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Olympic Highlights

16 Jul 2014
Olympic News



IOC President Thomas Bach’s agenda this week included the IOC Executive Board (EB) meeting in Lausanne followed by meetings in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.  

In Lausanne on 7 July, the IOC EB began its three-day meeting by unanimously deciding to select the cities of Oslo (Norway), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Beijing (China) (listed according to a drawing of lots carried out in December 2013) as Candidate Cities to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The EB based its decision on a technical analysis of the applications submitted by the Applicant Cities at the start of the year. The analysis and subsequent report were produced by an IOC-appointed working group of Olympic Games experts who assessed each Applicant City’s ability to successfully stage the 2022 Games. Announcing the EB’s decision, President Bach said, “The Executive Board was impressed by the legacy plans of each of the three cities, and will continue to support any future candidate or host city in developing them further. This support will be practical, involving the detailed transfer of knowledge as well as financial. In this respect it was good to see that each of the bidding cities understood the difference between the Olympic Games budget and the long-term infrastructure and investment budget, which will benefit their communities for decades to come. The Executive Board is confident that the future hosts of the Olympic Winter Games can break even with the Olympic Games budget – as Vancouver has just announced for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Or, as in the case of Sochi, make a considerable profit, which they project to be in the range of USD 200 million. This is possible not least because of the extensive financial assistance given by the IOC. In the case of Sochi, this amounted to USD 750 million and it is likely that figure will be even higher for the host of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.” The 2022 Games host city will be elected at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) on 31 July 2015. 

On the same day, the EB decided to provide an athlete from South Sudan with a place in athletics at the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing from 16 to 28 August. This decision was supported by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). A promising young runner has been nominated by the South Sudanese sports authorities. Like all athletes participating in the YOG, her transport, accommodation and other expenses will be covered by the IOC. As South Sudan does not yet have an NOC, the young athlete will participate in the YOG as an Independent Olympic Athlete under the Olympic flag. This follows a meeting in Gaborone (Botswana) organized by the IOC President between the Sudanese NOC and members of the South Sudan sporting movement where the two groups discussed ways of mutual cooperation. 

The EB reviewed a number of situations concerning autonomy and good governance in sport. For example, it heard a report from IOC Delegate Member for Autonomy Patrick Hickey about an IOC investigation into an incident that occurred at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Congress in Hammamet (Tunisia) in May, when the Israeli flag and the Israeli federation’s name plate were removed by the organisers. In particular, the EB found the Tunisian Baseball Softball Federation’s six-month suspension and accompanying measures taken by the WBSC appropriate and reasonable. That being said, in view of the critical importance of maintaining respect for all members of the Olympic Movement and upholding the Olympic values in all circumstances, and following the recommendation by the IOC task force, the EB decided to issue a warning to the WBSC regarding this incident to ensure that a similar situation is not repeated in the future.

Regarding NOCs, the EB noted with great satisfaction the progress made by the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and welcomed all the efforts made by the Pakistani Government to resolve the situation that had seriously jeopardised the autonomy of the POA and of the Olympic Movement in Pakistan. Following these developments, the EB decided that the POA should not be suspended.

The EB also received an update on the situation of the Gambian NOC, whose headquarters should be given back to the NOC in the coming days following a clear commitment from the Gambian Government. The building had been seized by the police on the Government’s instructions in April. The Gambian Government agreed to meet the IOC and the NOC in Lausanne to discuss, in particular, how to establish fruitful cooperation and a future relationship based on mutual respect.  

The final day of the EB meeting was largely devoted to forthcoming editions of the Olympic Games. An update on preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games was given by the Chair of the Coordination Commission, Nawal El Moutawakel, and by the Organising Committee, led by its President, Carlos Arthur Nuzman. The EB members noted the progress being made on venue construction, with the golf course currently being prepared, construction of the Olympic Village advancing quickly and the first stone being laid in Deodoro. Other positive developments included the state of progress of the key transport initiatives, the Rio 2016 education programme in which 500 Rio schools are involved and from which around 2 million children should benefit nationwide by 2016, and the organisation of the first Rio 2016 test event in August. President Bach said, “We have witnessed over the last few months great dynamism in Rio, in particular from the mayor and governor, who are working closely with the Organising Committee and are clearly taking responsibility. A big step forward has been made with regard to the organisation of the Games. There is still no time to lose – not a day to lose – but there has been significant progress. Now is a time to look forward, to work together and to deliver great Games for Rio, Brazil and for the world, and not to engage in discussion of the past.”

