IOC President Thomas Bach was in Muju in the Republic of Korea as a guest of World Taekwondo President Choue Chungwon. The IOC President watched some of the action at the Taekwondowon, the “home” of the sport. At an impressive closing ceremony, the President was able to meet with demonstration teams from World Taekwondo and the International Taekwondo Federation, including athletes from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. During his stay, he also attended the Board meeting of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, during which he heard reports on some of the great work being carried out with refugees around the world. The President also took part in a special Symposium on “Olympism and Good Governance”. President Bach also met with the Korean Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan. Whilst in Muju, President Bach met Chang Ung, IOC Member in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Read the full news here.
From Muju, the President travelled to Seoul, where on Saturday 1 July he met Lee Hee-Beom, the President of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, as well as Lee Kee-Heung, the President of the Korean Olympic Committee. Their discussions were centred on the preparations for the Games next February.
The President then flew to Beijing, where he had two meetings on Sunday. With Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, President Bach discussed the excellent preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and other matters of mutual interest.
The President also met sculptor Wu Weishan, one of the top artists in China and also Director of the National Art Museum. One of his works, a bust of Pierre de Coubertin, is now at The Olympic Museum. He was also met by IOC Member Li Lingwei and Chinese Sports Minister Gou Zhongwen. IOC Vice-President Yu Zaiqing accompanied the President throughout his trip to Beijing.
From Beijing, President Bach flew back to Seoul, where he had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kang Kyung-wha. He was accompanied by Gunilla Lindberg, IOC Executive Board Member and Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and who also attended the meeting with the President of the Republic of Korea.
The President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in, and the IOC President, Thomas Bach, had 'friendly' and 'very fruitful' talks at the Blue House on Monday 3 July. The discussions centred on preparations for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The two leaders agreed that the preparations are going very well, and that the stage is set for very successful Olympic Winter Games 2018. President Moon said, "I will continue to give my full support to the PyeongChang Organising Committee. We are all looking forward to welcoming the best athletes of the world to a friendly and safe environment in the very best traditions of Korean hospitality." Speaking for the IOC, President Bach confirmed that, "the test events have been very successful, and I have great confidence in the PyeongChang Organising Committee to deliver successful Olympic Winter Games." The two leaders agreed that they expect a high number of National Olympic Committees from winter sports countries to take part in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The IOC sent invitations to take part in the Games to National Olympic Committees, including the National Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), already in February of this year. Furthermore, the IOC is also supporting a number of athletes from the DPRK to assist them to qualify. "The Olympic Winter Games can greatly assist in the reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas and peace on the Korean peninsula," said President Moon. President Bach added, "the IOC appreciates very much President Moon’s vision of how the Olympic Games can support dialogue and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula and beyond. We can look forward to excellent Olympic Winter Games from Korea to the world". The two leaders agreed to cooperate closely with regard to the further preparations including the participation of athletes of the NOC of DPRK, and its modalities.
Following an invitation from Refugee Olympic Team athlete Yusra Mardini, IOC President Thomas Bach congratulated students of the graduating class of the “Sportschule im Olympiapark – Poelchau Oberschule” in Berlin (Germany). The sports school is located on the premises of the Berlin Olympic Park where the Olympic Games 1936 were held, and all its students are high-performance athletes. Addressing the 50 students, IOC President said: “Congratulations on your graduation from this outstanding school, which is open to the world and is so inspirational because of its location. Your school is sending a message on the importance of the values of sport. Here you had the privilege to combine education with learning the values of sport. You more than deserve your certificates today.” Before attending the graduation ceremony, the President gave his patronage to the Poelchau Oberschule which joined a countrywide initiative called “School against racism – school with courage”. The patronage is related to the membership of the school in the initiative.
The IOC President also toured the school together with Mardini, her coach Sven Spannekrebs and school principal Matthias-Carsten Rösner. Mardini, who is not a graduate yet, showed him the pool where she prepared for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and the small room she stayed in when she first arrived in Germany as a refugee from Syria. Read the full news here.
Addressing 400 guests of the regional branch of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) in Mannheim (Germany), President Thomas Bach spoke about sports and politics. He was invited to answer the question: “Sport and politics – separate worlds or two sides of the same coin?”. The President emphasised that sport must stay politically neutral but that it is, at the same time, not apolitical.
