On 22 January, the curtain came down on the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. Two unforgettable weeks of youth sport and culture finished with a vibrant Closing Ceremony that celebrated the athletes, volunteers and young people from the Canton of Vaud who made Lausanne 2020 such a spectacular success.
Addressing thousands of spectators and more than 900 athletes and flagbearers from 76 NOCs, IOC President Thomas Bach thanked the wonderful Swiss hosts who had been so friendly, efficient and enthusiastic and such loud supporters of the athletes throughout the Games. To the young athletes, President Bach said: “You were the best ambassadors of the Olympic spirit. You competed in great way. Stay true to the Olympic values in your life and in your future Olympic career.” He continued by expressing the IOC’s huge gratitude to the Swiss hosts, the people, all the authorities – municipal, cantonal and federal – and in particular the volunteers.
In recognition of their great enthusiasm and their wonderful hospitality, the IOC awarded the Olympic Cup to the people of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud. President Bach presented the Olympic Cup to the Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod, the State Councillor of the Canton of Vaud, Philippe Leuba and three volunteers, Pauline Carminati, Mayla Tornare and Alannah Jotterand.
President Bach then declared the 3rd Winter YOG closed and passed the Olympic flag to Sungho Kim, the Vice-Governor of Gangwon Province in the Republic of Korea, which will organise the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024. Full news release here.
After the Ceremony, a thank-you reception was held for those responsible for organising these successful Winter Youth Olympic Games. The IOC President presented the Olympic Order to the President of Lausanne 2020, Virginie Faivre, and the CEO, Ian Logan, as well to the Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod, and the State Councillor of the Canton of Vaud, Philippe Leuba, both Vice-Presidents of the Organising Committee. The Chair of the Coordination Commission for the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020, Danka Bartekova, was awarded a set of YOG medals. A number of Olympic pins were given to the organisers, while certificates were also presented to the mayors of cities that hosted competitions. Full news release here.
During the 13 days of the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020, President Bach visited the competition venues as well as attending some events in the framework of the “Lausanne en Jeux!” cultural programme.
Among his many activities, the IOC President met Young Ambassadors, Young Reporters and Athlete Role Models. He also took part in “Chat with Champions” discussion forums at the two Youth Olympic Villages, in Lausanne and St Moritz.
During the Winter YOG, the IOC President had meetings with many IOC Members, NOC presidents, and representatives of the next editions of the Olympic Games.
During a ceremony held at The Olympic Museum, President Thomas Bach presented Malcolm Arnold, from Great Britain, and Ulla Koch, from Germany, with the 2019 IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards, in recognition of their exceptional work with athletes throughout their careers. The IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission Chair, Sergey Bubka, and the members of this Commission and the IOC Athletes’ Commission also attended the ceremony. Full details here.
On Thursday 23 January, President Bach addressed the Extraordinary Executive Committee meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which was taking place in Lausanne, after a meeting with the incoming WADA President, Witold Bańka.
At The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, President Bach attended the opening of the “China Red” exhibition by Chinese artist He Jialin. The exhibition showcases a series of paintings by the artist, produced for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. This opening coincided with the celebration of the Chinese New Year. The President was accompanied by IOC Vice-President Zaiqing Yu.
Kirsty Coventry, IOC Executive Board member and Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, made the athletes’ voices heard at the Global Dialogue Forum on Decent Work in the World of Sport, which was held this week at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland). “There is no decision in the IOC without the involvement of the athletes,” she stressed. Outlining the mission of the IOC and the Olympic Games to unite the world in peaceful competition, she added: “Providing support to athletes from all NOCs and all Olympic sports is vital for the IOC. The solidarity funding model of the Olympic Games needs to be protected.” She also reminded the Forum participants, including employers, unions and governments, that the IOC is not the athletes’ employer.
other olympic news
On 17 January, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) filed a notice of intervention in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) case of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). The only purpose of this intervention is limited to the interest of the IOC and the IPC that the sanctions issued are clear, leave no room for interpretation and can be applied without any further procedures. The purpose is not to intervene in the assessment of the consequences or sanctions by the CAS.
Mariam Mahdavi has been appointed IOC Legal Affairs Director. She will take up her role on 16 March 2020. She joins the IOC from AGICOA, a Geneva-based not-for-profit international association, where she is currently serving as Head of Legal. From 1997 to 2005, she worked for Meridian Management (now known as IOC TMS) as Head of Commercial Legal, and knows the Olympic Movement from this role. Full press release here.
In the framework of the 2020 PhD Students and Early Career Academics Research Grant Programme, the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC), with the support of its Grant Selection Committee (photo), has awarded grants to six projects. The chosen researchers will benefit from a grant which allow them to carry out their project and, if relevant, consult the OSC’s resources in Lausanne. The results of their research must be submitted by the end of 2020. The full list of grants awarded is available here. For more info on the OSC and its programmes and services, visit www.olympic.org/studies.
As part of the introduction of the eight UCI Women’s WorldTeams – the equivalent to the premier division of the UCI Women’s WorldTour and a key aspect of the reorganisation of women’s professional road cycling in 2020 – the International Cycling Union (UCI) has decided as of this season to make more resources available through the anti-doping programme set up for this new team category. The programme has been developed and implemented by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF). Full details here.
