This week, IOC President Thomas Bach was in Beijing, the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 2022, for the Debrief of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
In his address, the President said: “If there is one message that I would like everyone from the future Organising Committees and Interested Cities to remember, it is that this new approach has partnership and feasibility at its heart. Our goal is to make the Olympic Games best fit the long-term needs and goals of the host cities. With Olympic Agenda 2020, we have turned the page and are writing a new chapter in the way future Olympic Games are organised.”
Addressing the Assembly, the President of the PyeongChang Organising Committee (POCOG) Lee Hee-beom was pleased to say “that PyeongChang 2018 can already announce a multimillion-dollar surplus. It seems that Beijing will continue with this trend of Games that break even, or, as in the case of PyeongChang, make a profit”. POCOG President was clear that this was possible only because of the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, and because of the close cooperation with the IOC.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Beijing 2022 Coordination Commission Chair, and Gunilla Lindberg, the PyeongChang 2018 Coordination Commission Chair, also addressed the Debrief.
The aim of the Debrief was to assist future Organising Committees, specifically Beijing, and Interested Cities in building on the “New Horizons” opened by PyeongChang 2018. More than 600 participants attended the Debrief, including representatives from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), National Olympic Committees, International Federations, TOP Partners, broadcasters and athletes, who were all on-site to share lessons from PyeongChang, while reinforcing the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020’s New Norm.
Throughout the Debrief, the POCOG contributed its expertise on how Olympic Agenda 2020 helped it deliver an iconic sporting event that will offer long-lasting benefits to the region, which include a new express highway, a high-speed railway, new accommodation (with all Olympic village apartments sold), new hotels and venues that will be used for both sporting and cultural activities. More info here.
For President Bach, “this debriefing showed that the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 now really have come to fruition. There you can see the tangible results of these reforms. This is what will lead us in the right direction for the future organisation of the Games. We have proved that we have turned the page with regard to the organisation of the Games.” More info here.
In Beijing, President Bach met the Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Sun Chunlan. The two leaders discussed topics of mutual interest and the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The Vice-Premier reiterated the Chinese Government’s support in ensuring that the Games that would be “splendid, fantastic and extraordinary”.
Discussions with the President of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, Cai Qi, mainly focused on the progress made with the preparations for these Games.
The President held a meeting with the President of the Chinese NOC, Gou Zhongwen, who is also the Sports Minister. The excellent cooperation with the NOC and topics of mutual interest were discussed.
While in Beijing, the IOC President also attended the signing ceremony for an urban regeneration partnership between Beijing 2022 and Shougang Group. The compound that used to house the Shougang steelworks, which closed before the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, now serves as the headquarters for the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, and is currently being renovated to develop a new area with accommodation and with leisure and sports facilities for the general public and for elite athletes to train.
The President visited the campus of Beijing Sport University (BSU) where he met some national team athletes. The University has appointed him as Honorary Professor during an official ceremony.
In Beijing he also met Li Furong, a recipient of the Olympic Order and former Vice-President of the Chinese NOC.
At the Debrief of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the IOC President announced that USD 150,000 in aid would go to help the city of PyeongChang, which was badly hit by flooding earlier this month. More than 150 people have been left homeless after the storms hit a low-lying area in the city near the PyeongChang 2018 headquarters and the Olympic Plaza.
IOC Vice-President Zaiqing Yu and IOC Members Li Lingwei and Hong Zhang accompanied the President during all the visit to Beijing.
President Thomas Bach was awarded the Communication SignsAward in the category ‘Vision’ during a gala event in Munich (Germany) attended by several hundred guests. The SignsAward is given to influential communicators from society, politics, the economy, culture and this time sport. Speaking at the event via video, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said President Bach “was being recognised as a great communicator in promoting peace through sport. It is quite extraordinary that, this April, the leaders of North and South Korea sat down at a table to start a dialogue for a peaceful future on the Korean peninsula. These talks are even more remarkable because it was the power of sport that opened this unique window of opportunity for a peaceful future on the Korean peninsula through complete de-nuclearisation. It was President Thomas Bach who facilitated the joint participation of the two Koreas at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018”. Ban Ki-Moon concluded by saying: “President Bach is a true bridge-builder and deserves to receive this honourable SignsAward tonight.” This was the eighth edition of the annual Award. Full press release here.