Updates were also given on the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as well as the Summer YOG in Nanjing and Winter YOG in Lillehammer. 

Concerning Olympic Agenda 2020, the EB received a report on the activities of the 14 working groups tasked with drafting key recommendations for Olympic Agenda 2020. The working groups met last month to discuss in detail the thousands of contributions made by the Olympic Movement, the world of sport and the general public. This report will now be presented at the Olympic Summit on 19 July, which will be attended by the presidents of the key Olympic Movement stakeholders.  

Among the other decisions taken by the EB, Lima (Peru) was selected as host city of the 7th IOC Athlete Career Programme (ACP) Forum, which is scheduled to be held in early 2015, while three candidates – all women and none of them IOC members – were nominated as new IOC representatives at the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS). They are: Yvonne Mokgoro of South Africa (former judge at the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Chair of the South African Law Reform Commission), Wilhelmina Thomassen of the Netherlands (Former Judge at the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe international expert on issues of judicial organisations and consultant on human rights) and Xue Hanquin of China (judge at the International Court of Justice). IOC member Richard Pound was also reappointed as an ICAS member. 

Finally, as part of President Bach’s initiative to promote transparency in the IOC and the Olympic Movement, the IOC Finance Department informed the EB that it had prepared an IOC Financial Summary that details the IOC’s revenue sources and shows where more than 90% of the IOC’s revenues are distributed within the Olympic Movement and ultimately back into sport. This Summary has been published on 

The results of research conducted on the IOC, the Olympic Games and the Olympic brand, which demonstrates the appeal and people’s awareness of the Olympic Games and the Olympic brand, were also presented. The study was carried out at the IOC’s request by KantarSport (a division of Kantar Media) after the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with a total of 36,000 people surveyed in 16 countries. Interest in the Winter Games is continuing to grow globally, with a television audience of 2.1 billion people, a 13% increase compared to Vancouver 2010. Athletes and spectators surveyed during the Games in Sochi rated their enjoyment of the Games very highly, primarily due to the standard of the sports competitions, the quality of the venues and the atmosphere at the event. In terms of brand recognition, 93 per cent of respondents were aware of the Olympic rings – making it the most widely recognised of all the brand symbols surveyed. The respondents strongly associated the Olympic symbol with values like global, inspirational, friendship, diversity, peace and excellence. The IOC was seen as showing leadership and being strict on doping, and there was widespread recognition that hosting an Olympic Games brings benefits to the host country.

(l. to r.) Honorary President Rogge, Guido De Bondt and President Bach. © IOC/Ian Jones

In parallel to the EB meeting, President Bach awarded the Olympic Order to Guido De Bondt in recognition of his 37 years of service to the Olympic Movement. IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge paid tribute to the remarkable career of his compatriot Guido De Bondt at a ceremony attended in particular by the EB members and Belgian IOC member and NOC President Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant. Guido De Bont began his career at the Belgian NOC as Sports Director in 1976 before becoming Secretary General in 1992, a role he held until he retired in March. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the European Olympic Committees and currently chairs the European Youth Olympic Festival Commission. De Bondt also served on the IOC Olympic Programme Commission and the Evaluation Commission for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. He remains Olympic Solidarity course director at the “Itinerant School for Sports Administrators”.  

President Bach and Gianni Merlo. © IOC/Ian Jones

On the eve of the EB meeting, President Bach attended the 90th anniversary celebrations of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), chaired by Gianni Merlo. The IOC President marked the occasion by pointing out the similarities between the two institutions: “We were both founded in Paris, and we share our love for sport and Olympism and our concern how we can best protect against the challenges we are all facing and promote our values, also for the younger generation.” He was presented with a special edition of the book on the history of AIPS by Gianni Merlo in the presence of numerous IOC and AIPS members and representatives of IFs and of the City of Lausanne. Info at

President Bach and Robert Bayigamba. © CIO/Jochen Färber

Before flying to Brazil at the end of the EB meeting on 9 July, President Bach met Robert Bayigamba, President of the Rwandan NOC, and his advisor, Laurent Torrecillas.  

