IOC President Thomas Bach was in Asia, first in Tokyo (Japan) for the IOC Executive Board meeting and the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), and then in Seoul (Republic of Korea).
Ahead of the Olympic meetings, President Bach went to the tsunami-hit city of Fukushima, north of Tokyo. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will see baseball and softball competitions hosted in Fukushima's Azuma Stadium, with football played at nearby Miyagi Stadium, also in the stricken region. At the Azuma Stadium, he met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and together they met with young players and their parents. Also present were the Minister of Reconstruction, the Minister of Sport and Youth and the Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the Governor and the Mayorof the Fukushima region. During a meeting with President Bach, afterwards, Prime Minister Abe praised the IOC for its "courage in deciding to have softball and basebaĺl in Fukushima Stadium during the Olympic Games." Throughout the meeting, President Bach was accompanied by IOC Member and Coordination Commission Chair, John Coates, and by IOC Member in Japan and Japanese NOC President Tsunekazu Takeda. Also present was IOC Member Morinari Watanabe, who is President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). Full news release here.
During its meeting in Tokyo, the IOC Executive Board (EB) reviewed the next editions of the Olympic Games and took several important decisions in the interest of protecting the integrity of sport and the athletes and on institutional matters.
Regarding the International Boxing Federation (AIBA), the EB decided to initiate an inquiry regarding AIBA, and, to that effect, delegate its authority – including to organise a hearing of AIBA – to an ad-hoc Inquiry Committee. The EB stated it will make all efforts to protect the athletes and ensure that a boxing tournament can take place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 regardless of these measures. The EB appointed IOC Member Nenad Lalovic as Chair of the ad-hoc Inquiry Committee. He will be joined by IOC Member Richard L. Carrión and IOC Member and athlete representative Emma Terho. More info here.
Concerning the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the EB expressed its concern regarding the actions in allowing non-eligible athletes to participate in an exhibition at the recent IWF World Championships. These elements will be further reviewed at the next IOC EB meeting, with a view to the option of lifting the conditional inclusion in the sports programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024. More info here.
Concerning NOC matters, the issue of the free participation of all eligible sports teams and athletes in all international sports events under the auspices of the Olympic Movement, under the same conditions and without any form of discrimination or political interference from host countries, was mentioned. The IOC EB decided to recommend to all IFs and other recognised sporting organisations that the allocation of international sports events to a country must include the necessary guarantees to ensure equal treatment for the participating athletes and sporting delegations. The IOC position was also clearly communicated at the ANOC General Assembly. More info here.
The EB decided to set up an IOC Advisory Committee on Human Rights. It will be chaired by HRH Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Advisory Committee will consist of six to nine members with sports and human rights expertise. The full composition of the Committee will be announced in March 2019. More info here.
During the EB, IOC Member Marisol Casado, who is also the President of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) handed over the first “POWER, TOGETHER” Award. She had received it on behalf of the IOC in Reykjavik (Iceland) during the Women Leaders Global Forum. The IOC has been honoured with the Award for “driving global change” through its commitment to gender equality. The other recipients of the first “POWER, TOGETHER” Award besides the IOC were the #MeToo Movement and the African Women Leaders Network. The recipients were chosen by Women Political Leaders (WPL), the Government of Iceland and the Parliament of Iceland. More info here.
You will find a full coverage of the EB meeting on olympic.org (IOC news’ section).
Addressing the ANOC General Assembly in Tokyo, President Bach highlighted that, with the long-term stability of the Olympic Games ensured, the Olympic Movement can look to the future with great confidence.He also reiterated his call to all NOCs to apply high standards of good governance in all activities: “I will not get tired of repeating that, with regard to good governance, what affects one of us affects us all. This is why each and everyone has a responsibility to keep this confidence alive.”
In this context, President Bach said that Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah had understood this message very well and that the IOC EB (during a telephone conference) emphasised that the presumption of innocence prevails and recognises that Sheikh Al-Sabah has taken the correct course of action with regard to the Olympic Movement to temporarily step down from his role as ANOC President (full EB statement here). Calling the recently adopted Athletes’ Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities a “milestone achievement”, President Bach called on all the NOCs to support and endorse the Declaration while emphasing that it is the elected athletes who can speak on behalf of the world’s athletes. Full news release here.
In Tokyo, President Bach joined Tokyo's Governor Yuriko Koike for a symbolic ceremony demonstrating the sustainability of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He deposited an old mobile phone which, along with thousands of old devices, will be recycled, with the gold, silver and bronze recovered and turned into Olympic medals for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.During the meeting, the President and the Governor discussed their close cooperation in the preparation of the Olympic Games.
