Olympic Highlights 22/01/2019
Fourteen IOC commissions met in Lausanne (Switzerland) from 14 to 20 January. IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed each of the commissions at the start of their respective meetings. He reiterated that “in the fragile and fragmented world in which we live, our role and values are increasingly important. We are the only body that can still bring the whole world together under one roof; this shows that the Olympic Games are more relevant than ever”. The President also said that while there are challenges, the Olympic Movement can deal with them from a position of strength, provided that it was proactive in tackling the issues it faced. He noted that this was very much the vision of Pierre de Coubertin when he founded the IOC 125 years ago and introduced the modern Olympic Games; Coubertin had not been happy with the prevailing zeitgeist. The President concluded by saying that we can learn from Coubertin’s example and move forward in promoting our values.
On 17 January, the IOC Executive Board (EB) and the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) held their annual joint meeting in Lausanne. As part of the agenda, the Commission presented the key achievements of 2018 and the milestones for 2019. The IOC Career+ programme (formerly known as the IOC Athlete Career Programme) and the adoption of the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibility Declaration by a wide range of organisations were important topics of discussion, as were communication with athletes and the issue of mental health in sport. On this issue, it was decided to create a toolkit for athletes, sports organisations and athlete entourages. There was also an update on Olympic medal reallocation. The major milestone of 2019 will be the 9th International Athletes’ Forum organised from 13 to 15 April 2019 in Lausanne. Some 350 athlete representatives from across the Olympic Movement are expected to attend. It will be by far the largest athlete-representative gathering for the Olympic Movement ever. The IOC EB and the IOC AC also discussed the topic of anti-doping. Kirsty Coventry, Chair of the IOC AC, informed the EB about the statement regarding RUSADA the Commission had issued on 4 January 2019. The Commission is now awaiting the recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the subsequent decision by the WADA Executive Committee. The IOC AC is currently gathering feedback from the whole athlete community on this topic. Full details about the joint meeting here.
President Bach welcomed a group of German female Olympians and former athletes at the IOC, accompanied by IOC Member Britta Heidemann. They recently started a mentoring programme for future sports leaders and will all have an experienced mentor supporting them over the next year. The athletes are being trained to take up positions in sports organisations or to work in the field of sport. The group spent time in Lausanne to learn more about the Olympic Movement and governance in sport. The German NOC (DOSB) is organising the programme for the fourth time.
Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) President Jean Todt and IOC President Thomas Bach signed an agreement to collaborate on motor sport and road safety content for the Olympic Channel on 19 January in Lausanne. The agreement builds on the existing collaboration between the FIA and the IOC, and provides an opportunity for motor sport and road safety content to be distributed on the Olympic Channel, including original content through the activities of the FIA, motor sports athletes and road safety ambassadors from around the world. Full press release here.
The IOC President inaugurated the newly renovated floor of the permanent “Olympic Spirit” exhibition at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The exhibition features a bigger emphasis on the Olympic Truce, a new area dedicated to the IOC’s activities outside the Games, and a science and technology section containing equipment and technologies used at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
President Bach addressed an introductory seminar for the new IOC Members elected at the Sessions in PyeongChang and Buenos Aires in 2018. Chaired by Barry Maister, the seminar brought together Jiri Kejval, Emma Terho, Hong Zhang, Samira Asghari, Daina Gudzineviciute, Camilo Pérez López Moreira, Felicité Rwemarika, William Frederick Blick, Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, Andrew Parsons, Morinari Watanabe and Giovanni Malagò. Daniel Gyurta, elected at the Session in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, was also present.
Making the most of their presence in Lausanne, President Bach met a number of IOC Members and IOC Commission members.
President Bach met IOC Member Daniel Gyurta and Balázs Fürjes, Secretary of State responsible for the development of Budapest and international sports events, who passed on a letter from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban about an official visit to Lausanne.
