IOC President Thomas Bach’s schedule took him from Rome to Marbella, and then to New York, and included meetings with members of the Olympic Movement. In Lausanne, he attended several Olympic meetings, including the annual IF Forum.
The packed programme started on 7 November in Rome, where President Bach’s visit began with a meeting with the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), and its President and (soon to be) IOC Member, Giovanni Malagò. They discussed the candidature of Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo for the Olympic Winter Games 2026, the development of sport and the very successful sports model in the country. Also present at the meeting were IOC Members in Italy Ivo Ferriani, Mario Pescante and Franco Carraro, as well as the President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Francesco Ricci Bitti.
Later, the IOC President met the Under-Secretary of State to the Presidency of the Council in charge of Sport, Giancarlo Giorgetti. The Under-Secretary expressed his strong support for the candidature of Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo for the Olympic Winter Games 2026.
President Bach met the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, at the Quirinale Palace. The two leaders discussed the candidature as well as reforms designed to make the Olympic Games more feasible, more sustainable and fitting with the needs of the city, region and country. They also discussed the role of sport in society, with President Mattarella noting that, “all around the world we see mounting tensions, and the Olympic values are a valuable way to bring people together. This is why,” he said, “Italy is a candidate for the Games. It is an opportunity not only to host a global sporting event, but also to make a contribution to peace around the world.”
President Bach also attended a gala dinner to celebrate the 80th birthday of Mario Pescante, with many Italian Olympians and representatives from the worlds of politics and culture. During his speech the President described Mario Pescante as having “a heart full of passion for sport and the athletes”.
While in Rome, the President met Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, with whom he discussed the relationship between the Vatican and the IOC, both of which are Permanent Observers at the United Nations.
From Rome, President Bach travelled to Marbella (Spain) for the 47th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) whose President is Janez Kocijančič. Speaking at the opening of the Assembly on 9 November, the IOC President made a strong statement on the preservation of the European Sport Model: “Our European Sport Model is based on solidarity, inclusivity and millions of volunteers across our continent,” he said. “Our European Sport Model is under pressure, if not under threat. The value of an organisation, of an activity, is no longer determined by the contribution to society, but just on money and markets. We are entering into serious problems as this purely market approach ignores the societal contribution sport has all over Europe. We need to defend the Model as it is in the interest of European society. We cannot let the market-based competition destroy the solidarity mechanism. It is not only about our own interests, it is in the interest of European society.”
President Bach attended the EOC gala dinner hosted by the Spanish Olympic Committee, during which the 8th Piotr Nurowski “Best Young European Athlete” Prize was awarded to Austrian racing cyclist Laura Stigger, a medallist at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 (see also under “Recognised Organisations”).
IOC President also held a meeting with IOC Member, José Perurena, also President of the International Canoe Federation (ICF).
With IOC Member Alex Gilady, also Vice-Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, he spoke about his forthcoming visit to Tokyo.
During his stay in Marbella, the IOC President was accompanied by the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco.
In New York on Monday 12 November, IOC President was guest of honour of the New York Athletic Club which celebrated 150 years. President Bach was speaking at a gala dinner in the presence of many famous Olympians, including long-jumper Bob Beamon, who won the gold medal in spectacular style at Mexico City 1968. Also present was Herb Douglas, a 96-year-old Olympian who competed in London in 1948. He was joined by many other athletes, including a world champion wrestler recently crowned in Budapest earlier this month. President Bach told the audience of past and present athletes: "The belief in the power of sport is just as relevant today as it was 150 years ago. It is a mission that we can only achieve in partnership. This is why we are privileged to have such dedicated partners like the New York Athletic Club on our side, who share our mission to spread the Olympic ideals of sport in the world today."
Earlier, the President had addressed the United Nations “Group of Friends of Sport” at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York. He told a large group of UN ambassadors representing countries from around the world of the IOC’s mission to put sport at the service of humanity. He told them the IOC could build bridges and promote peace only if it remained strictly politically neutral. The Group expressed its strong appreciation and support for the IOC and all its efforts.
