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Olympic Highlights 31/07/2020

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31 Jul 2020
Olympic News, Olympic Highlights, IOC News



23 July 2020 marked one year to go until the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. On the same day, the IOC’s #StrongerTogether campaign started; this campaign recognises the importance of solidarity and unity during these difficult times, acknowledging the power of sport, and in particular the Olympic Games, to bring people together.

Commenting on this important milestone, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “With only one year to go, a mammoth task still lies ahead of us. I would like to thank our Japanese partners and friends, headed by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro and Governor Koike Yuriko, and the athletes, all the Summer Olympic International Federations, the NOCs, TOP Sponsors and Rights-Holding Broadcasters. Without their solidarity and support, we could not have taken this historic joint decision to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. I am deeply impressed and grateful for the extraordinary progress already being made in the preparations since the joint postponement decision. With our Japanese partners and friends, we agree that we have to adapt the planning of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to the requirements of the global crisis, while maintaining the unique spirit and message that define our mission. We are working to optimise the operations and services without touching on sports and athletes. In this way we can, together with the Organising Committee, turn these postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 into an unprecedented celebration of the unity and solidarity of humankind, making them a symbol of resilience and hope. Showing that we are stronger together.” Full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin

On the eve of the celebrations to mark one year before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the IOC President led a meeting of the IOC Executive Board (EB), which took place remotely via videoconference in Lausanne. On this occasion, the EB members welcomed new IOC Vice-Presidents John Coates and Ser Miang Ng, and new EB members Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski and Gerardo Werthein. It was also the first EB meeting in which Anita L. DeFrantz participated as IOC 1st Vice-President, a position she now holds for a second time, following her first term from 1997 to 2001 (see also under “Members”).

The EB members were informed that the IOC and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have agreed an extension to their Worldwide Olympic Partnership through to 2028 (see page 2).

The IOC has offered support to the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) following the publication of a Human Rights Watch report highlighting abuse of both grassroots and elite athletes in Japan. The report points out that the IOC and JOC could play a leadership role in encouraging urgent reforms to protect athletes, while also mentioning the important reforms and initiatives the IOC has undertaken on this issue.

Following the decision by the 136th IOC Session to hold two Sessions in 2021, the EB received an update on the plans for the 137th Session to be held in Athens, Greece, in the spring of 2021, which will include the IOC presidential election. The IOC is continuing the close consultation with the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

The EB also received an update about the activities planned to mark one year until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Throughout the day on 23 July, the Olympic Movement came together to mark this key date through a series of activities taking place worldwide on digital channels, including the Olympic Channel. The activities on 23 July were organised under the theme of #StrongerTogether.

IOC / Greg Martin

With the President of the Swiss NOC, Jürg Stahl, President Bach discussed the situation of sport in Switzerland, the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and various other Olympic topics.

The IOC President met IOC EB member and President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) Ivo Ferriani. They discussed a number of Olympic subjects, including the preparations for the next editions of the Olympic Games.


On the occasion of the IOC and Procter & Gamble Worldwide Olympic Partnership being extended through to 2028, the IOC President said: “As we mark one year to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we are delighted to announce that we will be “stronger together” with P&G until 2028. Looking to the future, we have prioritised clear purpose-led initiatives that support the IOC’s vision of building a better world through sport.” P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard (left in photo) said: “In the spirit of the Olympic Movement, we’re making a shared commitment through our partnership to create positive change in the world in the areas of equality and inclusion, environmental sustainability and community impact.” In a first-of-its-kind, citizenship-driven partnership, P&G and the IOC pledge to take action to make progress in key areas – equality and inclusion, environmental sustainability and community impact – through to Los Angeles 2028. For the first time, P&G has also secured global marketing rights to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Paralympic Games through the IOC-IPC long-term collaboration agreement. Full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Bach met virtually with the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly. Tackling crime in and through sport, protecting the credibility of sport and enhancing the strategic partnership between the IOC and the UNODC were the key issues they discussed. President Bach underscored the importance of protecting the credibility of the values of sport and “the positive role played by sport in terms of social inclusion, drug and violence prevention, and rehabilitation”.  Waly underlined that “sport is key in helping to build back after COVID-19 and promote gender equality and female empowerment” and stressed the importance of enhancing the credibility of sport by tackling corruption at all levels (see also under “Other Olympic news”).

President Bach welcomed Fabian Hambüchen, an Olympic Champion in gymnastics from Germany, to Olympic House. During his visit, Hambüchen signed the Olympians’ Wall in the IOC Sports Department.

