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03 Nov 2015
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



© IOC / Ian Jones

The 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution for observance of the Olympic Truce for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro next summer. The resolution was supported by 180 of the 193 UN member states. Addressing the General Assembly in New York on 26 October, IOC President Thomas Bach reiterated the important role that sport and the Olympic ideal can play in the service of society by promoting peace, fair play, tolerance and understanding. He also appealed for help from the member states to identify top-level athletes who are currently refugees. “At present, none of these athletes would have the chance to participate in the Olympic Games even if qualified from the sports point of view because, with their refugee status, they are left without a home country and National Olympic Committee to represent,” he said. Announcing that the IOC would invite the best refugee athletes to participate in the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, President Bach added: “Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem. They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village. This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.” Read the full speech (in English only) here.

The resolution, entitled ‘Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal’, was formally submitted to the General Assembly on behalf of the Olympic Movement and Brazil by the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, led by its President, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, also an IOC Honorary Member. Read the full press release here.

© IOC / Ian Jones

Before addressing the General Assembly, the IOC President met the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, with whom he discussed the various aspects of cooperation between the IOC and the United Nations.

In New York, the IOC President also met the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfrid Lemke, and the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace, co-chaired by the Permanent Representatives of the Principality of Monaco and Tunisia to the United Nations. He was accompanied throughout his visit by Mario Pescante, IOC Member and Permanent Observer of the IOC to the United Nations.

© IOC / Ian Jones

During a visit to the NBC offices in Stamford (Connecticut), the IOC President met several representatives of the television channel, including the Chairman of the NBC Sports Group, Mark Lazarus, and NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel. They discussed matters including the longstanding partnership between the IOC and NBC, the launch of the Olympic Channel, and preparations for the next editions of the Olympic Games. President Bach was accompanied by IOC Member Alex Gilady.

© IOC / Ian Jones

From New York, the IOC President travelled to Washington for the XX General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), chaired by IOC Member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Speaking on this occasion, President Bach urged NOCs and IFs to implement standards and principles of good governance in all their activities in order to safeguard the credibility of sport and thus protect the common interest of the Olympic Movement. “In the long run, you cannot disassociate the credibility of sports organisations and the credibility of sports competitions,” said the IOC President. “If a sports organisation loses its credibility, sooner or later, the sports competition will also have a credibility problem. Once a sports competition loses its credibility then also the sports organisation will lose its credibility. The last few months have shown the importance of why sports organisations need to have credibility,” he added. He pointed out that principles of good governance were a key component in Olympic Agenda 2020. President Bach noted that, having fully implemented all reforms called for in Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC now had a system in place that complied with the highest standards of good governance and transparency. The IOC President also outlined plans to ensure refugee athletes participated in the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, reiterating the announcement made at the United Nations General Assembly. In this connection, the IOC President also appealed for the NOCs’ help to identify top-level athletes who were currently affected by the refugee crisis.

© IOC / Ian Jones

During the ANOC General Assembly, the IOC President attended a reception hosted by the American NOC at the National Building Museum. He also took part at the 2nd ANOC Gala Awards Dinner, where tribute was paid to outstanding athletes, NOCs and sports leaders from all five continents. At the Gala Dinner, President Bach presented the ANOC Lifetime Achievement Award to Francesco Ricci Bitti, who was President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for 16 years and is currently President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF). Also at the Gala Dinner, the IOC President was awarded a trophy by the ANOC President, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

During his stay in Washington, the IOC President met IOC Members Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Lambis V. Nikolaou, Sam Ramsamy, Olegario Vázquez Raña, Habu Gumel, Lydia Nsekera and Tsunekazu Takeda, as well as IOC Honorary Member Kipchoge Keino.

The IOC President also met the presidents of the NOCs of Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Slovenia, with whom he primarily discussed the development of sport in their respective countries and preparations for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. The Italian NOC President, Giovanni Malagò, was accompanied by the leader of Rome’s candidature to host the 2024 Olympic Games, Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo.

President Bach also held meetings with the President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), Brian Cookson, the new President of the International Tennis Federation, David Haggerty, who was accompanied by his predecessor, Francesco Ricci Bitti, and the President of the World Squash Federation (WSF), Narayana Ramachandran.

