The IOC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are strengthening their cooperation through the new Cooperation Agreement that was signed on Saturday 16 May at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. It will promote healthy lifestyles, including physical activity, sport and active recreation, as a tool for health across the globe. The IOC and WHO share a commitment to promoting healthy society through sport, in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 3 (“Good health and well-being”), and to contributing to the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
On this occasion, IOC President Thomas Bach said, “Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives. We will benefit from WHO advice when addressing the challenges of the post-coronavirus society, where health will play a much more prominent role in public policies. We look forward to working even closer with WHO. The IOC calls on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-crisis support programmes because of the important role of sport in the prevention of NCDs, but also of communicable diseases.” WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added, “If the world fights with unity and global solidarity, I think we can make a difference before the next Olympic Games, and we hope that Tokyo 2020 will be a place where humanity will gather in triumph against COVID-19.”
WHO was instrumental in sharing technical advice with the IOC during the discussions that led to the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and continues to give advice as it gathers additional knowledge and understanding of COVID-19. Read the full news release here.
On the following day of the signature of agreement with WHO, President Thomas Bach joined the WHO’s “Walk the Talk – Health for All Challenge” as part of a global effort to promote ways for people to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. Sitting astride an exercise bike, he called “on all the national governments to include sport in their economic recovery programmes, because sport can help the economic recovery. But it is also very important for the prevention of future health crises; that is why it is important that you are all playing sport.” The President also praised WHO and joined other partners in congratulating the organisation on its worldwide #SafeHands campaign. At the end of his message, he urged people to stay strong, stay active and stay healthy, in reference to the IOC’s #StayStrong campaign, with Olympians encouraging people to get active at home. So far, the IOC campaign has reached more than 200 million people on the Olympic Channel and on social media. Read the full news release here.
The Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) highlighted how sport can help build resilience and boost the mental health of forcibly displaced young people, especially during the COVID‐19 pandemic. The ORF Chair and IOC President Thomas Bach and Vice Chair, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi warned of the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of refugees and others uprooted by war, violence and persecution around the world, compounding already very challenging circumstances. Meeting remotely on 19 May, the Olympic Refuge Foundation Board agreed on a number of initiatives to boost protection of forcibly displaced young people and help improve their mental health through sport. As an example, the ORF is launching a pilot project in Uganda, using sport to improve the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of more than 10,000 refugee and host community young people (aged 15 to 24). Led by a consortium of five agencies (ORF, AVSI, UOC, Youth Sport Uganda and UNHCR Uganda), the programme will deliver a nationwide Sport for Protection programme.
President Bach said, “Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives. Safe sport provides mental and physical wellbeing for all and, in particular, for people that have experienced and continue to experience trauma, loss and prolonged uncertainty.” Filippo Grandi added, “Around the world we are seeing troubling evidence of the devastating impact of the pandemic on the mental health and well-being of young refugees. The Olympic Refuge Foundation has rightly identified the important contribution that sport can make to psychosocial wellbeing and is accelerating its work to address this growing challenge.” Read the full news release here at www.olympic.org and at www.unhcr.org
On 14 May, the IOC Executive Board (EB) held its first-ever full remote meeting to respect the measures being implemented to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EB received updates on the activities of the IOC administration and discuss the cost of the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the holding of the 136th IOC Session remotely.
The IOC EB approved a financial envelope of up to USD 800 million to address the COVID-19 crisis for its part of the responsibilities for the organisation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, its own extended operations and the support for the wider Olympic Movement. This amount will be covered by the IOC itself, including any funding from the Olympic Foundation. This number includes the cost for the organisation of the postponed Games of up to USD 650 million for the IOC, and an aid package of up to USD 150 million for the Olympic Movement, including the IFs, the NOCs and the IOC-Recognised Organisations, to enable them to continue their sports, their activities and their support to their athletes.
Additionally, the Swiss Federal Council agreed to offer support to the Switzerland-based IFs in a joint programme with the IOC. “The IOC thanks the Swiss Federal Council for the offer to support the International Federations jointly with the IOC. We are fully committed to successfully delivering this International Sports Federation support programme in cooperation with the Swiss authorities. This initiative is a great acknowledgement of the importance of the International Sports Federations and sport,” President Bach commented.
