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Olympic Highlights 23/03/2021

Getty Images/Tokyo 2020
23 Mar 2021
Olympic News, Olympic Highlights, IOC News



On Saturday 20 March, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) were informed by the Japanese parties in the five-parties meeting about their conclusion not to allow overseas spectators at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this summer. For the reason of the safety of every Games participant and the Japanese people, their conclusion is fully respected and accepted by the IOC and the IPC. Olympic and Paralympic Games tickets purchased by overseas residents from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will be refunded. Read the full statement from Tokyo 2020 here.

“We share the disappointment of all enthusiastic Olympic fans from around the world, and of course the families and friends of the athletes, who were planning to come to the Games. For this I am truly sorry. We know that this is a great sacrifice for everybody,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. Read the IOC statement here.

Following the five-parties meeting, President Thomas Bach chaired an IOC Executive Board meeting during which he and the Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission, John Coates, updated the members about the Tokyo 2020 decision. The EB members subsequently discussed the impact of the Japanese side’s decision on the IOC and all the stakeholders. It was stressed that the conclusion not to allow entry into Japan for overseas spectators did not affect directly on operational matters. However, it was noted that the Japanese government has expressed the need for a very significant reduction in the number of accredited participants who do not have operational responsibilities.

IOC / Greg Martin

The Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) Board met remotely on 16 March. The Chair of the ORF, Thomas Bach, led the meeting from Olympic House in Lausanne. The ORF Vice-Chair, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, was present in Lausanne. The Foundation Board approved the four-year plan for 2021 to 2024, setting the strategy that will allow it to deliver on its ambition to ensure that one million young people affected by displacement have access to safe sport by 2024.

The Board also appointed Olympic medallist and IOC Member Paul Tergat from Kenya as a new Board member for a four-year period. Read the full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Bach spoke on the phone with Susanne Lyons, President of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). Together, they discussed topics of mutual interest including the preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

The IOC President and the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Witold Bańka, accompanied by WADA Director General Olivier Niggli, discussed a broad range of subjects related to the protection of clean athletes.

This week, President Bach held a fruitful consultation call with the Olympic leadership of the TOP Partners. He thanked them for their strong support to the Olympic Movement and its values around the world, and for their steadfast dedication to the success of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. For their part, the participants expressed their broad support for the commitment of the IOC and all the stakeholders to organise safe and secure Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. 

President Bach discussed a number of topical Olympic issues with IOC Member Tidjane Thiam.

President Bach attended the opening of The Olympic Museum’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games programme, alongside the Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Shiraishi Kojiro, and the embassy’s Olympic Games chief, Sugaya Aki. This programme will enable visitors to learn more about both the Games and sports manga through two exhibitions, talks, themed weekends and an augmented reality app, from 18 March to 21 November 2021. Find out more about the programme here.

UNHCR/Tukundane Yonna

IOC Member William F. Blick (left) met UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (right), who is also the Vice-Chair of the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF), during the latter’s official visit to Uganda. The ORF is currently coordinating a three-year programme in Uganda, using sport to improve the mental health and psychosocial well-being of more than 10,000 young refugees and members of the host community (aged 15 to 24). Led by a consortium of five agencies (the ORF, AVSI, the Uganda Olympic Committee, Youth Sport Uganda and UNHCR Uganda), the programme will deliver a nationwide Sport for Protection programme.

TOP Partners

AliExpress, the e-commerce platform of Worldwide Olympic Partner Alibaba, is demonstrating its commitment to the Olympic Games Paris 2024 by rewarding its clients for participating in challenges through the “Le Club Paris 2024” initiative. Each month until the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, Le Club Paris 2024 is offering its members the chance to take part in fun challenges, enabling them to earn points that will give them the chance to enter prize draws and enjoy exclusive rewards, such as participating in unique experiences with Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Full news release here.

