IOC President Thomas Bach is visiting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). This visit follows an invitation from the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the DPRK which was extended during the discussions regarding the “Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration” on 20 January 2018 in Lausanne. The IOC delegation arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea, on 29 March, and will leave on 31 March in the morning. The discussions will focus on the further development of sport in the DPRK after the successful participation of athletes at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018; and the preparation of athletes from the NOC of the DPRK with the objective of qualifying for and participating in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, as well as the Youth Olympic Games 2020 and 2022. This visit is part of the close cooperation and consultations the IOC enjoys with all of the 206 National Olympic Committees. Full press release here.
At the Swiss Forum for International Affairs in Geneva, President Bach has highlighted the central importance of political neutrality for the Olympic Games to achieve their overarching goal to bring the world together in peaceful competition. Speaking in front of an audience of diplomats and representatives from international organisations, academia and the private sector, he cited the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as the most recent example of the IOC’s commitment to strict political neutrality. In his speech, President Bach described the process of negotiating the political tensions on the Korean Peninsula leading up to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. President Bach also said that he was happy to see that the governments are using the momentum from the Olympic Games to now start discussions on the political level and expressed his hope that this will lead to a peaceful future on the Korean Peninsula. Full press release here.
President Bach welcomed the Vice-President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Iliana Iotova, who was accompanied by the Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein, Meglena Plugtschieva. The two leaders discussed a number of issues on sport in Europe, in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2018.
Speaking at the third IF Gender Equality in Leadership Forum held in Lausanne, the IOC President underlined the IOC’s commitment to gender equality and the advancement of women in sport. One of the tangible outcomes of Olympic Agenda 2020 is the IOC Gender Equality Review Project, whose 25 recommendations on how to promote gender equality on and off the field of play were approved by the IOC Executive Board in February. (See also under “Other Olympic news”.)
The IOC President received the IOC Members in Italy, Mario Pescante and Franco Carraro, and the Italian NOC President, Giovanni Malagò, to discuss the preparations for the IOC Session in Milan in 2019 and a potential Italian candidature for the Olympic Games.
The IOC President met the President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), David Haggerty, and ITF Chief Operating Officer Kelly Fairweather. The next editions of the Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games were discussed during a meeting with the full ITF Board members.
Preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and various issues of common interest were discussed during a meeting with the President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), Morinari Watanabe.
President Bach and IOC Vice President Uğur Erdener, who is also Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission, discussed a number of activities with regard to the protection of the health of the athletes, new research programmes and the WADA reforms.
With Patrick Baumann, IOC Member and President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), forthcoming meetings in Bangkok (Thailand) including SportAccord were discussed.
Newly elected IOC Executive Board member and incoming Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Kirsty Coventry spoke with the President about the implementation of the Commission’s new strategy.
A meeting with IOC Member Britta Heidemann was also held, during which Olympic-related topics were addressed.
With Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the IOC President discussed the topics of good governance and the protection of clean athletes.
In Geneva, President Bach met Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. They discussed areas of mutual interest as well as collaboration with the Olympic Refuge Foundation, whose goal is to pursue the efforts made by the whole Olympic Movement in recent years to support the world’s refugees.
President Bach met the President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Martin Vetterli, with whom he discussed new opportunities of cooperation between the IOC and the EPFL in particular with regard to sustainability and innovative technology.
With Mark Watts, Executive Director of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the IOC President discussed the IOC’s sustainable development policy, particularly in the context of organising the Olympic Games.
President Bach also welcomed the Extraordinary Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations in Geneva, Lundeg Purevsuren.
Walter Sieber, a member of the Olympic Programme Commission, met the IOC President to discuss the preparations for the next editions of the Olympic Games.
Sergey Bubka (right) received a special distinction from the President of the International Powerboating Federation (UIM) Raffaele Chiulli (left), in recognition of his legendary sporting achievements and for his dedication to promoting the value of sport to young people around the world. The distinction was awarded during the 9th UIM World Champions Awards Gala, held on 17 March in Monaco.
