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19 Apr 2016

Olympic Highlights



IOC President Thomas Bach stressed the solidarity of the Olympic family with Brazil, as the host nation enters the final weeks of preparations for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the SportAccord Convention in Lausanne on 19 April, President Bach said that, despite the challenges of the current economic and political situation in Brazil, he remained confident that Rio de Janeiro would deliver spectacular Olympic Games. In his speech, President Bach also emphasised the shared responsibility that all sports organisations have in safeguarding the integrity and credibility of sport. “We all stand for the values of excellence, friendship, fair play and respect. As values-based organisations, we have the double duty to ensure that we uphold the principles of good governance in all our activities,” he stressed. Full press release here.

During a joint meeting with the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), chaired by Francesco Ricci Bitti, discussions were focused on preparations for Olympic Games Rio 2016 and the great solidarity shown by International Federations. The need for independent anti-doping testing and sanctioning to support the credibility of sports organizations was also discussed.

With the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) whose Chairman is IOC Member Gian-Franco Kasper, preparations for upcoming editions of the Olympic Winter Games and the relations between IOC and the Winter IFs were on the agenda of the meeting.

There was also a first-ever joint meeting with the Council of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) whose Chairman is Raffaele Chiulli.

Additionally, Memorandums of Understanding were signed with the International World Games Association (IWGA) chaired by IOC Member José Perurena, as well as with the Alliance of Independent Members of SportAccord (AIMS) chaired by Stephan Fox. The MoUs underline the importance of cooperation in the follow-up and implementation of the recommendations of the Olympic Agenda 2020, as well as in other numerous areas, including the integrity of sport and the fight against doping.

During these meetings, President Bach was accompanied by IOC Vice Presidents Nawal El Moutawakel, Craig Reedie, John Coates and Zaiqing Yu.

IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne on 12 April. The two leaders praised the eternal Olympic values and Greece’s role in the Ancient and Modern Olympic Games, including the ekecheiria, or Olympic Truce. During their meeting, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos welcomed the initiatives being taken by the IOC with regard to refugees and to the creation of a Refugee Olympic Athletes’ team for the Olympic Games in Rio. Also on the agenda was the creation of the Olympic Laurel, an award to be conferred to an outstanding individual for their achievements in the fields of education, culture, development and peace through sport. The Olympic Laurel will be given during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. The Greek President confirmed that the stone from which the award will be created will come from Ancient Olympia (see the full story here). He was accompanied by the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos. IOC Honorary Members King Constantine and Lambis V. Nikolaou accompanied President Bach. Full press release here.

President in Slovenia © IOC / Olympic Committee of Slovenia - Association of Sports Federations

During his visit to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on 15 April, the IOC President, together with NOC President Bogdan Gabrovec, inaugurated a new Olympic Museum. President Bach was welcomed by a number of Olympians, including Slovenia’s two-time Olympic champion gymnast Miroslav Cerar. Led by two-time Olympian Mitja Petkovšek, a group of young athletes six years old and under carried the Olympic flag and expressed their strong desire to become Olympians one day as well. The IOC President applauded the work of the NOC with regard to the support for its athletes, and also in particular with regard to Olympic Agenda 2020. Indeed, the NOC has put together its own strategic roadmap for the future of Slovenian sport and has fully incorporated Olympic Agenda 2020.
President Bach met Slovenian President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Miro Cerar, and Education and Sport Minister Maja Makovec Brencic to discuss the role of sport in Slovenian society. The IOC President called Slovenia “a country that loves sport and lives sport”. During an active afternoon, President Bach, President Pahor, Minister Brencic and NOC President Gabrovec took part in a warm-up for an “Olympic Challenge” in the Kodeljevo Sports Park (see photo above). They were joined by Slovenian Olympians of the past and future and led a group of ‘sport-for-all athletes’ running around the stadium’s 400-metre track. Full press release here.

