IOC President Thomas Bach was in New York (USA) for a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The two leaders discussed the close relationship between the two organisations. The Secretary General expressed the UN’s commitment to working together with the IOC for a better and more peaceful world through sport. He stressed once again: “The IOC represents by its values the same values that created the United Nations.” President Bach updated Guterres on the latest developments with regard to the planned joint participation of South and North Korean athletes in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and on the potential joint candidature for the Olympic Games 2032. President Bach also informed him of the progress towards a Refugee Olympic Team in Tokyo, following the successful Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, where the IOC initiative was strongly supported by UNHCR. Lastly, the IOC President presented IOC Member Luis Alberto Moreno, who will become the IOC's new Permanent Observer at the UN, following in the footsteps of Mario Pescante. IOC Member Gerardo Werthein was also present during this meeting. Full press release here.
President Bach also visited the new fitness centre for UN staff. The facilities were a gift from the IOC and symbolise the close cooperation between the two organisations.
President Bach took part in the IOC Women and Sport Awards ceremony, organised in partnership with UN Women, alongside the working sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women, currently being held at the UN headquarters. The six trophies were awarded to role-models and change-makers in advancing women and girls in and through sport. The World Trophy was awarded to Po Chun Liu, an international baseball umpire from Chinese Taipei, for her staunch advocacy for female empowerment through sport. The continental trophies were presented to: Djatougbe “Nathalie” Noameshie (Togo) for Africa; the Costa Rican NOC’s Women and Sport Commission for the Americas; Saada Al-Ismaili (Oman) for Asia; Morana Palikovic Gruden (Croatia) for Europe; and the Vanuatu Volleyball Federation for Oceania. Besides the IOC President, the ceremony was attended by UN Women Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Olympian and renowned Brazilian footballer Marta Vieira da Silva; and IOC Member and Chair of its Women in Sport Commission, Lydia Nsekera, to name but a few. Full press release here.
With IOC Honour Member and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the IOC President discussed various topical issues.
While in New York, the President took part in the annual NBCUniversal dinner, which was also attended by NBC Sports Group President Mark Lazarus and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. On this occasion, President Bach spoke of the long-standing partnership between the IOC and NBC, expressed recently through the creation of “Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA”, a branch of the Olympic Channel in the United States.
With former US President Bill Clinton, President Bach discussed the contribution of the Olympic Movement to society. In particular, the discussions centred on health issues, which is a focus area for the Clinton Foundation. IOC Members Gerardo Werthein and Luis Alberto Moreno also attended the meeting.
The President met with opinion makers and senior journalists at a round-table organised by Richard Edelman, the publisher of the highly influential Trust Barometer.
Also on the agenda in New York was a round table on Olympic House, organised by the Danish architecture firm 3XN, the designers of the IOC’s new headquarters, and attended by several journalists.
Before going to New York, President Bach went to Washington DC, where he met IOC Member Luis Alberto Moreno, who is also the President of the Inter-American Development Bank.
He attended a lunch organised by IOC Member Luis Alberto Moreno, with opinion makers and senior politicians, which included Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as former senior US government officials Tom Daschle, former Senate Democratic Leader and John Negroponte, former Director of National Intelligence. Los Angeles 2028 Chairman Casey Wasserman and IOC Member Gerardo Werthein also attended the lunch.
Also in Washington DC, President Bach met with a number of former US government officials from all political backgrounds to discuss current international affairs. He then met Ambassador Tom Shannon, the former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Stephen Hadley, a former National Security Adviser. IOC Members Gerardo Werthein and Luis Alberto Moreno were also present.
Throughout all the meetings in Washington DC and New York, there was broad bipartisan support for and appreciation of the IOC and its initiatives and reforms.
The IOC President went to Germany to meet the Board of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), which was newly elected at the end of last year. President Bach is formally a member of the DOSB Board but his membership is inactive while IOC Member Britta Heidemann serves on the DOSB Board.
