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Olympic Highlights 31/01/2020

IOC / Philippe Woods
31 Jan 2020
Olympic News, IOC News, Olympic Highlights



At a meeting of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Executive Committee at Olympic House, the IOC President urged those present to defend and promote the European sports model and continue to work on good governance. The next editions of the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 – were also mentioned. A meeting was also held with EOC President Janez Kocijančič. (See also under ‘Recognised Organisations’)

Getty Images

Reacting to the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, President Bach paid tribute to the athlete: “Kobe was an outstanding and true Olympic champion,” he said. “He embraced the power of sport to change people’s lives. After retiring from the game he loved so much, he continued to support the Olympic Movement and was an inspiration for the Olympic Games LA 2028. We will all miss his energy and his humble nature. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and those of all the other victims”. A double Olympic gold medallist and five-time NBA champion, Bryant died tragically in a helicopter crash at the age of 41. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers, including the pilot, also lost their lives. Full press release here.

IOC / Philippe Woods

IOC President Thomas Bach met the Minister for Youth and Sports of Romania, Marian Ionuţ Stroe, accompanied by IOC Member Octavian Morariu and Romanian NOC President Mihai Covaliu. Their discussions focused on the situation of sport in the country, Romanian athletes’ preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the importance of the European sports model.

IOC / Philippe Woods

Speaking to the members of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) Executive Board, meeting at Olympic House, the IOC President congratulated them on their many innovations to modernise the sport, and encouraged them to continue in this direction.

Preparations for the fencing tournament at Tokyo 2020 were the main topic addressed in a meeting between the President and International Fencing Federation (FIE) President Alisher Usmanov.

With the President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Francesco Ricci Bitti, President Bach discussed preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, as well as IF governance.

President Bach met Montreux Mayor Laurent Wehrli, who is also a National Councillor in the Swiss Parliament. Together they spoke about the success of the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020, and relations between the IOC, the Canton of Vaud and the Swiss Confederation.


Speaking to the City of Lausanne’s fire and rescue services (SPSL) at the launch of their annual report, the IOC President thanked the SPSL members for their cooperation and participation in the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020. The firefighters had the task of keeping the YOG flame burning during the Switzerland-wide Torch Tour until the Opening Ceremony on 9 January.

The IOC President also met Michael Payne, a marketing consultant and former IOC Marketing Director.


On 24 January, the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) announced that the Asian/Oceanian Tokyo 2020 Boxing Qualifying Event will take place in Amman, Jordan, from 3 to 11 March 2020. The event, originally planned to take place in Wuhan, China, from 3 to 14 February, had to be rescheduled after the decision by the BTF and the Chinese Olympic Committee to cancel the competition due to the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city. Full press release here.

The “Olympic Agora”, a tradition from Ancient Greece, will come to an ultra-modern Tokyo neighbourhood for the Olympic Games 2020, thanks to the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, supported by Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., the Official Partner of this unique cultural project. The “Olympic Agora” will come alive from 24 April to 16 August in the city’s exciting Nihonbashi district. A range of activities and events will welcome the public in a fun and festive atmosphere and bring beloved Olympic treasures to Nihonbashi, the business district that is often called the “centre of Japan”, including the torches and medals from past Games. The Olympic Agora is a project led by the IOC and refers to one of the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020, with the aim of further blending sport and culture. Full news release here.

International Federations

Summer IFs

The FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be staged in Bengaluru, the “Silicon Valley of India”, from 18 to 22 March 2020. The event will feature 40 teams (20 of each gender), and will be organised by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI). Six places (three per gender) for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – where 3x3 will make its debut – will be awarded at this tournament. More info here.


The International Association Football Federation (FIFA) Foundation has appointed former Argentinian President Mauricio Macri (pictured left) as its Executive Chairman. Macri has an extensive track record as a leader at the highest echelon in both politics and football. He served as the President of Argentina from 2015 to 2019, having previously spent 12 years as President of Boca Juniors, from 1995 to 2007. He also spearheaded Buenos Aires’s successful bid to host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in his capacity as the erstwhile head of the City Council. The FIFA Foundation was established in 2018 as an independent organisation, supported by FIFA, whose mission revolves around helping to promote positive social change. The FIFA President and IOC Member, Gianni Infantino (right) is also President of the FIFA Foundation. Full details here.

After the Olympic celebration in Tokyo, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) will conclude 2020 with its main competition of the year, now scheduled for 15 to 20 December in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates): the 15th edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), bringing together more than 1,000 athletes from around 180 nations. At the same time in Abu Dhabi, there will also be the FINA World Aquatics Convention, the FINA Swimming Golden Coaches Clinic, the FINA World Sports Medicine Congress, and the FINA “Soirée des Etoiles” Aquatics Gala, where the best athletes of the year will be honoured. More info on

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the groups, schedule and location of the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualification Event for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Hosted by USA Baseball, the qualifier will be staged from 22 to 26 March in Surprise and Tempe, Arizona, USA, where eight nations will compete for an Olympic spot over 16 games. More details here.


Algerian NOC

On 25 January, the Algerian NOC, whose President is IOC Member Mustafa Berraf, held an extraordinary general assembly. This was attended by 50 of the 87 member associations, including 16 representing Olympic sports federations. On this occasion, five new Executive Board members were elected. More details on

Cyprus NOC

The former President of the Cyprus Olympic Committee, Ouranios Ioannides (photo), died on 30 January at the age of 75. He served two terms as NOC President, from 2008 to 2016. He was also Minister of Education (1999 – 2003) and President of the Cyprus Sports Organisation (1988 – 1994). A successful athlete in football and athletics, Ioannides was also elected as a Member of Parliament in the 1990s and served on the boards of numerous sports federations and clubs. More info at

NOC of El Salvador

Around 250 athletes took part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Festival organised recently by the Ambassador of Japan in El Salvador, at the National Sports Institute (INDES). The programme featured demonstrations of judo, karate, kendo, table tennis, surfing, rugby, mountaineering, climbing, boccia and powerlifting. With six months to go until the Games, this Festival celebrated the sporting spirit and the values of excellence, respect and non-discrimination. It also provided an opportunity for national federations to stage exhibitions on their sports and provide information to local people. More details here on the NOC of El Salvador site.

