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Olympic Highlights

UNHCR / Jean-Marc Ferré
20 Dec 2018
Olympic News, IOC News



As the year comes to an end, the IOC President expressed his best wishes to the IOC staff at the organisation’s end-of the year dinner, quoting in his speech a few lines from a text written by Pierre de Coubertin in 1918, in which Coubertin looks ahead to 2018. The extract (below) shows once again how much Coubertin could be both a man of his time and an extraordinary visionary.  “Where will destinies lie 100 years from now in 2018? Armed as we are with the indefinite applications of growing knowledge, human evolution has become strangely swift, and never before has it been more imprudent and pointless even to make long-range forecasts. One thing that is certain, however, is that a weighty responsibility rests upon us. [...] The legacy that exists in 2018 will depend mostly on what the people of 1918, with whom the values of our times are held in trust, decide. Let us make sure that our children have no reason to hold us painfully to account, and that they receive a legacy of wisdom, energy and honour, enriched still further by our virtues, our constancy, our loyalty and our self-sacrifice.” (“Almanach olympique pour 1918”, section “Regards rétrospectifs“)

At the invitation of the IOC, the leading representatives of the Olympic Movement met in Lausanne on 8 December for the 7th Olympic Summit. They discussed a number of important topics related to the future of the Olympic Movement. The main areas under discussion were: the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration; progress in making the anti-doping system independent of sporting organisations and national interests, including the progress of the International Testing Agency (ITA); good governance; multi-sports events and the sports calendar; the allocation of international sports events and the right of athletes to compete without discrimination; and the approach of the Olympic Movement to esports/egames. Full news release here.

IOC President Thomas Bach took part in a panel with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi to discuss the key contribution of the Olympic Movement and sports to help displaced people. The dialogue was organised by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at the United Nations Office in Geneva to help foster inclusion, social cohesion and the well-being of refugees. IOC President Bach said: “Our commitment to supporting refugees is based on our fundamental belief in the power of sport to make the world a better place. In sport, everyone is equal and this simple and yet universal principle is what gives sport the power to promote peace and understanding among all people.” High Commissioner Grandi added: “Sport is so important to the UNHCR in response to the refugee crisis. We understand the power of sport to help and nothing illustrates this better than our partnership with the IOC”. In addition to IOC President and the High Commissioner, the panel also included Yusra Mardini, member of the Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016 and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. As a Syrian refugee, she shared a powerful testimony on how sport can help bring hope and resilience. Full news release here.


The IOC President met the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris (France). The principal topic of discussion was how to strengthen cooperation between the two organisations based on the Olympic values, in relation to education, gender equality and anti-doping. IOC Member in France Guy Drut, who is the IOC Special Envoy to UNESCO, was also in attendance.  


The IOC President took part in the celebrations of the 105th anniversary of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) in Paris. At the event, which was attended by the French Minister for Sport, Roxana Maracineanu,  President Bach presented the IOC President Trophy to FIE President Alisher Usmanov.  

In Lausanne, President Bach met with IOC Executive Board Member Nenad Lalovic, also President of the Union of World Wrestling (UWW). They mainly spoke about the work of the ad-hoc Inquiry Committee into the International Boxing Association (AIBA), for which Nenad Lalovic has been appointed Chair by the Executive Board during its meeting last November in Tokyo.

With World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinós, discussions were about the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where karate will make its debut, as well as various topics of mutual interest.

In a meeting with Kazakhstani NOC President Timur Kulibayev, President Bach discussed the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He was also informed about the positive development of Olympic sport and the fight against doping in Kazakhstan.

IOC / Christophe Moratal

To honour the team who embodied the Olympic spirit from Earth to the Moon, President Bach presented the IOC President Trophy to Charles Duke, the 10th man in history to walk on the Moon after completing a successful mission back in 1972. In April of that year, with a few minutes left on the Moon during their Apollo 16 mission, American astronaut Duke and his commander John Young decided to do a few high-jump exercises in what they called the “Lunar Olympics” to celebrate the Olympic year. The award ceremony was held at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, which Duke had the opportunity to visit beforehand. Full story here.

The IOC President met Swiss Olympic fencer Michel Steininger, who competed at three consecutive editions of Olympic Games (Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico 1968).

With Refugee Olympic Team athlete Yusra Mardini and her coach Sven Spannenkrebs, President Bach discussed her training ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as her role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

A meeting was also held in Lausanne with IOC Executive Board member Gunilla Lindberg.

