IOC President Thomas Bach has been honoured with the highest distinction of the Hellenic Republic, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, during a ceremony that took place on 9 October at the Presidential Mansion in Athens.
Speaking at the ceremony, Greek President Pavlopoulos expressed his appreciation of the IOC President’s “exemplary services in favour of the values and principles of the Olympic spirit and ideals”. “Your presidency of the International Olympic Committee renders a great service to the whole world and to human beings because you act for the benefit of peace, democracy and civilisation.” Accepting the award, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Greece has offered to humanity two of the most precious gifts. It was here in Athens that democracy was born more than 2,500 years ago. It was in Olympia that the Olympic Games came into being 3,000 years ago. Today, thankfully, democracy and the Olympic Games, these two Greek gifts to humanity, continue to exist in our modern society.” Thomas Bach concluded by paying tribute to President Pavlopoulos’ personal appreciation of the Olympic Movement.
The ceremony was attended by members of the Greek Olympic family, headed by Spyros Capralos, IOC Member in Greece and President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, and ministers and government officials. The Mayor of Olympia, Georgios Georgiopoulos, was also present during the event. Full news release here.
During his time in Athens, President Bach also met IOC honorary member King Constantine, with whom he discussed various Olympic subjects.
President Thomas Bach welcomed the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture Masao Uchibori at The Olympic House. Governor Masao Uchibori gave an update on progress in the Fukushima Prefecture, where the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are playing a key role in the reconstruction of the area affected by the 2011 tsunami. He informed the IOC that the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium is already being used. It will host baseball and softball competitions for Tokyo 2020, including the tournament opening matches. Football games will be played at nearby Miyagi Stadium. The IOC President and Governor Uchibori also discussed the visit by a group of students from Fukushima to Lausanne on the occasion of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. The Governor also gave reassurances on the safety issues with regard to food and radiation. President Bach visited the tsunami-hit area of Fukushima in November last year with Prime Minister Abe. He met young athletes, toured some venues and witnessed the progress of reconstruction. Full news release here.
At The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, President Bach and International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer unveiled a sculpture entitled “Ippon”, in the presence of its creator, Hungarian artist Fodor-Lengyel Zoltan. Offered to the IOC by the IJF, the sculpture was first shown at the 2017 Judo World Championships in Budapest. The ceremony took place in the presence of Jacqueline de Quattro, Councillor of State of the Canton of Vaud, and the IJF Executive Committee members. Full details here on the IJF website.
The President also met IOC Executive Board member and President of United World Wrestling (UWW) Nenad Lalovic. They mainly spoke about the follow-up of the work of the Monitoring Group in charge of the boxing preparations for Tokyo 2020, which is chaired by Lalovic.
With Alisher Usmanov, President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), discussions covered various Olympic topics, including the preparations for the Games in Tokyo next year.
President Bach met the President of the International Surfing Association(ISA), Fernando Aguerre. The two men talked about the preparations for the first-ever Olympic surfing competition at the Games in Tokyo.
With Michael Evans, President of worldwide Olympic partner Alibaba, the topics discussed included the excellent cooperation between the two organisations and Alibaba’s commitment to the Olympic Movement. Evans was accompanied by marketing consultant and former IOC Marketing Director Michael Payne.
At The Olympic Museum, the IOC President attended the presentation of the autobiography of 96-year-old Russian fencing coach David Dushman. President Bach knows Dushman from the early 1970s, when he was a junior fencer and Dushman was one of the world’s greatest fencing coaches in the then USSR.
The IOC President also hosted Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) who was accompanied by Hilde Schwab, WEF co-founder, Olivier Schwab, WEF Head of Business Engagement and Julien Gattoni, the WEF Managing Director and CFO.
President Bach chaired the meeting of the IOC “High Level Digital” Advisory Group, composed by Sir Martin Sorrell from WPP, Alisher Usmanov from USM Group, Michael Evans from Alibaba, IOC Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch and IOC Member Gerado Werthein. The main topic of discussion was the impact of digitalisation in sport.
On Sunday 13 October, the IOC President was in Stuttgart (Germany) to attend the final day of the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, at the invitation of International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President and IOC Member Morinari Watanabe, who welcomed the IOC President. President Bach praised the FIG and the local organisers for the great success of the event. He also presented the gold medal to Simone Biles, who won the floor competition and five gold medals overall at the event. During the Championships, the IOC President also held meetings with gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci and Olympic champion Fabian Hambüchen.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has confirmed its commissions, working groups and task forces for the 2019-2023 period. The appointments were made during the first meeting of the Central Board for the new period on 14 September, during the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China. Full details here. FIBA has also confirmed all five hosts for the FIBA Women's Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament 2019. Mozambique will host the tournament for Africa; Malaysia and New Zealand for Asia-Oceania; and Argentina and Canada for the Americas. The five tournaments will take place between 10 and 18 November 2019. More details here.