On 16 March, after a five-day visit to the cities of Stockholm, Åre and Falun, the IOC Evaluation Commission attested to how the Swedish candidature for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 has fully embraced the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020. Commission Chair Octavian Morariu said: “Sweden is a leading country in sustainability and is committed to reaching global goals and innovating in this field. This is central to the Olympic Movement. We are very satisfied that prioritising legacy and the environment resonates with the Swedish people.” Full press release here.
international sportS FEDERATIONS
The International Hockey Federation (FIH)’s Executive Board held its first meeting of the year on 15 and 16 March at the IF’s headquarters in Lausanne. Chaired by FIH President Narinder Dhruv Batra, the Board reaffirmed the absolute necessity of establishing a rolling four-year international competition calendar that balances opportunity for all nations to participate, athlete welfare and the commercial realities of international travel. Other topics addressed included the world ranking system, the FIH Pro League and the implementation of “Hockey 2024”, the FIH’s development strategy. More info here.
Educating the next generation of elite weightlifters on the importance of clean sport and the workings of the anti-doping process was a key feature at the Youth World Championships held from 8 to 15 March in Las Vegas (USA). The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) teamed up with leading players in the anti-doping system, including the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the International Testing Agency (ITA), and organised an education seminar for competitors, their parents, coaches and support staff. The topics covered included anti-doping fundamentals such as the prohibited list, the sample collection process, Therapeutic Use Exemptions and whereabouts. This information is available on the #iLiftClean e-learning platform. In total, 370 athletes visited the IWF anti-doping outreach booth, a part of the WADA Legacy Outreach Programme at these Championships. More details here.
With less than four months to go to the 18th World Championships, which will be held from 12 to 28 July, the Gwangju 2019 Organising Committee, together with the International Swimming Federation (FINA), recently organised a workshop for all of the partners and official sponsors. The workshop was an opportunity to share the plans and progress made with regard to the services that will be provided during the Championships, such as equipment, accommodation, catering and communications services. More info at www.fina.org.
Delegates of World Rugby, unions, professional leagues, leading medics, researchers and scientists joined players, coaches and law-makers for a forum organised in Marcoussis (France) to consider the latest game analysis and injury data, and the considerable progress made to date in injury prevention and management, and to identify injury trends with the potential to be mitigated through law amendment. More details here.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has become the first IF to partner with the newly created Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). With this agreement, the ITU agrees to delegate its first-instance authority to adjudicate alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violations and any sanctions, guaranteeing even more independence in all anti-doping related cases. More details here.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has teamed up with marine conservation group the Ghost Fishing Foundation (Ghost Fishing) to launch Good Net, a project designed to recover discarded fishing nets from the world’s oceans, with many to be recycled into volleyball nets for local community use around the world. The FIVB and its partners are launching Good Net on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). As the site of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 beach volleyball tournament, Copacabana is also home to a school that was completely renovated by the FIVB for the Olympic Games. Today, local people from the area are playing on beach courts that use transformed fishing nets for the first time, and are learning more about the problem of ghost nets. Through the support of the IOC, Good Net has also joined the United Nations (UN) Clean Seas campaign in the fight against marine plastic pollution. Full details here.
Furthermore, the Italian city of Rome has been announced as the host city of the 2021 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. The Championships form a central part of the joint 2019-2022 strategy of the FIVB, the Italian Volleyball Federation (FIPAV) and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), with the aim of developing beach volleyball in Italy and bringing flagship beach volleyball events to the country each year. More details here.
The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced that the World Junior Curling Championship 2020 will be held in Krasnoyarsk (Russian Federation), from 15 to 22 February. Krasnoyarsk is in Siberia and hosted the Winter Universiade Games in March this year. The 2020 World Juniors will be played in the Crystal Ice Arena, which hosted ice hockey competitions during the 2019 Winter Universiade. More details here.
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
The presentation ceremony of an art contest on “Sport – health, friendship, unity…” organised within the framework of the Olympic Culture and Education Programme took place at the headquarters of the NOC of Azerbaijan. The contest was held among 49 selected schools and was devoted to the 15th European Youth Summer Olympic Festival, which will be held in Baku in July. The contest had two age categories, for children aged 6 to 10 and from 11 to 14. The contest organisers were the NOC, the Ministry of Education and Child & Youth Development Centre No. 3. The main goals were to promote the Olympic values and ideas among schools and to collect feedback on the Festival. More info at www.noc-aze.org.
