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From 19 to 25 July, the IOC President, Thomas Bach, was travelling around Europe, visiting Warsaw and Wroclaw (Poland), then Leipzig (Germany) and Barcelona (Spain).
The IOC President was in Warsaw for a meeting with the Polish President, Andrzej Duda. The two leaders discussed the Olympic Movement in Poland and a number of topics of mutual interest, including cooperation at United Nations level, in particular with regard to the Olympic Truce, during an hour-long meeting at the Presidential Palace.
The President was welcomed to Poland by the President of the National Olympic Committee, Andrzej Kraśnicki; and he visited the Polish NOC headquarters, where he was able to discover the Polish Sports Museum. Whilst at the NOC headquarters, he also answered questions from members of the NOC Executive Board. Later in the evening, the NOC demonstrated the blending of sport and culture with an evening at the Chopin Museum, where a piano recital was followed by dinner with the players.
The IOC President then travelled to Wroclaw for the opening ceremony of the World Games. Speaking at this fantastic ceremony, he said the World Games were a “celebration of the diversity of sport and its values”. “The World Games are a confirmation of the power of sport to unite us all,” added the President, before declaring the Games open. President Bach was welcomed to the Games by International World Games Association (IWGA) President and IOC Member José Perurena. During his stay in Wroclaw, President Bach attended a number of World Games events, meeting sports climbing and roller sports competitors. Also in Wroclaw were IOC Member in Poland Irena Szewinska, WADA President Craig Reedie and IOC Member in Israel Alex Gilady.
Throughout his visit to Poland, the President was accompanied by IOC Member in Poland Irena Szewinska.
Attending the opening ceremony and the first finals of the World Fencing Championships in Leipzig (Germany), the IOC President presented the medals to the best athletes of the women’s foil individual competition. Thomas Bach, himself an Olympic champion with the German foil team in Montreal, also attended a dinner of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Executive Committee at the invitation of FIE President Alisher Usmanov. At the championships, President Bach also met IOC Member Pál Schmitt.
Attending the FINA World Championships in Budapest (Hungary), President Bach experienced an action-filled weekend of swimming. He also met Refugee Olympic Team athletes Yusra Mardini and Rami Anis, who are both competing as refugee athletes under the FINA flag. Both athletes joined the IOC President and IOC Honorary Member and FINA President Julio C. Maglione to watch the action in the pool. Thomas Bach also presented the medals to the successful swimmers in the men’s 400-metre freestyle competition.
Meeting FINA President Maglione, who was re-elected at the FINA Congress on 22 July for another four-year term, Thomas Bach congratulated him on his election pointing out that the very successful World Championships are “a great start to your new term”. “These are fantastic World Championships in excellent facilities with an enthusiastic crowd in all the venues. This is a great success for FINA and swimming, and for Hungary.” He also praised swimming which “has made tremendous developments in recent years in the presentation of the sport. There are outstanding athletes and performances in swimming.”
While in Budapest, the President had a private lunch with the Prime Minister of Hungary, Victor Orbán. Thomas Bach took this opportunity to congratulate Prime Minister Orbán on the successful staging of these “fantastic World Championships”.
The IOC President visited International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer at the IJF’s offices in Budapest. The Federation will hold its World Championships at the end of August in the Hungarian capital, and President Bach plans to return to Budapest on this occasion.
The IOC President also attended the FINA Gala in the impressive Hungarian State Opera House. During his stay in Budapest, the IOC President met IOC Members Pál Schmitt, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Sam Ramsamy, Alex Gilady, Dániel Gyurta as well as IOC Honorary Member Mustapha Larfaoui.
From Budapest, President Bach travelled to Barcelona, where, along with the King of Spain, Felipe VI, he attended a number of events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Olympic Games 1992.
The King and the IOC President also had a bilateral meeting where they were joined by IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Alejandro Blanco, the President of the NOC of Spain. They discussed the legacy of the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992, the organisation of forthcoming international sports events in Spain and other topics of mutual interest.
