German Federal Parliament President Wolfgang Schäuble was presented with the Olympic Order by IOC President Thomas Bach in Lausanne. “Your commitment to sport has always been an underlying theme of your impressive curriculum vitae. This commitment reflects your profound conviction that the unifying power of sport can bring all people together without discrimination,” said President Bach in his address, emphasising the domestic and international achievements of former German Interior Minister Schäuble, who in this capacity was also responsible for sport for many years. “With your sense of values, intellect and farsightedness, you also played a key role in the reunification of Germany and the creation of a blueprint for lasting peace in Europe. Yet even in those historic and hectic times, you did not lose sight of sport,” explained Bach, before adding: “On the international stage, you have always been a driving force for European unity. Because of your firm belief in the European solidarity-based sports model, you played a major role in ensuring that the social role of sport was included in the Lisbon Treaty. This created the basis for promoting the social dimension of sport in Europe.”
Schäuble said in his acceptance speech: “This honour means a lot to me, as the Olympic ideals can guide us outside the stadium and arena as well. Peaceful competition following universally accepted rules, the principle of fair play, the quest for performance and the discipline of the individual as part of a team or for their own country – these are a motivating force that will ensure success far beyond the world of sport.” Signing the IOC’s “Golden Book”, the Bundestag President wrote: “It is a great honour and obligation at the same time. Humankind owes much to Olympic Sport and it is needed more than ever. All best wishes.”
The ceremony was attended by numerous personalities from Switzerland and Germany, including Swiss National Council President Isabelle Moret; the German Ambassador to Switzerland, Norbert Riedel; German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) President Alfons Hörmann; Olympic cycling champion Kristina Vogel; DOSB Presidential Board members Gudrun Doll-Tepper and Kaweh Niroomand; and DOSB CEO Veronika Rücker. After the presentation, the Bundestag President visited The Olympic Museum with President Bach. Read the full press release here.
President Bach hosted the Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miroslav Lajčák, the former President of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. He was accompanied by IOC Member Danka Bartekova and Juraj Podhorský, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the UN. Together, they addressed various topics related to the Olympic Games, as well as the importance of the European sports model.
President Bach also met the President of the Republic of Nauru, Lionel Rouwen Aingimea, on a courtesy visit to the IOC.
The IOC President welcomed a delegation from the NOC of Botswana led by its President, Botsang Tshenyego, and the Minister for Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development of Botswana, Tumiso MacDonald Rakgare. Together they talked about Botswana athletes’ preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as well as the first Youth Olympic Games to be held in Africa in Senegal in 2022. They also discussed Olympic Values and the power of sport to transform lives in Botswana.
President Bach met with Lord Colin Moynihan, the former Chairman of the British Olympic Association. Together they discussed the role of sport in Great Britain and internationally, as well as various Olympic topics. Lord Moynihan also informed the President of his role as the co-chairman of the newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Olympic and Paralympic Games in the British Parliament.
President Bach and Jean Todt, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), talked about the cooperation between their respective organisations.
With Michael Evans, the President of Worldwide Olympic Partner Alibaba, discussions focused on the excellent cooperation between the two organisations and Alibaba’s commitment to the Olympic Movement. Evans was accompanied by marketing consultant and former IOC Marketing Director Michael Payne.
The IOC President also held meetings with IOC Vice-President Zaiqing Yu and IOC Member Lingwei Li, during which they addressed various Olympic matters.
The President gave a talk on the future of the Olympic Games to members of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Alumni Club Lausanne. The event moderator was Susan Goldsworthy, an IMD professor and competitor at the Olympic Games Montreal 1976 (swimming final).
IOC Vice-President Anita L. DeFrantz represented the IOC at a memorial service for US basketballer Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on 24 February at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (USA). The two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time NBA champion and his daughter died in a tragic helicopter accident.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
During her visit to the IOC for the Olympic Order ceremony for the German Federal Parliament President, two-time Olympic cycling champion Kristina Vogel signed the Olympians Wall in the IOC Sports Department area. Vogel, who was paralysed in a training accident, continues her involvement in sport as, among other things, she is a member of the International Cycling Union (UCI)’s Athletes’ Commission.
As part of the process of additional analyses on the samples collected from the Olympic Games London 2012, the IOC announced on 25 February that one athlete has been sanctioned from these Games: Klodiana Shala, 40, of Albania, who competed in the women’s 200m athletics event at the Olympic Games London 2012 before withdrawing due to injury. More details here.
international sportS FEDERATIONS
Jakob Larsen, who led the organising committee for the World Athletics cross country course in Aarhus, Denmark, last year, has been appointed Director of Competition and Events for World Athletics. CEO of the Danish Athletics Federation for the last 12 years, Larsen will take up his position in early April. As part of his role, Larsen will chair the newly formed Global Calendar Unit. Full details here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA), as part of its Development Programme, will stage in 2020 more than 120 FINA Schools for officials, offering development opportunities for judges, referees and officials to certify their level of expertise and educate National Federations on the minimum standards and regulations for aquatics disciplines. In January, FINA held a successful FINA School for open water officials in Gaza, Palestine, with more than 35 participants, which will provide the basis for the organisation of open water competitions in this region. Some of the upcoming FINA Schools will be organised for diving judges in Singapore and Tashkent (Uzbekistan), for artistic swimming judges in Eilat (Israel) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), for swimming officials in Grenada and Madagascar, and for open water swimming in Niger and Argentina. More info at www.fina.org.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced the volleyball and beach volleyball referee teams who will officiate at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The teams comprise the world’s best 22 volleyball and 19 beach volleyball referees, representing all five Continental Confederations. The referees will be overseen by six referee coaches (three per discipline), all of whom are members of the FIVB Refereeing and Rules of the Games Commission. More info here. In addition, the FIVB has announced the second Snow Volleyball World Tour, which features stops in Turkey and Argentina. The Tour begins from 12 to 15 March in Kayseri-Erciyes, one of Turkey’s biggest ski resorts. From 20 to 23 August, the participants will be in the Bariloche region of Argentina, which hosted an event for the first edition last year. For the other World Tour 2020 legs, announcements will be made in due course. More info here.
