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24 Nov 2015
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



© Czech NOC

IOC President Thomas Bach met the Czech President, Milos Zeman, on the eve of the annual General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), whose President is Patrick Joseph Hickey, in Prague. The two leaders discussed sport in the Czech Republic and its positive role in society. President Bach talked about the recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations General Assembly, in which sport is described as “an important enabler” of sustainable development. The Czech President emphasised that numerous activities were being implemented in collaboration with the NOC with regard to sport and education and the spreading of the Olympic Values, and he promised to strengthen his support in this respect. President Zeman also accepted an invitation to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. The IOC President was accompanied by EOC President Patrick Joseph Hickey and the President of the Association of the National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, both IOC Members, and by Czech NOC President Jiri Kejval.

© Czech NOC

In his speech to the EOC General Assembly, the IOC President invited all the European NOCs to make every effort in accordance with Olympic Agenda 2020 to safeguard the credibility of sports, the credibility of sports organisations and the credibility of sport competitions. Regarding the fight against doping, the President made three proposals that he thought the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) working group should consider. He suggested that a testing and results management system should be created within WADA, separate from its monitoring and regulatory functions. He also advocated the establishment of a professional intelligence gathering unit which could address issues with regard to the compliance of National Anti-Doping Agencies and anti-doping laboratories accredited by WADA at the earliest possible stage. Finally, he proposed that sanctions should only be issued by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In this way, the system of sanctions would be centralised and cost-efficient, leading to harmonisation among all sports and countries. The current right to appeal against such sanctions to a different CAS chamber would be fully upheld and guaranteed.

While in Prague, President Bach held meetings with numerous IOC Members and NOC Presidents as well as the IOC Honorary President, Jacques Rogge. He also met the renowned Czech Olympian Vera Caslavska, 11-time Olympic medallist and former IOC Member and Czech NOC President. He attended the ceremony to present the 5th Piotr Nurowski Prize for the best young European athlete to the Czech track cyclist Jiří Janošek, 2015 junior world champion in the 1km time-trial.

Before travelling to Prague, the IOC President welcomed a delegation from the Chinese city of Guangzhou, led by Ding Hongdu and accompanied by IOC Member Timothy Tsun Ting Fok.

The President of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS), Sabatino Aracu, talked to President Bach about Olympic Agenda 2020, in particular its recommendations concerning the Olympic programme, as well as the proposal from the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to include skateboarding in the 2020 Olympic programme.

The IOC President also discussed the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations concerning the Olympic programme with the President of the World Confederation of Boules Sports (CMSB), Claude Azema.

President Bach and IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge attended a meeting of the Olympic Museum Foundation Board.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

On 21 November, the IOC President attended the “Champions” show, organised by the city of Lausanne and the canton of Vaud to mark the centenary of the IOC’s presence in Lausanne. The show involved more than 200 top-level artists and skaters, including Switzerland’s Stéphane Lambiel, silver medallist at the Olympic Winter Games Turin 2006. Through images provided by the IOC, the thousands of spectators were able to relive 100 years of Olympic history.


In a statement by its Chair, Claudia Bokel, the Athletes’ Commission has condemned in the strongest terms any attempt by the Kuwaiti authorities to prevent athletes from achieving their full potential, which of course includes qualifying for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. The full statement released on 18 November can be found here.


As part of the new Olympic Games Candidature Process, introduced following the adoption of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, the five Candidate Cities to host the 2024 Games – Budapest (Hungary), Hamburg (Germany), Los Angeles (United States), Paris (France) and Rome (Italy)* – attended individual one and a half day workshops in Lausanne during the week of 16 to 20 November. The focus was on Stage 1 of the process – Vision, Games Concept and Strategy – and included a strong emphasis on legacy and sustainability of the Olympic Games Project. This is the first of a series of workshops that will be organised for the Cities over the next two years as part of the Education Programme and increased dialogue offered by the IOC. The workshop also included sessions on the Paralympic Games and good governance through meetings with the International Paralympic Committee and the IOC Ethics and Compliance Office. (*The cities will be listed in alphabetical order until such time as the official drawing of lots is carried out by the IOC Executive Board, 8-10 December 2015.). Read the full press release here.

At the 38th session of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) General Conference, held in Paris from 3 to 18 November, the UNESCO Member States adopted a revised International Charter for Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, recognising the importance of sport for development and peace. The IOC played an active part in the revision of the Charter, which highlights the health benefits of physical activity, the inclusion of persons with disabilities, the protection of children, the role of sport for development and peace, as well as the need to protect the integrity of sport from doping, violence, manipulation and corruption. (more info here)

On 19 November, the Barcelona Olympic Foundation (Fundació Barcelona Olímpica) organised a round table dedicated to the time spent by former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch as Barcelona’s sports councillor between 1955 and 1961. The event was held at the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum in Barcelona.