Before his trip abroad, the IOC President took part in Lausanne in the Annual IF Forum organised by the SportAccord Convention, the theme of which was “Open Doors and Open Minds – New tools for IFs”. After speaking about the former GAISF and SportAccord President, the late Patrick Baumann, President Bach underlined, in his opening remarks, that “we live in a digital age, so it will come as no surprise to you when I tell you that the IOC also sees the future of sport as digital. The digital revolution is a real game changer for us and this is why the IOC has embraced this change, has embraced the new opportunities and the new tools”. Speaking about esports, the President recalled that “our goal with this engagement is not only to build mutual understanding and find common ground, but also to arrive at a common strategy for the Olympic Movement on how a possible future relationship with the esports community could look”.
The President also addressed representatives of IFs and international sports organisations based in Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud during their annual meeting, in the presence of Mayor of Lausanne Grégoire Junod and State Councillor for the Canton of Vaud Philippe Leuba. Besides the close ties between the Olympic Capital, the Canton, the Confederation and the Olympic Movement, the President also spoke about the next big milestones, such as the inauguration of the new IOC headquarters in Vidy on Olympic Day 2019 and the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.
With International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President and recently elected IOC Member Andrew Parsons, President Bach underlined the excellent cooperation between their organisations, which was strengthened in March with an agreement up to 2032, as well as preparations for the next Olympic Games editions.
The President met the President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), Oleg Matytsin, with whom he focused on the excellent cooperation between the IOC and the FISU as well as the editions of the Summer and Winter Universiades next year.
With the President and CEO of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), Robbert de Kock, the IOC President spoke about the success of the NOC support programme carried out jointly by the two organisations during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and the continuation of this collaboration.
President Bach awarded the Olympic Order to Judge Nabil Elaraby, a member of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport for 16 years. During his career as a diplomat, judge and lawyer, Judge Elaraby has sat on the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. Also present on this occasion were ICAS President John Coates and ICAS member Tricia Smith, both IOC Members.
The IOC President held a meeting with Mayor of Lausanne Grégoire Junod and State Councillor for the Canton of Vaud Philippe Leuba. They spoke about the preparations for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020, as well as their ongoing collaboration with the IOC.
President Bach met Leandro Larrosa, CEO of the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (BAYOGOC). The success of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the lessons learnt for future editions of the Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Games were discussed.
Various Olympic topics were also addressed in meeting with IOC Member Tricia Smith.
Félicité Rwemarika, who is also Vice-President of the Rwandan NOC, has been awarded the ‘2018 Francophone Woman’ Prize by the International Association of French-Speaking Mayors (AIMF) in early November. She received this title in recognition of her commitment to using sport as a means of development in French-speaking territories.
Four development grants worth CHF 20,000 each will be given by the IOC Sport and Active Society Commission to organisations that promote the health and social benefits of sport and participation in regular physical activity. The Sport and Active Society Development Grants are an initiative of the IOC’s Sport and Active Society Commission: non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and International and National Sports Federation (including IOC-Recognised International Federations) can submit their applications by 14 December, and winners will be announced within the first few months of 2019. Read the full news release here.
Other Olympic news
On 14 November, the IOC and the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) have issued a joint statement to publicly express their deepest satisfaction with the decision taken by the Spanish Government regarding the participation of Kosovan athletes in international competitions to be held in Spain. Through this decision, communicated today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, the Spanish Government will provide the Kosovan sports delegations competing in Spain with the relevant visa and will authorise them to use their own national symbols, anthem and flag, in accordance with Olympic protocol. Read the full statement here.
The role of sport in addressing marine pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss and air quality took centre stage this week as 63 IFs gathered together in Lausanne, at an annual sustainability session, organised by the IOC on the back of the IF Forum 2018. Nine Federations – the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the International Canoe Federation (ICF), the International Fencing Federation (FIE), the International Golf Federation (IGF), the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), World Rugby (WR), World Sailing (WS), the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) – received certificates in recognition of their engagement in the UN-led Clean Seas campaign. The initiative, of which the IOC is a partner, aims to increase global awareness of the marine litter issue, and to implement measures that address gaps in waste management. Read the full news release here.
