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14 Sep 2015
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

IOC President Thomas Bach has received the Secretary General of the Francophonie organisation, Michaëlle Jean, accompanied by musician Manu Dibango, recently named Grand Témoin de la Francophonie for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. The meeting focused on details of future collaboration in keeping with the objectives set by Olympic Agenda 2020. The role of sport as a tool for social cohesion, education and development, as well as the importance of mentioning the value of sport in the policy statement that accompanies the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, were also discussed at length during the meeting. The meeting agenda also included the preparations for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, and more precisely the operations linked to language services offered to the athletes, officials, journalists and general public in French. Press release here.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

A group of the world’s top women golfers, including Shanshan Feng (People’s Republic of China), Julieta Granada (Paraguay), Fabienne In-Albon (Switzerland), Caroline Masson (Germany) and Paula Reto (South Africa), paid a visit to the IOC President. Together, they discussed golf’s return to the Olympic programme before playing pitch and putt in the IOC gardens. The five golfers were taking time out from preparations for The Evian Championship 2015, being held from 10 to 13 September in Evian (France), as they gear up for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. They also took part in a “closest to the pin” contest at The Olympic Museum and helped unveil an exhibition called “Swing!”, which will be on show free to the public from 9 December 2015 to 31 January 2016. Full press release here.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

Seven athletes representing the crème de la crème of Olympic sailing made the largest ever sailing equipment donation to The Olympic Museum during a ceremony in presence of President Bach. These athletes, who have won 17 Olympic medals between them, are: five-time Olympic medallist Torben Grael (BRA), five-time Olympian and gold medallist Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert (FRA), Olympic silver and bronze medallist Bruno Prada (BRA), four-time Olympian Mark Reynolds (USA), and Olympic gold medallists Max Salminen (SWE) and Fredrik Loof (SWE). The donation was made by the Star Sailors League (SSL). Full press release here.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

A delegation from the Swedish NOC, led by NOC President Stefan Lindeberg and Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg, who is also an IOC Executive Board Member, met President Bach. Various issues were addressed, such as Olympic Agenda 2020 and its recommendations; preparations for the next editions of the Olympic Games; and a possible candidature for the Winter Games.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

With the President of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), Klaus Schormann, accompanied by UIPM Secretary General Shiny Fang, President Bach discussed about the preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, and the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020.


© IOC / Benoit Fontaine

As the liaison person with the Vatican City State, Mario Pescante took part in a meeting of the advisory committee in the framework of the International Forum on Sport and Faith “sport at the service of humankind”, which will be held in Rome in 2016. Organised in Rome on 10 and 11 September, the meeting was attended by the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, as well as personalities from the world of sport, including Patrick Joseph Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees; Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Association of NOCs; and Prince Feisal Al Hussein, President of the NOC of Jordan – all of whom are IOC Members. A message from the IOC President was read to the participants at the opening of the meeting.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

Kirsty Coventry has added a medal to her haul of seven Olympic and eight World Championship medals, winning gold in the 200m individual medley at the African Games held in Brazzaville (Congo) from 2 to 19 September.




Following the World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette (France), World Rowing (FISA) held its Ordinary Congress on 7 September in Chambéry. Six new federations have joined FISA: Djibouti, Haiti, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta and Trinidad and Tobago. FISA now has 148 member federations. The Congress also awarded the 2019 World Championships to the Austrian city of Linz. The 2016 Congress was awarded to the Dutch city of Rotterdam. At the end of the Congress, a National Federations Conference was organised, during which FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland addressed in detail the changes to be made in response to Olympic Agenda 2020. Info at

Over 280 gymnasts from 56 countries took part in the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships, which were held from 7 to 13 September in Stuttgart (Germany), and not only saw the world’s best athletes win medals, but also served as a qualifier for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. Places for Rio will also be up for grabs at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw (Poland). The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) also informs us that the 31st Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships, to be held from 26 to 29 November in Odense (Denmark), will welcome a record number of participants, with more than 300 athletes representing 41 different countries. This record number represents a participation increase of 30 per cent from the previous Championships in Daytona Beach (USA) in 2014. These 2015 Championships will see the first Olympic places in trampoline allocated for the Olympic Games in 2016 at the end of the competition. Info at

Participants in the International Swimming Federation (FINA) “Targeting Rio 2016” scholarship programme were able to take part in the 16th World Championships held in Kazan (Russian Federation) from 24 July to 9 August. A post-Kazan report revealed the progress made by these young swimmers, who had trained at the Thanyapura centre in Phuket (Thailand) from May 2015. These athletes from South East Asia are benefiting from this new scholarship programme (launched in 2015), which allows them to train at high-level facilities and receive ongoing support to prepare for the Olympic Games in 2016. Info at

The World Rugby Board has approved the decision to organise the 2016 U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe from 19 April to 1 May. Eight teams will battle it out with a spot for the U20 World Championships 2017 in Georgia on offer for the winner. Info at

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has announced that the table tennis test event for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be held from 18 to 21 November 2015 in the Riocentro, located in Barra da Tijuca. The 2015 Aquece Rio International will host all four table tennis events that will feature in 2016: men’s team, women’s team, men’s singles and women’s singles. The event is an opportunity for players, coaches and officials to test the venue and the conditions to get ready for the Olympic table tennis event, which will be held from 6 to 17 August 2016. Info at


The International Triathlon Union (ITU), in cooperation with the Asian Continental Confederation (ASTC), recently organised a development camp for its Kazakh and Mongolian federations, which saw the participation of two Kazakh coaches and 15 Kazakh athletes, and four Mongolian coaches and 10 Mongolian athletes (photo above). The athletes were aged 13 to 19. Through this camp, which is the first step towards development projects in Asia, the ITU facilitators not only shared their experiences and knowledge with local coaches, but also tested the athletes’ performances, teaching the coaches how to analyse these performances to adjust their training sessions. Info at

