From 8 to 11 March, IOC President Thomas Bach was back in the Republic of Korea, where in Seoul he received two distinctions for his achievements with regard to a peaceful solution for the Korean peninsula, before he headed to PyeongChang for the Paralympic Winter Games.
President Bach was given the Cheongryong Medal by South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a special ceremony at the Blue House. In the citation, President Moon noted the IOC President’s “outstanding and meritorious services rendered towards world peace and development of sports in the Republic of Korea”. President Bach accepted the medal – the country’s highest sporting award – on behalf of the entire Olympic Movement. He talked of the process which the IOC had begun in 2014 to get the athletes from the National Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the Olympic Winter Games. He also revealed that the negotiations concerning the joint march of both teams behind the Korean unification flag could only be successfully concluded just four hours before the start of the Opening Ceremony. President Bach also praised President Moon for his “essential role in making these Games such a success” and for his “unwavering faith in the Olympic spirit and in [his] belief in the unifying power of the Olympic Games”. He congratulated him for the great progress already being made in the political talks and expressed the hope that they will finally lead to a peaceful solution for the Korean peninsula.
President Bach was also made an honorary citizen of Seoul. Praising the actions of the IOC, the Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon said: “To allow the joint march and other joint activities of the two teams from the North and the South, these IOC initiatives already made a great contribution to ease the tension on the Korean peninsula.” Addressing President Bach, he said: “You are the true creator of peace on the Korean peninsula.”
Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined a ceremony at Dankook University in Seoul where IOC President was awarded an honorary degree in political science. Speaking at the ceremony, Ban Ki-moon said he was confident that President Bach’s actions “had greatly contributed to the reconciliation process”. He went on: “I am sure we can use this small window of opportunity to lead to a deeper and more constructive dialogue process between North and South Korea and thereby create a much more constructive process on the Korean peninsula.” He added: “President Bach is now a ‘bridge-builder’, in recognition of his incredible work at the Games.” Accepting the award on behalf of the Olympic Movement, President Bach said: “The Olympic Games showed the world how to compete peacefully. They showed us that despite all our differences, it is possible for humankind to live together in peace, respect and harmony.” The IOC President singled out for praise a number of former students in the audience who had recently competed in the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. Full press release here.
From Seoul, the IOC President travelled to PyeongChang, where on 9 March he attended the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games before attending some competitions.
President Thomas Bach and Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) signed a historic long-term agreement establishing a partnership between the two organisations until at least 2032. The new agreement builds on the current partnership and cooperation agreements that were signed prior to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Full press release here.
Nawal El Moutawakel (centre of photo) took part in the first symposium on women’s football organised by the African Football Confederation (CAF). Under the theme of “Let’s meet the challenge”, the symposium was held from 5 to 7 March in Marrakech (Morocco), in the presence of numerous personalities from African and world sport. More details here.
Other Olympic news
In support of International Women’s Day and the call to action to #pressforprogress, on 8 March the IOC launched an overview of 25 key recommendations from its Gender Equality Review Project, which focus on changing the conversation about women in sport holistically – from participation to representation and decision-making. These 25 recommendations cover five key areas – sport, portrayal, funding, governance and human resources. Full press release here.
Over 3,100 tests were conducted as part of PyeongChang 2018 anti-doping programme, making it the most robust anti-doping programme in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), in collaboration with the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG), oversaw the doping controls and results management during the Olympic Winter Games, on behalf of the IOC, to ensure an independent overview of the anti-doping programme. Of these 3,149 tests in total, 1,393 were in competition, and 1,756 were out of competition. Full press release here.
International Sports Federations
Iñaki Gomez was elected Chair of the Athletes' Commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) by the Commission members and confirmed by the IAAF Council during its meeting in Birmingham (Great Britain). Gomez, who succeeds Rozle Prezelj, represented Canada at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, where he finished eighth in the 20km race walk. Valerie Adams from New Zealand was elected and confirmed as Deputy Chair. More info here.
Starting from International Women’s Day on 8 March and throughout “Women’s History Month” (March), the IAAF will be celebrating the role of women in athletics by publishing interviews, videos and features with athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and medical staff, using the hashtag #IAAFGenderAgenda. More info here.
