum was the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who praised ‘the IOC for updating the Host City Contract for 2024 so it includes explicit obligations consistent with Human Rights principles”. He added, “I would also like to acknowledge the excellent working relationship with the International Olympic Committee.”
From the International Labour Organisation, the Director General, Guy Ryder said a lot of progress had been made, and he thanked organisations including the IOC for “putting labour rights at the heart of their events”. He mentioned a recent agreement with the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on socially responsible labour practices amongst the Games delivery partners. He also noted that the IOC had been working with the ILO “to ensure its sustainability strategy has ‘decent work’ as one of its priority areas as a basis to choose its candidate cities”. Also present was the State Secretary and head of the Directorate of Political Affairs of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Pascale Baeriswyl. Full press release here.
In the context of the human rights and sports-related events of this week in Geneva, IOC President met also the representatives of the Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA), which includes among other organisations Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Terre des Hommes, and UNI World Athletes. Both parties agreed to reinforce dialogue and cooperation on human rights and sports. They also agreed to keep an open channel of communication on human rights abuses cases around the Olympic Games and sport.
President Bach attended the first meeting of the Olympic Refuge Foundation Executive Committee.
The IOC President received the outgoing Indian NOC President Narayanaswamy Ramachandran, with whom he spoke about the current status of sport in the country. He thanked him for his great services to Olympic sport in India.
With Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the IOC President discussed good governance and the protection of clean athletes.
The Executive Committee of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage met recently, in the presence of President Bach and IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge.
The IOC President attended the graduation ceremony of the Class of 2017 of the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS) at The Olympic Museum. Congratulating the diploma recipients, who included former athletes and coaches, the President reminded them that the sports world has entered a global era in which there is ever more need for the expertise of people as well trained and prepared as them to shape the future of sport.
The IOC and Paris 2024 held an Orientation Seminar on 30 November and 1 December in the host city of the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in 2024. On the agenda were interactive presentations and round table discussions with Olympic and Paralympic Games experts, including athletes, on topics such as sustainability, legacy, athlete experience, stakeholder services, developing engagement strategies and more. Each topic included a question and answer session to encourage open and transparent dialogue, reinforcing the IOC’s commitment to working with Paris 2024 in a spirit of partnership and co-construction. Among the participants were the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2024 Games, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant; President of Paris 2024 Tony Estanguet and his fellow IOC Members Guy Drut and Jean-Christophe Rolland; the President of the French NOC, Denis Masseglia; the President of the French National Paralympic Committee, Emmanuelle Assmann; Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo; and French Sports Minister Laura Flessel. Full news release here.
Other Olympic news
The IOC published the new decisions from the Oswald Commission hearings, which are being conducted in the context of the Sochi 2014 forensic and analytic doping investigations. On 29 November, three Russian bobsledders, Aleksandr Kas’yanov, Aleksei Pushkarev and IIvir Khuzin have been sanctioned (full press release here). On 1st December, two Russian cross-country skiers, Yulia Chekaleva and Anastasia Dotsenko, and Russian biathlete Olga Zaytseva have been sanctioned. More hearings for other athletes will take place in the coming weeks (full press release here).
Following the findings of the completed Independent Person Report in December 2016, the IOC has examined all samples collected from Russian athletes during the Olympic Games London 2012. These re-analyses and subsequent disciplinary hearings are now over. As part of this process, the IOC announced on 30 November that two additional Russian athletes have been disqualified from the Olympic Games London 2012. They are: Anna Nazarova, competing in the women's long jump event in which she ranked 5th and for which she was awarded a diploma; and Yulia Gushchina, competing in the women's 400m event in which she ranked 15th, and competing in the women's 4x400m relay event in which she ranked 2nd, for which she and her teammates ranked 2nd and for which they were awarded a silver medal. Full press release here.
