It was an historical moment for the Olympic Movement on 20 January when IOC President Thomas Bach announced that a delegation from the NOC of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will participate at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. A Unified Korean Olympic Team will also march at the Games Opening Ceremony.
Following the meeting between the IOC and delegations from the NOC of the DPRK, the NOC of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG) at the IOC headquarters, President Bach presented the decisions of the “Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration”. Under the Declaration, the athletes from the NOC of the DPRK will compete in Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating, Cross Country Skiing and Alpine Skiing - and in a Unified Women’s Hockey Team (full text of the Declaration here). The Declaration was signed by all four parties attending the meetings. In making the announcement, President Bach was joined by the President of the NOC of the ROK, Lee Kee-heung, the Minister of Sport of the ROK, Do Jong-hwan; the President of the NOC of the DPRK and Minister of Sport, Kim Il-guk; and the President of POCOG, Lee Hee-beom. Also present were IOC Executive Board Members, Gunilla Lindberg, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the PyeongChang Games, and Gian-Franco Kasper, President of the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF).
President Bach thanked all the delegations and emphasised that the meeting had taken place in the Olympic spirit. He said: “The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope.” Read the full press release here.
The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, met with the IOC President on Monday 22 January. Accompanied by the NOC President, Leri Khabelov, and the Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikheil Janelidze, they discussed sport and development in the country. The Georgian Prime Minister explained the special emphasis being put on the development of winter sports and how sport was being employed in the country, particularly in regard to schools and young people. Another topic of discussion in the meeting was the considerable investment that is going into modernising and developing winter sports in the country, and plans to attract more international competition to Georgia.
An Executive Board meeting was held by teleconference on Tuesday 23 January. The EB decided to extend the mandate of the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group (OARIG) to monitor the behaviour of Russian athletes participating at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’. They will also monitor officials and the entourage concerning the implementation of the decisions and rules that have been issued. This Implementation Group will also deliver a report and make proposals to the IOC Executive Board at the end of the Games.
President Bach also met the President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), Janez Kocijančič, before attending the meeting of the EOC Executive Committee in which he updated them on the latest issues in the Olympic Movement. The EOC Executive Committee declared its full support of the IOC, particularly for the IOC Executive Board decision of December 5, 2017 concerning OAR (“Olympic Athlete from Russia”) participation.
With Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation (IJF), the IOC President discussed preparations for the judo tournaments at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as a number of other topics of mutual interest.
The IOC President greeted the Foundation Board of the International Testing Agency (ITA) at its first meeting, chaired by Valérie Fourneyron, in Lausanne on 18 January. The President expressed his enthusiastic support for the ITA’s mission to provide anti-doping services to IFs and Major Event Organisers (MEOs) that wish to delegate their anti-doping programmes to an entity that operates independently from sports organisations and national interests (see also under ‘Other Olympic news’).
The IOC President presented the Pierre de Coubertin medal to Chinese artist Lu Junjie (pictured centre), accompanied by IOC Vice-President Yu Zaiqing. Lu was awarded the honour in recognition of his contribution to promoting the Olympic values through his ceramic works.
President Bach received IOC Vice-President and Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission Uğur Erdener, with whom he discussed several topical issues.
At The Olympic Museum, the President attended a reception on the eve of the draw for the Nations League, a new competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), chaired by Aleksander Čeferin.
From 31 January, the IOC President will be in PyeongChang for the Olympic Winter Games, which will be held from 9 to 25 February. He will chair the IOC Executive Board on 3 and 4 February, then the IOC Session on 6 and 7 February.
Cheikh Tidiane Ndiaye
Mamadou D. Ndiaye has been elected ‘Sports Personality of the Year 2017’ by the Jury of the Senegalese Sports Press in the framework of the launch of the site Sport221.com, held in a hotel in Dakar.