Jean-Claude Killy (second from r. on photo) received the Flambeau d’Or (Golden Torch) in memory of Antonio Spallino, the highest honour awarded by Panathlon International, at a ceremony in Grenoble (France) on 24 March. Pierre Zappelli, President of Panathlon International (second from l. on photo) presented him with the honour in recognition of his outstanding sporting career and his contribution to sports development.
Other Olympic news
Electoral processes, gender-neutral portrayal and meaningful inclusion in decision-making roles – key themes of the recently launched IOC’s Gender Equality Review Project recommendations - were at the heart of the discussions during the third IF Gender Equality in Leadership Forum, which took place in Lausanne. With more than 30 IF representatives attending, the event – co-organised between the IOC and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) – provided a platform for IF leaders to discuss the IOC’s Gender Equality Review Project findings and recommendations, share best practices to adapt to their own organisations, and seek new solutions to improve gender equality in sports leadership. Full press release here.
On 29 March, the IOC published its new Host Selection Process for the fourth edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), set to take place in summer 2022. This process has been launched following the decision taken by the IOC Session in early February to proactively approach countries on the African continent to host the YOG 2022, and has been communicated to several African NOCs. Full details here.
international sports federations
The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has announced that the 2022 World Rowing Championships have been awarded to the Czech Rowing Association for the Racice International Rowing and Canoeing Course. In 2018, Racice is already welcoming international rowing, as it is the venue for the World Rowing Junior Championships. The 2022 World Championships will take place in late August. Full details here.
Almost 250 delegates from over 50 nations representing many different interests and stakeholder groups in the sport travelled to Lausanne for the seventh edition of the FEI Sports Forum on 26 and 27 March. FEI President Ingmar De Vos, who is also an IOC Member, opened the Forum which focused on youth, athlete welfare, education and integrity. Full details here on the website of the International Equestrian Federation.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) announced the nine champions who will be the Gymnastics Ambassadors at its 2018 World Championships. The Ambassadors will participate in several public events during the Worlds, including meetings with the public or young athletes. They will also present the gold medals to the new champions, individually or in their category. Find out the ambassadors’ names here.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), with Thierry Weil (photo) set to join the organisation in April 2018. Weil has more than 35 years’ worth of experience as an executive leader at the highest levels of sports administration on the global stage. A French national, Weil hold previously executive roles within Adidas Global and, most recently, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Full details here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that Kiev (Ukraine) will play host to the 22nd FINA World Junior Diving Championships from July 23 to 29 2018. This competition, which was last held two years ago in Kazan (Russian Federation), plays a critical role, as it provides a unique platform to identify young talents and creates awareness about the discipline among young people. More info on www.fina.org.
World Rugby has launched an exciting project that will accelerate rugby development in the Pacific, paving the way for the region’s best and brightest rugby talents to thrive on the international stage. The “World Rugby Combine” project features 30 players under the age of 23 from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga who impressed during the recent World Rugby Pacific Challenge. They are taking part in a dedicated education and preparation camp in Suva. The initiative, which is being run in partnership with Oceania Rugby, Pacific Rugby Players (PRP) and the three players’ unions, reflects World Rugby’s ongoing commitment to developing sustainable high-performance pathways in the region. More info here.
The 2017 International Powerboating Federation (UIM) Environmental Award has been presented to the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS), for developing an inventory of trends and case studies aimed at determining the sustainability of international sports federations. The announcement was made at the 9th UIM World Champions Awards Giving Gala held recently in Monaco. Full details here.
national olympic committees
At the invitation of the Algerian NOC President, Mustapha Berraf, a Hungarian delegation composed of the NOC President, Krisztian Kulcsar, and IOC Member Pál Schmitt visited Algiers. A partnership and sports exchange agreement was signed by the two parties for the period 2018-2021. The Hungarian delegation was also received at the Senate by Abdelkader Bensalah, President of the Council of the Nation (Senate). Also in attendance were Berraf and Algerian NOC Executive Committee members Mustapha Larfaoui, who is also an IOC Honorary Member, Hassiba Boulmerka and Benida Merrah. During a ceremony at the Olympic Museum in Algiers, the Algerian NOC awarded two of its highest honours to its Hungarian guests: the Olympic Order of Merit to Pál Schmitt and the Olympic Medal of Merit to Krisztian Kulcsar.