A meeting was held at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank, co-hosted by its President, Luis Moreno. Leaders from the worlds of politics and communications and “think tanks” joined the meeting. The President also attended a dinner with leading representatives of the digital and social media industry.

© IOC / Ian Jones

At a ceremony in Washington, President Bach presented the Olympic Order to Judge Thomas Buergenthal, in recognition of his commitment to the promotion of justice, ethics and respect for human dignity. Judge Buergenthal was a Member of the IOC Ethics Commission for 10 years. He was a professor at the George Washington University Law School, a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and a judge at the International Court of Justice for 10 years.

© IOC / Ian Jones

From the United States, the IOC President flew to Great Britain, where he attended the Rugby World Cup final on 31 October. On this occasion, he also met IOC Members Prince Albert II, Sam Ramsamy and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, as well as the Japanese minister in charge of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and ex-rugby player, Toshiaki Endo, with whom - accompanied by John Coates, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Games - he discussed the preparations for the Games and for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which will also be held in Japan. The President also spoke with representatives of the government from Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom. IOC Honorary President, Jacques Rogge, also attended the Final.


© IOC / Benoît Fontaine

Philip Craven represented the IOC at the opening ceremony of the 24th IAKS (International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities) Congress, held in Cologne (Germany) from 27 to 30 October, and at the 2015 IOC/IPC/IAKS Awards Gala.



On 29 October, at the request of the International Sports Shooting Federation (ISSF), the IOC Executive Board revoked the Olympic qualification status of the Asian Shooting Championship taking place in Kuwait from 1 to 12 November. This decision comes after the Kuwaiti Immigration Department refused to issue a visa to the technical delegate appointed by the ISSF, Yair Davidovich (Israel), who was due to supervise the event on the ISSF’s behalf. The denial of a visa is contrary to the principle of non-discrimination enshrined in the Olympic Charter. The provisions of the Olympic Charter must apply to all Olympic qualification competitions. Another reason for this decision is the fact that the Kuwaiti NOC is currently suspended by the IOC due to government interference that contravenes the rules of the Olympic Charter. See news below.

On 27 October, the IOC Executive Board suspended the NOC of Kuwait in order to protect the Olympic Movement in Kuwait from undue governmental interference. The Olympic Movement in Kuwait is facing a number of difficulties in preserving its autonomy, in particular due to recently amended national sports legislation. At the IOC’s initiative, a meeting took place in Lausanne on 12 October with representatives of the IOC (as well as ASOIF, ANOC and the OCA), the Government of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti NOC. Following this meeting, a deadline of 27 October had been set to resolve the issues at hand or, at least, freeze the application of the conflictive provisions of the new sports legislation until a reasonable and mutually acceptable solution could be found. Unfortunately, the deadline expired with no action having been taken by the Government of Kuwait. The IOC hopes that all concerned parties will soon reach a satisfactory solution to rectify this very unfortunate situation in the interest of the Olympic Movement in Kuwait and the athletes’ participation in the numerous international sports events coming up, in particular the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. Read the full press release here.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

Olympian Danka Bartekova will chair the Coordination Commission for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. Appointed by the IOC President, Danka Bartekova will lead an experienced team of Commission members responsible for assisting and guiding the Lausanne Organising Committee in its preparations. The youngest IOC Member and Olympic bronze medallist in shooting (skeet) at London 2012, she is currently studying for a PhD in International Relations at the University of Matej Bel in Banská Bystrica (Slovakia). She will be the youngest person ever to chair an IOC Commission. The Commission will meet for the first time in October 2016. Read the full press release here.



A number of important projects are already making use of the USD 2 million emergency fund made available by the IOC to NOCs organising programmes to help refugees, with more projects expected to receive financing in the coming weeks. Funding has so far been provided to the NOCs of the following countries: Austria for a sustainable sports programme for refugees; Belgium for sports activities in 30 holding centres; Bulgaria for sport for all children; Denmark for cooperation with local sports clubs to invite refugees to practise sports activities and provide them with sports equipment; and Slovenia for humanitarian aid for refugees and improvement of their quality of life. Some USD 500,000 has been allocated for refugee-centred projects so far. Meetings with other interested NOCs were held during the ANOC General Assembly in Washington. The USD 2 million fund is made up of USD 1 million from the IOC and USD 1 million from Olympic Solidarity. Read the full press release here.