IOC / Benoit Fontaine
On 15 January, the IOC learned of the death of Honorary Member Vladimir Cernusak at the age of 96. During his long career in the sports movement, Cernusak played an influential role both nationally and internationally, successfully leading the integration of the newly formed Slovak sports organisations into the Olympic Movement after the Czechoslovak separation in 1993. Founding President of the Slovak Olympic Committee, then Honorary President, Cernusak also served the Olympic Movement as the first IOC Member for Slovakia (1981-2001), and as an Honorary Member after 2002. A teacher, coach and scientist, Cernusak devoted his life to sport and education, and was actively involved in sports administration. Full press release here.
Other olympic news
The Invitation Review Panel and the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group (OARIG) have taken a key step in the process of inviting clean Russian athletes to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Following intensive weeks of work by the Independent Invitation Review Panel members, in which they went into detailed consideration of each individual athlete, they have established a pool of clean athletes from which athletes to be invited by the IOC to take part in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR) can be chosen. More than 80 per cent of the athletes in this pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. This shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes. On 19 January, the OARIG, the delegation which was authorised by the IOC Executive Board (EB) last December, has formally approved this pool. The invitations can be issued only at the OAR Delegation Registration Meeting (DRM) on 27 January 2018 in PyeongChang. Therefore, a final list of invited athletes cannot be published before that date. As of 19 January, the original pre-registration pool of 500 athletes has already been reduced by 111 by the Panel. For others in the remaining pool of athletes, pre-conditions such as further pre-Games tests and reanalysis from stored samples have been required. Only if these requirements are met can the athletes be considered for invitation. No athlete who has been sanctioned by the Oswald Commission is still in the pool. Read the full press release here.
The first meeting of the Foundation Board of the International Testing Agency (ITA) in Lausanne marks a further step on the organisation’s road to becoming fully operational in early 2018. The creation of the ITA is another example of how the Olympic Movement is focused on the future and on ensuring a level playing field for international athletes through organisational and technical innovations. ITA Chair Valérie Fourneyron said: “By quickly becoming operational, the ITA will allow an increasing number of IFs and MEOs to make use of its services, thus strengthening the trust that athletes and the sports movement have in the fight against doping, and in the protection of clean athletes.” Full press release here.
The IOC announced on 18 January that more than 14,000 doping tests have been undertaken on over 6,000 athletes from 61 countries to safeguard the upcoming Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. As part of the work carried out by the Pre-Games Anti-Doping Taskforce, the tests, conducted between April and December 2017 by the National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) and International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (IFs), represent a 70 per cent increase on the number of tests for winter sports athletes from exactly the same period in 2016, and reflect a collective effort to optimise the protection of clean athletes ahead of PyeongChang 2018. Read the full press release here.
In the framework of the 2018 PhD Students Research Grant Programme, the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC), with the support of its Grant Selection Committee, has awarded grants to seven projects. The selected students will benefit from a grant which will allow them to carry out their projects and, if relevant, to consult the OSC’s resources in Lausanne. The results of their research must be submitted by the end of 2018. Out of these seven projects, five come under the “Open Subject” category and two under the “National Olympic Committees’ Policy Priority” category. This second category is organised in collaboration with Olympic Solidarity and the NOCs interested in supporting the research. The list of grants awarded for the 2018 programme is available here. More information on the OSC here.
international sports federations
The President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Sebastian Coe, recently visited Puerto Rico, where he heard first-hand about the damage caused last year by a series of hurricanes. Athletics federations across the Caribbean region have lost communications, offices, training facilities and equipment. On 16 January, the IAAF announced that it was setting up a solidarity fund of USD 500,000 to help member federations in the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) area recover from the damage caused by the hurricanes in 2017. The allocation of funds will be handled by a dedicated team, headed by the IAAF, and based on the audit of damage and needs of those federations affected. The IAAF President also met representatives from the NACAC member federations in San Juan. More details here.
At its Bureau Meeting in December 2017 in Sanya (People’s Republic of China), the International Swimming Federation (FINA) unanimously approved a new programme directly aimed at supporting its national federations, through the distribution of up to 70 per cent of the IOC’s TV revenue share. The budget distributed under this project, known as the “FINA Olympic Aquatics Support Programme”, will complement the amount already available through the FINA Development Programme. The objective is to enable the FINA national member federations to develop, strengthen and fine-tune their activities in all forms, including all aquatic disciplines, with a view to improving the organisation and professionalism of their operations and the sporting level of their athletes. More details here.