Other Olympic news

A new Guide has been commissioned by IOC and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to help identify more sustainable solutions for event branding and signage. The guide, “Environmental impact evaluation of branding and signage solutions for events”, evaluates the environmental impact of over 40 branding and signage materials, including the more innovative ones such as banners made of recycled plastic or hardboards incorporating bio-based content. It also provides guiding principles to improve decision-making within organisations that acquire them. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

On 15 March, World Athletics announced the launch of a 3D virtual museum of athletics. Known as MOWA, the Museum of World Athletics™ is the first sports museum to be established solely in the digital world. It offers visitors an interactive journey through the history of athletics and the World Athletics Championships, highlighting many of the legends of the sport. Full info here.

World Rowing has decided to have its anti-doping programme administered independently by the International Testing Agency (ITA). The two organisations signed a four-year contract which will see the ITA managing all the in- and out-of-competition testing activities. The partnership is also aimed at strengthen doping prevention for rowers through the creation and realisation of an educational plan by ITA experts in accordance with the WADA International Standard for Education. Full details here.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Organising Committee of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships have unveiled the logo and visual identity of this new event on the UCI International Calendar. This first edition will take place in Glasgow and across Scotland (Great Britain) in August 2023. Full details here.

The International Association Football Federation (FIFA), in collaboration with the United Nations on Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has launched the Global Integrity Programme, a comprehensive international programme aimed at providing all 211 member associations with enhanced knowledge and tools to fight and prevent match manipulation. The new programme is organised regionally by confederation and includes a series of three-module virtual workshops to be delivered to all FIFA member associations. Alongside this programme, the FIFA Integrity Officers Community Platform will also be launched in the near future. Full details here.

On 18 March, just before the season-opening 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Budapest, the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) issued its 2021 Media Guide. The 72-page Guide is packed with information relevant to the 2021 season, including the race to qualify for the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and facts about the history of modern pentathlon. More info at

The International Surfing Association (ISA) reaffirmed on 18 March that the 2021 Surf City El Salvador World Surfing Games will take place from 29 May to 6 June. The competition will mark the last event in surfing’s qualification system for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, filling out the remaining slots for seven women and five men. A comprehensive health and safety plan has been released and will be implemented to ensure a safe environment for the athletes and team officials. Full info here.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the timing and locations of the two remaining baseball qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier is expected to be held in early June (exact dates/venues to be confirmed) in Florida (USA), with the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier to follow from 16 to 20 June in Taichung (Chinese Taipei). More info here.

national olympic committees
Argentinean NOC

Organised by the Argentinean NOC, the eighth edition of the advanced sports management course (MOSO) started in mid-March. Supported by Olympic Solidarity, this course is aimed particularly at representatives of national federations, provincial federations and national sports governing bodies. The course will be run over nine months, with six modules covering the following topics: managing a sports organisation; strategic management; managing human resources; financial management; commercial management; and organising major sports events. More details here. Following the launch of the 8th edition of its Advanced Course in Sports Management, the NOC of Argentina presented diplomas to the participants of the previous two editions. In total, 45 students received a diploma for the 2019 edition and 47 for the 2020 edition, which took place virtually owing to the pandemic. Full details here.

Colombian NOC

18 March saw the launch of a radio programme entitled “Olympism in Action”. This programme by the Colombian Olympic Academy will be broadcast on the Facebook account of the Colombian NOC every Thursday. The first programme was hosted by the Academy’s President, Guillermo González López, accompanied by Vice-President Clemencia Anaya Maya and Secretary General Alberto Galvis Ramírez. The raison d’être of the Olympic academies worldwide, the history of the Colombian academy and its activities to promote Olympism were discussed during this first show. More details here.

The Olympic Committee of Israel has launched the first English version of its Scientific Newsletter. The Newsletter reflects the five areas of interest and scientific work of the NOC, each of which demonstrates a certain aspect of its work. These are: the Olympic Committee of Israel, Sports Medicine, Elite Sports; Coaches and Coaching; and Events and Results. The Newsletter can be found here.

Mongolian NOC

The Mongolian Olympic library has been expanded with the addition of a unique book of memories written by Chimedbazar Damdinsharav and Chimedbazar Nasantogtokh. The two brothers presented the first edition of their book to Mongolian NOC President Naidan Tuvshinbayar and Secretary General Enkhbat Badar-Uugan (photo). Damdinsharav won Mongolia’s first-ever Olympic bronze medal in wrestling at the Olympic Games Mexico City 1968, and was head coach for the Olympic Games Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008; while Nasantogtokh was Chef de Mission of Team Mongolia for the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992 and judo team head coach for several Olympic Games. He coached Mongolia’s first-ever double Olympic champion, current NOC President Tuvshinbayar.