TOP Partners


The IOC and Worldwide Top Partner Alibaba Group announced the launch of the first-ever Olympic store on Tmall, China’s largest B2C marketplace for brands and retailers. The new Olympic store will be initially available to Chinese fans on Alibaba’s Tmall, with additional plans in development to create a global ecommerce platform for fans around the world. The Olympic store on Tmall has been launched as part of the new IOC Global Licensing Strategy, which aims to engage and connect with fans seeking official Olympic branded merchandise, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020. Full press release here.

2018 Glenn Photography

Worldwide TOP Partner Dow, which pledged to join the IOC's Clean Seas movement in May 2018, has helped drive awareness of the marine litter issue with a global campaign called #PullingOurWeight, involving employees, families, friends and customers of the company in beach and waterway clean-ups around the world. In 2019, Dow and the IOC will join efforts with the NOCs and IFs as well as Clean Seas ambassadors to make this campaign even more impactful and inspire people and companies to take action in their daily lives and in their organisations. Full press release here.

other olympic news

The IOC has taken on a leadership role in the new United Nations Sports for Climate Action Initiative, which aims to drive climate action across the sports community. The Initiative was launched on 11 December by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in partnership with the IOC, at a high-level event held as part of the UN Climate Change Summit (COP24) in Katowice (Poland), which was attended by Prince Albert II, Chair of the IOC’s Sustainability and Legacy Commission. The Initiative aims to set the course for the sports world to address climate change through concrete commitments and partnerships, while applying verified standards to measure, reduce and report greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement. Full press release here.

The IOC, other international sports organisations and more than 100 ministers and experts from around the world met in London (Great Britain) to reaffirm their global commitment to tackling corruption in sport. Delegates at the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS) meeting addressed specific challenges, including how to manage conflicts of interests in awarding major sporting events to ensure that the process is fair and transparent. They also discussed tools for preventing corruption linked to procurement at sports events and the way infrastructure contracts are awarded, as well as the implementation of good governance principles as a key mitigating factor against corruption in sports organisations. Read here the speech given by IOC Member Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, who represented the IOC at the meeting. Full story here.


After 26 years in charge of the NOC Relations and Olympic Solidarity departments, Pere Miró will now be focusing exclusively on his role as Deputy Director General for Relations with the Olympic Movement. As of 1 January 2019, James Macleod will assume full responsibility for the directorship of these two departments. Full statement here.

international federations

summer ifs

Philippe Fitte

Eliud Kipchoge and Caterine Ibarguen (see photo) were named World Athletes of the Year at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletics Awards 2018, held in Monaco at the start of December. Kenya’s Kipchoge won the London Marathon before beating the world record at the Berlin Marathon. Colombia’s Ibarguen, meanwhile, cemented her place as the best triple jumper in the world, winning the Continental Cup and the Diamond League finals this season. See the full list of award recipients here.  At its meeting in Monaco, the IAAF Council took a number of key decisions (awarding the 2023 World Athletics Championships to Budapest (Hungary), status of the Russian Athletics Federation, among others). More details here.


At its meeting in Mies (Switzerland) on 7 and 8 December, the Central Board of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) took a number of key decisions. Andreas Zagklis (see photo) was unanimously appointed Secretary General of FIBA, filling the role that had been vacant since the death of Patrick Baumann. The House of Basketball, FIBA’s headquarters, will be renamed in Baumann’s honour. The FIBA Foundation and FIBA’s various international competitions were also on the agenda at the meeting. More details here.

The Congress of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) took place at the start of December in Paris. The theme of the Congress was “Fencing is our future”. Among other decisions, the Congress ratified the federation of American Samoa as an FIE member, bringing the total number of member federations to 153. In addition to the Congress, the FIE was celebrating its 105th anniversary. More details here

The 82nd Congress of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), held in Baku (Azerbaijan) at the start of December, took a number of important decisions in the fields of governance, integrity and innovation. The Congress agreed to the creation of an independent Gymnastics Ethics Foundation, along with its constitution, operational rules and investment policy. The Congress also adopted all necessary changes to its Statutes, Code of Discipline and Code of Ethics to fully entrust the Foundation with the power to investigate and run all disciplinary procedures independently. A summary of the main decisions can be found here. In addition, at its meeting on 30 November and 1 December, the FIG Executive Committee unanimously adopted the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration, which was presented to and adopted by the 133rd IOC Session in October in Buenos Aires. A summary of the decisions can be found here.


