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14 Mar 2016
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



IOC / Christophe Moratal

The IOC President welcomed the newly-elected President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Gianni Infantino. The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation between the IOC and FIFA and to work closely together on all questions of mutual interest. They also discussed the Olympic football tournament. President Bach invited Mr Infantino to attend the Olympic Games Rio 2016 which he gladly accepted.

IOC / Christophe Moratal

The IOC President gave a welcome address at an International Women’s Day celebration on 8 March in Lausanne, which also featured a keynote speech by Michael Kimmel, a leading expert on gender studies and an advocate of engaging men to support gender equality. “Today the IOC joins the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, because we know that sport is a powerful platform to promote gender equality and empower women” said President Bach. He also pointed out that the IOC is moving closer to gender parity at the Olympic Games, something that will become a reality at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. On promoting gender equality off the field of play, he added: “The IF Women in Leadership Forum is an example of how we can achieve more if we work together to encourage a stronger role for women. The IOC partnership with the United Nations and UN Women in particular is another example of the power of partnership on this important issue”. President Bach was named a HeForShe by UN Women in 2015 and has, together with thousands of men and boys around the world, joined this solidarity campaign that fights for gender equality and women’s rights. 

IOC / Christophe Moratal

A delegation from the Central African NOC, comprising NOC President Gilles Gilbert Gresenguet, Secretary General Clément Anicet Guiyama-Massogo and Treasurer Fernand Sylvio Mande Djapou, visited the IOC President. They discussed the NOC’s current situation and the role of sport in rebuilding the country.

At a meeting with the President of the Finnish NOC, Riesto Nieminen, the question of sustainable development in sport and the Olympic Games was discussed.


The President of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), Chungwon Choue, informed President Bach about the great work being done by the WTF. President Bach praised the ‘impressive initiatives’ being carried out by the WTF in refugees camps around the world.

During a meeting with the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by President Thomas Bach and ICSD President Valery Nikitich Rukhledev. The IOC President said, “This agreement with the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf is another step in the implementation of our reform programme, Olympic Agenda 2020. Working with athletes of all abilities and helping to provide opportunities for all to benefit from sport is a fundamental part of the Olympic values.” ICSD Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Rebrov and ICSD Board members were also present. Read the full press release here.

IOC / Arnaud Meylan

The IOC President met the President of the International University Sport Federation (FISU), Oleg Matytsin, and its Secretary General Eric Saintrond. The focus of discussions was strengthening cooperation between the two organisations, and the importance of university sport for the education of future leaders.

The President met Martin Sorrell, the founder and CEO of WPP, the world’s biggest advertising and marketing services group, who was the keynote speaker at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur. They discussed sponsorship, the Olympic Channel and developments in the digital world. Martin Sorrell was accompanied by Dominic Grainger, GroupM CEO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The IOC President met the IOC Doyen, Vitaly Smirnov, and the Vice President of the Russian NOC and of the International Shooting Sports Federation, Vladimir Lisin, with whom he discussed in particular the launch of the Olympic Channel. 

Meetings also took place with IOC Vice-President Yu Zaiqing and IOC Executive Board Member René Fasel.

The Executive Board of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage held a meeting this week with the participation of the IOC President and the IOC Honorary President, Jacques Rogge.

IOC / Christophe Moratal

The IOC President also met with the Professors Robert Barney (University of Western Ontario) and Stephen Wenn (Wilfrid Laurier University), Canada, who are in Lausanne to conduct research at the IOC’s Olympic Studies Centre. They discussed their latest research project on the topic of the IOC’s revenue generation with the President and commented on the growing interest in Olympic Studies by academic scholars.  


