On 16 March, IOC President Thomas Bach was in Sweden to visit the FIS Ski World Cup Finals in Åre, in the north of the country. He attended the Alpine team event and presented the medals to the winning teams after the competition.
As well as meeting the President of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and IOC Executive Board Member Gian-Franco Kasper, he met the event’s organisers, as well as those involved in the potential candidature of Stockholm for the Olympic Winter Games 2026. If such a candidature were to be successful, Åre would host the Alpine, freestyle and snowboard events during the Games.
During the visit, the President also spoke to local media, and at a press conference said: “It is clear that the IOC has now turned the page with the new process of Olympic candidature, as well as with the new organisational and financing models for the Olympic Games. The implementation of the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm show we are not just talking the talk but also walking the walk.”
On his way to Åre, the night before in Stockholm, President Bach met a number of members of the Swedish Olympic Committee, including its President, Hans Vestberg, as well as IOC Member Stefan Holm.
Throughout the visit, the President was accompanied by IOC Executive Board Member Gunilla Lindberg, who is also Secretary General of the Swedish Olympic Committee and of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).
In Lausanne, the President held meetings with IOC Members José Perurena and Sheikh Khalid Muhammad Al Zubair, with whom he discussed various Olympic-related topics.
Other Olympic news
On the margins of the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the IOC, UN Women, UNESCO, Procter & Gamble and NBC hosted an event focusing on “Racing Towards Gender Equality: The media’s portrayal of women athletes and its effects on women’s participation in sports” on 14 March. The event, moderated by acclaimed NBC Sports commentator Andrea Joyce, brought together athletes, gender equality experts, public and private sector representatives, media, and other Olympic Movement stakeholders to highlight the importance of balanced media portrayal in ensuring equal representation of women and men in sports. Featured speakers included Donna de Varona – two-time Olympic gold medallist in swimming, Emmy-winning sports broadcaster, activist and IOC Women in Sport Commission member – as well as Maia Shibutani – two-time Olympic bronze medallist, three-time World Championship medallist and two-time US national champion in ice dancing. Full press release here.
INTERPOL and the IOC run a global capacity-building and training programme to protect the integrity of sport. In close collaboration with the Romanian National Police and the Romanian Sports and Olympic Committee, INTERPOL and the IOC organised three days of workshops and training activities (13 to 15 March) for Romanian law enforcement agencies, sports organisations, public authorities and other stakeholders. A number of Moldovan representatives were also in attendance. The participants discussed how to foster collaboration and identify key stakeholders for the development of a coordinated national approach in Romania and Moldova to protect the integrity of sport. More info here.
In a show of solidarity with migrant communities, the Vatican athletics team (Athletica Vaticana) has “adopted” two young African migrants. On 12 March, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, symbolically handed over team running vests to two young Gambians during a ceremony at which they also received membership cards allowing them to train with the team. This gesture of welcome and solidarity aims to promote integration through sport, and is fully in line with the joint efforts and commitment of the Holy See and the IOC to address the worldwide refugee crisis and help integrate refugees through sport.
international sportS FEDERATIONS
Women’s basketball was the central focus of the first meeting of the year of the Executive Committee of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Meeting on 12 March in Mies (Switzerland), the Committee approved a new competition system for women starting in 2019. Also on the agenda were the Women’s World Cup in 2018, the World Cup in 2019, the latest key activities in 3x3 basketball, and the FIBA Integrity Policy. More details here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) will be organising its World Water Polo Conference in Budapest (Hungary) from 26 to 28 April. With the theme “How to improve water polo?”, this conference will see officials and experts address the latest developments and challenges in this discipline. Info here. In addition, FINA and the Dominican Swimming Federation organised an international course for artistic swimming judges. In total, 48 judges from 12 countries took part in this course, held in early February at the Dominican Republic NOC headquarters. More info at www.fina.org.
World Rugby has just launched a new rugby community digital identity. The IF has announced it has obtained the .rugby web domain name on a global basis and will launch it across its properties in 2018. This domain name will be available to federations, regional associations and key stakeholders. Full details here.
1988 / CIO / Luc Novovitch
Former world no. 1 in doubles, US tennis player Ken Flach (right on photo) has died at the age of 54. Flach won six Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles. At the Olympic Games Seoul 1988, he won the doubles event with his team-mate Robert Seguso. Together, they had 28 doubles victories. Details here on the site of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
The guest of honour at the 12th Spanish NOC gala was the King of Spain, Felipe VI, who paid tribute to the medallists of the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992, in which he participated himself. He was the flagbearer for the Spanish delegation at the Opening Ceremony. Besides the medallists, many personalities attended this gala, such as the Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo; NOC President Alejandro Blanco; National Sports Council President José Ramón Lete; and IOC Member José Perurena. Full details here.
The Jordan NOC Sporting Schools Programme has launched its second phase of Olympic education training in two schools in Amman. This programme, which began in 2017, aims to use the power of sport and education to motivate young Jordanians to practise sport, improve their skills and lead a healthier and more active lifestyle. The second phase, which will run until 26 April, will introduce the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) to over 50 boys and 50 girls, and will directly affect approximately 500 people, including the pupils’ family and friends. The programme, taught by NOC instructors, will see the NOC, the German NOC, the GIZ (German Corporation for International Cooperation) and the Jordan Ministry for Education organise after-school activities and will promote the values of fair play, respect, effort and excellence. Info at www.joc.jo.
The 2018 edition of the Venezuelan NOC’s “Olympism goes to school” (“El Olímpismo va a la Escuela”) programme kicked off with visit by a group from the “Pedro Fontes de La Vega” educational centre. This programme allows young pupils to visit the NOC and learn about the Olympic values through recreational and educational activities. To date, 39 schools have visited the NOC headquarters.
In addition, as part of the national sports development programme, NOC President Eduardo Álvarez visited recently the State of Lara to strengthen the NOC programmes among national sports federation entities. Meetings with athletes and coaches also took place.
On 13 March, the Korean Paralympic Committee and the Agitos Foundation signed an MoU outlining a framework for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of joint programmes to develop Para sport in the region. The main goal of the MoU is to organise international workshops for technical officials, coaches, athletes and classifiers at the facilities of the KPC Incheon Training Centre. The MoU was signed by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons and Korean Paralympic Committee President Lee Myungho (photo above) at a ceremony organised at Korea House in the Gangneung Olympic Park, in the presence of the Korean Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Do Jongwhan, and the President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Lee Hee-beom. Details here.
In addition, Marie Bochet, Rudolf Klemetti and Birgit Skarstein have been chosen as the three winter sport representatives on the IPC Athletes’ Council following elections held at the Paralympic Village in PyeongChang during the Winter Games. Some 459 athletes voted – a turnout of 80.9 per cent – in these elections. Details here.
The Canadian Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that they will hold the first Global Athlete Forum in Calgary, Alberta, from 3 to 4 June 2018. The forum will bring together more than 150 athlete leaders to discuss key developments in anti-doping, including current issues and concerns such as athlete rights. Using an interactive platform, the forum will see world leaders and experts in the anti-doping field address topics and exchange ideas with participants while furthering the development of an Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights to include measures for the protection of clean athletes. Read the full press release here.