Yelena Isinbaeva was elected to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC)’s Executive Board at the ROC General Assembly on 29 May in Moscow.
Lassana Palenfo was re-elected as President of the NOC of Côte d'Ivoire for a four-year term at the NOC’s General Assembly in Abidjan. He has occupied this post since 1999. A new NOC Executive Committee composed of 11 members was also elected.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
On 5 June, the IOC Deputy Director General, Pere Miró, met the newly elected President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Stanislav Pozdnyakov, at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to discuss the future collaboration between the ROC and the IOC/Olympic Solidarity. The ROC presented its strategic plan up to 2020, and discussions were held on how the IOC and Olympic Solidarity could assist in supporting this with technical expertise and financing. Prior to the technical meeting at the IOC headquarters, the ROC President paid a protocol visit to the Olympic Solidarity Commission Chair, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, during which they agreed that the ROC and Olympic Solidarity would sign an agreement on future collaboration during 2018. The ROC used the opportunity of this meeting to debrief the IOC on the anti-doping seminar that was held in Moscow on 1 June 2018 for 330 young athletes, 70 per cent of whom will be attending the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. The seminar was supported by Olympic Solidarity, with expert speakers from WADA, the Central Asian RADO and RUSADA, and is scheduled to be repeated on an annual basis.
As the IOC continues dialogue on the Korean peninsula, delegations from North and South Korea, China and Japan have been invited to Lausanne for Olympic Day. During talks between the IOC President and the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, and later with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, both leaders asked the IOC to continue to support the peace process with actions in sport. President Bach committed to this, and has invited delegations from North and South Korea - and also from China and Japan, who are the next Olympic hosts and neighbouring countries. As well as officials from the NOCs, top-level athletes from the four countries will take part in a friendly mixed table tennis exhibition in celebration of sport’s unique ability to build bridges and cultivate sportsmanship, which can translate into all areas of life. Full press release here.
The IOC has teamed up with UN Environment for its Clean Seas Campaign and has called on sport and the Olympic Movement to join the effort. The Clean Seas Campaign, launched in January 2017, aims to increase global awareness of the marine litter issue, and to implement measures that address gaps in waste management. Seven major sporting bodies, representatives from European and Oceania National Olympic Committees and three sponsors will be joining the effort to support the IOC in addressing this global issue. Full press release here.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has announced that the Turkish NOC has awarded the “Fair Play Conduct” award to the former Greek weightlifter Valerios Leonidis. The announcement of the winners of the 2017 Fair Play Awards was made at a news conference held in Ataköy Olympic House, hosted by NOC Fair Play Commission President Erdoğan Arıpınar and other members of the Commission. Leonidis, currently a weightlifting trainer, attended the funeral of his long-time rival, Turkish world record holder Naim Süleymanoğlu, last November. Full details here.
The China Judo Association has been awarded the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Masters competition for 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. This means that China, which recently staged the first qualification event for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, will be hosting the next four editions of the competition, which is open to the 16 top-ranked judoka in each weight category. More info here.
United World Wrestling (UWW) held a series of courses this month in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the People’s Republic of China, under the supervision of Halil Ibrahim Ciciooglu, the number 1-ranked referee and a member of the Referee Commission. The courses were part of the “Referee Education Pathway”, a programme started last year in an effort to educate and develop future generations of referees worldwide. More info here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the dates of the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series 2019. The event is held annually from March to May and brings together the world's diving elite. The 2019 edition will kick off, for the first time, in Sagamihara (Japan) from 1 to 3 March. The circuit will then head to Beijing (China) from 7 to 9 March, before continuing in Kazan (Russia) from 26 to 28 April and Montreal (Canada) from 3 to 5 May. The final meet will take place in London (Great Britain) from 17 to 19 May. More info on www.fina.org.
A record number of girls and boys were introduced to rugby in 2017, according to the World Rugby Year in Review 2017. The IF’s development programme, Get Into Rugby, has been a major catalyst behind the global rise in participation numbers. In 2017, more than two million girls and boys across 133 active unions took part in the programme, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to 2016. In what was a Women’s Rugby World Cup year, 39 per cent of all Get Into Rugby participants globally were female – rising to nearly 50 per cent in the Rugby Africa and Rugby Americas North regions. More info here.