World Rowing (FISA) is the first global sports body to pledge to protect UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This commitment has developed out of World Rowing’s Clean Water partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and responds to concerns raised by UNESCO of past negative impacts by sports on World Heritage sites. World Rowing also intends to raise awareness so that its member federations, governing bodies, clubs and regatta organisers understand how to avoid negative impacts on natural sites. More details can be found here.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has released the inaugural issue of FAST BREAK, its new educational resource as well as an initiative to support basketball healthcare support personnel. FAST BREAK is a quarterly publication that presents basketball-related healthcare issues and newsworthy research topics in order to assist the sport's healthcare support personnel. More info here.
During its first ordinary meeting since David Lappartient was elected President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the UCI Management Committee met in Valkenburg (Netherlands), alongside the 2018 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. The Committee took some important decisions, setting its initial plan for 2018-2022. Full details here.
The International Gymnastics Federation's Executive Committee held its first meeting of the year, on 28 February and 1 March in Lausanne. A number of key decisions were made, including the imminent creation of an Ethics Foundation; the appointment of the next FIG Secretary General; and the launch of a new event at the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships; as well as the organisation of the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Copenhagen (Denmark) . Full details here.
On International Women's Day 2018, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) reflects on what has been an important 12 months for the development of women's hockey which have reaffirmed the sport's claim to be 'Equally Amazing'. Inspiring more women and girls to become involved in hockey, whether as a player, coach, umpire or in a boardroom capacity is one of the key aims of the FIH’s 10-year strategy, the Hockey Revolution. Find out more here. In addition, the FIH has revealed the 2017 Hockey Stars Awards winners, recognising the sport's top performers from last year. Argentina’s Delfina Merino was voted 2017 Female Player of the Year, while Belgium’s Arthur Van Doren was named both Male Player of the Year and Rising Star of the Year. Full details here.
Following the damage caused by historic hurricanes in 2017, United World Wrestling (UWW) President and IOC member Nenad Lalovic has announced an assistance programme for the national wrestling federations of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Regional development officer Yuri Maier (left in photo) visited both island nations to evaluate the damage, and met NOC representatives including Sara Rosario Vélez (right of photo) and sports ministry officials. The parties agreed that the UWW would donate competition and training mats. The UWW also agreed to provide additional funding through its development programmes in an effort to help relaunch local activities and repair damaged sites. More info at www.unitedworldwrestling.org.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) is launching a new Continental Support Programme to help the Continental Associations to carry out activities promoting aquatic sports, and to provide the financial support needed to run their administrative structures, as well as increasing the competitive level of their athletes and boosting participation numbers at grassroots level. In 2018, FINA will also continue to increase the number of clinics and schools for training officials, judges and referees. FINA will allocate a total budget of USD 2 million in scholarships, with a view to providing additional opportunities for talented youngsters to secure the financial and technical support they need to qualify for the FINA World Championships and/or the Olympic Games. Lastly, a new National Aquatics Managers Programme aimed at supporting the National Federations in their efforts to manage and administer their organisations will be launched this year. More info at www.fina.org.
The first-ever joint meeting of three committees of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) was held in Frankfurt (Germany) at the end of January. Representatives of the UIPM Athletes’ Committee, Coaches’ Committee and Technical Committee gathered for two days of talks with Klaus Schormann, UIPM President, Shiny Fang, Secretary General, and Viacheslav Malishev, Executive Board Member for Development. More info here.
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, World Rugby announced the inaugural recipients of its Leadership Development Scholarships. The scholarships, introduced as a key objective of World Rugby’s wider strategy to accelerate the global development of women in rugby, aim to maximise the rugby leadership potential of talented women currently working in the game. Since the launch of World Rugby’s ground-breaking Women’s Plan 2017-25 in November last year, the IF has been working with unions and regional associations to review gender inclusiveness in governance and management, and to put in place proactive strategies to develop good practice. More info on the recipients here.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced the recipients of International Junior Player Grants. Fifteen players from 13 countries have been selected. The new programme will provide funding to selected players from around the world as a contribution towards their competition-related costs, with the aim of helping them make the transition from the junior game to the professional circuit. More info here.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced that Hamburg (Germany) has been selected as the host of the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. The announcement was made during an official press conference in Hamburg. FIVB President Ary Graça was joined at the ceremony by the Senator for Sport in Hamburg, Andy Grote, as well as the President of the German Volleyball Federation, Thomas Krohne, and the German Olympic and world champion, Kira Walkenhorst. More details can be found here.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the dates of the 2018 Baseball World Cups and Softball World Championships that will be hosted in Canada, Japan, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States between July and October. Tournament information for all five competitions can be found on the microsites at www.wbsc.org. More details here.