Representatives from National and International Federations and stakeholders from throughout the Olympic Movement took action to advance the goal of gender equality at the first-ever IF Women in Leadership Forum. The three-day Forum explored ways to bring more women into leadership positions at all levels of sport. The gathering, a joint initiative by the IOC and the Association of Summer International Federations (ASOIF), marks a further implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020. Marisol Casado, IOC Member, International Triathlon Union President and IOC Women and Sport Commission member, provided the opening remarks, while IOC Executive Board Member and IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Claudia Bokel spoke on gender equality within the framework of Olympic Agenda 2020. The Forum was closed by Lydia Nsekera, Chair of the IOC Women in Sport Commission, and ASOIF Executive Director Andrew Ryan. Participants approved a 10-point action plan designed to increase possibilities for girls and women in sport both on and off the field of play. More details of the plan can be found here.



The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has recognised International Women's Day for 2016 with a look at the development of women's rowing throughout the world.  Rowing programmes in nations including Brazil, Japan and France shared their contribution to women's rowing through photos and videos.  Link here. Furthermore, the series of National Federations’ Conferences organised by FISA continued with the fifth edition, which took place in London (Great Britain) on 6 March. More than 80 delegates representing 59 National Federations attended to discuss changes to the rules and governance of rowing, which will be crucial to ensure the healthy future of the sport.  In a presentation entitled “Driving Rowing’s Future”, FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland explained the three strategic directions that FISA has identified to ensure rowing’s future: retain a strong position in the Olympic Movement, ensure the integrity of rowing and consolidate rowing’s position as a global citizen. More details on

At the beginning of March at the House of Basketball, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) headquarters in Mies (Switzerland), 10 European domestic leagues and the Union of European Basketball Leagues (ULEB) officially signed up to be part of the Basketball Champions League, an innovative 50-50 joint partnership between FIBA and European basketball leagues. The 18 representatives of leagues and national federations present elected the Basketball Champions League's first Board of Directors. The Basketball Champions League will officially be launched on Monday 21 March in Paris (France). Detailed news on

Over the next few weeks thousands of schoolchildren in Rio de Janeiro will learn how to cut, thrust and parry with the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Fencing School programme. Twelve national level coaches will work their way through dozens of schools and sports communities all over the city teaching kids the basics of the sport with equipment provided by the FIE.  The programme starts this month and runs until the Olympic fencing test event on April 22–27, when the Rio stage of the Fencing Grand Prix series will be held back-to-back with the team world championships at the Carioca 3 Arena. Several 40-minute fencing clinics will be held at every school for children aged 5 to 15. On top of the fencing lessons, tickets to the Olympic competition itself will be made available to children for the duration of the programme, which carries the tagline ‘Learn the Art of Fencing’. More details at

On 8 March, the International Judo Federation (IJF) celebrated International Women’s Day by gathering together all the women involved in the organisation of the judo test event for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Forty-five women assembled on the tatami of the Carioca Arena in Rio de Janeiro (photo above): International and National Technical Officials, IJF staff members, referees, athletes and coaches. The theme of this year’s IWD was: #PledgeForParity: Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. The Rio 2016 judo test event was held on 8 and 9 March with the participation of 20 delegations: five foreign delegations – France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and Lebanon – and 15 Brazilian delegations, for a total of 105 athletes in four weight classes. Read the full press release on


On the occasion of International Women’s Day Senegalese wrestler Isabelle Sambou was awarded the very first 2016 Women and Sport trophy by United World Wrestling (UWW). Sambou took part in the London 2012 Olympic Games and has won nine African championships. The trophy, created by the UWW’s Women and Sport Commission, was presented to Isabelle Sambou by UWW President and IOC member Nenad Lalovic (see photo above). For the last few months the UWW has been leading a series of initiatives to promote and develop women’s wrestling throughout the world. The development office, working with Olympic Solidarity, has launched an instructors’ course for women, and plans to award grants to increase the number of female instructors on their programme beginning next June. The UWW has also launched an online initiative tagged #eachonebringone, which asks women wrestlers from around the world to share stories of how they were introduced to wrestling, and to do the same for a woman in their life. More info on


