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08 Feb 2016
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



IOC President Thomas Bach dived into the future of technology, society and sport on a three-day tour through Silicon Valley this week.

The IOC delegation at the Visa headquarters. © IOC

Accompanied by the Chairman of the Olympic Channel Board Madrid, Juan Antonio Samaranch; the President of the Organising Committee of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, Gerardo Werthein; the Chairman of the Olympic Channel Commission, Larry Probst; and the Chairman of the Communication Commission, Camiel Eurlings, he visited the IOC Top Partners Visa and Samsung, as well as other major companies.

The IOC President getting a sneak preview of Virtual Reality at Samsung. © IOC

At Visa, the delegation met Visa President Ryan McInerney, and found out about new payment methods, including those involving cars. When visiting Samsung, they got a first glimpse into 360-degree cameras and Virtual Reality by simply using a regular smart phone. At Facebook, the IOC group had the chance to try out Oculus Rift.

President Bach with Twitter CEO and Founder Jack Dorsey. © IOC

How Twitter can help drive TV ratings was one of the topics being discussed at a meeting with its CEO and founder Jack Dorsey in its headquarters. The IOC President suggested inviting a member of social network Vine into the Artists in Residence programme of the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

The IOC delegation on a biking tour on the Google campus. © IOC

The group also spent a day at the Mountain View Campus of Google, where they discussed the opportunities and challenges of the digital future with a number of executives of the company, including Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet, of which Google is a subsidiary.

In all the discussions, the Olympic Channel also played a major role. It was welcomed and supported by all interlocutors. There will be follow-up meetings with all the companies to further explore cooperation. Read the full newstory here.


On 1 February, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games took note of the decision by Belgian graphic designer Olivier Debie and Sprl Debie Graphic Design to waive their lawsuit over the withdrawn Tokyo 2020 emblem, which followed the withdrawal of the Theâtre de Liège. The IOC and Tokyo 2020 maintain that there was no copyright or moral rights infringement, and the IOC was therefore looking forward to the Court pronouncing a decision on this case.



The Badminton World Federation (BWF) will soon announce the names of the 10 ambassadors for its new integrity programme “i am badminton”. These ambassadors will be chosen from across the sport’s international spectrum, and will represent and promote the campaign’s values, serving as role models for the badminton world. This programme aims to promote badminton as a clean, fair and honourable sport, and addresses various threats such as doping, match-fixing, illegal betting and corruption. Info at

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has confirmed that the 2016 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships will be held at the UCI World Cycling Centre Velodrome, the IF’s headquarters in Aigle (Switzerland). The event will take place between 20 and 24 July and will see 19 world champions crowned from among about 230 participants aged between 17 and 18 from 35 countries. Info at

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced the winners of its Hockey Stars awards for 2015, which saw Netherlands pair Lidewij Welten and Robert Van der Horst pick up the Player of the Year awards. The best men and women in the following categories Goalkeeper of the Year, Rising Star of the Year, as well as Coach of the Year and Umpire of the Year were also announced. See the list of winners on


United World Wrestling (UWW) is pleased to see that the Iran Wrestling Federation has taken another step forward in developing a women’s wrestling programme in the country. This Federation has chosen to establish annual salaries for female coaches in traditional wrestling. In addition, during the recent Takhti Cup, the Federation honoured six female coaches for their work and dedication to developing wrestling in Iran (photo above). They were Mobtadi, Esmaeili and Maryam Valizadeh (belt wrestling) and Sadat Ghadamgahi, Homeria Rajabzadeh and Sakineh Kazemi (grappling). Iran’s NOC President Kiomars Hashemi attended this ceremony alongside the Vice-President of women’s wrestling, Maryam Monazami. Info at


The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) athletes of the year 2015 were honoured at the World Aquatics Gala – “Soirée des Etoiles” in Budapest (Hungary) on 31 January (photo above). FINA honoured the best athletes in the six disciplines (men’s and women’s). An award was also presented to one male and one female athlete for the best sports performances at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan (Russian Federation). See all the winners here (in English only). In addition, the Japanese city of Fukuoka will host the 2021 edition of the World Championships and Masters World Championships, while Doha (Qatar) will host the 2023 editions. The decision was taken by the FINA Bureau before the Gala. Info at

World Rugby has further strengthened its commitment to the fight against doping in sport with the appointment of an Anti-Doping General Manager, Mike Earl. Previously at UEFA, Mike Earl brings to World Rugby 15 years’ experience in implementing and managing testing programmes at major sports events, as well as in educational programmes, to raise awareness of doping in sport. He has also worked for the Football Association (UK) and the UK National Anti-Doping Organisation. Info at

The first edition of a newsletter with information on the World Archery Excellence Centre in Lausanne has just been launched in English and French. Click here to download it.

© Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Brazil’s Torben Grael (left in photo) has received the World Sailing Hall of Fame trophy at the Sailing World Cup in Miami (USA). World Sailing Vice-President Gary Jobson (right in photo) presented the trophy. Torben Grael is one of three sailors to have won five Olympic medals in sailing (two gold, one silver and two bronze, in the Soling and Star categories). He has also been world champion several times. Info at


The International Ski Federation (FIS) has announced the death of Bob Arnott, a significant figure in Australian skiing both as an athlete and as an official. He competed in the Olympic Winter Games Oslo 1952 and was Australian slalom champion in 1953. After his skiing career, he represented Australia as a member of the FIS Sub-Committee for Classifications of Alpine Competitors for 27 years. On the national level, he was President of the New South Wales Ski Council and a Council Member of the Australian Ski Federation. Info at


© Rafael Bello/COB

On 27 January, the Brazilian NOC brought together coaches, coordinators and athletes (photo above) to share experiences and ideas for great performances by Team Brazil at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. About 50 professionals from various Olympic sports took part in this meeting, including Olympic and world champion coaches Bernardo Rezende, Jesus Morlán, Marcos Goto, Ratko Rudic and Morten Soubak.  Olympic swimming medallist Gustavo Borges represented the former athletes. Presentations were given by Carlos Arthur Nuzman, NOC President and IOC Honorary Member; Jesús Morlan, the Brazilian canoeing team coach; and Ney Wilson, High Performance Manager of the Brazilian Judo Federation. Three other similar meetings will be held before the Games. In addition, the NOC has informed us that 10 young Brazilian athletes will compete at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, with, for the first time, a curling team. Info at

© El Salvador NOC

With the Brazilian colours and the rhythms of carioca music, the El Salvador NOC organised a ceremony in honour of the athletes on their way to the Olympic Games Rio 2016 (photo). Many personalities attended the ceremony, including NOC President Eduardo Palomo, Vice-Presidents Arrieta Manuel and Vilma de Flamenco, and representatives of the companies and institutions that will accompany the NOC and the athletes on the road to Rio 2016. Info at

© Guatemalan NOC

29 January will henceforth mark the day that the Guatemalan NOC made another step towards excellence and setting an example in terms of sports management, after it officially received ISO 9001-2008 certification. The NOC thus becomes the first NOC to certify its procedures such as (Olympic Solidarity) international assistance programme management, technical programme administration, athletes’ complete health assessment in the framework of sports development as well as managing participation in events in the Olympic cycle. The certification was awarded in the presence of representatives of the Central American Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR Centroamerica), Executive Committee members and NOC staff (photo above). Info at

© Mongolian NOC

Mongolian NOC President Demchigjav Zagdsuren hosted a farewell ceremony for Team Mongolia (photo above) going to the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 at Olympic House, attended by S. Lambaa, State Secretary for Ministry of Health and Sports and representatives of Winter Sports Federations and Olympians. Cross-country skier A. Ochirsukh and speed skater B. Sumiya will represent Mongolia at the YOG, which will have the same number of athletes competing as at the previous edition in Innsbruck in 2012.

© Portuguese NOC

The Portuguese NOC informs us that Oporto University Sports College (FADEUP) was the venue for the Portuguese Olympic Team’s first Rio 2016 meeting (photo above). It was a day full of activities for more than 100 people who will make up the Portuguese mission, including athletes, coaches and officials, in addition to the Chef de Mission and other staff, as well as representatives of the Olympic Federations. This first meeting was intended to present the staff of the Portuguese Mission, share information, and follow a media training session, together with cross-fit activities, which helped solidify the group spirit. Various initiatives of the Olympic Team are scheduled until August, including a second meeting on a date to be set closer to the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Info at

© Venezuelan NOC

Over 200 people took part in an applied sports sciences course organised by the Venezuelan NOC in Girardot in the State of Aragua (photo above). The agenda included talks on themes such as the most frequent sports injuries, the importance of journalism in national sports administration, and Olympism in general. A similar course was also held in Valencia in the State of Carabobo.




HANSSEM, South Korea’s no. 1 furniture maker, has signed on as the Official Furniture supplier with the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG). The new partnership was celebrated during an official ceremony at the POCOG office in Seoul, and included POCOG Secretary General Yeo Hyungkoo and HANSSEM President Park Sukjun. Info at



Mwai Kumwenda (photo), a netball player from Malawi, has been named Athlete of the Year 2015 by the International World Games Association (IWGA). A trophy will be awarded to her in cooperation with the International Netball Federation. Mwai Kumwenda is the only African player to compete in the ANZ Championships, the world’s most prestigious netball league. The Athlete (or Team) of the Year was elected by online vote between 1 and 31 January. The shortlist of candidates comprised 18 athletes/teams nominated by the IWGA member federations. Info at

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