Spanish NOC

Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco (left in photo) received the Spanish Royal Skating Federation’s “Golden Plaque” from Federation President Carmelo Paniagua (right). This honour was presented at the Federation’s 6th annual gala, held at the NOC headquarters in Madrid. Awards were presented to athletes, referees, judges, clubs, federation members and other entities linked to skating. The two presidents presented 53 medals and one Olympic pin to the athletes who had excelled in 2019 in the various disciplines. More info at

Hellenic NOC

The Hellenic NOC’s awards ceremony was held at its headquarters in the presence of many personalities, including IOC Member and NOC President Spyros Capralos, Greek Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, Deputy Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis and the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the ELPIDA Friends’ Association of Children with Cancer, Marianna Vardinogianni. Those honoured included the athletes qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the medallists from the 2nd European Games in Minsk in 2019.  Artemis Ignatiou, the choreographer of the Flame-lighting and Handover Ceremonies, and Georgios Andreadis, a prominent figure in sailing, received the NOC’s highest honour, the “Demetrius Vikelas” award. The 2019 IOC Sport and Sustainable Architecture trophy was awarded to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for the construction of its cultural centre, designed on sustainable standards. IOC Honorary Member Lambis V. Nikolaou (left in photo) presented the trophy. Full details here.

Turkish NOC

The Turkish Gymnastics Federation and the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) organised a technical course for coaches from 21 to 25 January in the city of Bolu. This course was run in conjunction with the Turkish NOC and received financial assistance from Olympic Solidarity. Some 30 coaches from 27 towns in Turkey took part. The course focused on the best practices for teaching gymnastics to children aged 6 to 9, and helped the participants to improve their general knowledge of this sport. The course was hosted by Slovenian gymnast Aljaz Pegan, a European and world champion who represents artistic gymnasts on the FIG Athletes’ Commission. Full details here.

Venezuelan NOC

The headquarters of the Venezuelan NOC recently hosted the first meeting of the year devoted to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Representatives of seven sports federations took part. NOC President Eduardo Álvarez and the Chef de Mission for these Games, Arturo Castillo, provided various technical information about Tokyo 2020. More details here. In addition, the NOC and the Andrés Eloy Blanco University are now offering academic training in the field of sport. The course will be run by the Central American and Caribbean University Sports Council. So far, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica have expressed their interest in taking part in this project. More details on


Tokyo 2020

2020 Getty Images

On 24 January, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo (Tokyo 2020) celebrated six months to go until the Opening Ceremony. As the Games draw closer, excitement is building throughout the city, and the illumination of the Olympic rings in Odaiba is the latest addition to the growing Olympic atmosphere. More info here. For the first time in Games history, hydrogen will be used to power the cauldrons for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as the torch for part of its journey across Japan. Tokyo 2020 has put sustainability at the heart of its operations, and consistently promotes energy conservation and the use of renewable energy to support the realisation of a carbon-neutral society. More details here.

Organising committees for the Youth Olympic Games

Dakar 2022

Senegalese NOC

The Dakar 2022 Organising Committee and the Senegalese NOC celebrated 1,000 days to go before the Opening Ceremony of the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games at an event held on the Place de la Nation in Dakar. A large audience was present to witness the start of the countdown, followed by a concert with various performers. Numerous personalities from sport and politics were also present, including NOC President and IOC Member Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye; the Mayor of Dakar, Soham El-Wardini; the Sports Minister’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahima Ndaw; and the Head of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Aminata Touré. The YOG Dakar 2022 will be held from 22 October to 9 November.

RECOGNISED Organisations

The Executive Committee of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) held its first meeting of 2020 on 28 January at Olympic House in Lausanne, where its members were welcomed by the IOC President. EOC President Janez Kocijančič praised the work of the 50 European NOCs, the EOC staff, and especially the organisers of the four EOC sports events held in 2019 (Minsk European Games, European Youth Festivals (EYOF) in Sarajevo and East Sarajevo and Baku, and Games of the Small States of Europe in Montenegro). He also gave an update on developments concerning the appeal by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency against the World Anti-Doping Agency at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Reports on the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020, the 2023 European Games and the 2021 EYOF were also given. More info here.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board met in Bonn, Germany, from 23 to 25 January. The subject of classification was a hot topic on the meeting agenda, together with the African Para Games. In addition, as part of the IPC’s efforts to focus more on how its work impacts and contributes to the human rights agenda, Board member Juan Pablo Salazar held a workshop for his fellow members on human rights and the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). More details here.

On 24 January, UNESCO’s International Day of Education, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) launched an e-learning course for medical professionals on its Anti-Doping e-Learning Platform (ADeL). The course recognises the important role that medical professionals play in protecting clean sport, and outlines how they can operate effectively within the anti-doping rules; support athletes in meeting their responsibilities under the World Anti-Doping Code; and therefore contribute to preventing doping. More info here.


The International Olympic Academy (IOA)’s Interactive Programme entitled “Discovering the Olympic Values” was successfully presented during the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.  Many YOG athletes and students aged from 13 to 18 visited the IOA booth, which was run with the International Olympic Truce Centre at the Medals Plaza in Lausanne. The visitors learned about Olympic education topics and became acquainted with the Olympic values and the history of the Olympic Games. The IOC President and IOC Members were also among the visitors. More details here.

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