This week, IOC President Thomas Bach was in New York (USA) for the 73rd Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly before going to Mexico City for the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games Mexico 1968.
In New York, the IOC President attended the opening of the general debate of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, placed under the theme “Making the United Nations relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies”.
Meeting at the UN General Assembly, the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in, said that recent peace developments on the Korean Peninsula were only possible because of the participation of North Korea at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. And this participation was only possible because of the role played by the IOC and President Bach. He also told President Bach that, at the latest summit in Pyongyang, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, had expressed the same view. For this reason, they had decided to already put forward a joint candidature for 2032 and to also start a dialogue on this as soon as possible. The IOC President informed President Moon that the IOC is working now with the two NOCs on joint teams and activities for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. (Read here the full speech of President Moon at the UN)
Also at the UN, the IOC President and Iranian President Hassan Rohani discussed the development of sport in the country, and in particular the role of women in sport. President Rohani confirmed again his campaign policy to give women equal access to sport in the country. The IOC President encouraged this policy and told him that the IOC looked forward to further developments in this field. The two leaders also discussed the principles of the political neutrality of the IOC and of non-discrimination in the Olympic Movement and among NOCs.
During a meeting at the UN with the Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President Bach discussed the European Sports Model. This is based on volunteers and solidarity for the benefit of people from all generations and backgrounds and makes sport accessible to all; but it is currently jeopardised by some trends in European Union policy. President Grabar-Kitarović supported the principle that there must be a difference in the political approach between sports clubs and federations as a social movement, and commercial, profit-orientated sports organisers.
With the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, President Bach discussed the positive economic and social impact on a host country of organising the Olympic Games. They also spoke about the economic outlook in different areas of the world.
Further meetings and talks were held with more than a dozen heads of state to discuss sport in their respective countries; their relations with their NOCs; and, in some cases, international sports and social projects.
The President discussed sport and development with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres who once again reiterated that the IOC is the UN’s only representative for sport.
He also met the new President of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés; the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; and the Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Michaëlle Jean.
With the CEO of VISA, Al Kelly, the IOC President discussed the renewal of the global Olympic partnership through to 2032. During his visit to the VISA Innovation Centre, the President was able to experience a range of cardless payment systems that will change the way spectators experience the Olympic Games.
With the President and CEO of Discovery Communications, David Zaslav, the discussions were about innovation and plans for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as the success of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
During a meeting, President Bach discussed with Bill Gates about the role of sport for health and education as well as the contribution of sport as an important enabler for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
A meeting also took place with Lawrence Probst III, IOC Member and President of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) addressing the forthcoming changes in USOC.
Before going to New York, President Bach was in Tryon, North Carolina, for the last day of the FEI World Equestrian Games. He was welcomed to the eighth edition of the Games by FEI President and IOC Member, Ingmar de Vos. After touring the facilities, President Bach watched a thrilling individual Jumping final, where German rider Simone Blum took gold with the mare DSP Alice. Blum is the first female World Equestrian Games individual Jumping champion.
From New York, the IOC President flew to Mexico for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games Mexico 1968.
The President had a meeting with the President elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, at the headquarters of the Mexican NOC. The two leaders spoke about the future of Olympic sport in the country, particularly looking ahead to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the role of sport in society generally. They both attended a ceremony to unveil the Olympic Plaza at the NOC headquarters, in the presence of NOC President Carlos Padilla Becerra and IOC honorary member Olegario Vázquez Raña.
The IOC President met the Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, at his official residence, Los Pinos, in Mexico City. The pair discussed the role of sport in society as well as the country’s Olympic performances.
President Bach inaugurated the commemorative Mexico ’68 Olympic Rings at the Sala de Armas in the Magdalena Mixhuca sports complex in Mexico City. In 1968, this gymnasium was the venue for the Olympic fencing competition. President Bach highlighted the country’s strong commitment to sport and the Olympic values. The Olympic rings send a strong message about Mexico’s commitment to sport and the Olympic values,” he said. “These rings bring the Olympic spirit back to the people of Mexico City.”
A meeting was also held with members of the NOC Executive Committee. The important role of sport in Mexico, upcoming Olympic Games and Mexico's participation in the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 were among the topics discussed.
He also attended a dinner hosted by Olegario Vázquez Raña, IOC honorary member in Mexico and President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).
Throughout the whole visit, President Bach was accompanied by Olegario Vázquez Raña and IOC Executive Board Member Denis Oswald who competed in the Olympic Games Mexico 1968 and won a bronze medal in the four oars with coxswain. The President of the Mexican NOC Carlos Padilla Becerra also accompanied the President.
As of next week, President Bach will be in Buenos Aires for the IOC Executive Board meetings, the Olympism in Action Forum, the IOC Session and the Youth Olympic Games.
Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Worldwide TOP Partner Alibaba Group, have launched OBS Cloud, an innovative broadcasting solution that operates entirely on the cloud, to help transform the media industry for the digital era. Set to be in place for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, OBS Cloud aims to offer all the necessary cloud components, in specialised configurations, to support the extremely demanding content production and delivery workflows of broadcasting the Olympic Games. In addition, Worldwide TOP Partner Intel will collaborate with Alibaba and OBS to explore a more efficient and reliable delivery pipeline of immersive media to RHBs worldwide that will improve the fan experience and bring them closer to the action via Intel’s volumetric and virtual reality technologies. Full press release here.
Worldwide TOP and Official Carbon Partner Dow provides, through its 2018 Dow Carbon Report, a progress update on the carbon reduction programmes and collaborations that have been launched as a result of its partnership with the Olympic Movement. The 2018 Carbon Report can be requested here. Read the full news release here.
Other Olympic news
The IOC participated in the 3rd International Conference on the Fight against the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, organised by the Council of Europe (COE) on 24 and 25 September in Strasburg (France). The event served the promotion and implementation of the Macolin Convention, which the IOC helped to draft and has supported ever since. The Conference, opened by COE Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, brought together over 160 participants from 37 countries and 23 public and private international actors. Eleven workshops tackled a number of topics, namely sectorial groups of actors, national policies and themes which are at the core of the Macolin Convention. A concrete set of priorities were identified, which will fuel the collective effort to be organised within the next phase of the “Macolin Roadmap”. Whilst mainly addressed to States, the Convention also covers a number of key elements in relation to sports organisations roles and responsibilities in preventing competition manipulation. IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli addressed the plenary and shared how the IOC helps encouraging the mechanisms for the exchange of information, namely the creation of national platforms by governments. She also explained how the IOC supports sport organisations such as International Federations and multi-sport events organisers to put in place compliant regulations. Looking into the future Girard Zappelli urged all participants to keep involving the Olympic and Sports Movement in the Convention Follow-up Committee in order to ensure the continued cooperation between the various stakeholders which is at the heart of the Convention. Read here the related news story of the Council of Europe.
The IOC has announced the names of the Young Reporters who will participate in the IOC Young Reporters Programme during the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. The Young Reporters were nominated by their NOCs to the respective Continental Association of NOCs, which then nominated two female and two male Young Reporters to represent their continent in the programme. They were joined by Young Reporters representing the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, six Young Photographers and two wild card nominations. Read the full news release here.
To mark the first-ever Olympism in Action Forum and upcoming Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, the IOC has commissioned internationally celebrated conceptual artist Leandro Erlich to create a large-scale, temporary installation to bring to life the Olympic values. Known for playing with human perception, Erlich will present Ball Game, an ensemble of five large-scale hyper-realistic sport balls (football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and golf), that will encourage the audience to experience the delight of moving beyond the everyday and into the festive terrain of Erlich’s humour and imagination. Read the full news release here.
The International Association Football Federation (FIFA) Diversity Award 2018 has been won by Kenya’s Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI), in recognition of its efforts to empower adolescent girls through football. HODI uses the power of football to combat social barriers while fostering safety. At a recent ceremony in London (Great Britain), HODI was presented with the Award by IOC Member, FIFA Council Member and member of the Diversity Award jury Lydia Nsekera. There was also a round table discussion on combating prejudice and promoting diversity through football. More details here. Also in London, The Best – FIFA Football Awards were presented to football’s top men and women in 2018. See the list of winners here.
At its recent meeting in Lausanne, the International Hockey Federation (FIH)’s Athletes’ Committee reviewed its strategy to ensure that it is best able to represent and protect the interests of athletes within the FIH. It also discussed how it can further increase its involvement in the development of hockey across the globe, the fight against doping and corruption, and in the Olympic Movement. IOC Athletes’ Commission member Aya Mahmoud Medany, a modern pentathlon Olympian, joined in for part of the day to discuss opportunities for closer collaboration between the IOC’s and the FIH’s athletes’ representatives. Regarding athletes’ stronger involvement in the development of hockey at all levels, the Athletes’ Committee agreed to have an athlete representative on any future Development Committee and work very closely with the Sport and Development Director. More details here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) and the Russian Swimming Federation recently opened a new aquatic sports development centre in Kazan, signing a cooperation agreement with the Republic of Tatarstan. The agreement was signed by FINA President Julio César Maglione and the Sports Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan, Vladimir Leoniv. Located at the Olympic Reserve School, the centre will provide aquatic athletes from different nations with training opportunities for competitions that fall under the FINA umbrella, such as the World Championships, but also the Olympic Games. It will also host training courses for athletes and coaches, and local students will also be able to use it. The new centre in Kazan joins the other training and development centres FINA already supports, namely: the FINA Development Centre in Dakar (SEN), Thanyapura (Phuket, Thailand) - FINA Training Centre, and the Spire Institute (Geneva, Ohio, USA) - FINA Training Centre. More details on www.fina.org.
A successful edition of the FIS (International Ski Federation) Summer Camp for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined took place from 9 to 14 September in Rasnov (Romania). Athletes from eight different nations – Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Korea, Slovakia, Ukraine and the host country Romania – took part, supported by their own coaches and experts provided through the FIS Development Programme. A competition programme was the highlight of the FIS Camp activities, with one FIS Carpat Cup on the K 60 hill and two FIS Cup events for men and women, which were organised in coordination with the Romanian Ski Federation. Full details here.