National Olympic Committees
The Albanian NOC, in cooperation with Albanian Radio and Television, recently organised an event entitled “The 10 best athletes of 2017”. The event was attended by the Ambassador of Japan, Makoto Ito; the Vice-Ministers of Education, Sports and Youth, Konstantin Shkurti and Shpati Kolgega; the Advisor for Sport to the President of the Republic, Leonard Tase; the Vice-Mayor of Tirana, Abaz Hado; the President of the Albanian NOC, Viron Bezhani, as well as members of the Executive Committee, the presidents and secretaries general of Albanian sports federations, and other Albanian sports figures and sports club representatives. More info on www.nocalbania.org.
On International Women’s Day, the Algerian NOC held a reception at its headquarters in Algiers. As well as the NOC’s female staff, the reception was attended by Olympic champions Hassiba Boulmerka, Nouria Benida Merah and Soraya Haddad, as well as Olympian and International Fencing Federation (FIE) Executive Committee member Fériel Salhi. On this occasion, NOC President Mustapha Berraf recalled the work being done by the NOC to apply the principle of gender equality, particularly in relation to Recommendation 11 of Olympic Agenda 2020. In addition, a coordination meeting for the chefs de mission of the African delegations for the 2018 African Youth Games was held end of January in Algiers. On this occasion, Mustafa Berraf, who is also Interim President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), confirmed the two institutions’ commitment to the success of the 3rd edition of these Games scheduled for 19 to 28 July in Algeria.
1988 / IOPP Seoul 1988 / Jeff Widener
Sir Durward Knowles (photo), who had been the world's oldest living Olympic gold medallist, died at the age of 100 on 24 February in Nassau. He won the Bahamas’ first Olympic medal, a bronze at the Olympic Games Melbourne 1956 in the Star class sailing event with Sloane Farrington. Eight years after at the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964, he won an Olympic gold medal in the same class with Cecil Cooke. Altogether, Sir Durward took part in eight Olympic Games, seven consecutively from 1948 to 1972, and again in 1988 in Seoul when he was 69. He also served as a Vice President of the Bahamas Olympic Association. More info here.
On 8 March, the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) launched its 5th School Mini Olympics, which will run until 22 March. The opening ceremony was attended by BOC President Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Organised by the BOC in cooperation with the Education Ministry, the Mini Olympics are aimed at discovering promising talents in various sports, promoting the Olympic values among students and encouraging the use of sport to improve public health. More info on www.boc.bh
Weightlifters Wei-ling Chen and Ying-Chi Lu (see photo) were awarded bronze medals from the 2008 Olympic Games, after several athletes were disqualified for failing doping tests. Their medals were presented by IOC member Ching-kuo Wu at a ceremony organised by the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) at the end of January. Among the guests were the Director General of Sports Administration within the education ministry, Te-Fu Lin; NOC President Hong-Dow Lin; NOC members; and media representatives. In addition, in early February, CTOC President Hong-Dow Lin and Brazilian Olympic Committee President Paulo Wanderley Teixeira signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at facilitating sports exchanges between the two NOCs. More info at www.tpenoc.net.
To mark International Women’s Day, the Sport and Recreation Institute (IDRD) in Bogota hosted an “Equality and Diversity in Sport” forum. The participants talked about their experiences and shared their stories. As well as members of the Colombian NOC and the Colombian Sports Institute, the participants included former Olympic athletes and world champions, as well as coaches, sports leaders and college and university representatives. More details here.
To mark International Women’s Day, the NOC of El Salvador gave women working in sports administration and female athletes the opportunity to talk about the power of sport to transcend all barriers, promote a healthy lifestyle, build self-esteem and promote key life values. Full details here.
The Spanish Olympic Committee’s Commission for Women and Gender Equality, officially created at the end of January, is chaired by the President of the life-saving federation, NOC Vice-President Isabel García, and the Commission Secretary is NOC Secretary General Victoria Cabezas. One of the Commission’s first activities this year will be to conduct a brief study on the current situation of gender equality within sport. More details can be found here.
The NOC of Guatemala and the national Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) signed a cooperation agreement to implement one of the Olympic Movement’s principles, which is to spread the Olympic message through sport and training, by means of educational programmes for children and young people in primary and secondary schools. The signing ceremony was attended by NOC President Gerardo Aguirre, members of the Guatemalan Olympic Academy, and a representative of the department of educational quality management (DIGECADE), Ana María Hernández. The Olympic education project, named the “Hope Factory” (Fábrica de Esperanzas), was launched last year in a pilot phase in three of the country’s education centres. This virtual initiative includes an exhibition on the theme of the Olympic values, thanks to which children and young people can learn to promote peace through play. More info at www.cog.org.gt.