President Bach welcomed Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council, to discuss the collaboration between the IOC and the Vatican, both of which have permanent observer status in the General Assembly of the United Nations. The discussions centred on the first global conference on faith and sport that is scheduled to take place in October 2016. The conference, called “Sport at the Service of Humanity,” is a historic event supported by the IOC and the United Nations that will gather leaders from all areas of society and all faiths to look at how all faiths and sport can use their respective influence to promote positive values, especially among young people. It will be opened by His Holiness Pope Francis together with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the IOC President, who will deliver keynote addresses. Full press release here.

President with Kazakhstan © IOC / Christophe Moratal

A delegation from the NOC of Kazakhstan, led by its President, Timur Kulibayev, met the IOC President and held discussions on the upcoming Olympic Games Rio 2016. President Bach also congratulated Mr Kulibayev on his election as Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

President Bach also hosted the President of the World Karate Federation (WKF), Antonio Espinos. 

The Mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume, paid a visit to the IOC President. The possible candidature of the city of Quebec for the Olympic Winter Games 2026 as well as the implementation of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, in particular with regard to the new candidature process, were at the heart of the discussions.

The CEO of the German Football League, Christian Seifert, accompanied by the General Manager of Sportcast GmbH, Alexander Günther, paid a courtesy visit to the IOC President, with whom they discussed the importance of the Olympic football tournament for the development of the sport and their respective leagues. The Olympic Channel was also on the agenda of the meeting.


IOC Coordination Commission Chair Nawal El Moutawakel backed Brazil and the Brazilians to deliver successful Olympic Games this August at the close of the 10th and final IOC Coordination Commission visit to Rio de Janeiro (11-13 April 2016). The three days of meetings in the Brazilian host city included a venue tour of the Olympic Park and Deodoro sites, a meeting with the three levels of government (Federal, State and City), and presentations by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee on the status of the preparations. The Commission’s confidence was reinforced by the fact that many of the venues are finished, with the venues 98 per cent complete overall; that 33 test events had been successfully completed with positive feedback from the competing athletes; and that popular backing for the Games remains strong, with over 70 per cent support in Rio de Janeiro. This final figure underlines that the local citizens see the Games as a positive element in the development of their city and country. During its meeting, the Commission also received updates from the organisers and their partners in areas such as athlete and NOC services, sport and IF services, media operations, spectators, transport, marketing, technology and the Paralympic Games. Read the full press release here.


The IOC has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to support the Candidate Cities for the 2024 Olympic Games on sustainability and conservation matters related to their candidatures. The agreement is in line with the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, which places great emphasis on incorporating sustainability in all aspects of the Olympic Games and encourages strategic partnerships with internationally recognised organisations to increase the impact of its programmes. The IOC President said: “Sustainability is one of the key pillars of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms. The IUCN is a leading international expert in its field, and we appreciate its technical expertise to help cities deliver sustainable Olympic Games. It means that biodiversity and conservation will be an integral part of the Olympic Games’ legacy.” Full press release here.



The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has announced that more than 300 of the world’s top female boxers are expecting to compete at the 2016 World Boxing Championships to be held in Astana (Kazakhstan) from 19 to 27 May.  Besides the 10 gold medals at stake, this year’s tournament also has 12 quota places available for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. AIBA has also appointed eight ambassadors for the event, influential figures from inside the ring who embody the spirit of boxing. Representing the boxers are Nicola Adams (Great Britain), Marlen Esparza (USA), MC Mary Kom (India), Adriana Arauja (Brazil), Stanimira Petrova (Bulgaria) and Khadija Mardi (Morocco), while the female officials are Kheira Siki Yakoub (Algeria) and Jennifer Huggins (Canada). Info. at

The Olympic test event in gymnastics, to be held from 16 to 22 April at the Rio Olympic Arena, is the second and final chance for gymnasts and nations that did not qualify at the 2015 World Championships to get their tickets for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The final Olympic qualifications for men's artistic gymnastics will be allocated on 16 April, women's artistic gymnastics on 17 April, trampoline on 19 April and rhythmic gymnastics on 21 April for individuals, and 22 April for groups. Info. at the website of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG),