In Geneva (Switzerland), President Bach met Jean Todt, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), with whom he discussed the various current topics that link their respective organisations.

A meeting of the Digital Steering Committee has also been held by video conference.

On 1 August, President Bach will take part in the official ceremony to mark Swiss National Day in Lausanne, alongside the President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga, and the Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod.   

IOC / Greg Martin

Forty years on from missing out on the Olympic Games Moscow 1980, Anita L. DeFrantz took office as the 1st IOC Vice-President during the IOC EB meeting held on 22 July. After becoming the first ever woman to hold this role during her first term as IOC Vice-President (1997-2001), she now holds the position for the second time, serving today alongside President Bach, a fellow athlete who also fought against the boycott of those Games. “The year 1980 certainly changed my life in many ways. Becoming an IOC Member never crossed my mind, but the path I took led me to that opportunity,” she explained. “For me, to be serving right next to another athlete who was denied the opportunity to compete at those Games means a lot. It means we will never let an athlete be denied that opportunity again. It’s a great responsibility.” Full news release here.

Honorary members

The IOC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of IOC Honorary Member Flor Isava Fonseca, at the age of 99. A member of the Venezuelan Olympic equestrian team at the Olympic Games in 1956, she was a pioneer in the promotion of gender equality in sport as one of the first two women elected as IOC Member in 1981 – serving the organisation in this position for 20 years – and the first female member of the IOC EB, from 1990 to 1994. IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Flor Isava Fonseca was a great lady of Olympic sport. As one of the first female Members of the IOC and the first female EB member, she was a strong promoter of the Olympic values in her home country, Venezuela, and beyond. She was very well appreciated, in particular for all the many initiatives she undertook with regard to education through sport. The entire Olympic Movement will remember her as a personality with a great human touch.”  In 2016, in recognition of her achievements in the advancement of gender equality in sport, she was chosen as one of the faces of the One Win Leads to Another programme, created by the IOC and UN Women to build the leadership skills of adolescent girls through sport. Full news release here. Read also here a news from the Venezuelan NOC.

TOP Partners

With One Year to Go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the IOC and Worldwide Olympic Partner Alibaba have announced the launch of an official Tokyo 2020 content portal for Chinese fans on Tmall - China’s largest B2C marketplace for brands and retailers. The new portal features the latest news, photos and announcements related to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as interactive content tailored specifically to young consumers in China. Full news release here. In addition, Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba, is supporting Paris 2024 with its “Le Club Paris 2024” initiative on Full news release here.

Other Olympic news

The IOC, the UNODC, and INTERPOL, with the support of the Council of Europe, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) organised a two-day virtual workshop for the Baltic region aimed at tackling the manipulation of sports competitions. Held on 21 and 23 July 2020, the workshop brought together over 40 registered participants from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Full news release here.

On 30 July, the Olympic Channel announced that it has reached agreements with the International Federation of Teqball (FITEQ) and International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), an IPC-recognised organisation, to collaborate on content for the IOC’s global media platform. The two new cooperation agreements bring the number of the Olympic Channel’s federation partners to 95. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

The World Athletics Council has approved new dates for the World Athletics Series events postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The World U20 Championships will now be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 17 to 22 August 2021, one week after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships have been rescheduled for 23-24 April 2022 in Minsk, Belarus. More details here. Find out other decisions taken by the Council here.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA)’s International Basketball Foundation (IBF) has launched its new "Basketball For Good" digital platform. The Foundation uses the power of basketball to initiate positive social change globally, contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  Following FIBA’s recent inclusion in the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, this is another aspect where FIBA is aligning with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, which endorses sustainability goals. As part of the new platform, the IBF is also launching a "propose a project" form, enabling people to submit projects which require assistance that align with the IBF's vision and mission around "Basketball For Good". More details here.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) and local football stars have launched the #BeActive campaign, encouraging ASEAN citizens to lead healthy and active lifestyles amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. “We are diverse, but if we stick together, we are stronger. Be active today, tomorrow and always!” is the key message in the campaign, which consists of a series of videos. Full details here. In addition, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has approved FIFA COVID‑19 Relief Plan regulations. Under the terms of the Plan, USD 1.5 billion is being made available to support all 211 FIFA member associations and the six confederations to assist in the alleviation of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Plan was originally drawn up by the FIFA administration in close cooperation with the confederations, and subsequently approved by the FIFA Council on 25 June 2020. Detailed info here.