It was previously announced that Olympic Solidarity has increased the budget for its athlete programmes by USD 15 million, which covers scholarships for over 1,600 athletes from 185 NOCs and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. Olympic Solidarity had also increased the budget for IOC subsidies for the participation of NOCs in the Olympic Games by USD 10.3 million. This additional budget will allow Olympic Solidarity to make available additional funds relating to exceptional Games-related costs incurred by NOCs due to the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Full news release here.
Concerning Tokyo 2020, the EB received a report on the progress being made by the IOC’s “Here We Go” Task Force to reorganise the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. In particular, the report highlighted the team spirit and unity being shown by all of the stakeholders involved in the organisation of the Games to make them a success. The EB was informed that since the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, a Joint Steering Committee has been formed under the leadership of IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates and Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori. It was agreed at the time that the Committee would, as much as possible, aim to replicate the planning for the venues and the competition schedule based on the existing plan for 2020. In addition, the IOC’s “Here We Go” Task Force is working with Tokyo 2020 on adapting the plans for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2021, in order to minimise the financial impact of the postponement for all partners involved. On the basis of Olympic Agenda 2020, opportunities are being explored to optimise and streamline the scope and service levels at the Games, and to reduce the impacts that have been caused by the postponement. Full news release here.
The EB decided to launch a review of the schedule of the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) election in light of the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with a view to holding the election in 2021 during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Measures will also be considered in order to ensure the work of the IOC Athletes’ Commission can continue smoothly until the Games. To that end, the IOC EB agreed in principle that: the terms of the IOC AC members that would end this summer should be extended until after the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020; Kirsty Coventry would retain her position as Chair of the IOC AC and as an EB member until after the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020; all necessary decisions on this topic will be made by the next EB meeting in June. Full news release here.
The EB decided that the 136th IOC Session will be held virtually on 17 July 2020 and live-streamed for all of those who want to follow. The next remote EB meetings are scheduled for 10 June, and 15 and 22 July, with the last one to follow up on the results of the IOC Session.
The debate on ‘Olympism and Corona’ initiated with the message sent to the Olympic Movement by the IOC President will be driven forward throughout the year, and the resulting ideas will be discussed at a brainstorming meeting of the EB in December.
Other Olympic news
On 15 May, the IOC invited expressions of interest to provide hospitality solutions to support the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, 2026 and 2028.Through this initiative, the IOC is exploring new solutions and may seek a service provider that will help to identify and deliver best-in-class and innovative hospitality solutions for the Olympic and Paralympic Games on a long-term basis, through specialist servicing, production, sales and distribution models that can be easily transferred from one edition of the Games to the next. Full news release here.
At the end of April, World Athletics, together with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF), launched a USD 500,000 fund to support professional athletes experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Established in 1986 to support charitable causes involving athletics, the IAF has allocated resources from its budgets for 2020 and 2021 to assist athletes in need through this process. World Athletics and IAF President Sebastian Coe will chair an expert multi-regional working group to assess the applications for assistance, which will be submitted through World Athletics’ six Area Associations. Full details here.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) recently announced the launch of a digital campaign designed to bring a positive message of hope in these current challenging times. Entitled #FIrstBAsket, the campaign aims to unite the global basketball community and provide a positive message for the day basketball returns to action. #FIrstBAsket will consist of a series of videos, photos and mini-interviews with basketball and 3x3 basketball stars, coaches, fans, officials and others involved with the game. More info here.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is to create a special fund of CHF 400,000 to provide financial assistance to athletes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and national gymnastics federations severely hit by the economic repercussions of the crisis. This fund will be managed by the FIG Foundation for Solidarity. In addition, the FIG has decided to make another financial gesture towards all its member federations: they will be exempt from paying their annual membership fees for 2020. This represents a total of CHF 120,000 for the FIG. More info here.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has introduced the world’s first virtual Laser Run competition in a bid to unite the global UIPM Sports community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organised at the beginning of May, #LaserHomeRun was a new concept that enabled participants of all ages to add focus to their home training regimes, keep their skills sharp and enjoy the thrill of online competition. Full details here.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) has adapted to the challenging circumstances facing the world today, using the latest virtual tools to offer online ISA Education Courses for surf instructors, judges and enthusiasts around the globe. At the outset of the pandemic, the ISA developed and circulated guidelines for course delivery. These guidelines allowed for ISA Coaching and Instructing Courses to be delivered with a blended approach of both virtual instruction and an extended timeframe for the practical requirements for certification, once restrictions are eased. Full info here.