Two baby pandas have been officially named by President Bach, who chose the names Olympia and Fuwa (literally "good-luck dolls", also known as "Friendlies", were the mascots of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008). He saw the female panda twins in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding during his visit to China in August. At that time, President agreed to name them on behalf of the IOC, upon the request of IOC Member in China, Zaiqing Yu and the President of the Chinese NOC, Liu Peng. The two pandas join their ‘Olympian’ cousin, giant panda Cobi, who was named after the mascot of the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992.


© Coca Cola

Worldwide Olympic TOP partner Coca-Cola got over 1,600 students from 42 Korean schools moving in Seoul in the final leg of the first ever ‘Olympic Moves’ programme to be held in Korea. Yuna Kim, Olympic champion and Youth Olympic Games ambassador, opened the celebrations with a welcome address to the young students, who were able to choose from a range of sports (photo above), including basketball and handball, as well as other fun, interactive events, some of which were organised by the team in charge of the next Olympic Winter Games to be held in PyeongChang in 2018. The ‘Olympic Moves’ programme is an initiative launched by the Dutch NOC and Coca-Cola Netherlands in 2003, with the mission to stop the decline in sports participation and get young people moving as part of Coca-Cola’s commitment to fostering healthier, happier and more active communities. The programme has now expanded internationally with the support of the IOC, working in cooperation with Coca-Cola and the NOCs concerned. A social media campaign is currently spreading the word about ‘Olympic Moves’, with the aim of increasing participation internationally by 2020. Read the full press release here.




The Badminton World Federation (BWF) and the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on development activities using the BWF’s Shuttle Time programme. This cooperation will primarily be channelled through the UNODSP Youth Leadership Programme, which the BWF has already supported this year with Shuttle Time training at camps in Colombia, Germany and the USA. The BWF will facilitate opportunities for young leaders to participate in Shuttle Time projects in their country in partnership with BWF continental confederations and member associations. The signing ceremony was held at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris, where the 2015 French Open and BWF Committee and Council meetings were taking place. The letter was signed by the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfrid Lemke (right in photo), and BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer (left in photo), also an IOC Member. Info at and


The Players’ Commission created in 2015 by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) met for the first time at the House of Basketball in Mies (Switzerland) on 22 and 23 October. Chaired by Vlade Divac and consisting of former and current players (photo above), the Commission discussed a range of issues affecting all players, such as potential rule changes, insurance of players while on national team duty, the Basketball Arbitrary Tribunal and FIBA’s new competition system that will come into effect in 2017. Info at

World Judo Day celebrations in Puerto Rico. © IJF

From Australia to Argentina, the world judo family was united by its support for the 5th edition of World Judo Day on 28 October, anniversary of the birth of judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano. This year’s theme was Unity, and there was plenty of it on display at the events organised by judo federations, clubs and communities across the world. These activities aimed not only to spread the values and message of judo, but also to introduce large numbers of people to the sport. Info on the website of the International Judo Federation (IJF),, and


The Lithuanian Swimming Federation hosted an International Swimming Federation (FINA) training course for officials in Kaunas, the country’s second largest city, on 13 and 14 October. Of the 68 participants (photo above), 40 were from the host federation and 28 from the federations of Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy and Latvia. As for all FINA programmes, the objectives of the course were to increase the number of officials and to enhance the skills of the existing ones, and to create a uniform pattern of interpretation and application of swimming rules, all with the purpose of raising the quality of officials and developing and promoting swimming worldwide. Info at

The 12th World Rugby General Assembly was held in London (Great Britain) on 26 and 27 October, bringing together delegates from World Rugby’s 120 member unions, six regional associations, Council and Executive Committee. The discussions focused on the development of the 2016–20 strategic plan, the global growth of rugby and advances in player welfare, the number one priority for World Rugby. Meanwhile, also in London on 27 October, the organisers of the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 launched their new logo, which combines two symbols of Japan, the rising sun and Mount Fuji. See it here. The dates of the tournament were also announced. The opening match will take place on 20 September, with the final to be held six weeks later, on 2 November. Info at