Furthermore, FINA has announced the dates of the FINA Diving World Cup, an event held on a biennial basis. After Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Wuhan in China will be playing host to the 2018 edition, from 5 to 10 June. In an Olympic year, this event is both a qualifier and a test event for the Games. More info at www.fina.org.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has unveiled a new visual identity with the release of two new logos – an institutional logo and a marketing logo. The new visual identity was approved by the UIPM Executive Board at its meeting prior to the 2017 UIPM Congress in Tbilisi (Georgia). More details here.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced a nine-strong team of players for a three-week tour of Australia – the first trip to the opening major of the year for a Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF) team since 2007. The team is financed by the GSDF, and provides the players, who are under 18, with the opportunity to take part in top-level international competitions and have the experience of travelling abroad under the guidance of an ITF coach. More details here.
Under the umbrella of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Development Programme, a Nordic training camp for ski jumping and Nordic combined was staged in Tarvisio (Italy), Planica (Slovenia) and Villach (Austria) from 6 to 12 January. A total of 28 athletes and 14 coaches from six developing ski nations (Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia and Romania) participated in the camp, which featured training sessions on the various jumping hills. Further activities included video analysis, strength training and tips on ski waxing. More details here.
national olympic committees
On 8 January, in partnership with the Algerian NOC, the “Youth, Sport and Clubs” Commission of the People’s National Assembly (APN) organised a day in parliament to discuss the practice and popularisation of women’s sport in Algeria. The participants stressed the need for women’s presence in federal authorities and national sports leagues, and the need to establish competitions for girls and women in sports disciplines at school and university. Those in attendance included the Minister for Youth and Sport, El Hadi Ould Ali; the NOC President, Mustapha Berraf; the Chair of the Commission, Ratiba Ayad; the President of the APN, Saïd Bouhadja; and other senior figures from the sports movement. Talks on women’s sport were also given by, among others, Olympic champions Hassiba Boulmerka, Nouria Benida-Merrah and Soria Haddad.
A “For the Future of El Salvador” race was held in San Salvador on 21 January. Many athletes, as well as participants from the world of economics and diplomacy, took part in the race, the theme of which was “Steps towards a peaceful, corruption-free country” (“Pasos hacia un país en paz y libre de corrupción”). This initiative by Somos Paz – an Espacio Ciudadano association – was supported by the NOC of El Salvador. The winners were presented with their prizes by NOC President Eduardo Palomo. More info here.
Spanish weightlifter Lydia Valentin received the silver medal (75kg category) from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 which was reallocated to her after the athletes who had finished ahead of her in 2008 were disqualified, having tested positive for doping. The ceremony, which was held at the headquarters of the Spanish NOC, was attended by the Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo; the NOC President, Alejandro Blanco; the Secretary of State for Sport, José Ramón Lete; IOC Members Marisol Casado and José Perurena; and the Vice-President of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), José Quiñones. More info here. The Spanish NOC President also welcomed his counterpart from the Dominican NOC, IOC Member Luis Mejía Oviedo, and the President of CRESO (Creando Sueños Olímpicos), Felipe Vicini. Sporting and operational collaboration were the main topics discussed during a meeting. More info here.
In addition, the NOC, together with the Higher Institution for Law and Business Studies (ISDE), organised a meeting on the topic of sexual harassment and abuse in sport. The meeting was aimed at the presidents and senior officials of national sports federations. More info here.
On 10 January, some 2,000 people attended the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Olympic flame passing through Besançon in the lead-up to the Olympic Winter Games Grenoble 1968. The event was organised at the Palais des Sports by Eric Monnin, a senior lecturer at Franche-Comté University (UPFR Sports) in Besançon. Accompanied by pupils from the Pasteur sixth-form college and top student athletes from UPFR Sports, 31 torchbearers from the 1968 Winter Games took centre stage. The President of the French NOC, Denis Masseglia, and Olympic medallists Florence Masnada (Alpine skiing) and Stéphane Traineau (judo), were also in attendance. The participants had the opportunity to visit a photo exhibition depicting the flame’s arrival in Besançon and the Olympic Winter Games Grenoble 1968. Posters from the Olympic Summer and Winter Games were also presented at this event.