United World Wrestling (UWW) and USA Wrestling’s Wrestling4Peace initiative recently successfully delivered two new wrestling mats, two donated wrestling mats and a variety of training equipment and clothing to the Puerto Rico Wrestling Federation. The donations are part of an ongoing commitment by UWW to help the island in its recovery from the hurricanes that pummelled the territory in 2017. The donated mats were put to immediate use as 1984 Greco-Roman Olympic champion Steve Fraser (USA) put on a clinic at local wrestling clubs in San Juan, teaching a variety of techniques and talking with the young wrestlers about what it takes to win at the Olympic level. More details here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that seven national federations/cities have expressed an interest in hosting the 2025 or 2027 edition of the World Championships and World Masters Championships. The federations/cities in question are: Melbourne, Australia; the People’s Republic of China (city to be confirmed); Budapest, Hungary; Kazan, Russian Federation; Belgrade, Serbia; Ukraine (city to be confirmed); and Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. The FINA Bureau will select the host countries/cities for these two competitions on 11 July 2019. More info on In addition, the world's best Aquatics athletes of the year were honoured on 16 December at the fifth edition of the FINA World Aquatics Gala "Soirée des Etoiles", held in conjunction with the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Hangzhou (People’s Republic of China). Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary received the FINA Best Male/Female Swimmer 2018 award respectively. More details here.

World Rugby

Some 2,500 Nepalese children and adults were introduced to rugby as part of World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby programme. The initiation event took place at Tundikhel Park in Kathmandu as part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour – the first time the Cup has visited Nepal. Nepal was the final stage of the Tour for 2018, and 10 more countries will be visited in 2019. More details here. In addition, it was revealed on 15 December that World Rugby’s Impact Beyond legacy programme, launched in 2013, has achieved its target of reaching one million participants in Asia. More details here.

Paul Zimmer

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Romania’s Simona Halep (see photo) have been named 2018 World Champions by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). This is the sixth title for Djokovic and the first one for Halep. See the full list of the 2018 winners in the other categories here. The awards will be presented on 4 June 2019 in Paris at the ITF World Champions Dinner during the Roland Garros tournament. 

The Olympic Channel and the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) have announced an agreement to collaborate on content for the Olympic Channel global digital platform. With more than 2,880 bios of both volleyball and beach volleyball athletes and more than 230 pieces of video content, fans can get comprehensive coverage of the sport on the Olympic Channel. The FIVB becomes the 76th partner to have signed a similar agreement with the Olympic Channel. Other partners include IFs, recognised federations and organisations, multi-sports organisers and non-recognised federations. Full press release here.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) unveiled baseball and softball’s first-ever dedicated world rankings web platform at The new website features functions such as tracking, trends, top climbers, charts, country-by-country comparisons, ranking by continent and a world rankings news section in six languages — English, French, Japan, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese. More details here.

national olympic committees

Albanian NOC

The Albanian NOC, in cooperation with the Albanian Olympic Academy, organised its annual session, entitled "The athletes as role models", at the start of December. The participants were welcomed by the Dean of the International Olympic Academy Konstantinos Georgiadis; the President of the Albanian Olympic Academy, Agron Cuka; and the President of the NOC, Viron Bezhani. The topics addressed were: "Olympic champions, their role in education"; "Athletes as role models in youth education"; "Physical education and Olympism"; and "Olympic education as an integral part of physical education, sport and health". Luiza Gega and Izmir Smajlaj also attended the event and shared their elite athlete experiences with the participants, while representatives from the country’s Regional Educational Offices talked about their experience in organising Olympic Week 2018. More details at

Algerian NOC

On December 14, the Algerian NOC organised the 27th edition of the Southern Olympic Day in the Ziban capital of Biskra. The regional centre for the preparation of the elite was the scene of several sports competitions at the end of which trophies and diplomas were given to all participants. Scientific activities were also on the programme, in the form of talks on the themes of sports preparation. More info here. In addition, the NOC informs us that 14 graduates, including four Algerians, are the first intake of fencing masters in the three specialties (foil, epée and sabre) of the African Fencing Academy of Algiers. A ceremony was held in their honour at the Olympic Museum in Algiers. More info here.