OC / AFLO Sport
The Japan Olympic Committee and the Slovenia NOC signed a Partnership Agreement during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Both NOC Presidents, Tsunekazu Takeda and Bogdan Gabrovec, signed this agreement, under the terms of which both parties will actively support officials, staff, athletes and coaches through exchange programmes and opportunities, as well as exchanging marketing knowledge and information and best practices. The JOC has already signed agreements with 41 other NOCs. More info at www.joc.or.jp and www.olympic.si
The Mongolian NOC has announced the death of Tsend Damdin (photo), NOC Vice-President, on 22 February at the age of 61. A silver medallist in judo at the Olympic Games Moscow 1980, he was NOC Secretary General from 1999 to 2004 and was the current President of the Mongolian Olympians Association. He had also been head coach of the national judo team, Secretary General of the Mongolian Judo Federation, an IJF international referee and a Professor at the Mongolian National University of Physical Education and Sport.
Singapore National Olympic Council
Close to 150 sports administrators representing 50 national associations took part in a conference organised by the Singapore National Olympic Council and Sport Singapore for the National Sports Associations (NSAs). The conference programme covered topics such as governance, leadership, dispute resolution, selection for major events, communications and stakeholder engagement. IOC Executive Board member Ng Ser Miang and NOC President Tan Chuan-Jin (photo) were among the speakers. More info at www.singaporeolympics.com.
Over 60 people took part in the Levels I and II Sports Administration course organised by the Swaziland Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (SOCGA). The graduation ceremony was held on 2 March at the OlympAfrica Sports Development Centre in Lobamba, with the participation of SOCGA President Peter Shongwe, Acting SOCGA CEO Carmen-du-Pont and International Course Director Muriel Hofer. More info at www.socga.org.sz.
On International Women’s Day on 8 March, leaders, coaches, athletes, referees and “sports mothers” gathered at the Venezuelan NOC headquarters to celebrate their achievements and share their experiences at an Olympic leaders’ meeting. The guest of honour at this event, organised by NOC Secretary General Élida de Álvarez, was triple jump world champion Yulimar Rojas, who also gave a press conference. In addition, Eduardo Álvarez who has been re-elected as NOC President for the third time, has announced the names of the athletes who will benefit from the Olympic Solidarity scholarship programme for the current Olympic cycle. In all, six female and six male athletes representing seven sports will receive a scholarship.
Organising committees for the Olympic Games
After 2,042 entries, and a vote involving pupils from 16,769 schools, the mascots for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 were unveiled on 28 February by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), after primary school pupils across Japan and at Japanese schools overseas chose their favourites from a shortlist of three sets of designs. The winning designs came from 43-year-old Ryo Taniguchi, a graphic designer from Fukuoka, in southern Japan. His characters – dark blue for the Olympic Games and cherry blossom pink for the Paralympic Games – strove to combine traditional values with a futuristic look, encapsulating the “innovation from harmony” concept which is at the heart of the branding vision for Tokyo 2020. Read the full release here.
Organising Committees for the Youth Olympic Games
Buenos Aires 2018
The winning entry of the IOC's Medal Design Competition for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 has been chosen. It was submitted by 18-year-old Muhamad Farid Husen from Indonesia, and is entitled “Fireworks of Victory”. Chosen from close to 300 entries from over 50 nations, from Algeria to Venezuela, the winning design was picked by a panel of judges made up of Young Change-Makers, Young Reporters and IOC members. Full press release here.
During its first meeting in 2018, the Council of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) discussed anti-doping efforts and the operations of the International Testing Agency (ITA); the second review of IF governance led by ASOIF’s Governance Taskforce; and the role of IFs in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Another item on the Council agenda was the Sports Data Warehouse, previously known as the IF Data Project. Full details here.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) honoured Hayat Khattab for her efforts and achievements in inspiring women in the Paralympic Movement. She received the 2018 International Women’s Day Recognition. Hayat Khattab became the first woman to be named President of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee in 2015. In addition to encouraging women to take up sport, she is also working to encourage retired female athletes to transfer their skills as coaches, officials and committee members. Full details here.
Generations For Peace and Olympic Worldwide Partner Samsung Electronics have announced the renewal of their Regional Partnership, supporting grassroots peace-through-sport programmes in communities in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. The partnership began in 2008, and Samsung is the longest-serving corporate partner of Generations For Peace, providing crucially important support to the organisation. Full press release here.