Following a meeting with Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) at the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI) in Aigle, Switzerland, on 8 October, the UCI and the CPA restated their determination to work with stakeholders to enhance rider safety at races and announced new measures to be introduced in 2020. The UCI and the CPA have agreed to set out a roadmap over the coming weeks, during which time they will also take part in several working meetings to be attended by representatives of riders, teams and organisers. These meetings should lead to specific proposals being put to a vote by the UCI Management Committee, with a view to these being applied from the 2020 season onwards. These measures will be presented at the UCI WorldTour seminar on 10 and 11 December. Full news release here.
On 4 October, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) signed a four-year collaboration agreement to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (left of photo) and FIFA President Gianni Infantino signed the memorandum of understanding at WHO’s Geneva-based headquarters. Full details here. In addition, FIFA Secretary General and General Delegate for Africa Fatma Samoura was honoured as a History Maker by the Best of Africa Awards in London (Great Britain). This award was for making history as the first ever African Muslim woman to hold the role of Secretary General at FIFA, since May 2016. More details here.
On 9 October, the International Surfing Association (ISA) unveiled its new motto– “A Better World Through Surfing”.With less than a year to go until surfing’s Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the new motto will be used immediately and rolled out across all ISA communications and marketing. Full detail here.
National Olympic committees
On 7 October, the headquarters of the Argentinian NOC played host to the second “Women in Sport” meeting of 2019. This initiative was launched by the NOC’s Women in Sport Commission, and the theme for this year has been “Equal Opportunities”. More than 80 sports association, sports federation, athlete and media representatives took part in the event, which was led by Alicia Masoni de Morea, the First Vice-President of the NOC, Mario Moccia, the NOC Secretary General, and Patricia Sangenis, the Chair of the Women in Sport Commission. The topics addressed included “Esports – Future athletes, virtual athletes?”, “Hyperandrogenism” and “Bullying in sport”, which was presented by Olympian Jennifer Dahlgren (athletics). More details here.
The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) organised a flag presentation ceremony for the Chinese Taipei delegation at the upcoming ANOC World Beach Games. Deputy Education Minister Teng-Chiao Lin presented the flag to CTOC President and delegation head Hong-Dow Lin. A 60-minute orientation session including doping control guidelines was given to the attendees after the ceremony. Five athletes will be taking part in these Games, which will be held from 12 to 16 October 2019 in Doha (Qatar). More details here. In addition, the CTOC hosted the Southern Session of the “2019 International Sports Affairs Workshop” at the National Sports Training Centre in Zhuoyin, Kaohsiung, on 27 September. Some 200 participants from the sports industry, government authorities and school faculties took part in this workshop, which focused on Olympic Agenda 2020, good governance in sports organisations and sports law enforcement. The Northern Session of the Workshop was held on 1 October at the Sports Administration Building, Taipei.
The 9th International Congress on Sports Sciences was held on 4 and October at the Sports and Leisure Institute (IDRD) in Bogota, in the presence of Colombian NOC President Baltazar Medina, and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent expert Richard McLaren. In all, there were 19 lectures, two panel discussions and 16 talks for the more-than 300 participants. Those attending included sports ministry leaders and staff, representatives of the NOC, federations, leagues and clubs, as well as guests from the NOCs of Panama, Ecuador and Bolivia, plus NOC partner university students. More details here.
More than 60 senior executives, representing almost all Summer and Winter Olympic International Federations (IFs), gathered at the Governance Workshop organised by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) on 8 October 2019 in Lausanne. The focus was on further promoting and ensuring a culture of better governance within all sports federations. This is a topic which has been pursued by ASOIF since 2015 through a dedicated taskforce, regular IF governance reviews and a number of other measures. The workshop was opened by International Equestrian Federation (FEI) President, IOC member, ASOIF Council and ASOIF Governance Task Force member Ingmar de Vos (pictured above). The workshop also offered the opportunity for group discussions on transparency and conflicts of interest. More details here.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced on 11 October the appointment of two-time Paralympian Mike Peters (photo) as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) following an extensive six-month long global search. Peters, a Football 7-a-side player who captained USA at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, joined the IPC in March 2015 as Chief of Staff and Acting Director of the Membership Engagement Department. In July 2018 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer and since March 2019 has been the IPC’s interim CEO following the departure of predecessor Xavier Gonzalez. Full details here.
The logo and mascot (pictured left) for the 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games in 2021 were unveiled at a ceremony in the host city of Oran (Algeria). The ceremony was attended by a delegation from the International Committee for the Mediterranean Games (ICMG) led by ICMG President Amar Addadi; the Minister for Communication and the acting Minister of Culture, Hassane Rabhi, and the Minister of Youth and Sport, Raouf Salim Bernaoui. This will be the second time that Algeria hosts these Games, having done so already in 1975. More details here. In addition, the ICMG has announced that the 2019 Mediterranean Beach Games, held from 25 to 31 August in the Greek city of Patras, were “clean games”, as no athlete was found positive for prohibited substances, after analysis of all the given samples. In all, 76 urine tests and seven tests for EPO were conducted on athletes from 12 sports and 14 of the 26 countries taking part. More details here.