National OlympiC COMMITTEes
At a formal ceremony, the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, presented the national flag to the official delegation who will be taking part in the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. In his speech, President Meta stressed that the Albanian team had the potential to achieve impressive results at these Games thanks to its members’ talent, youthful passion for sport and dedication. The President presented the flag to boxer Elsidita Selaj, who will be the team flagbearer. More details on the Albanian NOC website www.nocalbania.org.al.
Bahrain Olympic Committee President Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa has appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Daij Al Khalifa as President of the Bahrain Sports Federation for Disabilities (BSFD). Sheikh Nasser also took the decision to task the Bahrain Inherited Traditional Sports Committee with supervising the inherited maritime sports programmes and activities. This committee is under the umbrella of the Bahrain Olympic Committee. More info at www.boc.bh.
The El Salvador NOC has announced the name of its delegation’s flagbearer for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 – badminton player Uriel Canjura (centre of photo). His record of achievements includes a gold medal in the mixed doubles at the 19th Pan-American Junior Championships and a bronze medal in the male doubles at the same competition, held in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). He was also national champion from 2011 to 2016. In addition to Canjura, track and field athletes Víctor Steiner, Melany Trejo and Gilberto Menjívar and squash player Erika Parker will take part in the YOG in Buenos Aires. More info here.
The first International Athletics Film Festival was presented at the headquarters of the Spanish NOC. The Festival will take place in San Sebastián from 6 to 10 November, and will include an appearance by Olympic long jump champion and record-holder Bob Beamon. The presentation event was attended by NOC President Alejandro Blanco, Spanish Athletics Federation President Raúl Chapado, and Festival Director Juantxo Sabadie. The Festival’s extensive, varied programme will cover commercial athletics films, major events and championships, amateur productions and short films, and technical films. More info at www.coe.es.
The British Olympic Association announced the launch of a new Get Set+ programme called Think Real, the primary purpose of which will be to inspire young people aged 11-16 to make healthy, informed decisions. The programme was developed by Sport England, UK Anti-Doping, the British Olympic Foundation and the British Paralympic Association, in association with the English Institute of Sport and the National Governing Bodies, to help consider the challenges faced by young people at all levels of sporting involvement. Think Real addresses the links between various health challenges and approaches healthy habits as a whole – helping young people make the links between their nutrition, recovery and physical activity, to consider their all-round health. More details at www.getset.co.uk.
The Hellenic NOC, the Hellenic Olympic Academy, the International Olympic Truce Centre and the “Connect Athens” association celebrated the International Day of Peace, on 21 September, at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. On this occasion, schoolchildren took part in games and painted for peace, with the help of Olympic and world champions like Virginia Kravarioti, Dimitris Kafatos and Dimitris Miteloudis. This was followed by music and dance shows, in which the Loutraki Philharmonic Orchestra took part. At 8 p.m., the celebrations reached a climax with all the participants symbolically lighting a candle to send the message that peace is not and should never be an unattainable dream. More details on www.hoc.gr.
On 22 September, the Slovak Olympic Committee celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala evening, "The Road to Olympus", in a new building of the Slovak National Theatre. The event was broadcast live on national TV. Among the guests were EOC President Janez Kocijančič and representatives of 16 European NOCs. The IOC was represented by IOC Member in Slovakia Danka Bartekova, who co-hosted the celebration. The gala paid tribute to Olympic medallists and Olympians, including Jan Zachara, the oldest living Slovak Olympic champion, who has celebrated his 90th birthday. The gala also honoured the numerous NOC activities promoting the Olympic ideals among young people. The 100th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Republic was also celebrated in the presence of many guests from the Czech Republic. Two Slovak sports legends, Anastasia Kuzmina (triple Olympic champion in biathlon) and Matej Tóth (Olympic champion in the 50km walk) came to the stage with Olympic torches, and representatives of the young sports generation took over the symbolic "fire" relay. This was then followed by almost two dozen Olympic medallists aged 35 to 90 taking to the stage. More info at www.olympic.sk.
The Venezuelan NOC informs us that, from 25 to 29 September, a level 2 international course for beach volleyball coaches was held in Mérida. Those attending were from Venezuela and other South American countries. The instructors included Venezuela’s national team coach, Mauro Hernández.
The Executive Committee of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) held its third meeting of the year on 20 September in Stockholm (Sweden). EOC President Janez Kocijančič, Vice-President Niels Nygaard, Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi and Treasurer Kikis Lazarides outlined the range of activities being undertaken by the organisation, with a strong focus on the EOC flagship events, editions of which will all take place in 2019, like the Summer and Winter editions of the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku (Azerbaijan) and Sarajevo/Sarajevo East (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The meeting also saw the launch of the bid process for the third edition of the European Games in 2023. The host city is set to be announced at an extraordinary EOC General Assembly on the day before the opening ceremony of the 2019 edition in Minsk (Belarus). More details here.