Even though it only joined the International Triathlon Union (ITU) family in September this year, the Senegalese federation has already hosted its first seminar for technical officials, event organisers and coaches. Held in Dakar, this seminar brought together participants from Senegal, Sierra Leone and Guinea, who learned about ITU rules, how to organise races and coaching of triathletes. ITU President Marisol Casado, who was in Dakar, joined the participants (photo above) at the diploma presentation ceremony and saw them put their newly acquired skills as technical officials into practice at a triathlon in which 75 athletes from Senegal and neighbouring countries took part. The ITU also informs us that ITU Executive Board member Ahmed Nasser was elected as President of the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC) at its elective General Assembly in Cairo (Egypt) on 19 October. Info at


On 29 October, the World Curling Federation (WCF) announced that the Russian Curling Federation will host the second World Mixed Curling Championship in 2016 and will break new ground for world championship curling by taking it to the city of Kazan. This competition, open to all WCF member associations, will be held in the 3,500-seat Kazan Sports Palace from 15 to 22 October 2016. This will be the seventh international curling event to be held in Russia since 2010, following the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 and the World Mixed Doubles and Senior Curling Championships in 2015, both held in Sochi. Info at



Officials, delegates and representatives of the member federations of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) met in Seoul (Republic of Korea) for the annual UIAA General Assembly. On this occasion, the UIAA confirmed changes to its Statute, the new version of which will be available soon, and announced a partnership with the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF). Reference was also made to the UIAA’s involvement in supporting the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Nepal Mountaineering Association following the earthquake in April 2015. The WFP set up a remote access operation to reach survivors with food, medicine and shelter in areas that were difficult to access. The 2015 UIAA Mountain Protection Award was also on the Assembly agenda. Info at


© Algerian NOC

On 23 October, the Algerian NOC, in partnership with the General Directorate of Forestry, the General Directorate of Civil Protection, national sports federations and the Souidania municipal authority, organised a tree-planting operation at the Sports Talent and Elite Training and Gathering Centre in Souidania, Algiers. The operation, carried out in accordance with Recommendation 5 of Olympic Agenda 2020 (‘Include sustainability within the Olympic Movement’s daily operations’), saw more than 1,500 trees planted by numerous participants (photo above), including NOC President Mustafa Berraf, NOC Executive Committee members, sports federation presidents and many schoolchildren and scouts. Info at

© NOC of Argentina

The NOC of Argentina, through its Art, Culture and Olympic Museum Commission, and the International Sport Movies and TV Federation (FICTS), organised the first edition of the Buenos Aires FICTS Festival (BA FICTS Festival). The event is one of the 16 festivals being organised in all five continents as part of the ‘World FICTS Challenge’. The programme included numerous audiovisual productions related to sport and its values, as well as round tables, lectures and exhibitions. Opened by NOC Vice-President Alicia Masoni de Morea, the Festival reached its conclusion with a prize-giving ceremony at Argentina’s Senate. The Buenos Aires municipal authority declared the Festival an event of cultural interest (photo above). Info at

On 22 October, the Belgian NOC brought together some 30 coaches from nine different Olympic sports with a view to next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Eddy De Smedt, Chef de Mission of the Belgian team for the Games, said: “The aim of these meetings is to plan the best possible preparation for the Games. It is also vital to ensure the organisation during the Games themselves is as good as it can be. This requires collaboration with coaches, members of the athletes’ entourage and sports administrators.” Info at

© Spanish NOC

The President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco (right in photo) and the director of the DISA Foundation, Raquel Montes (left in photo) have signed an agreement to launch joint projects designed to raise awareness of the Olympic values in schools in the Canary Islands. Under the agreement, the NOC’s ‘All Olympic’ (‘Todos Olímpicos’) and ‘Olympic Heroes’ (‘Héroes Olímpicos’) campaigns will be held on the islands with the Foundation’s support. Info at

(l. to r.) Assan Faye, Ousman B. Wadda and Alieu Joof. © Gambian NOC

Earlier this year, as part of its strategic development plan to see more Gambian athletes participate in the Olympic Games, the Gambian NOC awarded Olympic Solidarity scholarships to five athletes to enable them to train abroad. Adama Jammeh, Omar Jammeh and Gina Bass have since started their training programme at the IAAF High Performance Centre in Dakar (Senegal). The other two athletes, promising sprinters Alieu Joof, 18, and Assan Faye, 19, left the Gambian capital, Banjul, on 29 October for Port Harcourt (Nigeria), where they will attend a year-long training camp. While in Nigeria, these athletes will have the privilege of continuing their education coupled with a carefully designed training programme in their quest to qualify for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. Alieu Joof reached the 100m final at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014, while Assan Faye, a 200m specialist, reached the final at the 2013 African Youth Athletics Championships in Warri (Nigeria). At a ceremony held at the Olympic House, the NOC’s treasurer, Ousman B. Wadda, and administrative officer, Muhammed K. Janneh, spoke to the two athletes before their departure.