The fifth edition of the advanced sports administration course organised by the NOC of Argentina, with the support of Olympic Solidarity, was launched on 19 March. Those in attendance included senior members of the NOC, including Vice-President Alicia Morea, and of the national high-level sports organisation. The participants from the previous edition received their diplomas during the event. More info here.
On 22 March in Bogotá, the Colombian NOC held its Ordinary General Assembly, which was attended by the NOC Executive Committee, representatives from national sports federations and the Coldeportes organisation. Chaired by Baltazar Medina, the NOC President, the Assembly heard reports on a range of subjects, including sporting results and the organisation of sports events in 2017, the financial results and the budget for 2018. More details here.
In addition, on 9 and 10 March, the fifth edition of the GOLD advanced sports administration course, which will run until September, kicked off at the Technology University of Pereira. The 36 participants are Executive Committee members of the NOC and of national sports federations and leagues, and members of universities and other institutions. More details here.
The 9th edition of the “All Olympic” (“Todos Olímpicos”) campaign to promote the Olympic values was launched at the headquarters of the Spanish NOC, with a large number of children in attendance. The NOC President, Alejandro Blanco, highlighted that the programme has been rolled out in five autonomous communities in the country, and introduced the Olympic athletes who will promote the campaign in 45 centres across Madrid. This campaign will run from 20 March to 15 June. More info on www.coe.es.
The Japanese NOC and the Senegalese NOC signed a partnership agreement in Tokyo on 16 March. The two NOC presidents, Tsunekazu Takeda (r. on photo) and Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye (l. on photo), who are both also IOC Members, signed the agreement, which stipulates that both parties will actively support their officials, staff, athletes and coaches in exchange programmes, and that they will share marketing knowledge, information and best practices. The Japanese NOC has now signed agreements with 43 NOCs. More info on www.joc.or.jp.
organising committees for the olympic games
On 19 March – 858 days before the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – the Organising Committee (Tokyo 2020) highlighted its readiness to host the Games by releasing a new promotional video showcasing the city and its culture, and showing how sport brings people together. During the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, tens of thousands of visitors cheered on the athletes from the Tokyo 2020 “Live Sites” that had been set up in seven cities across the country. In addition to big screens broadcasting coverage of the Games, there were concerts and opportunities to meet athletes, as well as workshops where visitors could try their hand at various Olympic and Paralympic sports. More info on www.tokyo2020.org.
The Executive Council of Association of the National Olympic Committees (ANOC) met in Santiago (Chile) few weeks after the closing of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The majority of the meeting focused on assessing the impact of ANOC’s efforts to provide support to the NOCs of the world. Each of the nine Commissions and Working Groups reported on their work since the last Executive Council meeting in Prague (Czech Republic) in November 2017. The ANOC Executive Council passed a resolution to adopt a new conflict of interest policy that applies to the members of the Executive Council and Commissions, as well as ANOC staff. The Council also approved the creation of a five-member Electoral Commission that will be tasked with managing the ANOC Executive Council elections in accordance with the ANOC Constitution. Full details on www.anocolympic.org
Compliance, funding and capturing the athlete’s voice were among the main themes at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s 14th Annual Symposium, held from 21 to 23 March in Lausanne. The WADA Symposium brought together a record 900 delegates from the global anti-doping community for three days of presentations, interviews, panel discussions, practical workshops and networking sessions. Athlete representatives, International Federations, government representatives, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, Major Event Organisers, WADA-accredited laboratories and Athlete Passport Management units, as well as more than 50 international media and other stakeholders, came together for the event, the theme of which was “Shaping the Future of Clean Sport”. Full details here.