IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed Jack Ma, the Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group, to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. Ma’s visit marked the two-year anniversary of Alibaba joining The Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship programme – a historic, long-term strategic partnership with the IOC that is helping to transform the Olympic Games for the digital era. In his address to the IOC staff, Ma said: “Alibaba is very honoured to join with you to move the Olympics to the next stage. We have moved things very fast, and we have started testing a lot of ideas. My view is that we have to bring the Olympic Games anywhere, anytime, to anybody, and we have to connect the fans to each other and let them get involved. We believe in the future. We believe that if we work together, if we create value for others, if we can use technology to enable others to have more jobs, then things will be better. Alibaba believes in Double H – Happiness and Health. It is the future. No matter how rich you are, how poor you are, no matter who you are, you always want to be Happier and Healthier. That is the spirit behind the Olympic Games.” The IOC President said: “Jack is always giving me good advice and leading me in the right direction when it comes to the great potential this digital world is offering for us. For us it’s not a challenge, it’s a huge, huge opportunity how we can reach even further with our message, how we can get access to our fans and also to our not yet fans in a more direct way, and in this Alibaba and Jack are key.” After a visit of The Olympic Museum, President Bach and Jack Ma took part in a discussion about an ever closer cooperation between the IOC and Alibaba. Full report here.
The IOC President addressed the new Executive Council of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), meeting for the first time under interim President Robin Mitchell, an IOC Executive Board member. In his speech, President Bach described 2019 as the year of the NOCs, given the large number of continental games. He also underlined the various challenges facing the Olympic Movement today.
President Bach attended the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Executive Committee meeting, chaired by Janez Kocijančič. In his welcome address, the IOC President underlined the necessity of preserving, now more than ever, the European Sport Model. Speaking about the forthcoming Winter European Youth Festival in Sarajevo and East Sarajevo, he pointed out that “this is another great symbol of what sport can do and how it can build bridges. In these times, our influence is more relevant and needed than ever before.”
Hellenic NOC President Spyros Capralos was received by President Bach. The refugee support programme launched by the NOC, various Olympic topics and other matters were addressed.
The President also met International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer, with whom he discussed the preparations for the next Olympic Games, in Tokyo in 2020, and various other Olympic subjects, such as projects for refugees' participation in national sports events.
President Bach took part in Lausanne in the very first Sports Media Awards ceremony hosted by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), whose President is Gianni Merlo. In his speech, the President paid tribute to Ghanaian sports journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale, who was killed whilst carrying out his job, before recalling the importance of the press’ contribution to the success of the Olympic Games. The President also took part in a Q&A session during the 82nd AIPS Congress, during which he addressed various topical Olympic and sporting issues. More details here on the AIPS site.
The President met a delegation from France Télévisions led by its President, Delphine Ernotte Cunci. He took the opportunity to thank France Télévisions for its contribution to the success of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and to discuss cooperation with the Olympic Channel.
International Olympic Academy (IOA) President Isidoros Kouvelos was received by the President, with whom he spoke about the role of sport in education and the cooperation on this between the IOC and the IOA.
Meetings were also held with IOC Honorary Member Vitaly Smirnov and Holger Preuss, a sports economics and sociology professor at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (Germany), and Mike McNamee from Swansea University (Great Britain), who presented a new project for a Masters' programme in Sports Ethics and Integrity.
Two weeks after celebrating “one-year-to-go” to the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020, the IOC Coordination Commission, chaired by Danka Bartekova, reconvened in the Olympic Capital to provide assistance to the local organisers on the crucial 12 months ahead. Thanks to the close relationship between the Organising Committee, the IOC, the City of Lausanne, regional governments and the IFs, Lausanne 2020 has capitalised on using existing world-class venues and sustainable solutions in each sport throughout Switzerland and neighbouring France, from the frozen lake in St Moritz for speed skating to the Nordic sports facilities in Les Tuffes, France. The Coordination Commission made several venue visits, including to two of the pre-existing city projects that will be used for the YOG. Full report here.