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
The first meeting between the Algerian NOC’s Medical Commission and sports physicians was held on 22 February at the NOC’s headquarters in Ben Aknoun. The meeting brought together sports doctors and health officials. Members of the NOC’s Executive Board and several Olympic champions were also present. The aim of this science-themed day is ultimately to provide better care to athletes taking part in high-level competitions. More details here.
The Belarus NOC hosted a ceremony celebrating the medallists of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. The young athletes were presented with NOC certificates and prizes from the Sports Ministry and President’s Sports Club in recognition of their outstanding sporting achievements. The celebration was attended by the NOC First Vice-President, Viktor Lukashenko; the Minister of Sports and Tourism, Sergey Kovalchuk; and the Executive Director of the President’s Sports Club, Andrei Karpovich. More details here.
On 24 February, Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco (right in photo), and Cervantes Institute Director Luis Manuel García (left), signed an agreement according to which the Spanish House will be located in the Cervantes Institute headquarters in the Japanese capital during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. There, the NOC will organise meetings with athletes, especially Olympic medallists, press conferences and cultural activities (dance, music, etc.). More info at www.coe.es. In addition, the NOC’s Scientific and Medical Commission organised a medical congress on the theme of Tokyo 2020. Several talks covered topics such as adapting to the weather in Tokyo during the Games; the time difference between Japan and Spain; preventative recommendations before and after the Games; anti-doping; and protecting athletes’ medical information. More info at www.coe.es.
At a press conference held on 24 February at the Hellenic NOC headquarters, information regarding the Olympic flame ceremonies and the Greek leg of the Torch Relay was presented. The presentation was given by NOC President and IOC Member Spyros Capralos, Chair of the Olympic Torch Relay Commission Thanasis Vassiliadis, choreographer Artemis Ignatiou, High Priestess Xanthi Georgiou, and head of the “Ellada Mporeis” programme, Sakis Rouvas. Capralos announced the presence of the Greek President, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the IOC President at the flame-lighting ceremony at Olympia on 12 March. The new President of the Hellenic Republic, Aikaterini Sakellaropoulou, will attend the handover ceremony on 19 March at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. More info at www.hoc.gr.
The Western Asia Table Tennis qualifiers kickstarted a series of major Olympic qualification events in the Jordanian capital of Amman. Besides this table tennis tournament (24 to 26 February), the Jordanian NOC and its national federations will host the Asia/Oceania Boxing Qualifying Event from 3 to 11 March, and the taekwondo qualifier from 10 to 12 April. Up to 500 athletes from over 45 countries will travel to Amman. More info at www.joc.jo.
In cooperation with the Liechtenstein Football Association, the NOC of Liechtenstein has launched a child protection project. It aims to host workshops and discussions and produce guidelines on how to protect children in sports associations from bullying, sexual harassment and other threats. Over 100 representatives of sports associations and clubs met in Schaan to initiate the process of setting up a safer space in sport. The patron of the project is Princess Anunciata of Liechtenstein, a member of the NOC’s Executive Board. Further events regarding child protection are planned over the next three years. More info at www.olympic.li.
At a recent conference, the Czech NOC launched a new project entitled As Sustainable As Possible (ASAP). The aim is to motivate all engaged NOCs to create, implement and, where applicable, improve sustainability strategies, internally and externally, and thus become mentors for other sports organisations. The German, Danish and Finnish NOCs are already taking part in the project as mentors, and will pass on their experience of sustainability in sport to other countries. Besides the Czech NOC, the Hungarian and Slovakian NOCs have also joined the project, which has received IOC support. The conference participants agreed on the next steps and selected a logo to represent the project over the next three years. More details here.
An awareness-raising day on recycling and environmental protection organised by the Venezuelan NOC was once again held on beaches in the State of La Guaira, including Camurí Chico. The programme featured talks on the meaning of the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and activities such as football, volleyball and sandcastle-building. Children, adults and senior citizens took part in this day, which was also staged in Guárico, Falcón, Miranda and Anzoátegui. More info here.
Organising Committees for the Olympic Games
The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 has unveiled its official Olympic and Paralympic kinetic sports pictograms, the first time in the history of the Games that these have been created. There are a total of 50 pictograms covering 33 Olympic sports. Their innovative designs aim to reflect the modern era symbolised by the year 2020 and enhance spectator enjoyment of events, both at venues and via TV broadcasting. Full news release here.
On 21 February, 24 future sports managers of the master’s degree in “Sport Management, Marketing and Society” of the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milano-Bicocca, visited the Olympic Studies Centre and The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) was also present. The Scientific Coordinator of the master’s degree, Franco B. Ascani, President of the Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs (FICTS), has expanded the content of research on the topic “Olympic Games in comparison”, which will be followed by an internship for all students in Barcelona, Spain, in March, as well as a presentation at an international conference at the University of Milano-Bicocca organised by FICTS and the University on 12 June. More info here.