On 6 May, World Taekwondo (WT), the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) and the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote humanitarian, peace and development initiatives in sport. The ceremony was conducted online, with WT and THF President Chungwon Choue and UIM President Raffaele Chiulli both attending from their home base, in Seoul and Rome respectively. Under the terms of the MoU, the three organisations committed to developing close cooperation in areas that include developing an educational programme for refugees to enable them to become global citizens. Full details here.
The Foundation for Global Sports Development and World Archery have partnered to offer a USD 150,000 fund for international athletes who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any archer over 18 years of age who competed at the World Archery Championships, World Archery Para Championships or a stage of the Archery World Cup in 2018 or 2019 can apply. More info here.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has been expanding the online education opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other resources available on the Education Hub, athletes can find the Wednesday Weekly Tips offered by Emma Carney, two-time ITU world champion, who is offering advice on various matters such as developing personal brand and sponsorship deals, or nutrition and exercise ideas under lockdown. Also available are the COVID-19 guidelines for event organisers, athletes, coaches and medical delegates so that they can access some useful tools to prevent the coronavirus. The guidelines are accessible in English, Spanish, Arabic and Turkish. More info here.
World Sailing has appointed David Graham (photo), a 20-year veteran in the sailing industry, as its new Chief Executive Officer starting 13 July 2020. Graham's most recent role was at Oman Sail, a national initiative that uses the power of sport to contribute to the development of the Omani people, where he served as CEO from 2009 until April 2020. More info here.
national olympic committees
The Algerian NOC took part in a national solidarity campaign by donating medical supplies to Boufarik hospital (in the Blida wilaya). The supplies included masks, protective equipment and disinfectant. In addition, at the request of the Algiers wilaya, the NOC has made the premises of the Algerian Olympic Museum, located close to the Mustapha-Bacha hospital, available for use by medical staff. Details on www.coa.dz.
The German NOC (DOSB) has launched the campaign "Support Your Sport" to help the approximately 90,000 German sports clubs with their 27 million members during the coronavirus crisis. Internationally renowned athletes such as Katarina Witt, Britta Heidemann, Kristina Vogel and Boris Becker are reminding the public where their success began – in their sports clubs. In addition, everyday heroes such as volunteers or trainers are calling on the public to support the clubs in the current situation so that they can continue to offer exercise and sport to improve health and provide enjoyment after the crisis, and convey values such as fair play, respect and diversity. In addition, to preserve diversity in the clubs and associations landscape, the DOSB launched a support fund at the end of March and provided EUR 1 million from its German Sports Foundation for this purpose. More info here and at www.supportyoursport.org.
On 9 May, the Andorran NOC announced the death of its Vice-President, François Garcia Garcia, at the age of 79. He made a great contribution to the development of sport in the country. He was a member of the NOC Board for 16 years between 2004 and 2020, and became Vice-President in 2016. He was also President of the national tennis federation (2005-2013) and of the National Olympic Academy (2008-2020). More details here.
The Austrian NOC has announced that, since 20 April, all seven national Olympic Training Centres and other top training facilities are reopening after a COVID-19 shutdown of five weeks. Only around 600 top professional athletes are allowed to use the training facilities. Just in time for the restart, 10,000 face masks donated by the Chinese NOC arrived at the Austrian NOC headquarters in Vienna. More info here.
The Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee has been running multiple online campaigns to engage athletes and fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NOC has engaged not only well-known champions, but also young athletes and celebrities in order to reach more people. The campaign with the #stayathome #stayinsport hashtags, a video competition to promote staying and doing sport at home, is one example which attracted many users. The NOC is also working closely with national sports federations and other sports institutions to fight COVID-19. The NOC is planning to increase its cooperation with neighbouring and other continental NOCs to promote Olympic solidarity in the fight against the pandemic. Info at www.noc-aze.org.