Sponsored by the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the 1st edition of the Brazilian Olympic Congress will be held on 13 April in São Paulo, on the theme “High Impact Sport – Strategies for Effective Results”. Leading international specialists will assemble to discuss how to deal with the challenges faced by Olympic sport in Brazil. The event will also mark the 10th anniversary of the Brazilian Olympic Institute (IOB) and COB Education Department, which by qualifying professionals and disseminating knowledge, has been making a significant contribution to the development of national elite sport. More info here.
In February, the NOC of Cyprus organised the “Sports Management – Strengthening Women in Decision-Making Positions” programme. Following 30 educational hours in two phases, the 35 women each received a diploma. The courses were made possible after the 2017 Women in Sport Trophy for Europe was presented to former EU Commissioner for Sport Androulla Vassiliou. More info at www.olympic.org.cy.
The NOC of Cuba’s Women and Sport Commission met on 13 March, in the presence of NOC President Roberto León Richards and Commission Chair María Caridad Colón. Among the topics discussed during the meeting were the development of an action plan, empowering female athletes so that they are capable of exercising any role at the end of their sports careers, and identifying leaders within teams. In addition, at the end of February, the NOC organised its first ordinary general assembly for the period 2018-20, which was attended by representatives from the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), members of the NOC’s Executive Board, national federation representatives and association presidents. The preparations for the Lima 2019 Pan-American and Parapan American Games, and the work of the various commissions, including the NOC’s Athletes’ Commission, were on the agenda.
The Spanish NOC headquarters was the venue for the launch of the 2019 edition of the campaign to promote the Olympic values entitled “All Olympic” (“Todos Olímpicos”), in the presence of more than 200 schoolchildren. NOC President Alejandro Blanco explained that this campaign will run until 12 June in 53 centres within the Community of Madrid, and will reach more than 4,200 pupils. Three athletes were also at the launch: gymnast Carolina Pascual (silver medallist at the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992), Olympic skater Sonia Lafuente and European lifesaving champion Carlos Gómez. More details here on www.coe.es.
The first event of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) Athletes’ Commission was successfully held at the HOC premises in order to raise awareness about the dual career concept for athletes after their retirement. The event was based on experience focused on the athletes and the people who support them. Olympic gymnastics champion Lefteris Petrounias, Olympic sailing champion Pavlos Kagialis, world cycling champion Christos Volikakis, Athletes’ Commission Chair Vasiliki Millousi, the Deputy Minister of Sports, Giorgos Vasiliadis, and the HOC President, Spyros Capralos, participated in the event. More details at www.hoc.gr.
The Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC), International Judo Federation (IJF) and Turkish Judo Federation have concluded a two week-long seminar for coaches in Turkey designed to further develop the sport in the country. Supported by Olympic Solidarity, the course ran from 3 to 16 March in Antalya. A total of 68 coaches took part in a wide range of classes and physical activities designed to teach participants new techniques and improve their overall knowledge of the sport. The IJF sent a team of technical experts to Antalya, including IJF Academy Director Envic Galea, IJF Sport Director Florin-Daniel Lascau, Academy Ambassador Rock Gezeker, and coaches Tiber Kozcl and Mark Huzing. Full details here.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
With one year to go until the Olympic Torch Relay touches down in Japan, on 20 March the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) unveiled the design of the Olympic torch, as well as the names of the Olympic Torch Relay Ambassadors and the Relay emblem. The Olympic torch incorporates several elements of Japanese culture, and reinforces Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Torch Relay concept: “Hope lights our way”. Tokyo 2020 also announced the Olympic Torch Relay Ambassadors, who will promote the Relay to people all over the world. More details here.
In addition, Tokyo 2020 has announced the launch of its new robot project for Tokyo 2020 – one of the programmes aimed at ensuring these Games will be the most innovative ever and providing visiting fans with an unforgettable experience. A Human Support Robot (HSR) and Delivery Support Robot (DSR) designed by the Toyota Motor Corporation will allow all spectators to enjoy the Games in greater comfort. More details here.