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Olympic Highlights 20/07/2020

20 Jul 2020
Olympic News, IOC News, Olympic Highlights



Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the IOC hold its first-ever Session in a virtual format on 17 July. IOC President Thomas Bach chaired the meeting from Olympic House in Lausanne. The outgoing Vice-Presidents Uğur Erdener and Juan Antonio Samaranch and the outgoing Executive Board member Sergey Bubka were present in Lausanne. As at every Session, the proceedings were streamed live on YouTube.

In his opening speech, IOC President Thomas Bach emphasised the importance of sport in helping the world recover from the COVID-19 crisis. He also recalled the unique power of the Olympic Games to bring the world together in peace and solidarity, and without any discrimination. Talking specifically about the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, President Bach said: “In this spirit of solidarity, we are also preparing the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. We can, together with the Organising Committee, turn these postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 into an unprecedented celebration of unity and solidarity of humankind, making them a symbol of resilience and hope.” President Thomas Bach finished his speech by announcing: “If you, the IOC Members want, I am ready to run for a second term as IOC President and to continue to serve you and this Olympic Movement, which we all love so much, for another four years.” Full news release here.

The Organising Committees of the upcoming Olympic Games shared positive progress reports on their preparations with the 136th IOC Session. Updates were also given by the Chairs of the Coordination Commissions. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced that it has secured all venues for next year’s Games and subsequently confirmed the competition schedule. Read more here.

As Beijing 2022 enters its readiness phase, the Organising Committee highlighted several key areas of progress. It reported that the majority of venues were now complete, with several already hosting events.

Paris 2024 provided updates on several venues, with planning and preparatory work already underway on the permanent venues to be constructed. The organisers presented their engagement strategy, delivered through two dedicated programmes – “Terre de Jeux 2024” and “Le Club Paris 2024”.

Milano Cortina 2026 provided the Session with an insight into the development of the organisation following the transition from a candidate city into a fully operational Organising Committee. The organisers also detailed the extensive knowledge-sharing process they have been undertaking with the IOC.

The Los Angeles 2028 Organising Committee team are also continuing to build their organisation. With 65 employees across three offices, they have been busy reviewing their Games plan, progressing venue use guarantees and increasing commercial support. Full news release about Games’ preparation here.

The IOC Session ratified the mutual agreement between Senegal and the IOC to postpone the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Dakar 2022 to 2026. The proposal, which was approved earlier by the IOC Executive Board (EB), was made earlier this week by Senegalese President Macky Sall in a telephone conference with IOC President Thomas Bach, following in-depth discussions on the subject. The postponement allows the IOC, the NOCs, and the IFs to better plan their activities, which have been strongly affected by the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, by the subsequent postponements of major international sports events, and by the operational and financial consequences of the global health crisis. Full details here.

The Session also received an update regarding the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024, which have seen their project continue to move forward and with the intention of leveraging the strong legacy of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. A YOG Task Force has been created locally, and the YOGOC is expected to be formed by the end of 2020. More details here.

The Future Host Commissions (Summer and Winter) reported to the IOC Session on the breadth of their discussions so far with up to 15 parties interested in hosting Olympic Games, Olympic Winter Games and Youth Olympic Games. Both commissions were inspired to hear that interested parties are confident that the Games can play a fundamental role in their regions’ efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms allow for flexibility to align Olympic projects with their future development plans. Full news release here.

The IOC Session was informed that Olympic Agenda 2020 has reduced candidature budgets by around 80 per cent. Independently audited accounts of the Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2026 show the average budget was less than USD 5 million compared to approximately USD 35 million in the previous process for the Olympic Winter Games 2022. This was a direct result of the IOC implementing recommendation 3 of Olympic Agenda 2020, which called for reducing the cost of candidatures by further assisting interested parties. Full details here.

The IOC Session received updates on the anti-doping front from both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Testing Agency (ITA), including the necessary adaptations that have been taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC Session was also given an update by WADA on RUSADA compliance and Operation LIMS. A report was also presented by the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS). Full news release here.