On 23 July, exactly one year before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) published the first of a series of Hockey@Olympics stories. With this first story, the FIH steps back in time to look at the hockey competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964, the first Olympic Games to take place in Asia.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the allocation of USD 6.4 million in a COVID-19 support plan. The goal is to assist athletes who will be competing in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 next summer through three distinct programmes. In addition, the FINA Scholarship Programme will include 100 athletes from National Federations that do not currently have athletes at Olympic qualifying standard – 80 swimmers and 20 divers – and enable intensive training at FINA Training Centres in Senegal, Thailand, Russia and the United States. Full details here.

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has launched a new virtual laser-shooting competition aimed at bringing the global UIPM sports community together online. The creation of #LaserAllStars follows the popular #LaserHomeRun event that took place in May. The world’s first #LaserAllStars champions will be crowned when the UIPM stages the inaugural finals on 9 September 2020 – coinciding with the 3rd Pierre de Coubertin Pentathlon Day. Full details here. In addition, the UIPM Executive Board has agreed further changes to the 2020/21 events and competitions calendar as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 71st UIPM Congress, originally scheduled to take place in November 2020 in Xiamen (People’s Republic of China), has been postponed to 2021. Full details here. On 23 July, the UIPM President, Klaus Schormann, marked #1YearToGo until the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a special statement underlining the importance of the Olympic values.

This year, the winner of the third edition of the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award will be decided by a public vote, alongside an expert panel of judges. The World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award celebrates the effective execution or ongoing delivery of high-impact, highly replicable sustainability initiatives, aligned to World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030. Entries can come from individuals, clubs, teams, events, initiatives, organisations and those from the marine industry with innovative products helping to make the sport more sustainable. More info here.

On 17 July, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Executive Board, in a meeting held via teleconference, approved a number of changes to the 2020 calendar, giving the green light to the Elite, U23, Junior and Paratriathlon World Championships to go ahead in 2020, at the end of the year, with venues and dates to be announced soon. The Board also decided to cancel several competitions. Full details here.


Safety and training in small numbers marked the start of Japan's national team camps for wrestling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Female wrestlers (Greco-Roman and freestyle) were the first to return to the mat at the beginning of July at the National Training Centre in Tokyo, following strict protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Besides coaches, staff and Japanese Wrestling Federation officials, the only people allowed in the room were staff working for the Federation’s website and a United World Wrestling (UWW) correspondent. Japanese media were able to observe the practice session through an online stream. Full details here on the UWW website.

Winter ifs

The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced that the 2020 world mixed doubles qualification event will be held in Erzurum (Turkey) from 5 to 12 December 2020. This will be the first international curling event held in Turkey since 2012, when Erzurum hosted both the European Curling Championships (C-Division) and the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. The competition is open to member associations that have not already qualified for the 2021 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. More details here.

national olympic committees

Rafael Bello/COB

On 20 July, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) reopened the Brazil Team Training Centre in the Barra Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro, and began the gradual resumption of training on site. Following the strict protocols set out in the guide on practising Olympic sports during COVID-19, released in June by the BOC, a maximum of 40 people will initially be able to enter the facility each day. Full details here. In addition, the BOC is the first NOC from the Americas (and the second in the world after Spain) to sign the “United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework”, which was co-developed with the IOC. By joining the framework, the BOC is committing to best practices in favour of the environment and to engaging with and inspiring society at large. More details here.

The Strategic Plan of the Cape Verdean Olympic Committee has just been published in the book “Managing Olympic Sport Organisations” as a case study by the IOC in which it will serve as an example for all the NOCs in the world. This plan, which covers the four-year period from 2016 to 2020, relied on the collaboration of all sports federations in the country that had been created by 2016, the NOC's commissions and the General Directorate of Sports. In addition, swimming athletes Troy Pina and Jayla Pina have just been awarded a scholarship from Olympic Solidarity to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Cape Verde will make its Olympic debut in swimming in Tokyo, having already secured two men’s and women’s places. More info at

Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

The “Road to the Olympics – Olympic Protocol Seminars” were another highlight of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC)’s 2020 Olympic Day celebrations in Taipei City. The event included a session with the men’s world no.2 badminton player, Olympian Chou Tien-chen, who shared his life experience with an audience taking part both in person and online. During the seminars on 24 June and 4 July, athletes, coaches and sports administrators from various national federations participated in lectures and discussions on Olympic protocol.  More details here. In addition, as part of the 2020 Olympic Day celebrations, the CTOC co-organised the 2020 Taiwan Sport Industry Expo, which started on 17 July and will run until 9 August. The CTOC contributed to a special exhibition to showcase valuable historical Olympic items, torches, mascots and Olympic Games-related collections. Moreover, during the Expo, the CTOC organised two side events: a “Sports Celebrity Meetup Session” on 21 July, with the participation of Olympians who discussed their journey to becoming elite athletes, and the “Tokyo 2020 Chinese Taipei Delegation Uniform Launch Event” on 23 July. More details here.