The IOC announced that América Móvil, through its subsidiary AMX Contenido, S.A. de C.V. (“AMCO”), has been awarded the broadcast rights in 17 territories across Latin America for the Olympic Games from 2018 through to 2024, as well as the Youth Olympic Games held in the same period. Full press release here.
international sportS FEDERATIONS
Meeting in Monaco, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council took some important decisions. Besides awarding several international competitions, the Council decided to maintain the suspension of the Russian athletics federation. As not all the Verification Criteria had been met – such as the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and acknowledgement of the McLaren Report findings, the IAAF Council followed the recommendations of its independent Russian Taskforce. Full details here.
In addition, Mutaz Essa Barshim and Nafissatou Thiam were named best athletes of 2017 at the IAAF’s World Gala. Both won a gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in London (Great Britain) last August: in the high jump for Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and the heptathlon for Belgian’s Nafissatou Thiam. IAAF President Sebastian Coe and Prince Albert II of Monaco, Honorary President of the International Athletics Foundation, presented the trophies to the winners. Full list of winners here.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced that Patrick Schnetzer (cycle-ball) and Flavia Zuber (artistic cycling) have been elected to represent indoor cycling on the UCI Athletes’ Commission. The election was held alongside the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Dornbirn (Austria), during which 78.5 per cent of the competing athletes took part in the vote. This election concludes the renewal of the Athletes’ Commission as part of the reshuffle of all UCI commissions in 2017. This year, the UCI decided to increase representation of its various disciplines on the Athletes’ Commission by modifying its electoral system. This new system sees the Commission grow from 13 to 20 members, with a perfect male/female balance for all disciplines. More info here.
The UCI has won the 2017 Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards, in the “International Organisation Award” category. The UCI has been rewarded for implementing its Women’s Cycling Strategy through a range of projects aimed at developing the role of women on the field of play as well as at governance and administration levels. In the category of “International Organisation Award”, Summer Olympic International Federations, ASOIF members, were invited to apply detailing impactful initiatives or programmes that have had a major effect in empowering women in sport. The official award ceremony will take place in Dubai on 10 January 2018. Full details here.
On 21 November, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) held its annual General Assembly and Awards Gala evening in Montevideo (Uruguay) with over 250 delegates representing the member national federations, key stakeholders and associations. During the Assembly, the delegates voted on a number of important issues, and received a series of presentations, including an update on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The FEI Awards Gala commemorated all those who have contributed to an outstanding year of sport, in the presence of FEI President and IOC Member Ingmar De Vos, FEI GA delegates and sports representatives from Uruguay, including IOC Honorary Member Julio César Maglione and Olympic athletes. The Best Athlete Award went to Isabell Werth (Germany), one of the most decorated champions; the Rising Star Award went to Harry Allen (Ireland), double gold medallist at the 2017 FEI European Pony Championships; the FEI Best Groom Awards went to Alan Davies (Great Britain); the FEI Solidarity Award went to Manoj Jalan for the inaugural Retraining of Racehorses project in Assam (India); and the Against All Odds Award celebrated Emma Booth (Australia). Detailed info here.
The Annual Congress of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) was held in Dubai (UAE) in the presence of delegates from 129 national federations. Under the leadership of FIE President Alisher Usmanov, the Congress took several important decisions, including approval of the qualification criteria for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which will be submitted to the IOC for final approval; the admission of the Angolan Fencing Federation as a national federation; and the awarding of several major competitions. Full details here.
The first-ever United World Wrestling (UWW) Women’s Wrestling Global Forum was held at the Mexico Olympic Training Centre from 17 to 20 November. The objectives of this event were to help women develop leadership skills, build confidence and encourage them to take initiatives to contribute to wrestling’s development within the Olympic Movement. It also provided the participants with the opportunity to network and share their individual experiences. Among the 26 participants from 19 countries were Olympic champion Helen Maroulis; Olympians Lee Jiwoo and Jackeline Renteria; world champions Yan Hong and Ganna Vasylenko; UWW Vice-President Natalia Yariguina; UWW Bureau member Rodica Yaksi; and UWW Women and Sport Commission members Farnaz Panahizadeh and Nermin Rafiq. More info at www.unitedworldwrestling.org.