On 17 March, the Moroccan NOC’s digital Olympic academy organised a videoconference on “Preventing and combating competition manipulation”. More details here. A few days before that, on 11 March, the NOC organised a videoconference on “Women’s sport in Morocco”. More details here. The NOC also paid tribute to all women, and especially the country’s female Olympic champions, on International Women’s Day. More details here.

Singapore Olympic Foundation

The Singapore NOC has announced that, 70 years after first creating a water polo dynasty in Singapore, the famous Tan family is building on its legacy with a USD 500,000 donation to the sport. Spearheaded by Olympian Tan Eng Liang, the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Tan Family Water Polo Fund will develop young athletes and groom elite players. The Fund was launched at the Our Tampines Hub, in the presence of Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong and IOC Vice-President Ng Ser Miang. The donation is eligible for one-to-one matching by the Government under the One Team Singapore Fund. Full details here.

Spanish NOC

On 16 March, just over 100 days before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco, accompanied by the President of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete, held a virtual meeting with 74 of the athletes on the Podium programme, to hear about their current situation. This programme is a joint initiative between the NOC and Telefónica to support talented young athletes. In the seven years of its existence, the programme has reached 262 athletes and awarded 662 grants, producing one Olympic champion, 18 world champions and 34 European champions, with another 41 athletes due to compete in Tokyo. More details here. Furthermore, the NOC President and the Minister of Culture and Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, discussed the Spanish sports model. They addressed the current sports law, the definition and creation of an athletes’ charter, and the union of culture and sport. More info here.

Venezuelan NOC

The recent Venezuelan NOC general assembly, attended by more than three-quarters of the member federations, approved the management and finance reports by the NOC’s Executive Committee. The assembly was held remotely, and was chaired by the NOC’s 1st Vice-President, Joseba Barreda, as NOC President Eduardo Álvarez was suffering from COVID-19. Under the theme of “Let’s keep going together” (Seguimos Juntos), the assembly heard an update on the hundreds of activities held virtually in 2020, the reopening of the Flor Isava Library and the creation of the Flor Isava Museum, the Olympic gala, a session of the national Olympic academy and various environmental activities. The assembly was also attended by Spanish NOC President and IOC representative for the Americas Alejandro Blanco, and Panam Sports President and IOC member Neven Ilic. More details here.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Paris 2024

On 16 March, the Board of Directors of the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 met to validate the climate strategy for these Games. To contribute actively to the efforts to combat global warming, Paris 2024 will not only reduce its carbon footprint by half compared with previous Games, it will also offset all its CO2 emissions. In addition, the Organising Committee and its stakeholders will support the creation and development in France of projects with a positive climate impact. The Paris 2024 Games will thus be the first major sports event to offset more CO2 emissions than it produces, with the first projects being launched this year. Full press release here.

Recognised organisations


The President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and IOC member, Mustapha Berraf (right of photo), recently met the Turkish ambassador to Algeria, Mahinur Ozdemir Goktas (left), at the ANOC branch office in Algiers (Algeria), in the presence of Algerian NOC Vice-President Brahmia Amar. Their discussions centred on the preparation and participation of athletes in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and access to sports centres in Turkey, with preferential rates for the delegations taking part. The two parties also highlighted the excellent relations between the Turkish and African sports movements. More details on

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is to undertake an extensive three-year, three-phase open consultation review of the 2015 Athlete Classification Code. The Code provides policies and procedures for Paralympic classification that should be common to all sports and to the Paralympic Games. At this stage, it is envisaged that the new Code’s implementation will be January 2025 for summer sports and July 2026 for winter sports. Full info here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its “live” webinar schedule for March, which encompasses all webinars being offered, in particular as part of WADA’s 2021 Code Implementation Support Programme; as part of the Agency’s 2021 athlete-led webinar series for athletes, launched in February; and by WADA’s Africa Office to assist anti-doping stakeholders in the region. Full info here.

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