Stavroula Kozompoli (r. on photo), a waterpolo silver medallist at the Olympic Games Athens 2004 has donated the swimsuit and cap she wore during the Olympic competition to The Olympic Museum.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
In the framework of the 2019 PhD Students and Early Career Academics Research Grant Programme, The Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) with the support of its Grant Selection Committee, has awarded six projects. The chosen researchers benefit from a grant which allow them to carry out their project and, if relevant, to consult The OSC’s resources in Lausanne. The results of their research must be submitted by the end of 2019. The list of grants awarded for the 2019 programme is available here. The selection committee comprised the following members: Marion Keim (University of the Western Cape, South Africa), Sigmund Loland (Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norway), Ana Maria Miragaya (Universidade Estàcio de Sà, Brazil), Benoît Seguin (University of Ottawa, Canada), Tracy Taylor (University of Technology Sydney, Australia), Cesar Torres (State University of New York, United States), Thierry Zintz (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium) as well as OSC representatives. For more information on The Olympic Studies Centre visit www.olympic.org/studies.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that the first match of the FIH Pro League was held in Valencia (Spain) between the newly crowned men’s world champions, Belgium, and Spain. The FIH Pro League is a brand-new competition launched by the FIH as part of the “Hockey Revolution” strategic plan adopted by the FIH in 2014. Over 20 venues across 11 nations will play host to a staggering 144 international matchesfrom January to June. More info here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that invitations have been sent to national federations with athletes selected for the first edition of the new FINA event, the Champions Swim Series. In total, 45 male swimmers from 15 countries and 27 female swimmers from 17 countries have been formally invited to compete. The first event will take place in Guangzhou (People’s Republic of China) on 27 and 28 April, with the competition continuing in Budapest (Hungary) on 11 and 12 May, and finishing in Indianapolis (USA) on 31 May and 1 June. More info at www.fina.org.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has unveiled three new Codes of Conduct for athletes, coaches and technical officials. The standards were adopted during the 2nd joint meeting of the UIPM Athletes’ Committee, Coaches’ Committee and Technical Committee in Frankfurt (Germany) which also involved the IOC Sports Department. More info at www.uipmworld.org.
International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) President Vladimir Lisin held several meetings in Lausanne last week to address important matters for the development of shooting sport in the Olympic Movement. In a meeting with IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell, the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 were discussed, as were the possibilities to develop shooting sport in Africa generated by the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2022. Sustainable development and the environment were also addressed. More info here.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) completed a two-day coaching workshop in Jordan aimed at introducing baseball5 to Zaatari, the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees – run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – as part of the partnership developed with the organisation Peace and Sport. The workshop, which ran from 23 to 24 January, aimed to teach the basics of baseball5 to more than 30 local coaches, teachers and project coordinators working at the camp. In the coming weeks, coaches will begin introducing the WBSC’s new discipline to many of the 80,000 refugees living in the densely populated camp. For the first time in the history of the sport activities in the camp, baseball5 allowed men and women, and boys and girls to play together in mixed teams. All of the equipment required for the baseball5 programme is being donated by the WBSC. More details here. The WBSC has also awarded the hosting rights and announced the dates for six qualifying events for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More details here.
On 20 January, the 8th edition of World Snow Day, a project of the International Ski Federation (FIS), was a resounding success. Events were staged in every corner of the world on all five continents. From South America, which featured snow sports on sand dunes, to the People’s Republic of China, which saw 113 resorts across the country provide a wide variety of activities all aimed at bringing children to the snow. In addition, Canada and the USA joined the fun, with free lessons, free lifts passes and on-snow entertainment in various resorts. In Europe, events took place in major cities including Dresden (Germany), Stockholm (Sweden), Zagreb (Croatia), Innsbruck (Austria), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Tallinn (Estonia). All in all, 464 events took place in 45 countries during this 2019 edition. Full details here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The Bahrain NOC has unveiled a plan to set up playgrounds equipped with integrated sports and entertainment facilities. The initiative, known as “Al Firjan Playgrounds”, is part of the NOC’s efforts to provide people of all ages access to multiple sports facilities and entertainment services across the country. A committee has been formed and includes representatives from inside and outside the NOC. It is led by Abdulrahman Askar, the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Assistant Secretary General and NOC Secretary General. More info at www.boc.bh.