Meeting with the Brazilian athletes at the COB. © Patrick Stalder

President Bach started his visit to Brazil on Thursday 10 by touring the Olympic Village – which is already nearly 40 per cent complete. He then addressed Brazilian athletes preparing to compete in Rio 2016 and the Presidents of Olympic Federations at the headquarters of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) in Rio. Also attended: Nawal El Moutawakel, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Rio 2016; IOC honorary member, Carlos Arhur Nuzman, President of the COB and of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee; Bernard Rajzman, IOC member in Brazil. He also participated in the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Brazilian NOC’s centenary.

The same day, President Bach met Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) President and IOC member Joseph Blatter. They discussed the great success of the World Cup and the progress of discussions on Olympic Agenda 2020. 

The following day in Brasilia at the Palácio do Planalto, the IOC President received strong support from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for the successful delivery of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the importance of the Olympic Games and the positive social, economic and sporting legacy the Games will deliver. “I was pleased to hear the confidence President Rousseff has in the Games and what they will deliver, and it was good to hear that the Games and their legacy will be a top priority,” President Bach said. “The IOC will contribute around USD 1.5 billion to the Games, which will leave a huge sporting, economic and social legacy.” The Brazilian President underlined that the Games were a 'top priority' for her government.

President Bach and President Rousseff also discussed the sporting legacy that Rio 2016 is set to leave for elite and grassroots athletes alike thanks to the new venues being built and initiatives such as the creation of the Olympic Training Centre (OTC) in Barra, the first of its kind in South America.

After the meeting, President Bach praised the organisation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. "Brazil and Brazilians can be proud," he told reporters, adding that the Olympic Games in Rio would benefit from the "passion and efficiency" of the Brazilian people.  

The President was joined by Nawal El Moutawakel, Carlos Nuzman, and Rio 2016 CEO Sidney Levy. 

Following his meeting with President Rousseff, the IOC President returned to Rio to meet with Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes and Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro Luiz Fernando Pezão, where they discussed the progress of Rio 2016.  

The Olympic flag flying in the stadium at the World Cup final.  © Getty/Chris Brunskill Ltd

On 13 July, President Bach attended the football World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracanã stadium in Rio. He has attended every final since the 1986 edition in Mexico

President Bach then left Brazil to travel to Haiti, where he will inaugurate the “Sport for Hope” centre in Port-au-Prince in the company of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 15 July. More info in next Highlights’ issue. 


Mario Pescante has been appointed emeritus professor in private law by the Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research. Mario Pescante will be a professor at the Link Campus University of Rome.   

HRH Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz has resigned from his position as President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee. As his membership of the IOC was linked to his function as NOC President, it therefore ceased at the same time. President Bach thanked His Royal Highness for his contribution to the Olympic Movement. 


In the framework of the first edition of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme, the IOC Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) has awarded six research grants to projects in recognition of their academic quality and relevance to the IOC priority fields of research. These grants will enable the researchers to carry out their research project, meet experts from the IOC departments and, if appropriate, consult the OSC resources (a unique collection of more than 1 million archived documents, publications, official reports and photographic and film archives). The results of their research must be submitted to the OSC in June 2015. This year, which has seen the launch of the first edition of the programme, 99 researchers from 25 countries and five continents submitted proposals. The full list of grants awarded can be found here. For more information on the Olympic Studies Centre and its services and resources, click here



The Council of the International Handball Federation (IHF) met in Zagreb (Croatia) on 8 July. The topics discussed included the regulations for transfers between federations, the rules of beach handball and the situation of handball in Oceania, where there is no IHF-recognised continental confederation. Info at 

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) has confirmed that Cuba, Myanmar and the Marshall Islands will host their first ever competitions in 2015. Meanwhile, after successfully organising events in 2014, the cities of Los Angeles (United States of America) and Tehran (Islamic Republic of Iran) will again host the freestyle and Greco-Roman World Cups respectively. Also in 2015, the Senior World Championships will be held in Las Vegas (United States of America), the Junior World Championships in Recife (Brazil), the Cadet World Championships in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and, finally, the Veteran World Championships in Crete (Greece). Info at 