The best 3x3 basketball players, federations and promoters will be rewarded at the inaugural International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3x3 Awards. Organised by the Qatar Basketball Federation, the ceremony will take place in Doha on 10 December and will include the presentation of trophies in ten different categories. Info at

United World Wrestling (UWW) has become a member of TAFISA (The Association for International Sport for All) following approval by its General Assembly in Budapest (Hungary) during the 24th TAFISA World Congress. Over the past two years, UWW has worked relentlessly to improve the structure of its commissions and has encouraged greater involvement with other international organisations. Membership of TAFISA is a sign of UWW’s commitment to Sport for All. Info at


From 11 to 13 December, the Chinese city of Shaoxing will host the 10th edition of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Synchronised Swimming World Trophy. Created in 2006, this annual event gathers the world’s best teams. So far, 14 teams have confirmed their participation in six events, including the first ever mixed event, with male athletes authorised to take part in this international competition following the success of the mixed events at the 15th FINA World Championships in Kazan (Russian Federation) in July and August 2015. Info at

The World Rugby Council has approved the application from the Rwanda Rugby Federation (RRF) to become a full member. World Rugby now has 103 full and 17 associate members. An associate member since April 2004 and a full member of Rugby Africa, the RRF actively participates in regional activities and tournaments in Africa. It is also recognised by its NOC. World Rugby has also announced the death of former New Zealand international Jonah Lomu at the age of 40. Lomu was a member of the IRB delegation at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, when the decision was taken to include rugby sevens in the programme of the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. Info at


ITU (International Triathlon Union) President and IOC Member Marisol Casado recently travelled to Algeria for the nation’s first ever triathlon Constitution Assembly, where she was hosted by IOC Honorary Member and FINA Honorary Life President Mustapha Larfaoui. Together with ITU Executive Board member and African Triathlon Union President Ahmed Nasser and representatives from the Algerian NOC (photo above), they laid plans to create an Algerian National Triathlon Federation. Info at


More than 500 delegates participated in various meetings of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) held on the Chinese island of Hainan from 7 to 14 November. The ISAF Council, for example, voted on various recommendations made by the ISAF committees. The associations of Nicaragua and St Vincent and the Grenadines were welcomed as full members, while the Anguilla Sailing Association became an associate member. The Montserrat Yachting Association resigned as an ISAF associate member. Meanwhile, American Betsy Alison has been awarded the ISAF President’s Development Award for her outstanding work for the development of Paralympic sailing in 2015. ISAF President Carlo Croce presented the award at the ISAF Council meeting (photo above). Finally, seven great sailors have been inducted into world sailing’s Hall of Fame. Discover who they are here. Info at


For the first time in its 58-year history, the International Luge Federation (FIL) is set to award seven World Championship titles on the artificial track in 2016. The venue for this remarkable event will be the track in Königssee (Germany), the oldest and most prestigious labyrinthine ice track in the world, which is also located near the FIL headquarters on Rathausplatz in Berchtesgaden. Over three days from 29 to 31 January 2016, some 150 athletes from more than 20 nations will compete for World Championship titles in the Olympic disciplines of men’s and women’s singles, doubles and team relay. Info at


From 17 to 19 November, the Cuban capital, Havana, hosted a technical seminar on frontball, a new form of Basque pelota. The seminar is part of the global development and expansion plan through which the International Basque Pelota Federation (FIPV) hopes to ensure that the different forms of Basque pelota are played in more countries in the coming years. Info at


© Brazilian NOC

The Project Management Office (PMO) of the Brazilian NOC has been recognised as the best in the country in 2015 by Revista Mundo PM, Brazil’s leading publication devoted to project management. At a ceremony held in São Paulo on 12 November, the NOC became the first sports organisation in Brazil to receive this award. The PMO was launched in 2009 and one of its first tasks was to define a strategic plan which now guides all the NOC’s activities. The NOC was previously honoured by Revista Mundo PM in 2009, when the Rio 2016 project, which was presented by NOC President and IOC Honorary Member Carlos Arthur Nuzman and resulted in the 2016 Olympic Games being awarded to Rio, received the medal of merit. Info at

A refugee support programme organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) and financed out of the USD 2 million emergency fund established by the IOC has been hailed as a success by refugees and local authorities alike. The HOC Refugees Support Programme recently built four basketball courts in the largest refugee camp in Athens, which houses between 750 and 1,000 refugees at any given time. The HOC also provided sports equipment (basketballs, footballs, volleyballs, jackets and 600 pairs of running shoes) and, in partnership with TOP Sponsor P of Greece, personal hygiene kits will also be provided. The IOC made the emergency fund available in September to NOCs organising programmes to help refugees worldwide. Information on other projects can be found here. Read the full press release here.