NOC of Azerbaijan

The NOC of Azerbaijan has presented the results of its “Olympic Agenda 2020” Commission at the end of its second year. The Commission was launched in January 2017 to promote the philosophy of the IOC and Olympic Agenda 2020, and to advance the concepts of sustainable development, gender equality, sport for all, etc.  NOC Deputy Secretary Azer Aliyev was appointed as the Chairman of the Commission. The focus of the Commission is to take the Olympic Movement in Azerbaijan to the next level from 2017 to 2020 by meeting the requirements of the IOC, especially Olympic Agenda 2020. Full details here.

NOC of Bahrain

The NOC of Bahrain joined other public and private sector parties in celebrating Women’s Day in Bahrain. A special gathering was held in late November at the NOC’s headquarters in Seef and was attended by the NOC’s female staff members. The NOC’s Women’s Sport Committee Chair, Sheikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, was the patron of the event, which paid tribute to the achievements of Bahraini women in legislative and municipal work. More info at

Brazilian NOC

In early December, the Brazilian NOC launched its Policy on the Fight Against and Prevention of Moral and Sexual Harassment, which will apply to all levels of national sport. The NOC is thereby reaffirming its commitment to a healthy environment in sport and is making an open channel available for athletes to report cases of pyschological and sexual abuse. The policy will also apply to members of the Brazilian delegations at international competitions, all NOC management and staff members, service providers and volunteers. In drafting the policy, the NOC received support from UN Women and used as a point of refererence the IOC’s toolkit on safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse, which was issued in November 2017 as part of Olympic Agenda 2020. The policy was presented to NOC staff attending an information briefing at the NOC’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. More details here.

Cyprus NOC

“Athletes as Role Models” was the main topic of the 30th Session of the Cyprus National Olympic Academy, which took place on 8 December at the Olympic House in Nicosia. More than 200 officials, coaches, athletes, students and journalists attended the Session. Amongst the attendees were the Minister for Education and Culture, Kostas Champiaouris; the Advisor on Sports Matters to the President of the Republic, Phivos Zachariades; and the Director of the Bulgarian National Olympic Academy, Lozan Mitev. Having welcomed the participants, the President of the Cyprus NOC and Olympic Academy, Dinos Michaelides, paid tribute to Egli Pantelaki, the General Director of the Ministry of Education, who is due to retire, for her contribution to youth, education and Cypriot society. Speakers included Periklis Iakovakis, the Chair of the European Athletics Athletes’ Committee; Paraskevi Lioupi, Professor at Peloponnese University; Chrysanthos Chrysanthou, Director of the Cyprus Olympic Library; and Olympic shooter Andreas Chasikos. More details at

Colombian NOC

Caterine Ibargüen (left in photo) has been named Colombian athlete of the year for 2018. The President of the Colombian NOC, Baltazar Medina (right in photo), presented her with the Altius Award in Gold, the NOC’s highest honour, at a Colombian sports gala held on 11 December in Bogotá. You can see the full list of Altius Award recipients for 2018 here. Having already been named female World Athlete of the Year by the IAAF (see “IFs”), Ibargüen was also honoured by the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, and received awards from the newspaper El Espectador, the Colombian Athletics Federation and the Colombian Association of Sports Journalists. More details here

El Salvador NOC

The Olympic Academy of El Salvador, the educational body of the El Salvador NOC, organised a course entitled “Coaching for Excellence”. Various topics were addressed, including the skills and strategies of high-level coaches, developing motivational skills, identifying expertise, and learning processes among talented athletes. More info here

COE/Nacho Casares

As is the case every year, the headquarters of the Spanish NOC in Madrid hosted the NOC’s annual gala, which honours athletes, federations and sports bodies. More than 300 people attended the event, including Secretary of State for Sport Maria José Rienda. The 2018 IOC “Olympism in Action” Trophy was awarded to San Antonio de Murcia Catholic University by NOC President Alejandro Blanco and IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch. You can find the full list of award recipients at

Furthermore, the President of the Spanish Court of Arbitration, Josep Lluis Vilaseca, was presented with the Spanish NOC’s special “Juan Antonio Samaranch” award during a ceremony held in Barcelona. Vilaseca has been a key figure in Catalan sport over many years. Among other roles, he has served as a legal expert on UEFA’s Disciplinary Board, and as President of the Spanish Court of Arbitration for 20 years. More details here