Young Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash, an International Swimming Federation (FINA) scholarship-holder, clocked his best time of the year in Singapore at the final meet of the FINA Swimming World Cup 2017, finishing fifth in the 200m butterfly. Breaking the national record four times at the 2017 World Cup, he is the most prolific Indian swimmer and represents a great hope for his country. Aged 24, Sajan Prakash was one of 36 young talents enrolled on the FINA scholarship programme at the start of the year when he began his training at the FINA-approved camp in Thanyapura, Phuket (Thailand). More info here.
The 69th Congress of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) was held from 24 to 26 November in Tbilisi (Georgia). Important decisions were taken, such as the incorporation of the Laser-Run World Championships into the Senior World Championships, which will be held in Budapest (Hungary) in 2019. The Congress voted to create International Modern Pentathlon Day, which will be held annually and will see national federations take part in sports and educational activities. The alignment of anti-doping rules and procedures with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code was also on the agenda. The federations of Togo, Mali and Niger joined the member federations of the UIPM. Finally, the winners of the annual UIPM awards were announced at the closing of the Congress. Full details here.
New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett and Portia Woodman have been named Players of the Year by World Rugby. They were honoured at a World Rugby awards ceremony held in Monaco on 26 November, in the presence of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, as well as some greats of the game. Beauden Barrett becomes the second player to win this award for two consecutive years, joining his fellow countryman and former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw. New Zealand winger Portia Woodman took the honour after having helped the Black Ferns to win a fifth Women’s Rugby World Cup title in 2017. More details here.
The Adaptive Surfing Championship held from 29 November to 3 December in La Jolla, California (USA), set a new participation record, with 109 athletes from 26 countries. Prior to this Championship, the International Surfing Association (ISA) organised a clinic presented by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the aims of which were to foster the future development of the sport and encourage athletes with physical challenges to discover the healing powers of adaptive surfing (aka para surfing). Some 31 athletes, half of whom were women, received expert instruction from the best para surfing athletes and instructors. Details here.
The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced that, from 5 to 10 December, the “Winter Arena Košutka” in Pilsen (Czech Republic) will host the 2017 Olympic qualification tournament. This event will see seven women’s teams and eight men’s teams compete for the final four places – two women’s and two men’s – at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. To date, eight member national associations have obtained a place in the Olympic tournaments, which will take place from 14 to 25 February during the Winter Games in PyeongChang. Details here.
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
The Algerian NOC, under the aegis of Olympic Solidarity, organised the fourth advanced sports management course on 28 and 29 November. This course is part of a training cycle for sports leaders and focused on the theme “sports financing”. In addition, the Algerian NOC is taking part in the campaign launched by the UN against violence to women and which runs every year from 25 November to 10 December. On this occasion, the NOC is relaunching an advert that it produced to mark its participation in this campaign.
On 28 November, the Spanish NOC’s Executive Committee approved the study scholarships for athletes for the academic period 2017-18. A total of 215 athletes from Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines will benefit from this assistance. Out of these 215 scholarships, 184 are aimed at athletes who will study outside the NOC, mainly in the framework of training offered by various Spanish universities. The rest is aimed at covering half the enrolment cost for student-scholarship holders taking the master’s in high-level sport set up by the NOC in collaboration with the San Antonio de Murcia Catholic University (UCAM). More details here.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) welcomed two new appointments to its Board. Following elections at the NOC Meeting, Lisa Wainwright and David Joy were newly appointed, whilst Sarah Treseder was reappointed. All three will serve four year terms. John James was also confirmed as an Honorary Life Vice President of the BOA, following 34 years’ service to the NOC. Full details here.
The Italian national sports convention was held on 20 and 21 November at the Foro Italico, the headquarters of the Italian NOC, in Rome. The speakers included NOC President Giovanni Malagò, IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper, Sports Minister Luca Lotti and IOC Members Franco Carraro, Mario Pescante and Ivo Ferriani. Five topics were addressed during the two days of meetings: 0è’sport which unites, shares values and respects rules; the institutional organisation of sport; sport everywhere at all times and a driver for economic growth; ethics, transparency and respect for the rules; and culture, training and opportunity. Full details here.