The Jordanian NOC marked World Diabetes Day (14 November) by launching an awareness campaign on social media and several healthy lifestyle initiatives across the country. As part of its commitment to the development and growth of sport, the NOC shared healthy lifestyle tips and advice on all its social media channels in order to help the public prevent, control and reverse the growth of diabetes. With 34% of Jordanians over the age of 25 living with diabetes, sport has a fundamental role to play in the wellbeing of the country and its population. The social media campaign and various local initiatives are part of the NOC’s communications plan, ‘Living Sport’, which aims to encourage Jordanians to make sport and healthy living a part of their daily lives. Info at

© NOC of Panama

A sports administration course run by the NOC of Panama and the University of Panama concluded with the presentation of certificates to the 21 participants, a mix of sports federation members and other people linked to sport (photo above). Organised with the IOC’s support, granted through the Olympic Solidarity programme, the course aims to strengthen the sports administration expertise and management skills required by sports federation leaders. It was held on the University of Panama campus. Info at

The Venezuelan NOC informs us that its President, Eduardo Álvarez, has become the new Secretary General of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (ODECABE/CACSO). At the 46th ODECABE/CACSO General Assembly held in Barranquilla (Colombia), a new Executive Board was elected. Héctor Cardona (Puerto Rico) was re-elected as President for the fourth time. Steve Stoute (Barbados), Carlos Padilla (Mexico) and Baltazar Medina (Colombia) were elected as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice-President respectively.


RIO 2016

© Rio 2016 / Alex Ferro

A vital part of the preparations for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016 began on 7 November, when hundreds of Brazilians took part in the first wave of auditions for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The auditions, which were held at the National Institute for Education of the Deaf in the leafy Rio neighbourhood of Laranjeiras, took place in a relaxed atmosphere, in which the host city’s carnival spirit was very much in evidence. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are due to take place in Rio’s iconic Maracanã Stadium on 5 and 21 August 2016 respectively. The auditions are set to continue throughout November and will conclude in the first week of December. Read the full press release here.

On 18 November, Rio de Janeiro’s city government announced that three more venues for next summer’s Olympic Games have been completed. The Future Arena, which will host handball during the Olympic Games and goalball during the Paralympic Games, the Olympic Golf Course and the Whitewater Stadium, which will stage the canoe slalom events, have all now been declared 100% competition-ready. Read the full press release here. Info at



The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 (POCOG) has announced that Interpark Corporation has signed on as the Official Supporter in the Ticketing Sales and Distribution Services category in the Republic of Korea (see photo). Interpark will offer ticket sales services to the general public and key client groups, as well as providing the ticketing system, equipment and personnel needed to implement the POCOG ticketing programme. Info at


The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), chaired by IOC Member Philip Craven, held its 17th General Assembly in Mexico City (Mexico) on 15 November with nearly 300 people in attendance. A number of decisions were taken. For example, the Assembly approved the membership of nine new organisations, including five National Paralympic Committees (Aruba, Guinea Bissau, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Somalia and Yemen) and four International Federations (World Taekwondo Federation, International Sailing Federation, Badminton World Federation and International Federation of CP Football). It was also agreed to terminate the membership of four National Paralympic Committees (Albania, Bangladesh, Peru and Somalia) because of either their inactivity or a suspension of more than four consecutive years. Meanwhile, at a ceremony held the previous evening, the IPC announced the winners of the 2015 Paralympic Sport and Media Awards. See the full list here. Info at

Convened in Colorado Springs (USA), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board agreed to strengthen its independent compliance and regulatory function that was implemented through the Independent Compliance Review Committee earlier this year; this was one of the many recommendations from the Independent Commission’s Report. The Board declared six signatories non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code with immediate effect: these are the National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) of Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Israel, Russia and Ukraine. Read the full press release here.
WADA has also announced the appointment of Olivier Niggli as its new Director General. WADA Chief Operating Officer since 2014, he succeeds David Howman, who decided not to seek a further extension of his mandate with WADA. From 1 January 2016, Olivier Niggli will start the transition into his new role, which he will officially assume on 1 July 2016. Meanwhile, WADA has published the Social Science Research Package for Anti-Doping Organizations (in English) on its website. The research package, which includes a standard questionnaire, is designed to help anti-doping organisations measure athletes’ beliefs and behaviours with respect to doping, and to assess the effectiveness of anti-doping programmes.

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