The first edition of the Brazilian Olympic Congress will take place on 13 April in São Paulo. Organised by the Brazilian Olympic Institute (IOB) and the Education Department of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), the event will focus mainly on “High Impact Sport Management – Strategies for Effective Results”. Aimed at sports managers, coaches and professionals, the objective of the Brazilian Olympic Congress is to convey and share information and knowledge among the main sports stakeholders. The Congress also marks the 10th anniversary of the IOB, which was established in 2009. The IOB’s mission is to generate and disseminate knowledge by promoting training and development programmes for national Olympic sports professionals. More details here.
As part of training provided to officials, coaches and volunteers for the XII Central American Games in Santa Tecla in 2021 and the candidature for the 1st Junior Pan-American Games in Santa Ana in 2021, a course on sports management took place from 24 to 27 January in Santa Ana. The course was organised by the Salvadorian Olympic Academy, the educational arm of the NOC of El Salvador, in coordination with the Colombian NOC. The topics addressed included values and challenges, management skills, managing the environment, resources management, activity management and athlete development. More details here.
The New Leaders Sport Leadership Education programme kicked off in Vilnius (Lithuania) from 21 to 23 January. A legacy project by Birgitta Kervinen, the 2017 winner of the IOC Women and Sport award, this programme is a joint effort coordinated by the Finnish NOC with the IOC, the EOC, the Lithuanian NOC, the Irish NOC and the NOC of Azerbaijan. At the first workshop, on the theme “Lead the change – Be the change”, the 30 participants from Europe, named “game-changers”, set realistic and tangible goals, to be followed by concrete action plans to transform the sports movement to be more equal, transparent and ethical. This programme, its three workshops and a closing conference are educating 30 participants to become game-changers over a period of one year. Concrete action plans will be designed on a personal and organisational level, bringing to life the IOC Gender Equality Recommendations and creating a culture of change in Europe. Full details here.
The Venezuelan Judo Federation organised a national judging seminar at the Venezuelan NOC headquarters, following the updating of the sport’s international rules. Katiuska Santaella shared her experiences after participating in the annual judging seminar of the International Judo Federation in Mittersill (Austria). The Venezuelan Judo Federation held its annual general assembly at the National Judo Centre in El Paraíso.
ORGANISING ComMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
On 23 January, the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 (Tokyo 2020) unveiled the third phase of its test event schedule. Sixteen events were announced in the first schedule released on 2 October and another 20 events were added in the second announcement on 22 November. This latest announcement contains the schedule for an additional 15 events. A small number of events are still under discussion with the relevant international and national federations, and Tokyo 2020 will add them to the schedule upon their confirmation. In total, 56 test events will be held during the period between September 2018 and May 2020. More details here. Furthermore, Tokyo 2020 has announced that a total of 204,680 people in Japan and overseas have applied to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Volunteer Programme. More details here.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced on 24 January that it will move to new headquarters in Bonn (Germany), its home city for the last 20 years, from January 2020. The move follows talks with the City of Bonn, the State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Federal Government to find a new location for the IPC’s growing workforce. During its meeting on 15 January 2019, the cabinet of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia decided to provide the IPC with the property of the former State Representation in Dahlmannstrasse 2 in Bonn for the long term. The building is approximately 500m from the IPC’s current base and has a capacity for approximately 150 employees. The proposal was approved unanimously on 24 January by the IPC Governing Board at its meeting in London (Great Britain). More details here.
Generations For Peace and Laureus Sport for Good announced a new partnership designed to engage Syrian refugees and Jordanian youth in local host communities. The partnership includes a grant from Laureus Sport for Good, which Generations For Peace will use over the course of one year to implement its Sport For Peace programme in 36 selected schools across Jordan. More details here.