At the Japanese National Training Centre, the President met athletes from across Asia, starting with athlete representatives from all 44 NOCs in Asia who had gathered for the OCA Athletes’ Forum. He took questions from the athletes, who wereequally split between men and women. During the meeting the President urged them, as the legitimate voice of the athletes, to make their views known at every level of the organisation and in society at large. President Bach also met several Japanese athletes in fencing, weightlifting and table tennis, who are preparing to represent their country in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The President also had the opportunity to meet 11 young athletes from across Asia who are beneficiaries of Olympic Solidarity scholarships. Full news release here.
During a visit at the Tokyo 2020 headquarters, the IOC President, accompanied by John Coates, spoke to more than 200 members of the Tokyo 2020 team and told them how impressed he was by the progress he had seen in the preparations. More details here.
President Bach visited Worldwide Top Partner Toyota’s research and development facility, the Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre, in Shizuoka. He was hosted by Akio Toyoda, the President of Toyota Motor Corporation, as well as Moritaka Yoshida, Executive Vice President. Together they had the opportunity to discuss the latest Toyota innovations in mobility ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – innovations which will be a showcase for environmentally sustainable Games. The IOC President was joined by John Coates and Tsunekazu Takeda. More details here.
President Bach attended the final day of the three-day IOC Youth Summit taking place at the headquarters of the Worldwide Top Partner Panasonic in Tokyo. The Summit brought together 39 of the 42 Young Change-Makers (YCMs) who have been provided with seed funding in 2018 to establish social projects using sport to impact their local communities in the year ahead. Addressing them, President Bach said: “I would like to inform you that we will significantly increase the number of YCMs in the IOC Commissions for 2019. This is your home to present your ideas, your projects and make your comments.” The President was accompanied by John Coates. More info here.
President Bach visited the Panasonic Corporate Showcasing Center where he met Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga.
A meeting was held with Worldwide Top Partner Bridgestone CEO Masaaki Tsuya and Executive Vice President Asahiko Nishiyama.
On President’s agenda, was also a reception with local sponsors invited by the Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020.
While in Tokyo, the IOC President had a number of meetings with NOC presidents attending the ANOC General Assembly.
He also met IOC Honorary Member Chiharu Igaya, as well as with Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Chair of Yunus Centre with whom the IOC signed a MoU last October to launch the new Athlete365 Business Accelerator.
From Tokyo, President Bach went to Seoul where the IOC and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd announced an extension to their global Olympic partnership through to 2028. Also, at the signing ceremony, were Jay Y. Lee, Vice Chairman at Samsung Electronics; IOC Marketing Commission Chair Tsunekazu Takeda; Dong Jin Koh, President and CEO of the IT&Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics; and Younghee Lee, CMO and Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics. As part of the agreement, the IOC and Samsung will further develop their strategic digital collaboration to engage young generations around the world in order to promote the power of sport and the values of Olympism.Full news release here.
Also, in Seoul, the IOC President met Moon Hee-sang, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. On this occasion, he also addressed the leaders of the different parliamentary groups, Hong Young-pyo, Kim Sung-tae and Kim Kwan-young, to discuss the success of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and the cooperation between the IOC and the Republic of Korea. All the political leaders praised the role of the IOC in opening the door for peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world through the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. They thanked the IOC for its commitment to accompany the peace talks through actions in sport. They explained that the joint organisation of the Olympic Games 2032 in North and South Korea would be a great symbol to show to the world that the peace process which started with the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 would come to a successful end with the Olympic Games in 2032. President Bach announced that the IOC will hold talks with representatives of the NOCs and governments of both countries in early 2019 about enhanced future cooperation, with a view to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
Prior to the Olympic meetings in Tokyo, the IOC President met the President of the International Association Football Federation (FIFA), Gianni Infantino. Their discussions mainly focused on the success of the futsal tournaments at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, the preparations for the football tournaments at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as on several other issues of mutual interest.
Upon his return from Asia, President Bach welcomed a delegation led by the Secretary General of Sport of Catalonia, Gerard Figueras. He was accompanied by the Presidents of the Provincial Councils of Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona, respectively Marc Castells, Josep Poblet, Rosa Maria Perello et Miquel Noguer, who confirmed their support for a candidature from Catalonia to stage the Olympic Winter Games 2030.
President Bach attended the inauguration of the offices of the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) in Lausanne, in the presence of the COC President Gou Zhongwen, IOC Vice-President Yu Zaiqing as well as Li Lingwei, IOC member in China and COC Vice-President. The COC’s Lausanne offices will strengthen communication and cooperation with the IOC and other international sports organisations based in Lausanne and will further help the ongoing relationship between the IOC and the COC, especially in view of the forthcoming Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Earlier, during a meeting, Gou Zhongwen assured the IOC President that construction for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 was well ahead of schedule and that the 2022 Games legacy is already in action today, with the offices of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee being constructed from the remnants of a disused steel plant, and a Chinese national training centre also operational in the grounds, supporting a number of winter sports athletes aiming for 2022. Full news release here.