The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) confirmed the two locations for the upcoming FINA Water Polo World League Super Finals. The women's Super-Final will take place in Shanghai (People’s Republic of China) from 7 to 12 June, while the men's tournament will take place in the Chinese city of Huizhou from 21 to 26 June. Ahead of these two competitions, the Water Polo Olympic Qualification Tournament will be held in Gouda (Netherlands) from 21 to 28 March for women, and in Trieste (Italy) from 3 to 10 April for men. More info at

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has decided to set up a working group to study the structure and format of the ITTF's future major events. The decision was made at the ITTF Board of Directors meeting during the 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The Board also asked the 'Planning and Promotion' group to submit a proposal to the Executive Committee by the end of this year on the concept and direction the ITTF wishes to take. More info at

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has signed a Development Grant contract with the European Triathlon Union (ETU). ETU presented a plan to use the funds offered by ITU to provide development camps in Serbia, Portugal and Spain, as well as training and educational opportunities to promising young athletes with a youth development camp in Hungary and a development team in 2016. Detailed news on


In conjunction with the FIS Cross-Country World Cup Ski Tour Canada, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) are partnering to showcase the FIS SnowKidz programme. On 11 March WADA Athlete Committee members watched the final leg of the World Cup in Canmore and learn how to cross-country ski from a group of young skiers from the Ski Fit North Club, including some of Alberta’s indigenous youth, as well as Canmore’s local youth ski club. At its meeting the previous day the WADA Athlete Committee heard updates about global activities and current affairs from WADA and discussed various topics related to athletes. The meeting included a presentation by FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis and FIS Athletes’ Commission member Kikkan Randall, who spoke about FIS’s comprehensive anti-doping programme and commitment to clean sport. Detailed news on


Argentinian NOC

The Argentinian NOC has held its traditional annual prize-giving ceremony. The IOC Sport and Innovation Trophy for 2015 was awarded to Marcelo Albamonte (centre), coordinator of the university programme of the Argentinian Tennis Association and the South-American Tennis Confederation, in recognition of his important work on sports and mathematics which led to the creation of the system known as Tennis Metrics. The system provides for the collection of biometric data and statistics, which can help improve athletes’ technical performance, and provide a means of studying and comparing the techniques of their opponents. The award was presented by the NOC President, IOC member Gerardo Werthein (left) and NOC Vice-President Alicia Morea (right). More info at

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the NOC of El Salvador, through its Vice-President Vilma de Flamenco, underlined the role of women and sport in the country in terms of athletes, sports leaders and NOC personnel. Over the last ten years El Salvador has made great strides, particularly in terms of positions of responsibility, as it has a number of women in the roles of federation president and other senior positions. More info on

Spanish NOC

The Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) and the Spanish NOC signed a framework agreement committing to improve understanding of cellular therapy and other advanced techniques in sports medicine. The main points of the agreement, which was signed by ISCIII Director Jesús Fernández Crespo (left) and NOC President Alejandro Blanco (right), will be implemented by the ISCIII’s Cellular Therapy Network (Red TerCel). The aim of these therapies is to identify and describe the mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of cellular therapy on human conditions through the development of experimental approaches. More info on

The 3rd Annual FutboLNet tournament organised by the Serekunda East OlympAfrica Centre with support from the Gambia National Olympic Committee opened on 3 March at Serekunda East Mini Stadium (photo above). In total 28 schools are taking part in the month-long competition from 3 March to 3 April. Jointly sponsored by the IOC, the FC Barcelona Foundation and the Olympafrica Foundation, the FutbolNet programme uses football as a didactic tool to promote sports values such as team spirit, fair play and respect among young people.