The anniversary celebrations, which were attended by the highest Spanish and Catalan authorities, started with a TV event at the Centre d’Alt Rendiment Esportiu, a high-performance training centre for Spanish athletes which was opened 1987 in the run-up to the Games. “We are actually celebrating a double anniversary this year: the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Centre d’Alt Rendiment Esportiu and the 25th anniversary of the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992,” said the IOC President in his televised speech, addressing the 200 invited guests, many of whom were Olympians. He went on to say: “The magic of the Olympic Games brought the world to Barcelona – and the Olympic Games brought a new Barcelona to the world. The Olympic Games transformed Barcelona. Until the Olympic Games, Barcelona was living with its back turned to the beautiful Mediterranean. The Olympic Games allowed Barcelona to turn around and truly embrace the sea. It also brought many other improvements that the citizens of Barcelona still enjoy today.” King Felipe VI of Spain, who competed at the Olympic Games in sailing and who was also the flagbearer of the Spanish Olympic Team at the Opening Ceremony, spoke about the Games as “an extraordinary set of events, which hold a special place in our country’s memory, as a precious milestone in our most recent history.”
The official reception in the evening was held in the Palacete Albéniz, the residence of the King of Spain in Barcelona, located just a few metres away from the Olympic Stadium. Many Spanish Olympians who competed in 1992 attended the ceremony. King Felipe stressed in his address that “after the Games, all of Spain was proud of this city. This success for Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain was possible thanks to the commitment and the solidarity effort of all.” President Bach also stressed the unifying character of the Olympic Games 1992. “With Nelson Mandela attending the Opening Ceremony, there was a clear message of peace and friendship, of unity in diversity, that went from Barcelona to the world,” he told the audience, highlighting the unifying motto of the Games in Catalan, “Amics per sempre”, as well as in Spanish, “Amigos para Siempre”.
During his visit in Barcelona, President Bach praised the excellent relations of the IOC with the NOC of Spain and its President Alejandro Blanco. While awarding the IOC President’s Trophy to the NOC and to Alejandro Blanco during a tour of the Olympic Museum of Barcelona, he said: “The legacy and the tradition the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992 have left is important, but it is even more important to make further progress. The NOC of Spain, with their President Alejandro Blanco, are doing a great job in this respect. They are growing the legacy and the tradition and are ambitious to set new targets.” In the past, Alejandro Blanco has also helped the IOC to resolve a number of sensitive issues in the sporting world, in particular in Central and South America.
While in Barcelona, President Bach held official meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister of Spain, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and also met the President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont. He was accompanied by IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Alejandro Blanco on both occasions.
Together with Juan Antonio Samaranch and his sister María Teresa Samaranch, President Bach laid a wreath with a ribbon in the colours of the Olympic rings at the tomb of former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
The IOC President and his delegation also met with Josep Maria Bartomeu, President of F.C. Barcelona, who welcomed them for a lunch at the Camp Nou Stadium.
While visiting Barcelona, the IOC President awarded the Olympic Order to Leandro Negre, an Olympian in 1968 and President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) from 2008 to 2016. The speech in the presence of the family and friends of Leandro Negre was delivered by IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch. The award ceremony took place in the Palace of the State Government of Catalunya.
In Lausanne, President Bach hosted IOC Member Denis Oswald and IOC Honorary Member Jean-Claude Killy, to discuss various topical issues.
Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye was re-elected as President of the Senegalese NOC at the NOC’s elective general assembly on 1 July in Dakar, for a term of office covering 2017 – 2020. (See also the “NOCs” section below.)
Julio César Maglione has been re-elected as FINA President for a new term during the FINA General Congress held during the World Swimming Championships in Budapest. He has been FINA President since 2009. (see also the “IFs” section below.)