Two Vice-Presidents and two IOC EB Members were elected by the IOC Session. John D. Coates and Ser Miang Ng will replace Uğur Erdener and Juan Antonio Samaranch as Vice-Presidents. Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski and Gerardo Werthein will replace Sergey Bubka, whose eight-year term on the Board came to an end, and Ser Miang Ng, whose four-year term came to an end and who was elected Vice-President. Their terms of office will start at the end of the 136th IOC Session. With this election, female representation on the EB has grown to 33.3 per cent. Also, the First Vice-President, Anita DeFrantz, is female.

The IOC Session also elected five new Members. The four Individual Members are: Maria de la Caridad Colón Ruenes; Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović; Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud; and Battushig Batbold. The Member whose election is linked to a function within an IF is Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics. More details here.

Three Members were re-elected for an additional eight years: Lingwei Li, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant and Aïcha Garad Ali.

IOC Member William Frederick Blick saw his status changed from Member representing an NOC (membership linked to his function as President of the NOC of Uganda) to Individual Member. Additionally, Zaiqing Yu, whose term of office was expected to end in December 2021 due to his reaching the age limit, had his term extended until the end of 2025.

Beatrice Allen, finishing her term of office at the end of 2020 due to reaching the age limit, was granted the status of IOC Honorary Member after having served as an IOC Member for 14 years.

The 136th IOC Session approved the recommendation from the IOC EB to organise two IOC Sessions in 2021.  The 137th IOC Session, which will include the presidential election on the agenda, will be held in spring 2021, and the 138th IOC Session will take place before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which are scheduled for 23 July to 8 August. More details here.

The 136th IOC Session also approved amendments to the Olympic Charter. The modifications are aimed at allowing for the possibility to hold remote meetings of the IOC Session and aligning the technology terminology related to the adoption of decisions by the IOC Session, the IOC EB and the IOC commissions. More details here.

The IOC Session also decided to accept the recommendation of the IOC EB following its review of the schedule of the IOC Athletes’ Commission election, considering the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Full details here.

The IOC Annual Report 2019 and financial statements was also approved by the IOC Session. The IOC Annual Report 2019: Credibility, Sustainability, Youth is a direct result of Recommendation 29 of Olympic Agenda 2020: Increase Transparency. Full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin

Ahead of the IOC Session, on 15 July President Bach chaired the third IOC Executive Board (EB) meeting to take place remotely via videoconference. The EB members discussed the next editions of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, the financial situation and several other institutional issues.

Regarding the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, John D. Coates, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, gave an update on the latest activities regarding the organisation of the postponed Games. He highlighted that the collaboration with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and all stakeholders continues to be extremely close and constructive, despite the complexities of organising postponed Olympic Games. It was emphasised that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and Governor Koike Yuriko have reiterated their total commitment to the success of the Games. Work on planning for the Games continues to be guided by the overarching principle of simplifying and optimising Games operations.

The EB approved the Event Programme Principles for the Winter YOG Gangwon 2024 which were presented by Karl Stoss, Chair of the Olympic Programme Commission. The objectives of these principles are to assist in providing a sustainable model for organising the Winter YOG, ensure the alignment of youth development pathways, maintain overall gender equality, and foster innovation, understandability and credibility with regard to the event programme. The event programme will be finalised by the IOC EB in the first quarter of 2021. Full details here.

With regard to the financial assistance to support the Olympic Movement in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOC has already supported the NOCs and IFs with around USD 100 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis. To date and as needed, USD 63 million have been allocated to IFs and USD 37 million to NOCs. In addition, it was confirmed by the IOC EB that the IOC will continue supporting the NOCs with the TOP programme allocation amounting to USD 150 million payable by the end of this year. Furthermore, the IOC is committed to ensuring funding for the IOC-Recognised Organisations. In order to be able to deliver all this support, the IOC had to ask the Olympic Foundation for its assistance. The Foundation Board decided to allocate an amount of up to USD 300 million to assist the IOC in its efforts to support the actions of the Olympic Movement. Full news release here.