Kalev Lilleorg

At the 9th Estonian Sports Forum, the Estonian NOC presented plans to establish a new elite sports programme: Team Estonia. The programme, which will be launched in 2019, aims to improve the competitive position of Estonian elite sport and increase the number of medals won in international championships. Team Estonia is a joint project developed by the NOC and the Estonian Ministry of Culture. At the Forum, the NOC also presented proposals on how to promote sport for all and regular physical activity among Estonian children and young people, with a view to achieving the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommended target of 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, delivered the opening address at the Forum, which is organised by the Estonian NOC every four years. More details here

Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China

The 2018 IOC “Olympism in Action” Trophy was presented to David Akers-Jones (right in photo), Honorary Advisor to the Hong Kong, China Rowing Association (HKCRA), in recognition of his excellent contribution in fostering Hong Kong’s social and sports development. Timothy Tsun Ting Fok (left in photo), IOC Honorary Member and President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, presented him with the IOC Trophy during the Olympic family Christmas gathering, which brought together over 200 sports celebrities and sports administrators. Akers-Jones has served in the HKCRA as Honorary Advisor for over 30 years. As a prominent leader in various sports disciplines, he has been actively involved in providing venues for people in Hong Kong to participate in sport and physical activities to improve their health. More details here.

NOC of Kazakhstan

The NOC of Kazakhstan held the 2018 edition of its National Sports Awards on 4 December in Astana. The winners were voted for online by the general public over a two-week period. The NOC received around 500,000 votes in total. The ceremony, which saw awards presented in nine categories, was attended by athletes, including Olympians, national sports federation leaders and NOC partners, among others. Notable guests included the Minister for Culture and Sport, Arystanbek Mukhamediuly; the Minister for Information and Communications, Dauren Abayev; and the Chair of the NOC’s Women in Sport Commission, Umut Shayakhmetova. More details here

NOC of Kosovo

The NOC of Kosovo marked the fourth anniversary of its recognition by the IOC with a gala evening on 9 December. Guests included the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj; the Minister for Youth, Culture and Sport, Kujtim Gashi; and Rio 2016 Olympic judo champion Majlinda Kelmendi. Following a welcome speech by NOC President Besim Hasani, a posthumous award was given to Fadil Vokrri, the former Kosovan Football Federation and NOC Vice-President, who died six months ago. Kelmendi presented an Olympic participants’ pin to Albin Tahiri, who represented Kosovo at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The NOC also honoured a number of athletes and other important sporting figures who have contributed to sports development for over 50 years. More details at

Czech NOC

The Czech NOC welcomed more than 300 guests for the 10th edition of the Bridges for Trainers conference in Prague on 3 December. The conference, which has been organised by the NOC’s Coaches Academy since 2014, aims to use the experience of coaches, athletes and sports administrators from all over the world to inspire the next generation of Czech coaches. Coaches from national sports teams, members of over 30 International and National Sports Federations and representatives from over 100 elite clubs were in attendance, as were former Czech NBA star Jiří Welsch; former international football players Pavel Horváth, Radek Bejbl, Jan Suchopárek and Luboš Kozel; and Olympic bronze medallist in ice hockey Václav Prospal. More info here.

Venezuelan NOC

Venezuelan sport has a new broadcasting, promotional and entertainment platform –  Radio Olímpica ( The radio station, which will be based at the Venezuelan NOC’s headquarters in Caracas, will offer entertainment- and news-based content.

organising committees for the olympic games

Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 (Tokyo 2020) has joined the “Sports for Climate Action Initiative”, a new programme established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Initiative was announced at the UN Climate Change Summit (COP24) in Katowice. See also “Other Olympic News”. More details here.

recognised Organisations

Generations for Peace

Generations For Peace Founder and Chairman Prince Feisal Al Hussein, accompanied by Mohannad Al Nabulsi of Samsung Electronics Levant, presented the eighth annual Samsung Generations For Peace Awards in late November. The awards recognise the achievements of Generations For Peace volunteers leading grassroots peace-building programmes in their own communities around the world. The ceremony marked the conclusion of the Generations For Peace Samsung advanced training course, in which 35 volunteers from nine countries – Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Yemen – had taken part. More details here.

next edition

A special edition of the “Olympic Highlights” will be published at the end of 2018. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you an enjoyable festive period.

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