After the upcoming departure of Olympian Michael Green (Germany) (centre of photo) as its Chair, the International Hockey Federation (FIH)’s Athletes’ Committee will be led for two years by two Olympians, South Africa’s Marsha Cox (right of photo) and Great Britain’s Annie Panter (left). This co-chairing will start after the FIH Congress in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) in November 2016. This change in structure was approved by the FIH Executive Committee during its recent meeting in Lausanne, after the recommendation was submitted by the Athletes’ Committee. This is an important step for the FIH as it continues to implement good governance and male/female parity in all areas of the organisation, following the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.

Furthermore, following the FIH Executive Committee meetings in Lausanne, several key decisions were made, including moves to strengthen the IF’s values of integrity, equity and transparency. This included approval to expand the current FIH Code of Ethics to strengthen the general ethical values of the organisation. The new Code will address specific areas of risk and incorporate an efficient enforcement procedure. The FIH will also be asking each Continental Federation and National Association to adopt a continental/national-level code of ethics at least as stringent as the FIH Code of Ethics. Detailed info. at

The International Judo Federation (IJF) has just released the third work in its series “Judo for the World”. The IJF is thus showing how judo is changing the lives of the inhabitants of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Here, you can read the story of Raissa, who was born and raised in the Maré favela, where the NGO Fight for Peace, also supported by the IOC, is using combat sports and the Olympic values to promote the development of young people and coaches in communities affected by crime, violence and social exclusion.

Within the last year, United World Wrestling (UWW) has been making strides on and off the mat for gender equality. Following on from the success of the #Super8 campaign in 2015, UWW launched #Each1Bring1 this year to activate more female wrestling, refereeing, coaching and leading. The goal is to engage national federations across the world to organise events where participants bring along one girl or woman. These activities range from open training sessions with the women’s national team to meet-and-greets with the top female wrestlers, or coaching clinics for girls. On 8 April, the #Each1Bring1 campaign in Portugal was launched to create awareness for women’s wrestling and women in sport on a national level. A press conference was hosted in collaboration with the Portuguese Wrestling Federation and the Portuguese Olympic Committee, which was attended by Lise Legrand, Vice-President of the French Wrestling Federation, UWW Women and Sport Commission member and Olympic medallist, who gave a presentation on the reach and impact of the campaign. Portugal is committing to this campaign on a national level through the creation of a special fund as an incentive to those clubs which bring the most women to the sport. Info. at

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has opened the bidding process for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and the FINA World Aquatics Convention 2022 and 2024. The World Championships and the Convention are held back to back in the same city every two years in the beginning of December. Interested cities and National Federations must submit their initial interest by 15 July 2016, while formal bids have to be presented by 1 November 2016. The preceding editions of these events are scheduled to take place in Windsor (CAN) in 2016, Hangzhou (CHN) in 2018 and Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) in 2020. Info. at

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced that the number of triathlon technical officials increased by 13 per cent in 2015, the direct result of the 54 seminars and courses held throughout the world. Also of note – the number of certified female officials has increased from 27 to 30 per cent. Info. at

The Executive Committee of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), whose President is Ary S. Graça F°, recently held its first meeting of the year at the IF headquarters in Lausanne. The agenda consisted mainly of proposals from the various FIVB commissions, as a prelude to the meeting of the FIVB Board of Administration. This Board has approved the list of candidates for election to it for the 2016-2020 period, and the election will be held during the FIVB Congress on 5 October 2016. Info. at


The ninth edition of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships are being held from 16 to 23 April in Karlstad (Sweden). A record 42 teams from Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America are taking part, including Israel and Qatar, which are participating for the first time. This curling discipline will make its debut at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Info. on the World Curling Federation’s website,

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced the appointment of Robert Fasulo (photo) as the organisation’s new Executive Director. Working alongside the ISA Executive Committee, Fasulo will be responsible for the strategic direction, financial stewardship and operational management of surfing’s world governing body. Prior to being an international sports consultant, Fasulo held senior positions at various sports organisations, including Chief of International Relations at the United States Olympic Committee and Director of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).
Furthermore, the ISA also invited on 6 April its 98 member nations to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Find out here how surfers from member nations Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Sierra Leone and India commemorated this Day. Info. at