Japanese Olympic Committee

As part of the Sport for Tomorrow programme, a Japanese government-initiated programme to promote international cooperation through sport, the Japan Sport Council and the Japanese Olympic Committee jointly invited representatives from NOCs in the Oceania region to participate in the 2016 edition of the Discovery Camp programme in Tokyo (photo above). The representatives were invited to share opinions and discuss best approaches to sports team management so that the teams and individual athletes are able to perform to the peak of their abilities at major international sporting events such as the Olympic Games. The programme, formally entitled “Discovery Camp: Tomorrow’s Friends Programme,” was held from 28 February to 6 March and brought together 14 NOC representatives (including Secretaries General and Chefs de Mission). Full news story on

Jordan Olympic Committee

The Jordan Olympic Committee celebrated International Women’s Day by encouraging all Jordanian women to embrace sport and healthy living in their lives, through a social media campaign called “The Female Faces of Living Sport”. Living Sport is an initiative created by the NOC to encourage all Jordanians to make sport and healthy living a part of their lives, and for one day only it will focus on women. Throughout the day, images of ordinary women were posted telling their story of how they manage to exercise and stay healthy despite their busy schedules (photo above). Details on

Portuguese Olympic Committee

On International Women's Day, the Portuguese Olympic Committee paid tribute to 16 women who have set an example in Portuguese sports history as leaders. From club and National Federation presidents or former presidents, to other roles in several sports institutions, these 16 women were the stars of the event in which the NOC of Portugal also presented awards (Youth and Career) to two other female leaders. The ceremony was held as part of a conference on the topic of “Women Leadership – Paths of Success and Development Perspectives” (photo above). Olympic champion and Vice-President of the Portuguese NOC Rosa Mota spoke of her experience as an athlete. More info at

At an IOC Awards presentation ceremony, IOC Member Ng Ser Miang and the President of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), Tan Chuan-Jin presented IOC Diploma of Merit to three Singaporeans who have made a major contribution to the Olympic Movement: Tan Howe Liang, Tan Eng Liang and Chris Chan. Tan Howe Liang won the first Olympic medal (silver) for Singapore at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. He devoted most of his life to sports as an athlete, mentor and coach to young athletes. A water polo athlete, Tan Eng Liang took part in the Olympic Games Melbourne 1956. SNOC Vice President since 1991, he is also the current President of Olympians Singapore.  Chris Chan has served the SNOC as its Secretary-General since 2002. He currently serves on the board of Anti-Doping Singapore, the Singapore Olympic Academy, the Singapore Sports School and the Singapore Olympic Foundation. The 2015 IOC Trophy “Sport and Innovation” was also presented to Sport Singapore’s national movement for sport and physical activity, ActiveSG, for their innovative and effective ways of attracting Singaporeans to sport. More info at

Venezuelan NOC / JLD

More than 200 people attended a forum on women and sport organised by the Venezuelan NOC to celebration International Women’s Day (see photo above). Senior figures in Venezuelan sport, including IOC Honorary Member Flor Isava Fonseca, Elizabeth Popper, the first female flag bearer at the Olympic Games and Ninoska Closier, former national volleyball player and medical director of the Youth and Sports Ministry, took part in the forum, which addressed the themes of gender equality and women’s participation in sport. Also present was NOC Secretary General Élida Párraga Álvarez, who has worked for the NOC for more than 25 years.


RIO 2016

On 2 March, two new venues for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 were officially declared ready for action at the Deodoro Olympic Park cluster. The Deodoro Stadium will play host to the rugby and sections of the modern pentathlon, as well as the Paralympic football events, while the adjacent Deodoro Youth Arena will stage the basketball and fencing competitions. Deodoro Stadium hosted the official test event for rugby on 5 and 6 March, and will stage similar test events for the riding and running/shooting sections of the modern pentathlon from 10 to 14 March, with the fencing taking place in the Youth Arena and the swimming at the Deodoro Aquatics Centre. Read the full press release here.

TOKYO 2020

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee welcomed Bridgestone Corporation as a Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Gold Partner in the category “Tyres, seismic isolation bearings & non-motorised bicycles.” Its addition brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Partners to 31, including three Worldwide Olympic Partners Atos, Bridgestone and Omega. Read the full press release here.


Canada’s Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough (photo), has been awarded the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) International Women’s Day Recognition in honour of her impact and leadership within sport. After winning three bronze medals in swimming at the Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games, Qualtrough took on various roles within the Paralympic Movement before being elected as Member of Parliament for Delta, British Columbia and being appointed to her role in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet in November 2015. Detailed news on

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