The President of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Thomas Weikert (left in photo), was awarded one of the highest honours in Germany, the Federal Cross of Merit, by German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (right) in Berlin. Alongside his strong commitment in the fight against doping, the ITTF President was also honoured for his involvement in forming the unified Korean team at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, last month. More info here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The Ordinary General Assembly of the Algerian NOC was held on 2 June in Bab Ezzaouar (Algiers). The Minister for Youth and Sport, Mohamed Hattab, was in attendance. The 58 members present unanimously approved the activity report and financial statements for 2017 and the action plan for 2018. The NOC President, Mustapha Berraf, reported on the NOC’s activities in 2017. Prior to the opening of the Assembly, a ceremony was held in which the Algerian Olympic and Sport Order of Merit was awarded to former international footballer Antar Yahia and fencer Fériel Salhi. Info on www.coalgerie.com.
Cape Verde hosted from 5 to 15 May the second module of the Executive Master’s degree in Management of Sports Organisations (MEMOS), in Spanish – a programme supported by Olympic Solidarity. The first module took place in Spain. Coach Glenda Aguilar is the sixth Cape Verdean to benefit from this Master’s programme after Filomena Fortes, Rodrigo Berjarano, Fernando Pinto, Sabino Correia and Emanuel Charles de Oliveira, who are all managers and who also went through this course with support from the NOC of Cape Verde. The NOC took care of all the logistical aspects. More info at www.coc.cv.
The Cyprus Olympic Committee has established a sports management training programme for women. The initiative, which started in May 2018 and will carry on until the end of the year in Nicosia, is being overseen by the NOC’s Women and Sports Commission, and has been made possible thanks to the 2017 IOC Women and Sport Award for Europe, which was presented to former European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. The “Promoting women as sports executives” programme is aimed solely at female executives and covers a broad range of sports management topics, with the contribution and participation of distinguished trainers, sports experts and renowned athletes from Cyprus and other countries. The first session of the 26-hour training course took place on 29 May and featured as a guest speaker Claudia Bokel, the Athens 2004 Olympic fencing champion and former member of the IOC Executive Board. More info on www.olympic.org.cy.
On 2 June, the city of Gandia in Valencia hosted an Olympic Day, organised by the Spanish NOC together with the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation. Over 2,000 young people, accompanied by 137 monitors, took part in the event, which featured numerous sports activities on the programme. NOC President Alejandro Blanco, Foundation President Elena Tejedor and Lydia Morant, the city councillor for sport and a former Olympic swimming champion, were in attendance. More details here. In addition, the 7th symposium for injury prevention in football and sport brought together some 2,000 journalists, sports leaders, coaches and personal trainers on 4 June at the NOC headquarters in Madrid. More details here.
Kosovo’s NOC staged its seventh Olympic Day on Friday 25 May. At the centre of the celebrations were 5,000 local children born in 2008 – the year of the country’s independence – who took part in a variety of events held in seven cities across the country. Around half of the 5,000 youngsters gathered in the main square in Pristina, the Kosovan capital, ahead of a fun run. Decked out in yellow, white and blue T-shirts – the colours of the Kosovan national flag – they were welcomed by Besim Hasani, the NOC President. Kosovo’s Olympic Day celebrations, which are organised in collaboration with local educational departments and which were also held this year in the cities of Gjilan, Gjakova, Prizren, Mitrovica, Peja and Ferizaj, were staged to coincide with the anniversary of the country’s NOC, which was founded on 27 May 1992. Full details here.
The NOC of Singapore reports that 269 student-athletes from 30 sports received the Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF)-Peter Lim Scholarship, with a number of Asian Games and Youth Olympic Games aspirants among the recipients. The scholarships will go towards covering their sport- and school-related expenses. The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu, was the guest of honour at the ceremony. She was joined by two special guests – Joseph Schooling, Olympic swimming champion and scholarship recipient in 2012, and Koji Murofushi, Olympic and world champion in the hammer throw and current Sports Director for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Ser Miang Ng, Chairman of the SOF and IOC Executive Board member, was also in attendance. More info on www.sof.sg and www.singaporeolympics.com.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has welcomed Nomura Co., Ltd as an official sponsor in the “Design, Engineering, and Construction Services for Interior Spaces and Exhibition Spaces” category as part of its sponsorship programme. This brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 domestic partners to 50. Press release here.