During its fourth visit to Tokyo (28-30 June), the Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was impressed with the Japanese Host City’s innovative plans to bring the Games to new audiences. From projects to engage the whole of Japan for the next three years to an exciting new gender-balanced, youth and urban Olympic programme, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will deliver a unique experience to athletes and fans of all ages. “With the support of Tokyo 2020, we recently added 15 events to the Olympic programme, delivering greater gender equality and more of an urban and youth focus, while reducing the overall number of participants. Our discussions this week have highlighted several ways in which this significant step forward will benefit the athletes and allow Tokyo to involve people who might not necessarily have been interested in the Games before.” said Coordination Commission Chair John Coates. During its visit, the Coordination Commission visited a number of venues, which included a stop at the Aomi Sports Cluster. There, the Commission members were greeted by sport climbing, skateboarding, and Paralympic Football 5-a-side athletes hoping to compete in Tokyo 2020, who expressed their excitement at being a part of the Games in this innovative downtown venue. Read the full news here.
Worldwide Olympic Partner Atos launched an Olympic Day photo contest for all its employees that runs until 9 July. Atos’ Major Events Employees (MVEs) have been able to take part in the “sports challenge”, which consists of three sports competitions: running, walking and cycling. A special celebration of Olympic Day was held in the Major Events offices located in Madrid, Barcelona, PyeongChang and Tokyo. More info at www.atos.net.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
Clement Chileshe (centre), Director of the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka (Zambia), has been presented with a Doctor of Laws honorary degree by the University of St Andrews (Great Britain). This distinction has been awarded in recognition of his important work for the development of sport in Zambia in general, and for the Centre in particular.
On 21 June, Paris (France) hosted the first meeting of the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS). Attending were representatives of the Olympic Movement (ANOC, ASOIF, GAISF and the IOC), intergovernmental organisations (UNODC, OECD, Council of Europe and Commonwealth Secretariat), and the governments of France, Germany, the UK, Japan, the USA and Argentina. The decision was taken to keep the Partnership as flexible as possible, with no permanent secretariat but rather this work being done by the organisers of the next meeting; and to keep a group (of around 15-20 people) as the most appropriate working level, with the group seconded by task forces which include experts on each point studied, including from civil society. If necessary, a plenary session can be held in order to involve the largest possible number of governments and sports organisations. The first three subjects to be studied with a view to finding practical solutions are: how to reduce the risk of corruption in public procurement, in the context of major sports events; how to ensure transparency and integrity in the awarding process of sport events selection; and how to promote the convergence of the existing good governance frameworks (limit on terms of office, conflicts of interests and transparency mechanism) that are relevant to mitigate the risk of corruption. The next meeting is scheduled for 11 December 2017.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
Great Britain’s Katherine Grainger (see photo) has won the 2017 Thomas Keller Medal for an Outstanding Career in Rowing. Grainger is Great Britain’s most accomplished female Olympic rower, with five Olympic medals from five consecutive Olympic Games. These medals include gold at the Olympic Games London 2012 and, following a comeback after a two-year break, a silver medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. She competed internationally for nearly two decades in the quadruple sculls, the pair, the double and also the single sculls. She will receive the medal on 8 July during the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne (Switzerland). Read the news from World Rowing here.
Speaking at a press conference during the EuroBasket Women championships in Prague (Czech Republic), the captain of the Czech men’s basketball team, Jiri Welsch, and basketball player Maria Stepanova expressed their excitement at being among the first participants in the new TIME-OUT project. The project is targeted at recently retired or soon-to-be-retired basketball players who will work towards obtaining a master’s degree in sports administration. The project is being run by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), with co-funding from the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme and in conjunction with Northumbria University in Newcastle (Great Britain), the University of Physical Education in Budapest (Hungary) and the TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) in Great Britain. Read the news here.