With Danish NOC President Niels Nygaard, the IOC President spoke about the next editions of the Olympic Games and various Olympic matters.
The IOC President attended the graduation ceremony of the Class of 2018 of the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS) at The Olympic Museum. Congratulating the diploma recipients, who included former athletes and coaches, the President reminded them that the sports world needs the expertise of people as well trained and prepared as they are to shape the future of sport, and he invited them to follow their passion to bring out the best of them.
Meetings were also held in Lausanne with IOC EB Members Robin Mitchell and Kirsty Coventry.
IOC EB Member Gunilla Lindberg (l. on photo), was awarded the Korean Sports Order of Merit (Maengho-rang) by the Minister of Sports, Culture and Tourism, Jong-Hwan Do (r. on photo), who presented the award on behalf of Korean President Moon Jae-In. Gunilla Lindberg, who chaired the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, was also named an Honorary Citizen of Gangwon Province. She received a plaque of citizenship from Moon-Soon Choi, Governor of Gangwon Province, and gave the keynote address at a seminar entitled “PyeongChang 2018 - Achievements and Tasks”.
During its seventh visit to Tokyo (3-5 December), it was clear to the IOC’s Coordination Commission that the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is on track to host unifying Olympic and Paralympic Games. “I can only reiterate what IOC President Thomas Bach said during his recent visit: these Olympic Games will bring people together in a spirit of hope and determination,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates. “All of the ingredients for success are here. Venues are on time, stakeholders are engaged, and you can feel the power of sport everywhere.”As a result of collaboration between the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the IOC Medical & Science Working Group, the relevant International Federations, athlete representatives and Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS), changes to the session competition schedule have been confirmed. Full news release here.
The IOC Athletes’ Commission chaired by IOC EB Member Kirsty Coventry, is set to invite the largest ever contingent of international athlete representatives to Lausanne from 13 to 15 April 2019 for the bi-annual IOC International Athletes’ Forum. Athlete representatives from all 206 NOCs athletes’ commissions will be added to the list of invitees for the first time, increasing the expected participation to around 350 athlete representatives and making this the biggest ever gathering of its kind. Full news release here.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
“Sport as an enabler for Sustainable Development”: this is the title of the Resolution adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 3 December in New York. It encourages Member States and relevant stakeholders to emphasise and advance the use of sport as a vehicle to foster sustainable development, acknowledging the role played by sport and the Olympic Movement. Full news release here.
Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), the IOC’s broadcasting division, recently donated building equipment, including solar panels, to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Uganda, offering new housing and life-saving electricity to the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, home to over 200,000 of the 1.1 million refugees currently living in the country.The OBS donation allowed for the construction of 64 housing units and storage facilities for the settlement and provided, a new solar power system for two local hospitals – the Midigo and Yumbe Health Centres. Full news release here.
The IOC Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) has launched the 2019/2020 edition of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme. The main objective of this programme is to promote advanced research with a humanities or social sciences perspective by established researchers on topics identified annually by the IOC. For the new edition, a total of 11 priority fields of research have been identified, covering some of the IOC’s key activity areas. A full list of topics and further details can be found here.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The World Rowing Award winners for 2018 were revealed on 23 November in Berlin (Germany) at a gala dinner during the 2018 World Rowing Coaches Conference. The 2018 World Champion men’s four from Australia (Joshua Hicks, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves, Alexander Hill) were named the Men’s Crew of the Year. The Polish women’s quadruple sculls (Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska, Marta Wieliczko, Maria Springwald, Katarzyna Zillmann), European and World Champion, won the Women’s Crew of the Year. The Dutch PR2 mixed double sculls (Annika van der Meer, Corne de Koning) earned the Para Crew of the Year award. Sri Lanka’s first ever international rowing award went to university student Amidu Silva, who is the winner of the 2018 Filippi Spirit Award. Full list of winners here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that 957 athletes from 177 countries have registered for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) to be held in Hangzhou (People’s Republic of China) from 11 to 16 December 2018. The Championships will take place right after the 5th FINA World Aquatics Convention, a two-day world-class gathering of the wider aquatics family (full programme here), from 8 to 10 December. The FINA World Aquatics Gala “Soirée des Etoiles” that will recognise the best athletes of 2018 across FINA's six disciplines will take place on Sunday 16 December. More info at www.fina.org
Representatives of the world’s top male and female players furthered collaboration on some of the biggest topics impacting players at the 2018 Rugby Athletes’ Commission (RAC) meeting in Monaco on 26 November. The fifth edition of this important and productive forum, which is a collaboration between World Rugby and International Rugby Players, ensured that players are at the heart of global rugby decisions. More details here.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced the launch of two new Softball World Cups: the U-15 Women's Softball World Cup and the U-23 Men's Softball World Cup.These two tournaments will be staged for the first time in 2021, and will be positioned as the highest-level softball competitions in their respective age categories, with the winners officially earning the title of World Champion. More details here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The largest school competition ever held in Brazil ended on 25 November. Organised by the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) since 2005, for the first time the Youth School Games brought together the two age groups (12 to 14 and 15 to 17) for a national phase that stirred up the city of Natal, taking sport, education and citizenship to about 5000 athletes/students from 2,157 public and private schools in every Brazilian state. The competitions also involved 464 referees, and 220 volunteers, coaches and observers from eight sports federations. A 25-member Japanese delegation was invited to enter the competitions as part of an exchange programme with the cities where Team Brazil will be staying during theOlympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Youth School Games have already provided a springboard for several elite athletes, like judo Olympic Champion Sarah Menezes and world champion Mayra Aguiar. The COB Olympic Values Promotion Programme was also an important element at the Games. In cooperation with UN Environment, the Clean Beach Operation promoted a cleaning initiative at the Ponta Negra beach on 22 November. More details here.