With the Chinese Ambassador in Geneva, Yu Jianhua, accompanied by IOC Vice President Yu Zaiqing, President Bach discussed the preparations of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 as well as his upcoming visit to some of the Olympic venues for Beijing 2022.
IOC Vice-President Anita L. DeFrantz has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH) during a ceremony in Lausanne with the participation of the IOC President. She received the award from ISOH President David Wallechinsky in recognition of her long-standing contributions to the promotion of Olympic history and to the Olympic Movement.
IOC EB member Sergey Bubka, also President of the Ukrainian NOC, has donated various books to the Olympic Studies Centre, including an encyclopaedia on fencing and selected writings on Alexey Butovsky, the first IOC Member in Russia, which Bubka wrote jointly with Maria Bulatova, President of the Olympic Academy of Ukraine. Francis Gabet, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, and Maria Bogner and Severine Martinez from the Olympic Studies Centre received the books and will make them available to the Olympic Movement via the Olympic World Library.
other olympic news
It is with disappointment that the IOC has been informed of the ruling by the Swiss Federal Tribunal rejecting the IOC appeal against the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision dated 23 April 2018 regarding the Russian Cross-Country Skier Alexander Legkov. To protect the rights of the clean athletes, the IOC had challenged the CAS decision of 1 February 2018 to uphold the appeal of Mr Legkov against his disqualification following an anti-doping rule violation at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. On 1 February 2018, the CAS upheld 28 appeals by Russian athletes and confirmed only 11 of the IOC decisions taken against Russian athletes who had participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. The reasons for the decision to reject the IOC appeal in this case have not yet been disclosed, but since the 28 reasoned decisions by the CAS are similar, the IOC will not proceed with appeals for the remaining 27 cases. The IOC does however reserve the right to reopen these cases should new evidence arise. Full details here.
As part of the process of additional analyses on the samples collected from the Olympic Games London 2012, the IOC announced on 17 January that David Modzmanashvili, silver medallist in freestyle wrestling, has been disqualified from the 2012 Games. As the International Testing Agency (ITA) is now operational, the IOC has delegated the selection of samples to be reanalysed and the results management to the ITA, which will therefore review all the test results and notify the athletes concerned. The notification gives them the choice to have their case heard before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) or before an IOC Disciplinary Commission. This choice is given as the Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) for the Olympic Games London 2012 still apply for cases that arise from the current reanalyses. Full details here.
A recent study by Brazil's Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) has concluded that the Olympic Games Rio 2016 had positive economic impacts on both the city of Rio de Janeiro and its wider metropolitan area. According to the study, it was possible to demonstrate that “in a national macroeconomic landscape of intense crisis, the Games delayed and alleviated the effects of such crisis in Rio’s GDP per capita. Our findings point to a positive, growing effect of considerable magnitude throughout the entire period”. The new paper confirms the conclusions of previous research in Brazil that attested to the economic benefits of the Rio 2016 Games. Read the full news story here.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has reported that Nanjing (People’s Republic of China) has been added to the IAAF World Challenge calendar for 2019. Nanjing, the host city of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and the 2020 IAAF World Indoor Championships, will stage an IAAF World Challenge meeting at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on 21 May. In addition, the Challenge will start in Brazil for the first time in the 10-year history of the circuit. More details here.
During a meeting at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) headquarters, Annie Panter (centre in photo), the outgoing Co-Chair of the FIH Athletes’ Committee, passed on the baton to the new Committee members, with a particular focus on the transfer of valuable knowledge. The meeting served to ensure a smooth transition following the online election of eight new regular members and two new liaison members to the FIH Athletes’ Committee by players around the world last autumn. The new Athletes’ Committee, composed of retired and active players, will first focus on ensuring regular, comprehensive communication with peers and explore various channels, especially on social media. The Athletes’ Committee is also determined to strengthen ties with the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the WADA Athlete Committee. More details here.