© Lithuanian NOC

This year’s ‘Move Week’ was the largest ever held in Lithuania. The various events organised by the Lithuanian NOC and National Olympic Academy attracted more than 65,000 participants. Sports events were organised by 354 schools in 138 towns and cities during the last week of September. Children, their parents and communities participated in various physical activities. The most creative event organisers received special prizes, with 200 items of sports equipment distributed to the 15 award-winning schools. Lithuanian Olympians also contributed to the success of the event by recording a video in which they invited everyone to be physically active and demonstrated some basic exercises. Watch the video here. Info at

© Mongolian NOC

A statue (photo) of Dugarsuren Oyunbold, freestyle wrestling bronze medallist at the Olympic Games Moscow 1980 and at the 1978 World Championships in Mexico, was unveiled in his home town of Sukhbaatar, in the northern province of Selenge. Oyunbold also won a record 12 national championship titles. The ceremony was attended by Jugder Otgontsagaan, Secretary General of the Mongolian NOC, D. Erdenebat, director of the ‘Barcelona’ Olympic Council, O. Bayanmunkh, Secretary General of the Mongolian Wrestling Federation, representatives of other sports organisations and Members of Parliament.


© Turkish NOC

The Turkish NOC reports that the ‘Ironman 70.3’ triathlon event, held in 92 cities around the world every year, took place in Turkey for the first time on 25 October. The Turkish edition was held at the Gloria Sports Arena in Belek, Antalya under the name of ‘Gloria Ironman 70.3 Turkey’. A total of 1,224 athletes, a quarter of them women, from 60 countries completed the 113.1km (70.3 mile) course, comprising a 1.9km swim, 90km cycle ride and 21.1km run. Opened in January 2015, the Gloria Sports Arena houses the largest multi-sport complex in the Mediterranean region. It has already hosted numerous international sports events and Olympic meetings, such as the European Olympic Committees General Assembly in May. Info at

© José Avelino Rodrigues

The Venezuelan NOC has unveiled to the media its social responsibility plan, named after its First Vice-President, Oswaldo ‘Papelón’ Borges, who died recently. Presented by NOC officials including President Eduardo Álvarez Camacho (left in the photo above), the plan will be composed of six programmes that will focus on issues such as assistance for national sports federations and coaches whose athletes qualify for the Olympic Games, and a proposal for a new self-management programme for regional water sports associations. The other programmes will be devoted to the Olympic Village, Olympic development centres and coach education, not forgetting the organisation of the national Olympic festival.




With just over 100 days to go until the Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, a group of students in Sports Management studying in the Norwegian host city took the opportunity to boost their knowledge ahead of the Games by paying a visit to the IOC headquarters last week as part of their Bachelor programme study trip. Using the Winter Youth Olympic Games as a catalyst, , the Lillehammer University College introduced the new Bachelor programme in sports management just last year with a view to working closely with the Lillehammer 2016 Organising Committee. During their visit to the IOC, the students had the opportunity to hear first-hand how the Olympic Movement works, receive an update on Olympic Agenda 2020, learn how the IOC communicates with different stakeholders and witness the blend of cultural diversities that exist within an international organisation such as the IOC. Read the full press release here.


© IOC / Ian Jones

During its General Assembly held in Washington D.C. (USA), the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), whose President is IOC Member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, unanimously approved the ANOC Executive Council’s recommendation to select San Diego (USA) as the host city of the inaugural 2017 ANOC World Beach Games. Next year’s General Assembly, due to be hosted in Rio de Janeiro in April, will be moved to Qatar in November 2016. This decision was made due to the limited time between the General Assembly in Washington D.C. and the proposed General Assembly in Rio in April and because moving the meeting to after Rio de Janeiro 2016 would allow ANOC to honour athletes from those Games at the third edition of the ANOC Awards. Info at

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