NBC Olympics primetime host Mike Tirico, executives Mark Parkman (Olympic Channel), Lisa Baird (the United States Olympic Committee (USOC)), and Jim Bell and Gary Zenkel (NBC Olympics) gathered in New York (USA) to promote the new TV network, “Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA”, which launched on 15 July in more than 35 million homes in the USA. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA is a partnership between the IOC, USOC and NBCUniversal, and is the first localised version of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel, providing a more personalised experience to fans in the United States. The new TV channel, which complements the Olympic Channel global digital platform, will offer fans year-round programming of Olympic sports, highlighting their favourite American athletes and teams. Programming will emphasise live events from a broad portfolio of Olympic summer and winter sports. More info here.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) informs us that, this year, the hockey world joined the worldwide celebrations to mark Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July. This year, the Day coincided with the Men’s and Women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals 2017 in Johannesburg (South Africa). A number of competition officials present gave up part of their rest day to take part in an operation run by the “Network of Caring” charity organisation, which invited the people of Johannesburg to spend 67 minutes of their time (in reference to the 67 years that Nelson Mandela campaigned for social justice) helping them to assemble 150 wheelchairs for distribution in the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Namibia. Read the story here.
The cities of Kazan (Russian Federation) and Budapest have been selected to stage the 2022 and 2024 editions of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). The announcement followed the FINA Bureau vote during its meeting on 17 July in Budapest. Read the story here. Furthermore, on 22 July, the delegates from 176 National Federations gathered for the FINA General Congress and elected the new FINA Bureau for the period 2017-2021. Moreover, the Congress also approved some key changes to the FINA rules. Full details here.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has awarded the 2019 UIPM World Cup Final to Tokyo (JPN), where the event will double as an official Test Event for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The June 2019 competition will allow the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to fully test the venue at Tokyo Stadium where – for the first time – all five disciplines of the Olympic modern pentathlon will take place in one venue in one day. Full details on www.uipmworld.org.
On behalf of the seven stakeholders in the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP), the International Tennis Federation (ITF) released the first quarterly TADP report. The first report contains information relating to both Quarter 1 (January – March) and Quarter 2 (April – June) of the 2017 TADP and includes full-year information from 2016 for reference. More info here.
World Sailing is inviting cities to bid to host its Annual Conference in 2019. This is the central meeting point where the strategy of sailing is reviewed, discussed and celebrated. The deadline for cities interested in submitting an initial bid is 14 August 2017. The host city will then be selected by the delegates attending the Federation’s November 2017 Annual General Meeting in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico). Read the story here.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) unveiled its new, Game Time! at a ceremony held on 14 July at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, in the presence of IOC Members, IF representatives WSBC partners and the media. WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari also presented the Federation’s new vision: to build a billion-strong baseball and softball community by 2024. Read the story here.
In the framework of the development programme run by the International Ski Federation (FIS), a training camp was held from 9 to 29 July in El Colorado (Chile). This is the 11th time that the camp has been organised in South America. In all, 16 athletes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico trained with experienced coaches from Argentina and Chile to prepare for the upcoming season. The programme included intensive on-snow training, notably in giant slalom and slalom, and dry-land sessions to focus on speed, muscular endurance and coordination. Read the story here. In addition, the first part of the FIS Development Programme Nordic Training Camp in Tarvisio (Italy), Villach (Austria) and Planica (Slovenia) concluded recently, with 29 athletes and 15 coaches from eight countries taking part between 9 and 15 July. The second part of the Camp will be held from 16 to 20 September in Rasnov (Romania). Read the story here.
To celebrate the 10 years of the Rio 2007 Pan-American Games, the Brazilian NOC published a commemorative photo on 13 July. This was taken in one of Rio’s most emblematic locations, the Aterro do Flamengo, with the Sugarloaf in the background. Those present included NOC President and IOC Honorary Member Carlos Arthur Nuzman, presidents of the Brazilian Olympic Confederations and members of the NOC’s Athletes’ Commission, among them champions from 2007 Pan-American Games such as eight-time medallist Thiago Pereira (swimming), gold medallists Yane Marques (modern pentathlon) and Emanuel Rego (beach volleyball), and 800m bronze medallist Fabiano Peçanha. More details on www.cob.org.br.
The headquarters of the Spanish NOC was the venue for the presentation of the national report on drownings covering the period from 1 January to 15 July 2017. The presentation took place in the presence of NOC President Alejandro Blanco; the President of the Spanish Life-saving and Rescue Federation and NOC Vice-President, Isabel García; and the Director of the National Association of Civil Defence Organisations and Volunteers, Arturo Fuentes. The campaign launched by the Federation entitled #Stop drownings (#StopAhogados) will be supported by the NOC through an agreement between the NOC, the Federation and the Association. Read the story here.