At a ceremony in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) on 9 January, United World Wrestling (UWW) received the H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award in the category of best Summer Olympic International Federations initiative. UWW President and IOC EB member Nenad Lalović (centre in photo)
accepted the award on behalf of the IF, which was recognised for its “More than Medals” project, a cornerstone of its new wrestling development plan. Five camps conducted across the five continents between February and July last year brought together more than 200 young elite athletes and combined high-quality training with education on important topics such as anti-doping, nutrition, training plans and the IOC’s Athlete Career Programme. The camps also served to prepare the wrestlers for their qualification process for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. The President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Francesco Ricci Bitti (right in photo), also attended the ceremony. More details here.
On 25 January in Lausanne, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) will host an important information meeting for potential bidders for the FINA World Championships and FINA World Masters Championships 2025 and 2027. The meeting will include presentations on the benefits and legacy a host city can expect from staging FINA's signature events. The key components, such as the budget, the broadcast strategy, the press and media operations and the promotion and communications plans, will be presented to the participants, who will need to submit their official bid by 17 June 2019. The election of the host cities will take place on 11 July 2019 in Gwangju (Republic of Korea). More info on www.fina.org.
national olympic committees
The NOC of Azerbaijan has reported that level 1 technical courses for badminton coaches were organised from 24 to 28 December 2018 with the support of Olympic Solidarity. Eighteen coaches (11 men and 7 women) from Baku, Ganja, Lankaran and Guba attended the courses, which were led by Morteza Validarvi, an expert from the Badminton World Federation (BWF). During the courses, the participants gained theoretical and technical knowledge and received their level 1 coaching certificates at the end. More info on www.noc-aze.org.
Preparations for the sixth edition of the School Mini Olympics, organised by the Bahrain Olympic Committee, are now underway. The event is being held in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and will feature more than 20 sports in total, with schools from all over the nation expected to take part. The NOC’s Project Directorate has already organised the first coordination meeting with the Ministry and the private schools to discuss a number of issues related to the organisation of this edition of the event. More info at www.boc.bh.
The Spanish NOC has reported that the NOC’s Technology Director, Manuel Pastrana, and Human Resources and Marketing Director, Manuel Parga, presented the NOC’s “CONPaaS” project to two representatives from the British Olympic Association, IT Services Manager Martin Oakley and Chief Financial Officer David Glassey. The aim of the project is to create a service platform for NOCs, known as CONPaaS (“CON” from the Spanish for “NOC”, “Paas” for “Platform as a Service”). The idea was first presented at an ICT seminar in Madrid in November 2015 that was attended by 27 NOCs from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries. More details here.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced that Paul Ford MBE, Georgina Harland and Mike Hay OBE will serve as Deputy Chefs de Mission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Ford will act as Deputy Chef de Mission for performance services in Tokyo, which includes Team GB’s preparation camp along with overall Games operations. He will also be Chef de Mission for Team GB in Minsk this summer for the second edition of the European Games. Harland has also been appointed as Chef de Mission for the Youth Olympic Winter Games Lausanne 2020. More info here.
The Government of Liechtenstein and the Liechtenstein Olympic Committee (LOC) have signed a performance agreement to inaugurate new national sports structures in Liechtenstein. Deputy Prime Minister Daniel Risch, LOC President Isabel Fehr and LOC Managing Director Beat Wachter signed the new performance agreement on 20 December 2018. The agreement covers the period 2019 to 2022. With the revision of the Sports Act, which came into force on 1 January 2019, a new basis for the adaptation of national sports promotion structures was created. Under the Sports Act, the government can now delegate some or all of its funding to private institutions. Based on this mechanism and the sports promotion regulation, the four-year performance agreement between the government and the LOC was concluded to transfer the federation-organised promotion of amateur and competitive sports funding to the LOC. The LOC will receive an additional annual state contribution for the years 2019 to 2022 for federation-organised sports promotion. More info at www.olympic.li.