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) informs us that the venue of the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai (China) will stage the FINA Diving World Cup from 15 to 20 July. The world’s best divers will compete in nine events on the programme. Info at 

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has announced that the 2014 edition of the Women’s World Cup will take place from 17 to 19 October at the Sportpark Lissfeld in Linz (Austria). It will be the first time the competition has ever been staged outside Asia, where it is has been held every year since its inception in 1996. Info at


Graduates of the course organised by the Albanian NOC. © Albanian NOC

The Albanian NOC has organised the graduation ceremony for participants in the 2nd edition of the Advanced Sports Management Course (ASMC) held from 26 April 2013 to 18 January 2014. The ceremony was attended in particular by the NOC President, Viron Bezhani, the members of the NOC Executive Committee, the Minister of Education and Sports, Lindita Nikolla, and MP Fidel Ylli. This is the second time the Albanian NOC has organised the course under the auspices of Olympic Solidarity. The next edition will be launched in November 2014 or January 2015. Info at 

Danny Ecker and Markus Rehm (right) with disabled young athletes in Kiel.  © Meike Engels/Wirkhaus

The German NOC recently announced that more than 808,000 people in Germany and other countries passed the German Sports Badge fitness test in 2013. Around 12,300 participants took the test in their home countries. This year, Olympians such as decathlete Frank Buseman (silver medallist), canoeist Andreas Dittmer (gold medallist), pole vaulter Danny Ecker, long-jumper Markus Rehm (Paralympic champion) and many other elite athletes participated in a tour around Germany which attracted numerous families and individuals. The inclusion of disabled athletes was one of the themes of the tour. Test participants were able to choose from different sports covering the fields of speed, strength, endurance and coordination. Info at

In order to eliminate stereotypes and prejudice against women, and to eradicate violence, the Guatemalan NOC and representatives of various sectors of Guatemalan society met at the NOC headquarters. The agenda included defining actions and strategies aimed at eradicating violence against women. The meeting was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF and the World Bank under the theme “Men agree to end violence against women” (“Hombres comprometidos para poner fin a la violencia contra la mujer”). The topics discussed include: using sport as a tool for education on the elimination of prejudice and stereotypes; facilitating access and promoting female athletes; and defining action guidelines for promoting gender equality through sport. The meeting was attended, inter alia, by the NOC President, Gerardo Aguirre, IOC member Willi Kaltschmitt Lujan, President’s delegate Dwight Pezzarossi, UNICEF representatives Christian Skoog and Juan Quiñonez, and UN representative Héctor Morales. Info at 

Olympic Day Run in Bamako. © Malian NOC

On 21 June, the Malian NOC organised Olympic Day activities in which a large number of children, adults and athletes took part. The NOC used Olympic Day 2014 to celebrate peace and friendship between individuals and peoples. This was demonstrated by the Olympic Day Run for pupils of the Académie de la rive gauche, members of the Malian armed forces, and French members of SERVAL and MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). Addressing a large crowd that included Malian first lady Keita Aminata Maiga, who is also President of the National Olympic Academy, NOC President Habib Sissoko referred to the creation of the modern Olympic Movement and the unifying nature of sport.  

Introduction to judo on Olympic Day. © Portuguese NOC

The city of Vila Real was chosen by the Portuguese NOC to host the Olympic Day celebrations on 23 June. More than 200 children were able to learn about the Olympic values and try their hand at several sports under the supervision of the associations and federations of handball, athletics, basketball, boccia, fencing, gymnastics, golf, judo, table tennis, archery and volleyball. Young athletes were also able to talk to Olympic champions such as Rosa Mota and Carlos Lopes, and Olympians including Nuno Delgado and João Neto, who is also President of the NOC’s Athletes’ Commission. Numerous children took part in the 5km race in spite of bad weather. An Olympic torch was lit and carried by Rosa Mota. Info at


At the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Debrief held last week in PyeongChang (Korea), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that the Games attracted a record cumulative television audience of nearly 2.1 billion people, around 32% more than for the previous edition in Vancouver in 2010. In total, some 1,378 hours were shown on 125 TV channels in 55 countries. Info at 


Please note that, in the previous edition of Olympic Highlights, the copyright of the first photo should be “Getty Images” not “POCOG”.

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