Developing a national coordinated approach in Austria, Germany and Switzerland against threats to the integrity of sport was the focus of a workshop organized by INTERPOL and the IOC. A main objective of the workshop was to identify key stakeholders to help establish national platforms in the three participating countries to facilitate the national, regional and international cooperation required to preventing and investigating competition manipulation and other threats to the integrity of sport. The two-day event (6 and 7 November) was hosted in close cooperation with the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB). It was supported by the Council of Europe and Sportradar. The workshop brought together more than 70 representatives from German law enforcement, government, betting entities and sports organizations, as well as high-level delegations from Austria and Switzerland. More details here.
The ‘Olympic Games: Behind the Screen’ exhibition was inaugurated at a special event held on 13 November at its new, permanent home at the headquarters of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and the Olympic Channel in Madrid (Spain). IOC Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch was joined by Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee; Jose Perurena, IOC Member and President of the International Canoe Federation (ICF); Marisol Casado, IOC Member and President of the International Triathlon Union (ITU); Antonio Espinos, President of the World Karate Federation (WKF); Francis Gabet, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage; Olympic broadcasting pioneer Manolo Romero, and Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of OBS and Executive Director of the Olympic Channel to officially open the exhibition. Starting in 2019, the exhibition will be open to local schools, community groups and sports organisations as well as international visitors on an appointment basis. Following its original run as a temporary exhibit at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, OBS and the Olympic Channel felt that such a notable collection of equipment, images and information about the Olympic Movement deserved a permanent home. Read the full news release here.
international sportS FEDERATIONS
The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has joined forces with the Women’s Sports Network (WSNet) to highlight the issues around teenage girls and sport. This has seen the development of the ROWMoJo initiative. This is a 50-page kitbag manual for parents, coaches and athletes to build stronger, confident movement skills coupled with other emotive issues such as: body image, diet and social media. A free digital version will be launched by Fiona Wilson at the World Rowing Coaches Conference to be held in Berlin (Germany) from 21 to 23 November. ROWMoJo will be free to download from the FISA site (www.worldrowing.com). More details here.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has joined the International Testing Agency (ITA). Following a meeting at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, the ITA agreed to carry out key areas of the FIG's anti-doping programme, such as out-of competition testing, updating the current risk assessment protocol, set up and administration of Athlete Biological Passport and administration of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). More details here.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) presented its 2018 Olympic Day Awards to the National Associations of India and Uganda at the 46th FIH Congress in New Delhi (India). The Awards recognise Sport for All activities undertaken by FIH stakeholders on the occasion of Olympic Day. In 2018, 60 FIH stakeholders have encouraged about 30,000 people to play hockey in over 50 countries across the five continents. The programmes were highly inclusive and targeted people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. More details here. Some 250 delegates from across the world took part in the FIH Congress to discuss crucial matters regarding the global status and popularity of hockey. For a report on the Congress and the decisions taken there, click here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the dates in 2019 for the 3rd Artistic Swimming World Series. The event will kick off in Europe: Paris (France) from 28 February to 3 March; Greece (city tbc) from 4 to 7 April; and Kazan (Russian Federation) from 19 to 21 April. In Asia, Tokyo (Japan) and the People’s Republic of China (city tbc) will welcome the circuit from 27 to 29 April and on 4 and 5 May respectively. Greensboro (USA) from 24 to 26 May, and Quebec (Canada) from 30 May to 1 June will be the North American legs. The last leg will be in Barcelona (Spain) from 31 May to 2 June, before the first Super Final, the details of which will be made available in December. Info at www.fina.org.
Eighty nations were represented at the 70th Congress of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) in Limassol (Cyprus). Agenda items included the appointment of an Electoral Committee, the confirmation of competition dates for 2019 and 2020, and the UIPM membership of four new nations – Jamaica, Malawi, Paraguay and Uganda. The Congress also marked the 70th anniversary of the UIPM, founded in 1948 during the Olympic Games in London. Guests including Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and an IOC Member, attended a special gala dinner which was followed by the UIPM Annual Awards. More details here.