From 2 to 6 September, Copacabana Beach, the Olympic beach volleyball venue in 2016, hosted the “Rio Open”, a test event for the Olympic Games next summer. Part of the “World Tour” of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the Rio Open was the second test event organised by the FIVB, after the World League finals last July. Info at


Meeting in Belgrade (Serbia) at its 4th Annual Congress, the member associations of the World Curling Federation (WCF) re-elected the 2002 Olympic champion, Norway’s Bent Ånund Ramsfjell, as Vice-President for Europe, and Japan’s Toyo Ogawa to the Board of Directors. Proposals on the rules of curling and the new Olympic discipline of mixed doubles were addressed at the WCF General Assembly. The 2016 Congress will be held from 7 to 10 September in Stockholm (Sweden), followed by the General Assembly on 10 September, as part of the centenary celebrations of the Swedish Curling Association. Info at


The International Surfing Association (ISA) has launched its first Athletes’ Commission in a move that ensures the interests and views of the global community of surfers are properly represented within the ISA and the wider sporting movement. Two-time Stand-Up Paddle World Champion and surfer Casper Steinfath from Denmark, who is also a Vice-President of the ISA, was appointed Chairperson of the ISA Athletes’ Commission, which is made up of a further six athlete members from four continents. Info at


© NOC of Albania

At the invitation of the NOC of Albania, the President and Secretary General of the International School Sport Federation (ISF), Laurent Petrynka and Jan Coolen, paid a two-day visit to Tirana. They held various meetings, including one with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Minister of Education and Sports Lindita Nikolla, focusing on creating the Albanian Federation of School Sports. For this, the NOC also coordinated other meetings, such as with members of the NOC Executive Board, the Directorate of Sports in the Ministry of Education and Sports, and at the Sports University of Tirana. Info at

The Algerian NOC has announced that, 40 years after the Mediterranean Games in Algiers, Algeria will once again host the event in 2021 in the city of Oran. Indeed, the International Mediterranean Games Committee (CIJM), which met on 27 August in Pescara (Italy), chose the capital of the West of the country to host the 19th edition of these Games. Info at

The Sports Training and Development Section of the Bahrain NOC recently organised a seminar on mental skills development as well as a (level 4) course as part of its national training programme. This course brought together coaches from national sports clubs and federations as well as private sector organisations in Bahrain and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-member countries.

The NOC of Cameroon has informed us of the organisation of a (level 1) technical course for badminton coaches in Yaoundé from 25 to 30 August. Organised under the aegis of the Francophone Badminton Association and Olympic Solidarity, this course was attended by 24 coaches. Alongside the training, the Cameroon Badminton Federation organised the Francophone Badminton Association multi-activity week, the main activity of which was training athletes of every category, judges and officials. The objective of this week is to promote the practice of badminton in French-speaking countries.

On 9 September, the Colombian NOC unveiled its new web page featuring information on the 52 national sports federations and the events in which Colombian athletes are competing. Also featured are sports calendars, reports on participation in Olympic events, newsletters and other publications. See the new page at



© Rio 2016

Transforma – the Rio 2016 education programme – staged its fifth sports festival in the Olympic host city’s biggest favela, Rocinha. More than 1,000 people of all ages took part end of August in the festivities (photo above), taking the opportunity to try out new sports, and get a flavour of next year’s Games. Besides the opportunity to try out a whole range of sports, the participants also had the chance to get up close and personal with the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, Vinicius and Tom. A demonstration of combat sports was also held at Instituto Reação, a non-governmental organisation which provides judo tuition to youngsters in a number of Rio’s favelas, and which was set up by Flavio Canto, who won an Olympic judo bronze medal at Athens 2004. Press release here.

© Rio 2016 / Alex Ferro

To celebrate the final countdown to the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games, many sports and cultural events were held on 6 and 7 September in Rio de Janeiro in the presence of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President and IOC Member Philip Craven (photo above). On 7 September – exactly one year to go – tickets for these Games were put on sale for Brazilian residents. Info at and



PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) President Yang-ho Cho presented PyeongChang 2018’s progress and activities supporting the International Olympic Truce Foundation (IOTF) during its meeting in Lausanne last week. POCOG has completed two rounds of Olympic Truce Education, having trained 515 teachers and over 70,000 students in Korea. Over 1,500 children from 75 different countries have participated in its Dream Programme over the past 12 months. POCOG has developed three core pillars of its Olympic Truce Programme: promote the ideas of the Olympic Truce to the Korean public to spread awareness about the concept; engage with them by creating a forum for debate; and cooperate with its counterparts in Tokyo and Beijing to help spread Olympic ideals. Info at



The first edition of the European Week of Sport (EWOS), the event whose partner is the European Olympic Committees (EOC), took place from 7 to 13 September at the Square exhibition centre in Brussels (Belgium) and was officially opened by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. The EOC took part to promote its youth event, the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) to the European Union and the general public. The EOC stand at the EWOS Village (photo above) offered all visitors videos from the various EYOF events, promotional pictures from the next host cities and a quiz on the EYOF. Info at

Chris Thomas was elected President of the World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) at the Federation’s Council meeting held on 28 August in Mar del Plata (Argentina) alongside the 20th World Transplant Games. Chris Thomas, who has been the CEO of Transplant Australia for eight years, succeeds Olivier Coustere, who had been the President for more than 10 years. Gary Green continues as Secretary, while Colin White was elected Treasurer and becomes the third member of the Executive Committee. Info at

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