The International Association Football Federation (FIFA) recently launched an enhanced integrity toolkit that aims to protect the integrity of football and help member associations and confederations to strengthen and further enhance existing measures in place to protect national and regional-level football matches and competitions from match manipulation. FIFA has also launched an Integrity e-Learning Tutorial aimed at educating individuals involved in football about the threat of match manipulation. Full details here. In addition, FIFA and Qatar, the host nation of the 2022 World Cup, have presented the first-ever joint FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy. The document outlines five commitments, including human rights, diversity and environmental protection, as well as 22 sustainability-related objectives. Over 100 organisations were consulted in the development process to ensure a robust understanding of the concerns and opportunities. Full info here.
Six months after the Junior World Championships, Rhythmic Gymnastics will take to the stage in Moscow (Russian Federation) on 25 and 26 January, with a symposium aiming to anchor the discipline in a new era. It will bring together 86 judges and coaches from 45 countries. This symposium is an initiative of the President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), Morinari Watanabe, who wishes to involve all the countries willing to help to make the next Code of Points a clear and robust reference document for the discipline. Full info here.
The President of the International Judo Federation (IJF), Marius Vizer (right in photo), was in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), where he visited a new training centre and watched a demonstration by a group of young judokas. During his visit, he signed a host city contract with the President of the Judo Federation of Uzbekistan (JFU), Azizjon Kamilov, for Tashkent to host the Judo World Championships in 2021, and met the Uzbek Prime Minister, Abdulla Aripov. A four-way memorandum to expand the IJF’s “Judo in Schools” project was also signed by the IJF President; the Uzbek Minister for Sport, Dilmurod Nabiev; the Uzbek Minister for Public Education, Sherzod Shermatov; and JFU President Kamilov. More details here.
For the first time, divers training under the International Swimming Federation (FINA)’s Scholarship Programme will be taking part in a FINA event, the first leg of the Diving Grand Prix, to be staged in Madrid (Spain) from 14 to 16 February 2020. All the divers in question are based at the FINA Training Centre in Kazan (Russian Federation). More info at www.fina.org.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Executive Committee held its first meeting of 2020 in Delhi (India) on 10 and 11 January. A number of key decisions were taken, including: implementing Table Tennis Review (TTR) technology at major events and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020; allowing multiple host cities for future World Team Table Tennis Championships events; and putting forward a proposal to the AGM that an extraordinary general meeting should be held towards the end of 2020 to vote on the future “Home of Table Tennis” and the good governance review. More info here.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced that Japanese athlete Ai Ueda (see photo above) has been appointed to the ITU Executive Board, making her the second Athletes’ Commission representative. Ueda is an active athlete, as is the other athlete representative on the Executive Board, Tamas Toth. Ueda will therefore combine her role on the Executive Board with her training and racing, as she seeks to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More info here.
On 19 January, hundreds of young children and families celebrated World Snow Day with the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), as the Snow Volleyball Festival drew to a successful close. The temporary snow volleyball court was built at Bretaye in Villars-sur-Ollon in the Swiss Alps, which hosted competitions during the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. This was the first time that the FIVB had taken part in World Snow Day. More info here. The day before, a number of Olympic volleyball legends took part in exhibition matches with other beach and snow volleyball stars. More info here.
national olympic committees
The President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco, has officially launched a new sport-specific legal, business and financial experts course for women. The course is led by the Higher Institute of Law and Economics (ISDE) and organised by the NOC and Iberdrola. Through this course, the NOC is looking to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly with regard to gender equality. The project aims to give sport-specific legal, business and financial training to 16 active female athletes, former athletes and professionals in the sector, in order to develop their expertise in these areas and give them the tools to enhance their performances or access leadership positions in their respective organisations. More info at www.coe.es.
Javelin thrower Magnus Kirt (right in photo), freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru (left), and rally team Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja were named Estonian Athletes of the Year 2019 in their respective categories. The Estonian Athletes of the Year were decided based on votes cast by sports journalists, the public and sports associations. The winners were revealed at the annual "Stars of the Sports Year" ("Spordiaasta Tähed") gala event organised by the Estonian Olympic Committee. The event was held in front of an 1,800-strong audience and was broadcast live on national television. More info here.
For 2020, the Venezuelan NOC has set itself the goal of redeveloping open spaces for athlete training. This project began in early January in the state of Miranda, with renovation work on several baseball fields. This NOC initiative aims to encourage the practice of sport by making use of spaces where young athletes train. The renovated baseball stadiums will also be used by baseball schools. More info here.
On 23 January, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s Executive Committee (ExCo) held an extraordinary meeting at Olympic House in Lausanne. Welcomed by IOC President Thomas Bach, the members of the ExCo discussed in particular the appointment of five new WADA Standing Committee Chairs, as well as a number of other topics, including the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) compliance case, the provisional suspension of the Moscow Laboratory, and consideration of WADA’s new Strategic Plan for 2020-24.
Full details here. In addition, the WADA announced that, as of 22 January, WADA’s new “Testing Centre” is available for use by Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) via WADA’s “Next Gen” Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS). The Testing Centre provides an improved means for ADOs to control, plan (forecast) and manage their testing programmes. It replaces the ADAMS “Classic” Test Distribution Planning tool, which has been operational for many years and required modernising. Full details here.