On 26 November the Colombian NOC signed a cooperation agreement with Saitama prefecture in Japan, in preparation for Colombian athletes’ participation in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The signature ceremony in Tokyo was attended by Ciro Solano Hurtado and José Luis Echeverry Azcárate, secretary general and vice-president respectively of the Colombian NOC, and on the Japanese side by the governor of Saitama prefecture, the mayor of Sako and the President of the Satoe Gakuen Educational Association. More info here. Elsewhere, NOC President Baltazar Medina and Tirso Zorro, high-level sports coordinator for Coldeportes, were awarded their MEMOS diplomas (Executive Masters in Sports Organisation Management) at a ceremony in Lausanne on 23 November. The Masters programme is supported by Olympic Solidarity. More info here.
The President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco (pictured l.) and his Russian NOC counterpart Stanislav Pozdnyakov signed a cooperation agreement on behalf of their two organisations. The agreement covers training sessions, exchanges of technical officials and coaches, and the development of sports and training programmes. The ceremony took place in Marbella during the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees in November. More info at www.coe.es.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) announced the six Olympians elected by their fellow athletes to serve on the 13-strong BOA Athletes’ Commission. Just shy of 800 votes were cast, with over a third of eligible Olympians and potential Olympians voting in the election, and 21 athletes standing for the six positions.More info here.
The Olympic Committee of Panama inaugurated its new facilities that will house the athletes, their associations and federations. The ceremony was attended by leading officials from Panam Sports (Panamerican Sport Organisation – PASO), the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (Cacso), as well as national and international sports leaders, active and retired Olympic athletes and young students from schools that are part of the COP Olympic Education programme. The remodelling of the new Panamanian Olympic House was made possible thanks to investments made by Panam Sports under its programme to improve venues for the NOCs. More info here.
On 19 November the Uruguayan NOC celebrated its 95th anniversary and the 34th award ceremony for the best sporting performances of the year. NOC President and IOC Honorary Member Julio César Maglione gave a speech, and a video message from the IOC President was played. Emiliano Lasa (long jump) was awarded the title of Athlete of the Year, whileDahiana López (discus) and Fabián Coito (football coach) were presented with awards for the best young athlete and the best technician respectively. More details here.
The Venezuelan NOC has launched a training session in Punto Fijo in Falcón state. This sporting refresher course is part of the Municipio Olímpico programme, which brings together 82 participants from the region, representing a range of sports disciplines. The aim of the course is to improve the skills of coaches in the region. The NOC also informed us that a two-day workshop on planning, regularity and dynamics in sports training took place at Olympic House. The course was attended by 40 technical directors from 25 national sports federations.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has concluded an agreement with the Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) under which Toyota will serve as a Presenting Partner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay which will start its journey around Japan on 26 March 2020, bringing its message of hope across the country’s 47 prefectures, starting with Fukushima. More info here. In addition, Tokyo 2020 announced on 22 November the second part of its planned test event schedule. This announcement follows the release of the schedule for 16 events issued on 2 October and contains the schedule for 20 more events. The third and final batch is expected to be announced in January 2019. Overall, 56 test events will be held until May 2020, some during scheduled international sporting events that happen to be taking place in Japan during the build-up to the Games, and others dedicated test events organised by Tokyo 2020. More info on the programme here.
To mark the United Nations (UN) International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights are launching a campaign which highlights the impact the Paralympic Games have on transforming society. Focusing on several editions of these Games, the “Transforming Lives Makes Sense for Everyone” campaign showcases the long-term legacies the Games have for persons with disabilities through education, employment, inclusive cities, Para sport and political leadership. More details here.