Siniša Kisic (photo), the Vice-President of the Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina, died at the age of 66 in Brčko on 7 May. A former volleyball player, he held a number of significant positions, including NOC President, Member of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, President of the national volleyball federation and First Mayor of Brčko District. More info here.
In less than two months, Brazil’s Programme on the Prevention and Confrontation of Harassment and Abuse in Sport (PCHAS) has attracted approximately 3,000 sports professionals, including over 750 athletes and former athletes. The programme has been developed by the Brazilian Olympic Institute, the education branch of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. Launched on 13 March in the form of distance learning, the PCHAS aims to show how harassment and abuse can manifest themselves in sport, how it is possible to recognise the signs, and how organisations can deal with this behaviour, explaining actions to prevent, report, confront, and welcome victims. Detailed info here.
In support of the IOC #StayStrong campaign, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) launched a social media event named “挺住(TING JHU)”, to promote sportsmanship to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Meaning “Stay Strong”, “TING JHU” is a cheerful phrase to encourage all of humankind to confront difficulty, both mental and physical, and get through this time of uncertainty. In addition, the CTOC invited 83-year-old Olympian Wu A-Min, who competed in the decathlon at Tokyo 1964, to produce the calligraphy in person, as an encouraging message for the public. Athletes joined the event, including four-time shooting Olympian Lin Yi-Jun and two-time luge Olympian Lian De-An. Full details here.
The #YoEntrenoEnCasa (I train at home) initiative launched on 17 March by the Colombian NOC has proved a great success. Large numbers of Colombian athletes have taken part, sending videos of themselves training at home. Other athletes have led training sessions from home, offering advice and information to their compatriots. More details here.
During a videoconference in mid-April, it was announced that the Chinese Olympic Committee had donated 9,000 masks to the Spanish NOC, through the Juan Antonio Samaranch Foundation. Those taking part in the videoconference included Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco, IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch, and Spanish and Chinese media representatives. More details here.
The British Olympic Association announced on 19 May that Team GB has joined up with its official charity partner, the British Red Cross, to celebrate kindness during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 18 to 24 May. Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the official theme for this year’s Week is “kindness”. “Kindness is What Makes Us” features a host of Team GB athletes from nine summer and winter sports reciting an emotive poem, highlighting the importance of kindness to ourselves and others to support our mental health, especially within the current climate. Presented alongside the Olympians is a series of images that illustrate people within their communities supporting the British Red Cross during the coronavirus outbreak through simple acts of kindness. More info here.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee and the athletes from its Olympic team created a video for the doctors, nurses, hospital and ambulance employees engaged in the battle against COVID-19, to save and protect the lives of Greeks. NOC President and IOC Member Spyros Capralos also participated in the video entitled “Thank you”. Video and full details here.
The Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) is encouraging athletes to become part of the “Be the champ, stay at home” social media campaign, which promotes the critical importance of the wider public following the Ministry of Health’s policies aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus. The JOC, in partnership with Jordan’s sports federations, has asked its individual and team athletes to implore their fans to remain indoors and comply with the government’s directives. Info at www.joc.jo.
The Moroccan NOC has been involved in numerous actions to support the national sports movement during the lockdown period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These have included videoconferences on sports-related topics for national technical directors, coaches and athletes; videoconferences with national federation leaders to help them continue supporting the preparation of athletes for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and inform them of the latest news from the IOC; the launch of an awareness-raising campaign on social media, with videos of athletes encouraging Moroccans to stay at home and comply with the health guidelines; and a contribution by the NOC to the national fund set up to help people in financial difficulties due to the pandemic. More details on www.cnom.org.ma.
The Singapore NOC announced that this year, 289 youth athletes representing 32 sports will receive the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship. Athletes from road cycling, ice hockey, jiu-jitsu, softball and water polo will also feature in the high performance under-18 category for the first time. Traditionally, the Scholarship recipients will attend a ceremony to receive their awards – particularly so as the Scholarship hits a 10th year milestone. In these times of the Covid-19 outbreak, celebrations will be muted and the ceremony, like many others, will not be held so as to comply with the Government’s social distancing measures. In 10 years, 2,930 scholarships have been awarded to athletes from 54 sports. More info here.
The Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee (SOSC) launched a new initiative entitled “Ready to Help” at the end of March. In the framework of this initiative, the Slovak NOC has created a solidarity fund aimed at helping athletes and sports organisations seriously affected by this unprecedented crisis, as well as the institutions fighting on the front line against the spread of COVID-19 in Slovakia. The SOSC used its own marketing revenues and financial resources from the SOSC Foundation to start this fund. SOSC employees also decided to participate in this initiative with a monthly donation of 10 per cent of their salaries. More info at www.olympic.sk.
The former President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), Alexander B. Chapman (photo), died on 2 May at the age of 93. He was a sports administrator, a coach and an icon. A former weightlifter, Chapman was part of the Olympic Movement when Trinidad and Tobago started fielding teams at the Olympic Games. He served as TTOC President from 1989 to 1997, and before that as Secretary General from 1964 to 1989. He also accompanied his country’s Olympic team multiple times, serving as the weightlifting coach. Chapman had also been awarded the Olympic Order. Every year at the annual TTOC Awards, the Alexander B. Chapman award is given to someone for their service to sport. More info at www.ttoc.org.
The “Sport in Colour” (Deportes en Colores) competition launched by the Venezuelan NOC has been running on the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 digital platform. The competition was created by the NOC and its President, Eduardo Álvarez, during the COVID-19 lockdown. On the platform there are also spaces for athletes and their training, and others for small children at home. In just two weeks, more than 300 children aged from 4 to 14 from all 23 states of Venezuela took part, creating numerous drawings illustrating the Olympic values. Videos and photos were also published on #OlimpismoEnLaEscuela and #OlimpismoEnLaCasa. More details here.
Organising Committees for the Olympic Games
The Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2022 (Beijing 2022) has released the official Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Sustainability Plan. The Plan was developed jointly by the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, the People’s Government of Hebei Province and Beijing 2022. The Beijing 2022 Sustainability Plan reflects the Beijing 2022 mission of being “green, open, inclusive and clean”, and the reforms introduced through Olympic Agenda 2020 – the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. It is also aligned with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Read the full news release here.
On 20 May, the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) announced that it will provide additional funding to the NOCs to support them in their preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 during these difficult times. ANOC’s decision was taken during a videoconference meeting of the Acting ANOC President, Robin Mitchell, the ANOC Vice Presidents, the ANOC Secretary General and the IOC’s Director of Olympic Solidarity. The meeting was called following the IOC EB’s announcement to provide a financial envelope in response to the COVID-19 crisis and to discuss how ANOC could additionally help NOCs address the challenges that were identified in ANOC’s questionnaire, which was sent to all NOCs in March. The funds available to the NOCs will be available on a case-by-case basis depending on needs, managed through the five Continental Associations and ANOC, and coordinated by Olympic Solidarity. Full details here.
At the end of April, the European Olympic Committees (EOC) unveiled the results of a survey aimed at assessing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Olympic Movement stakeholders in Europe. Forty-five of the 50 European NOCs took part in the survey, which was conducted from 6 to 14 April. The study focused on four main areas: NOC management, athletes, events and support. Full details here.
For its first session held on 15 May, the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO) virtual symposium on sports medicine attracted 725 people from 24 different countries. Entitled “News of the anti-doping fight”, the symposium is being conducted in Spanish and English simultaneously. CASCO President and IOC Member Luis Mejia Oviedo opened the symposium before lectures given by Maria José Pesce from Uruguay, the Director of the Latin American region of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Laura Anabel Pinedo from the Dominican Republic, who is the Anti-Doping Education Coordinator of the National Anti-Doping Organisation in the Dominican Republic. The main topic addressed by Pesce was the “Importance of the implementation of the 2021 Code and international standards”, while Pinedo explored the topic of “Anti-doping education in sport”. On 19 May, the second session addressed the topics “Contamination of prohibited substances in nutritional supplements” (in a talk by Victor Carpia from Peru), and “Contamination of prohibited substances in food products” (in a talk by Juan Manuel Herrera from Mexico). The third session will be held on 22 May.
All around the world, sports and leisure facility professionals are asking how and under what conditions they can re-open their facilities to the public. The International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) is constantly monitoring the newest steps and measurements to provide this information to its members and partners. It has thus established a new Covid-19 area on its website.