The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced the appointment of Robert Fasulo (photo) as the organisation’s new Executive Director. Working alongside the ISA Executive Committee, Fasulo will be responsible for the strategic direction, financial stewardship and operational management of surfing’s world governing body. Prior to being an international sports consultant, Fasulo held senior positions at various sports organisations, including Chief of International Relations at the United States Olympic Committee and Director of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

Furthermore, the ISA also invited on 6 April its 98 member nations to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Find out here how surfers from member nations Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Sierra Leone and India commemorated this Day. Info. at


A course on applied sports psychology and positive youth development through sport has been held for 25 coaches from various sports organisations in Bahrain and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Organised by the Sports Training and Development Centre of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, this four-day course is part of the Centre’s coach qualification plan. Leisha Strachan from Manitoba University in Canada led the course, which addressed several aspects of sports psychology and placed emphasis on the psychological development of young people.

The Secretary General of the Cameroon NOC, Emmanuel Claude Abolo Biwole (photo), died on 10 April in Yaoundé. Aged 71, he had been Secretary General since 1998, after holding the position of Minister of Youth and Sport. A high-level judoka, he was a national coach from 1980 to 1986, then national technical director until 1988. A pioneer of judo in Cameroon, he was also responsible for the birth of the Cameroon Karate Federation

The Spanish NOC, conscious of the importance of the need for good information for all sports agents involved in the fight against doping, has decided to revive the “Doping, any doubts?” [“Dopaje, ¿alguna duda?”] course, following a decision by the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport (AEPSAD)’s decision not to renew this course’s annual licence, for which almost 800 students were registered. The course is designed as an interactive, online training solution for athletes with a club licence, with additional specific lessons for doctors, doping control agents, technical and sports coaches and sports leaders. Info. at

Artistic gymnastics world champion Lefteris Petrounias has been chosen by the Hellenic Olympic Committee to be the first torchbearer of the Olympic Torch Relay for Rio 2016. After receiving the flame from the High Priestess, Katerina Lehou, at the ceremony on 21 April in Olympia, Petrounias will pass it to Brazilian former volleyball player Giovane Gávio. A world champion, European champion and gold medallist at the first European Games, in 2015, Petrounias was named Athlete of the Year 2015 by the Panhellenic Sports Press Association, and has qualified for the Olympic Games Rio 2016, which will be his first Olympic Games. Gávio was voted World Player of the Year in 1993 and won two Olympic titles (Barcelona 1992 and Athens 2004). Info. at

Guatemala, with the support of the Guatemalan NOC and the National Council for Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (CONADER), commemorated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The national sports organisations gathered in Erick Barrondo Park in Guatemala City to take part in various activities which also highlighted World Physical Education Day. Info. at

NOC of Lithuania © NOC of Lithuania

On 13 April, the SIGGS (Support the Implementation of Good Governance in Sport) Project organised the first SIGGS Strategic Workshop in Vilnius (Lithuania). The Workshop was attended by 20 participants from seven national federations (handball, rugby, shooting, rowing, volleyball, equestrian and hockey), the NOC of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Union of Sports Federations. After the official opening by the NOC President, Diana Gudzineviciute, Valentin Capelli and Matthias Van Baelen from the EOC EU Office presented a short introduction to the topic of good governance followed by an explanation of the objectives, methodology and activities of the SIGGS Project. Two organisations presented their experiences with good governance in Lithuania: the Lithuanian Rugby Federation, which presented, under the title “rising power”, an interesting process that started in 2013; and the Lithuanian Union of Sports Federations with Agne Vanagiene, who presented research undertaken in the framework of a MEMOS dissertation on the implementation of good governance in Lithuanian sport. Participants also took part in small group discussions structured around the question of how to improve risk management, gender equality and liaison with athletes in Lithuania. They also touched upon how this could contribute to the good governance activities planned at national level by the NOC and the Lithuanian Union of Sports Federations. The next Strategic Workshop is scheduled for 4 May 2016 in Lisbon (Portugal). Info. at