The Japanese NOC and Olympic Solidarity (OS) announced the launch of OS world programmes for the preparation of athletes for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at a ceremony organised at the Ajinomoto national training centre in Tokyo on 28 November. At the joint press conference were NOC President and IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Deputy Director General Pere Miró, Japanese Judo Federation President Yasuhiro Yamashita and Japan Association of Athletics Federation Board of Directors member Naoko Takahashi. Also present were judokas from Costa Rica and Venezuela as well as athletes from Bhutan and Eritrea, who spoke about their ambitions for the Tokyo Games. This Olympic Solidarity programme is the first for the IOC and the Japanese NOC, as host NOC for the Games in 2020, working together to support overseas athletes in their preparations for the Games. The NOC will host about 30 athletes in cooperation with the national sports federations. More info on www.joc.or.jp
Mongolian NOC President Demchigjav Zagdsuren awarded the IOC Sport Beyond Borders trophy to V. Odkhuu, Vice-President of the Mongolian Volleyball Federation, at a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the federation’s creation. This trophy was awarded to V. Odkhuu in recognition of his important contribution to the development of national and junior teams.
An MoU was recently signed by the NOCs of Singapore and Cambodia. It was in Singapore that NOC President Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also the Speaker in Parliament, and his Cambodian counterpart, Thong Khon, who is also Minister for Tourism, signed this six-year (2017-23) agreement, in the presence of IOC EB member Ng Ser Miang (photo). The MoU covers an exchange of visits and combined training between the national teams of both countries, as well as the exchange of officials, staff, trainers, judges, experts and scientists for participation in seminars, courses and consultations. The sharing of knowledge in areas such as sports medicine and sports science is also included. More info here.
From 22 to 26 November in La Costa, the Uruguayan NOC, in collaboration with the national canoe federation, organised a coaching course. Spanish expert Enrique Fernández Soto, a technician from the Spanish canoe federation and former coach of the Spanish and South Korean national teams, led this course, which falls within the framework of Olympic Solidarity. In total, 20 Uruguayan coaches came from several regions of the country to take part. Full details here.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE Olympic GAMES
On 25 November, the organisers of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 unveiled the first of eight permanent venues built for the Games. An important milestone on the road to the Games, the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, which will host badminton and the modern pentathlon fencing, as well as wheelchair basketball during the Paralympic Games, was opened by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, as proof of the great progress made with a little under three years until the Games begin. The sports complex has been designed to encourage sustainability and have a minimal impact on the environment. Solar panels on the roof and other state-of-the-art technologies will contribute to reducing the facility’s carbon footprint. The layout is based on the Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guidelines, to make the venue accessible to all, including senior citizens, families with young children and people with a disability, particularly those with guide dogs. Tokyo 2020 will use a total of 39 venues, of which 23 exist and 8 will be temporary, in addition to the 8 new permanent venues. Full press release here.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) are working together to promote clean sport by delivering WADA’s Legacy Outreach programme at the 2017 Weightlifting World Championships in Anaheim (USA) from 28 November to 6 December 2017. During the Championships, the WADA programme is raising awareness and promoting clean sport to a generation of athletes. Using the hashtag #iLiftClean, there is an interactive information booth and pledge to clean sport at the venue that athletes, coaches and other team officials can visit. The aim of WADA’s Legacy programme is to support key stakeholders in developing and delivering sustainable anti-doping awareness programmes in order to promote clean sport. More details here.
The World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) created its Fit for Life! Programme to help encourage people who had been saved by organ transplantation to take the first step towards a life of physical activity and movement. Launched in November 2016, the programme has so far encouraged hundreds of recipients around the world to start walking and be committed to remaining as fit as possible around their transplanted organ. This programme has been recognised with two key awards. It was awarded the Sustainability Award at the 25th World Congress of The Association For International Sports for All (TAFSIA) in Seoul (Korea) on 19 November. Earlier this month, the Fit for Life! Cycle Ride, conducted as a lead-up to the World Transplant Games in Malaga (Spain) in June, was recognised with the Best Ideas Award 2017 by Spain’s leading medical newspaper, Diario Medico. Full news here.