With regard to the fight against doping, the EB members heard a report from the Disciplinary Commission (DC) that had followed up on the doping confession of weightlifter Rattikan Gulnoi, bronze medallist from London 2012. This report was presented by the Chair of the DC, IOC EB member Denis Oswald. The DC examined the elements provided in the report of the International Testing Agency (ITA), to which the DC had delegated the investigation of the case, and took the decision to close the file. The IOC will therefore now wait for the outcomes of the ITA investigations for the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). Full details here.

On 17 July, President Thomas Bach attended a mass at Sacré Coeur church in Lausanne to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, in the presence of his son Juan Antonio and daughter Maria Teresa, and his daughter-in-law Christina. Many personalities and friends joined President Bach to honour the memory of the man whose impactful and successful presidency made him the IOC President who has done the most to shape the Olympic Movement. Read this news story reflecting on the legacy of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Ahead of the IOC Session and EB meeting, President Bach also held meetings with IOC Vice-Presidents Uğur Erdener and Juan Antonio Samaranch, and IOC EB member Sergey Bubka. Various Olympic matters were addressed on this occasion.

Ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Olympic Games Moscow 1980, President Bach looked back at the period that led to the decision by West Germany to boycott that edition of the Games. He spoke of how this experience affected him as an athlete, and was a defining moment in his career as an athlete representative and IOC Member. Read the full interview here.

TOP Partners

The IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb have announced a five-day summer festival, featuring more than 100 Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences hosted virtually by some of the world’s best athletes. The festival of Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences will kick off on 24 July, when the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were originally scheduled to begin, and is an opportunity for athletes to generate income while they share their passion for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and their sport with guests. Full news release here.

Other olympic news

On 15 July, the IOC announced the adapted Tokyo 2020 qualification systems for each sport. Further to the approval of a series of amendments to the Tokyo 2020 qualification system principles by the IOC Qualification Task Force in April 2020, the review of the IF qualification processes for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and each sport has now been finalised. The IOC has been working closely with all the IFs to determine the necessary adaptations to the Olympic qualification systems for their respective sports, and athletes and NOCs have been consulted as well. Full news release here.

The IOC, INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the support of the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) and World Rugby, held a regional webinar for NOCs, law enforcement bodies and state officials in the Pacific region, focused on tackling the threat posed by the manipulation of sports competitions. The webinar, organised on 7 and 9 July 2020, brought together 250 participants from 20 countries in the Pacific and Asian region, including 20 NOC representatives. This webinar was the first of a series of workshops that will be organised throughout 2020. The next virtual gathering, intended for the Baltic countries, is planned on 21 and 23 July 2020. Full news release here.

In the framework of the 2020/2021 edition of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme, The Olympic Studies Centre (OSC), with the support of its Grant Selection Committee and the IOC administration, has selected seven research projects, underlining their relevance for the strategic and operational activities of the IOC and their academic quality. The researchers will address topics related to the challenges faced by female coaches, sport for development and the sustainable development goals, the legacy of the Games, athlete- and coach-led education for facing abuse and neglect, the health of the athletes and the ethics of enhancement in competitive sport. The results of the research are expected by September 2021. More info here on the OSC, its activities and programmes.

Recognising the power of sport in advancing society, 118 Member States of the United Nations (UN) have called for all States to include sport and physical activity in their recovery plans post COVID-19 and to integrate sport and physical activity into national strategies for sustainable development. In a Joint Statement on the impact of COVID-19 on sport, physical activity and well-being, as well as its effects on social development, signatories praised the valuable contribution of sport and physical activity in promoting many important areas, such as: education, sustainable development, peace, cooperation, solidarity, fairness, social inclusion and health. This support for sport comes in addition to that received recently by the European Commission, which invited Member States of the European Union (EU) to use EU funds to mitigate the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sports sector. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

The International Fencing Federation (FIE) announced on 11 July a global COVID-19 support plan for its federations, confederations, organisers of competitions, athletes and referees. Initiated by FIE President Alisher Usmanov and embraced by the FIE Executive Committee, the plan provides financial aid for 2020 and will supplement the FIE annual aid programmes. Full details here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the new dates for the qualifying events for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The women's water polo qualification tournament has been postponed to 17 to 24 January 2021 in Trieste (Italy), while the men's event will now take place from 14 to 21 February 2021 in Rotterdam (Netherlands). The Olympic marathon swim qualifier is now planned for 29 and 30 May 2021 in Fukuoka (Japan), and the Diving World Cup for 23 to 28 February 2021 in Tokyo. Finally, the artistic swimming qualifying event will be held from 4 to 7 March 2021 in Tokyo. More info at