The International Cycling Union (UCI), in collaboration with relevant parties, has introduced numerous initiatives to improve safety during cycling events. For example, the UCI and representatives of all stakeholders in men's professional road cycling have decided to reduce the size of teams competing in the three Grand Tours, starting from the 2018 season. Such a measure is also being considered for the other UCI WorldTour events and those on the UCI Continental Circuits. Furthermore, a dedicated section on risk prevention has been added to the UCI WorldTour - Specifications for Organisers. Full details about all the initiatives here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) is set to celebrate “FINA World Aquatics Day”, a new initiative that will take place on the first weekend of July in as many countries as possible on the five continents, just days before the start of the World Championships in Budapest from 14 to 30 July. The main goal is to bring together children, young swimmers, and occasional or regular competitors in aquatic disciplines with one shared objective: to enjoy aquatic physical activity. This project is an excellent opportunity to enhance and build on the work that is being carried out by FINA’s “Swimming for All, Swimming for Life” programme. More info on www.fina.org.
World Rugby reports that the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) celebrated Olympic Day with a “Get into Rugby” exhibition at the Accra Sports Stadium on 24 June. The event formed part of the celebrations organised by the Ghana Olympic Committee. During the programme, young participants from six schools took part in sessions under the supervision of Rafatu Inusah, a Board Member of the Greater Accra Rugby Association and GRFU Women’s Rugby Development Manager, and coach Sani Alhassan. “Get into Rugby” is the International Federation’s core programme to boost rugby worldwide, and is aimed at new entrants to the sport. More info on www.worldrugby.org.
The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has changed its name to World Taekwondo. The new name was adopted, along with a new visual identity, by the IF’s General Assembly in Muju (Republic of Korea), ahead of the World Championships taking place from 24 to 30 June. Choue Chungwon was also re-elected President of the IF for a four-year term at the General Assembly. This will be his fifth term of office. Read the news here.
In Munich (Germany), the Extraordinary General Assembly of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) approved the shooting programme for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. An open and consultative forum comprising athletes, coaches and representatives from member federations was created to review the shooting events for the Olympic Games 2024 and beyond. A total of 137 member federations attended the Extraordinary General Assembly, which was opened by ISSF President and IOC Member Olegario Vázquez Raña. Read the full story here.
Speaking at the General Assembly of the German Volleyball Federation, the President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), Ary S. Graça F° (see photo), laid out plans for further innovation focusing on the FIVB’s “Nucleus Project” – the new strategy for raising the professional standard of volleyball. The Nucleus Project aims to develop the sport in key markets, such as Germany, which can then act as a model for other countries. The FIVB’s plan involves supporting these focal nations by organising more World Tour events and through increased television exposure, and by creating opportunities for developing nations to learn about hosting world-class events. Read the news here.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced that it has been recognised as the official International Federation for the sport of para surfing (also known as “adaptive surfing”) by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Read the news here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
To celebrate Olympic Day, the Brazilian NOC set up courses and sports activities for children in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian team mascot, Ginga, was on hand to encourage the children at the fencing activity. The NOC also held a photo exhibition entitled “Athletes of Brazil” at a shopping centre in Rio de Janeiro, which was attended by Olympic champions Rafaela Silva (judo) and Bruno Resende (volleyball), among others. Similar exhibitions were also organised in 18 shopping centres around the country. More info on sur www.cob.org.br.
The NOC of Costa Rica celebrated Olympic Day on 23 June with around 100 children, young people and adults, who got to learn about and try out a number of sports activities presented by Olympic athletes. The children were able to try their hand at fencing, athletics, judo and table tennis – to name but a few – at the NOC headquarters. A discussion on the Olympic Movement also took place. Each participant received an Olympic Day T-shirt. The NOC President, Henry Núñez, also took part in the activities. More info on www.concrc.org.
The NOC of El Salvador and the NOC of Chile recently concluded an applied sports science training course for nearly 30 high-level coaches. The programme was organised by the Olympic Academy of El Salvador. The aim of the high-level academic course, which was launched in 2013, is to train high-level national coaches. The graduation ceremony was attended by the NOC President, Eduardo Palomo, and Chilean NOC member Cristián Morales. Read the news here. In addition, the NOC of El Salvador and the University of El Salvador paid tribute to Pierre de Coubertin at a ceremony held at the NOC’s headquarters. Flowers were laid at Coubertin’s bust in the presence of athletes and representatives of the NOC and sports federations. Read the news here.