Portuguese NOC © Portuguese NOC

The Portuguese NOC celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by organising a conference about security in sports events, entitled “The (in)security in the World: Vulnerabilities, risks and threats”. The main speaker was veteran General Pedro Pezarat Correia, one of the most important specialists in Portugal on subjects like geopolitics and geostrategy. The conference was held in the Portuguese NOC headquarters, and was moderated by Pedro Adão e Silva, a university teacher and political TV commentator, as well as a member of the Portuguese NOC’s Commission for Sport and the Environment. Several personalities attended the event, including diplomatic representatives from the embassies of Brazil and Japan, the next two countries to host the Olympic Games. Info at

The Somalian NOC marked the third International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by organising several sports activities (photo above). Guest speakers on this occasion included Somalia’s Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport and the Deputy Mayor of Mogadishu, who underlined the importance of sport in the framework of peace-building and development programmes. NOC Secretary General Duran Farah recalled that this Day promoted healthy lifestyles, and that the Somali NOC aimed to provide access to sport to as many people as possible.

Ukrainian NOC © Ukrainian NOC

The 10th edition of the “Heroes of Sports Year” Awards Ceremony took place at the National Operetta in Kiev on 8 April (photo above). Organised by the Ukrainian NOC, whose President is IOC Executive Board Member Sergey Bubka, and by the Ukrainian Ministry for Youth and Sport, the ceremony was attended by numerous athletes, coaches, members of the sports family, media representative and artists. Tribute was paid to the winners of the nine previous editions and the performances of Ukrainian athletes in 2015. See here the names of the winners in each category: athletes, teams, coaches and administrators. Info. at


RIO 2016

In the first weekend of April, young residents in central Rio were given the opportunity to participate in a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports during the latest edition of the Transforma Sports Festival, organised as part of the Rio 2016 Education Programme. Children from the Gamboa district, which is home to the city’s oldest favela community, Providência, gathered in a celebration of sport, trying their hands at various sports at the Vila Olímpica community sports centre (volleyball, athletics, tennis, five-a-side football for the visually impaired, table tennis, boccia, badminton, judo, taekwondo, goalball, fencing, windsurfing, golf and canoeing). The traditionally deprived Rio district is undergoing a major regeneration effort as part of the preparations for the Games. In 2014, a cable car was launched to serve Providência’s residents, while two major new museums have opened in the area, and a light railway system will soon be added to the local transport infrastructure. Read the full press release here.


PyeongChang 2018 © PyeongChang 2018

On 11 April at its monthly media briefing, the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) announced the ticket prices for the Korean market. POCOG expects to issue a total of 1.17 million tickets, 70 per cent of which will be sold nationally and 30 per cent abroad. The ticket sales revenue is estimated at around KRW 174 billion (approximately USD 145 million). To ensure that the Games in 2018 are accessible to as many people as possible, ticket prices will start at KRW 20,000 (approximately USD 17), and 50 per cent of competition tickets will cost less than KRW 80,000 (approximately USD 67). Public ticket sales will go live on POCOG’s website in October 2016, while those abroad will start simultaneously through Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATRs) in each country. Also on 11 April, POCOG President Yang-Ho Cho (right of photo) and S-OIL Corporation CEO Nasser Al-Mahasher (left), signed a domestic sponsorship agreement, whereby S-OIL will support POCOG by providing oil products for the Games. Info. at

TOKYO 2020

The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 has welcomed Kikkoman Corporation as a Tokyo 2020 Official Partner, the second domestic tier of the Tokyo 2020 Sponsorship Programme. Kikkoman has been awarded the “Sauces (including soy sauces), vinegar, mirin and cooking sake” category. Its addition brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 domestic partners to 33, including 18 Official Partners. Full release on

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