As part of its Advantage All gender equality initiative, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) launched on 15 July a series of films to promote and profile female leaders and role models from within the sport. The films feature inspirational women discussing their own personal journeys in tennis, as well as their views on gender equality. It follows a 2020 ITF Female Leadership Survey that identified the lack of female role models as one of the greatest challenges women face in their careers. More info here about the ITF’s initiative. In addition, the ITF has announced that its 2020 Annual General Meeting will be held virtually on Saturday 21 November 2020. It was originally scheduled to take place in Madrid (Spain) from 21 to 23 November. More info here.

During its meeting on 10 July, the Executive Committee of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) discussed the latest situation for international table tennis amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A comprehensive update report from the COVID-19 Task Force, which was set up to monitor the global situation closely, was presented. Read the key outcomes of the meeting here.

Winter ifs

2018 IOC / Mine Kasapoglu

The International Skating Union (ISU) has learned of the death of Dutch short track speed skater Lara van Ruijven on 10 July at the age of 27. She won bronze in the 3,000m relay at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 (front in photo). Last year, she became the first Dutch woman to win a world women's title, winning gold in the 500m at the World Championships in Sofia (Bulgaria). More info here.

national olympic committees

Austrian NOC/GEPA Pictures

The Austrian NOC and Austrian Athletics are staging a One-Hour Heptathlon on 23 July, exactly one year to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Ivona Dadic, the current number 9 in the IAAF World Ranking and two-time Olympic participant, who has already qualified for the Tokyo Games, will face younger team member Sarah Lagger, and Swiss Under-23 European champion Géraldine Ruckstuhl. Austrian record-holder and World Championships bronze medallist Verena Preiner will be acting as a commentator for Austrian TV. Austrian TV is running an one-hour talk show at prime time later in the evening called “One Year To Go – Tokyo 2021”, during which the athletes and other potential Austrian Olympic athletes will be talking about their personal preparations for 2021. A total of 500 spectators will be allowed in the stadium of Amstetten, located over 100km west of Vienna. More info at


 The Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) started its Mission Europe on 17 July with the boarding for Portugal of the boxing, gymnastics, judo, artistic swimming and swimming teams. After receiving authorisation from the government of Portugal, through the intermediary of the local Olympic Committee, the BOC sent sports delegations to the European country, following strict protocols of control regarding COVID-19. Mission Europe will happen from July to December, and its main goal is to support the resumption of training for athletes who have qualified or have the potential to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, ensuring the total security of the delegation and complying with the protocols required and validated by the medical services. Full details here.


The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) presented the 2019 IOC Trophy Sport and Sustainable Architecture to the National Taiwan Sport University (NTSU) on 9 July. CTOC President Hong-Dow Lin, presented the trophy to President Ping-Kun Chiu of the NTSU, in recognition of its contribution to sustainable architecture (photo). The ceremony was witnessed by Director-General Chin-Hsiung Kao of the Sports Administration, Ministry of Education, CTOC Vice Presidents and EB members, as well as former NTSU Presidents. More details here. In addition, the CTOC organised the “2020 Workshop for the Leaders of National Sports Federations” on 14 and 15 July. The objective of this workshop was to provide a platform for sports leaders to exchange ideas on their conduct of international sports affairs and good governance. A total of 60 sports leaders attended this workshop. More info here.

The Venezuelan NOC has reported that 38 representatives from 20 NOCs met via videoconference in early July as part of the ConPaaS project (“CON” from the Spanish for “NOC”, “PaaS” for “Platform as a Service”). This project, initiated by the Spanish NOC, is a shared IT platform to manage NOC information. The final phase of the project was addressed during the virtual meeting. In October, the project outcomes will be presented on the website currently under development for each of the countries involved. More details on the websites of the Venezuelan and Spanish NOCs.

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