At the sports marketing awards ceremony, the Hellenic NOC was twice honoured for its contribution to Greek sport. NOC President Spyros Capralos and Secretary General Manolis Kolympadis were present to receive the awards. The NOC also received the gold award in the “marketing strategy” category, for its “Adopt an athlete on the way to Rio 2016” programme, which helped to fund the Olympic Games Rio 2016 preparation for more than 50 athletes. During the ceremony, the NOC President presented the NOC’s new “Adopt an athlete on the way to Tokyo 2020” project. More details on www.hoc.gr
The Senegalese NOC held its elective general assembly on 1 July at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar. Representatives from 55 national federations and sports bodies were present. During the assembly, the Executive Board for the 2017-2020 period was elected.
NOC of Swaziland
In partnership with the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, the NOC of Swaziland hosted 810 children from nine schools to take part in various sports activities. This Festival also celebrated the success of using sport as a tool to teach moral values amongst children. More details on http://socga.org.sz.
A record-breaking 2,147 swimmers took part in the 29th Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race in Istanbul on 23 July. The race, organised by the Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC), saw swimmers from 49 countries make their way across the challenging 6.5km route from Kanlıca on the Asian side of Istanbul, to Kuruçeşme Cemil Topuzlu Park on the European side. Winners were presented with their prizes and medals at a ceremony hosted by Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Osman Askin Bak, Sports General Director Mehmet Baykan, Deputy Governor Nihat Nalbant, TOC President Uğur Erdener and Samsung Electronics Turkey President DaeHyun Kim. More info at www.olimpiyat.org.tr
“Let Everyone Shine”: the song for the PyeongChang 2018 Torch Relay was unveiled with 200 days to go. The popular Korean singer Insooni premiered the theme song for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 Torch Relay at an event to celebrate the 200-days-to-go mark, in front of a crowd of thousands in Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province. The Korean R&B diva performed the song “Let Everyone Shine” live in a festive atmosphere, surrounded by children. “Let Everyone Shine” is the slogan of the Relay, which will begin in November 2017. The slogan evokes the Olympic flame, which will spark dreams, passion and a future that opens up new horizons for all. Read the full news here.
With three years to go until the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games, a spectacular “Tokyo 2020 Flag Tour Festival / 3 Years to Go to the Tokyo 2020 Games” event was held on 24 July in Tokyo’s Citizen’s Plaza in Shinjuku with around 5000 spectators joining Japanese Olympian and Paralympians, as well as other guests to celebrate the milestone. The event, which was co-hosted by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), the Japanese Olympic Committee, the Japanese Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, featured a newly-created projection mapping display whereby a dazzling video light show was projected onto the façade of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly building. The show was accompanied by music which showcased the attractions of the 2020 Olympic host city, as well as the power of sport, and gave an indication of what people can expect from the Games in three years time. Read the full news here.
The Olympic basketball champion, Argentina’s Luis Scola (photo) has been named as an Ambassador for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires. To mark the announcement, the 37-year-old veteran NBA player joined 300 youngsters at the historic Club Gimnasia y Esgrima Villa del Parque, in downtown Buenos Aires. The students learnt from the best with a 3x3 basketball skills clinic, followed by a “Chat with Champion” session and live painting by students using basketball and the Olympic values as inspiration. In addition to his 10 seasons with the NBA, Luis Scola won a gold medal in Athens, in 2004, and a bronze in Beijing in 2008, as well as serving as the flagbearer for Argentina at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Luis Scola is also currently a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Full press release here.
The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) launched its new and improved website which will allow the association to provide more engaging and interactive content for its NOCs. The new website is part of ANOC’s ongoing commitment to modernisation and ensuring it is providing the best possible service to its NOCs. The website address will remain www.anocolympic.org and include all the same features and tools as the previous website, as well as new ones, including a dedicated section for the ANOC Awards.