The Executive Committee of the Spanish NOC held its June meeting at the San Cugat High-Level Sports Centre (CAR) in Barcelona. At the meeting, the Executive Committee approved the composition of the delegation that will be taking part in the European Youth Olympic Festival in Gyor (Hungary) this summer and the grants for the technical courses organised by the national sports federations. The NOC delegation also visited the CAR facilities, which were built to help prepare the Spanish Olympic team that took part in the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992. Read the news here.
Thousands of people of all ages took part in Olympic Day celebrations in Greece. For the first time, events were held in three different cities: Athens, Thessaloniki and Olympia. Numerous activities were organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC), the Hellenic Olympic Academy and various other foundations. A message from the IOC President was read out and diplomas were handed out to the participants. In addition, a run was organised by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation under the auspices of the HOC. More than 5,000 runners took part, starting at the Panathenaic Stadium and finishing at the Foundation’s Cultural Centre. More info on www.hoc.gr.
A Memorandum of Understanding on the use of facilities by the Brazilian team before and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was signed in Tokyo on 25 June by the Japanese NOC, the Brazilian NOC and the Japanese prefectures and cities where these facilities are located. The MoU was signed by the NOC Presidents, IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda and IOC Honorary Member Carlos Arthur Nuzman, and by officials from the prefectures and cities. Since 2015, the Brazilian NOC has visited Japan several times to find the most suitable facilities for its athletes. The Brazilian team plans to use 14 facilities, including gyms, swimming pools and training centres located in the prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa. More info on www.joc.or.jp and www.cob.org.br.
The NOC of Panama celebrated Olympic Day from 23 to 25 June. A number of sporting activities were organised at one of Panama City’s most iconic sites, the Mirador del Pacífico. The celebration of Olympism culminated with the traditional Olympic Day run, which took place on 25 June. Another unforgettable moment was the forming of the five rings by the athletes and guests in attendance. More info on www.copanama.com.
The NOC of Swaziland organised a successful Olympic Day celebration. The three-day event brought together 1,843 participants on 23 and 24 June in Mbabane at the Prince of Wales Stadium, and on 25 June at the Olympafrica Centre. The programme included volleyball, cricket, boxing, taekwondo, basketball and handball, among others.
Athletes from various sporting disciplines turned out in force to support the Olympic Day celebrations organised by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee on 23 June in Lord Harris Square. Scores of children joined them to enjoy the booths and demonstrations set up by the national sports federations. Among the athletes present were Hasely Crawford, Olympic 100m champion at the Olympic Games Montreal 1976, and many other Olympians. Read the news here.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Students from 12 universities in Tokyo gathered in the centre of the Japanese capital on 24 June to take part in competitions based on the Olympic spirit. Sixteen teams gave dance, singing and cheerleading performances. Members of the audience then voted for those they felt had achieved their “personal best”, one of the mottos of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Some 1,000 students co-organised the event with the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Read the news here.
YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES ORGANISING COMMITTEES
To celebrate Olympic Day in the Olympic Capital, the City of Lausanne teamed up with the organisers of the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 on 23 June and called on 1,200 year six pupils from schools across the city to stage a flashmob to create the Olympic rings. Dressed in T-shirts in the Olympic colours, the pupils enjoyed a morning of sports games and perfecting the choreography of this mega-flashmob. When they were ready, the giant rings came together perfectly under a clear blue sky at the Bellerive public pool, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Read the news here.
Raffaele Chiulli, President of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sport Federations (ARISF) and President of the International Powerboat Federation (UIM), underscored the importance of being part of the family of world sporting organisations at the sports conference of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in Geneva (Switzerland). He also told the audience of motorsport representatives that IOC recognition benefits the FIA and other motor sport federations. He was accompanied by FIA Deputy President Graham Stoker at the conference. Read the news here.
Héctor Cardona (photo), President of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CASCO), died in June at the age of 81, in San Juan (Puerto Rico). CASCO President since 2003, he was President of the Puerto Rican NOC from 1991 to 2008 and an Association of the National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Executive Council member from 1996 to 2014. The President of the Barbados NOC, Steve Stoute, succeeds Héctor Cardona at the helm of CASCO. Read the news here.