World Rugby has welcomed Fiji and Samoa onto its expanded Council, while Burkina Faso and Lebanon were accepted as associate members. There are now 123 national unions in the membership of World Rugby. The Council also welcomed four new members and now stands at 49 members, 14 of whom are women. More details here.
During meetings in Chengdu (People’s Republic of China), the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Board of Directors agreed the establishment of an independent ITF Ethics Commission with immediate effect, and approved the ITF Code of Ethics, which will come into effect on 1 January 2019. The ITF Ethics Commission has been formed to uphold the ITF’s commitment to the highest standards of integrity, governance and transparency, a key pillar of the ITF2024 strategy in the development of tennis for future generations. The ITF Board of Directors has appointed Sandra Osborne as the inaugural Chair of Commission. She will take up her new role from 1 December 2018. More details here.
With funds from International Triathlon Union (ITU) Development and Olympic Solidarity, and through cooperation between the Syrian and Lebanese NOCs and Triathlon Federations, 19 coaches from Syria have just finished an ITU Coach Level 1 course in Lebanon. The event took place just a couple of weeks after the Syrian Federation organised its National Championships in the city of Aleppo. The participants were interested not only in increasing their coaching skills, but also in learning tips for organising races, managing athletes and developing the sport within their regions. With the help of the two ITU facilitators, Vicent Beltran and Mahdi Mnif, the Syrian coaches will work on increasing the level of the events and athletes in the coming months. More details here.
The World Curling Federation (WCF) and the World Academy of Sport, a global leader in international sports education, have partnered together to enhance the growth of curling across the world. The two organisations will create a global structure for the WCF’s development programmes and educational resources, to be known as the World Curling Academy. The Academy will be established over the next five years, and will be aimed at the Federation’s 61 member associations and other interested parties in the global curling community. More details here.
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
From 1 to 4 November in Termas de Río Hondo, the Argentinian NOC organised the 5th Session of the Argentinian Olympic Academy, in collaboration with the government of the province of Santiago del Estero. This biennial Session is brings together people aged 35 and more who have not been able to attend the sessions for young participants and who are involved in sports and education management. The 30 participants attended various talks on subjects which included the structure of the Olympic Movement, the Olympic Winter Games, the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, sports organisation management and sport as a relational model. More details here.
The Olympic Academy of the Bahrain NOC organised two symposiums at its offices in Juffair. The first will be on competition planning and sports regulations, while the second will cover sports regulations, addressing the rights and duties of athletes when they sign a contract. The Athletes’ Commission Chairman and NOC Board of Directors Member Omar Al Maliki will be in attendance. More info at www.boc.bh.
On 8 November, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) and Honduras NOC (COH) signed a Bilateral Cooperation Agreement. Hong-Dow Lin (r. on photo), CTOC President, and COH Vice-President Ana Joselina Fortin Pineda (l.), on behalf of COH President Salvador Jiménez Caceres, inked the Agreement as the main signatories, as well as Gerardo Alfonso Fajardo Fernandez, President of the Autonomous Sports Confederation of Honduras. The agreement encourages cooperation in areas such as sports exchanges, staff exchanges, medical science, anti-doping and National Olympic Academies. A Sports Exchange Forum was held before the ceremony, which was attended by the Honduras delegation and leading figures from Chinese Taipei sports associations. More details on www.tpenoc.net.
A sports administration course concluded on 3 November at the Colombian NOC headquarters in Bogotá. Some 62 Colombian sports officials took part. The subjects addressed were: international sports law, sports marketing, IOC funding and the positioning of Olympic sports organisations, Olympic sports delegations and events organisation. More details here.