With one year to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the President of the Colombian NOC, Baltazar Medina, delivered a powerful message of hope to all athletes and Colombians, calling on them to continue to believe in their dreams and have faith that sport will soon return to normal. More details here. The NOC also officially launched its mobile app, OlimpicoCOL, on 23 July. More info here.

Czech NOC

Judoka Lukáš Krpálek (photo) has received the Jiří Stanislav Guth-Jarkovský Prize for the second time in his career during a ceremony held at the Czech NOC headquarters. The 29-year-old judoka was elected by his fellow athletes, in view of his great performance in 2019, where he was crowned world champion in the over 100kg category during the Championships held in Tokyo in the famous Nippon Budokan Hall, which will host the Olympic tournament next year. Many athletes were present at the ceremony. More details here.

On 23 July, on the occasion of the One Year to Go milestone ahead of Tokyo 2020, Team GB reaffirmed its support for its friends and partners in Japan with the latest iteration of its “This is What Makes Us” marketing campaign, which focuses on the diverse characteristics of the nation’s favourite sports team as it seeks to bring the nation together in the build-up to and during Tokyo 2020. The campaign is narrated by double Olympic taekwondo medallist Lutalo Muhammad. Full details here on the British Olympic Association’s website.

COE/Nacho Casares

On 23 July, a documentary entitled Abanderados del Esfuerzo (Flagbearers of Endeavour) was premiered at the headquarters of the Spanish NOC. The documentary tells the story of seven high-level Spanish athletes who were impacted by the COVID-19 crisis as they were preparing to compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The film was made possible thanks to the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation which is also responsible for the FER (Foment d'Esportistes amb Reptes) project, a programme that offers financial support to, and raises the profiles of, athletes in the Valencia region, with the goal of helping them achieve the best possible results at major national and international competitions. More info at

Speaking on the occasion of the One Year to Go milestone before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the President of the Venezuelan NOC, Eduardo Álvarez, explained that the NOC would be approaching the home straight to the Games from four strategic angles, focusing on the athletes who have already qualified; the athletes who have yet to qualify; the evolution of the pandemic; and the organisation of Tokyo 2020. In parallel, the NOC has continued to host online activities, offer virtual meeting opportunities for athletes and organise other digital initiatives to help athletes stay motivated. More info here

Organising Committees for the olympic games

Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020

On 23 July, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 released a video at the Olympic Stadium to mark one year to go until the exact moment the Opening Ceremony will begin for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games. The video, which contained messages of support for all athletes aiming to participate at next year’s Games, was unveiled on the main screen of the Olympic Stadium at 8 p.m. local time. Japanese swimmer Ikee Rikako (photo), who had been battling with leukemia, shared a heartfelt message and invited us to take a step forward towards next year’s opening day. “Imagine the world in a year: a world where the curtain is set to rise on the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”The event was not open to the public but was watched around the world through a live event online. Full details here.

Paris 2024
Paris 2024

The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 launched Club Paris 2024, which will enable as many people as possible to be part of the Games adventure, with four years to go until the Opening Ceremony. Everyone will have the opportunity to get involved in key aspects of the Games, from becoming a torchbearer and running in the public marathon to registering as a volunteer and becoming an official supporter. Every month between now and 2024, the Club will give members the chance to take part in fun challenges, which will be accessible to all, enjoy exclusive meetings with champions and benefit from many other exciting and engaging sports-based initiatives. More info on Read also the news release here.

Recognised organisations

To mark the One Year to Go celebrations ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), IOC Member Mustapha Berraf, issued a rallying message of solidarity to all members of the Olympic Movement in Africa, with a view to “very high-quality participation” from the continent at the Games. 

With exactly one year to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched a new interactive education course on its Anti-Doping eLearning Platform (ADeL) for athletes and coaches aiming to attend the Games. The new course, entitled ADeL for Tokyo 2020 Olympics, was developed by WADA in collaboration with the IOC and the International Testing Agency (ITA), and demonstrates the organisations’ commitment to educating and supporting athletes and their coaches in the build-up to the Games. Full details here. In addition, WADA and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that broadens the scope of information shared about marketed products and biomedical products that are still in the early stages of research and development, with the aim of developing anti-doping tests earlier. Full details here.

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