The names of the athletes representing Turkey at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 have been confirmed after the FIS announced its final list of athletes. The Turkish Olympic Committee will now make its final preparations before the eight athletes representing Turkey head for the Games. This year’s Games will be particularly special for Fatih Arda İpçioğlu, who will make history as Turkey’s first ever athlete to compete in an Olympic ski jumping competition. Detailed info here.
The Venezuelan NOC recently inaugurated the Olympic Digital Community (CDO - Comunidad Digital Olímpica), a pilot communications lab that will be operating at the NOC’s headquarters. The CDO is a project designed to create, promote and position digital communication tools and sport in Venezuela. It will primarily be used by athletes, sports leaders, national sports federations and sports science researchers. In addition to a social media room, there will be an editing and design room, a studio and a multi-purpose zone to record segments with the media and partner television channels.
organising committees for the olympic games
The Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) announced that almost 14,000 primary schools in Japan – around 65 per cent of the total number in the country – have already registered for the selection process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic mascots. In December 2017, Tokyo 2020 published a shortlist of mascot design sets, each containing an Olympic and a Paralympic mascot, and invited schoolchildren across the country and in Japanese schools overseas to vote for their favourite set. There is one month until voting closes, with the design set attracting the largest number of votes scheduled to be declared the winner on 28 February. The 13,985 schools that have registered to vote so far include a total of 92 Japanese schools in 51 countries and regions overseas. More info here.
Tokyo 2020 has welcomed Pasona Group Inc. as an official sponsor as part of its sponsorship programme. The company has been attributed the “human resources services” category. This brings the number of Tokyo 2020 partners to 47. Press release here.
organising committees for the youth olympic games
Buenos aires 2018
On 18 January, Buenos Aires 2018 launched the pictograms for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), set to take place in October this year. The 34 designs depicting the sports and disciplines that will be on the Olympic programme at the YOG have been created by schools across Buenos Aires. More than 500 students were asked to trace the outline of an athlete posed in their sport in one continuous stroke, without lifting the pencil; and the results are a truly a work of art! From breakers to sport climbers, fencers to judokas; all sports have been finely crafted by the nimble hands of primary school children. Full press release here.
On 18 January in Lausanne, European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Janez Kocijančič led the first meeting of the newly elected Executive Committee (EC) with preparations for the Minsk 2019 European Games a key item on the agenda. Kocijančič praised the efforts of the newly elected EC and pledged to keep working hard to provide the 50 European NOCs with the support they need. More details here.
Zone 2 of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) organised a seminar for sports journalists in Bamako (Mali) in December last year. The seminar, under the theme “The sports press, a stakeholder in the Olympic Movement and African sport”, brought together participants from eight countries (Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Sierra Leone and Senegal). The opening ceremony was attended by the Secretary General of the Ministry for Sport, Seydou Dawa and the Mali NOC President, Habib Sissoko, who is also the Zone 2 President. The seminar’s objective was to give sports journalists a greater understanding of the Olympic spirit and the organisation of the Olympic and international sports movement.
In addition, the ANOCA Executive Committee held its 53rd Ordinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria, from 20 to 22 January, under the chairmanship of Mustapha Berraf, first Vice-President in charge of the interim coordination of ANOCA. Discussions in this first statutory meeting for 2018 centred on a range of topics aimed at laying solid foundations for uninterrupted operations and the stability of ANOCA and its administration. More info at www.africaolympic.net
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced the release of a new eLearning platform, ADeL (Anti-Doping eLearning), which will serve as a central hub for all of WADA’s eLearning courses and resources. A webinar to introduce the platform and all its functionalities relevant to Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) will be held on 30 January. ADeL is being released with the following five courses focused on key target groups: The Athlete Learning Programme about Health and Anti-Doping, Coach True, Sports Physicians’ Toolkit, ADO Kickstart (for administrators and new ADO employees) and a Parents’ Guide. More info here.