“Sport on the edge? The pressure for performance (not just) in elite sport” was the title of a conference organised by the Czech Olympic Committee with the support of the Senate of the Czech Parliament last month. The conference covered pressing issues facing the sports movement, including ensuring equal opportunities; greater promotion of women’s sport; the excessive pressure placed on children to perform and its psychological and health impacts; communication between elite athletes and coaches; and support for education programmes for athletes and coaches. The conference was organised by the NOC’s Committee for Equal Opportunities in Sport, under the auspices of the Women Sport International (WSI) organisation. Many Olympic medallists were in attendance, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Education and Sport, universities, members of the Athletes’ Committee and members the NOC’s Committee for Equal Opportunities in Sport. More details here.
In early November, an agreement was signed on the responsibilities and obligations between the Bolivarian Sports Organisation (Odebo), the Venezuelan NOC and the Organising Committee of the XIX Bolivarian Sports Games 2021. The signing took place at the Colombian NOC headquarters in the presence of Odebo President Baltazar Medina, NOC President Eduardo Álvarez, Organising Committee CEO Franklin Cardillo, Bolivarian Games engineer Alan Mata, architect Mileidy Bastidas and Medardo Duarte of the Technical Department. More details here.
ORGANISING ComMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) and the United Nations have concluded a Letter of Intent aimed at promoting the contribution of sport to sustainable development and supporting achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more specifically. The Letter of Intent was signed by Alison Smale (l. on photo), UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, and Toshiro Muto (r. on photo), Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Officer, during a UN delegation visit to Tokyo. The two parties agreed to work together to leverage the United Nation's own events and media platforms to increase the public's knowledge of the links between the SDGs, sports and sporting events among citizens of Japan and other countries. More details here.
As part of its mission to create new legacies related to sport, economics, the environment and urban development, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 (Beijing 2022) recently formed a Legacy Coordination Committee. The governance structure establishes who amongst Beijing 2022 and its respective stakeholders is responsible for delivering each legacy project before, during and after the Games so that the citizens of Beijing will benefit from the Games for decades to come. The Legacy Coordination Committee itself will serve as the decision-making body for those projects, reviewing internal and external efforts related to Beijing 2022. Full press release here.
The 47th annual European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly closed on 10 November in Marbella with a presentation on the New Leaders sports leadership programme. The New Leaders programme has been established to empower and equip leaders in sport with strong tools to think, learn and act. The General Assembly also approved the northern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia as the host of the 2023 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival. Earlier, the Assembly had heard from the organisers of next year’s European Games in Minsk, Games of the Small States of Europe in Montenegro, and winter and summer editions of the European Youth Olympic Festival in Sarajevo & East Sarajevo and Baku, respectively. Former EOC Executive Committee member Alexander Kozlovsky (Russian Federation) was awarded the EOC Order of Merit. The 2018 European Olympic Laurel Awards were presented to Peter Schröcksnadel (Austria), Emmanuel Katsiadakis (Greece), Ellert Schram (Iceland), Jean-Louis Margue (Luxembourg) and José Vicente Moura (Portugal). The 48th EOC General Assembly will be held in Warsaw on 25 and 26 October 2019, which will coincide with the Polish NOC’s centenary celebrations. More details on www.eurolympic.org.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) have announced a new Cooperation Agreement for the World Para Snow Sports. The agreement was signed on 6 November following a meeting at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne attended by IPC President Andrew Parsons (right in photo), FIS President Gian Franco Kasper (left) and IPC Chief Executive Officer Xavier Gonzalez. The IPC acts as the IF for Para Alpine skiing, Para cross-country and Para snowboard. In line with the new agreement, the FIS has appointed a FIS Sub-Committee for those Para snow sports to act as a liaison for technical matters between the FIS and the IPC and its advisory groups. More details here.
On 5 November, the Council of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) confirmed Raffaele Chiulli as GAISF President following the death of Patrick Baumann. He will carry out his duties until he is endorsed at the GAISF General Assembly in May 2019. Chiulli is also President of the World Powerboating Federation and the Association of Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF). The Council also confirmed the appointment of current Head of Administration Philippe Gueisbuhler as GAISF Director. More details here.