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20 Jan 2015
Olympic News
Olympic News

Olympic Highlights



IOC President Thomas Bach was in Doha this last weekend for the 24th Men’s World Handball Championships upon the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, an IOC member and President of the Qatari NOC. The IOC President was welcomed by the President of the International Handball Federation (IHF), Hassan Moustafa, at a match between Qatar and Chile. The next day he had also a meeting with the Emir of Qatar.

President Bach met Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, an IOC member and President of the Association of the National Olympic Committees (ANOC) as well as Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF). Meetings were also held with Claudia Bokel, IOC Executive Board (EB) member, IOC members Sam Ramsamy, Ung Chang and Ser Miang Ng, and Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco.

The President attended the 2014 Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich (Switzerland), organised by the International Association Football Federation (FIFA), whose President is IOC member Joseph Blatter.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

At The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, President Bach joined United World Wrestling (UWW) President Nenad Lalovic and Olympic wrestlers (photo above) to kick off UWW’s “Super 8” campaign promoting gender equality in the sport. On this occasion, he met the female athletes featured in the campaign and watched as the athletes began a demonstration of popular wrestling techniques. Claudia Bokel, IOC EB member and Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission was also present. (see IF section). Full press release here.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

President Bach has welcomed Austrian NOC President Karl Stoss. Their discussions focused mainly on the 2015 winter edition of the European Olympic Youth Festival, which will be organised for the first time by two countries – Austria and Liechtenstein – from 24 to 31 January 2015, as well as the development of sport in Austria.

(From l. to r.) Mark Tatum, Patrick Baumann, Thomas Bach and Adam Silver. © IOC / Arnaud Meylan

National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver and his deputy, Mark Tatum, accompanied by IOC member Patrick Baumann, who is also Secretary General of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), paid a visit to the IOC President. The meeting focused on preparations for the Rio 2016 Games and the participation of NBA basketball players.

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

During a meeting with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China at the United Nations in Geneva, Wu Hailong, President Bach spoke about the organisation of the last Youth Olympic Games held in Nanjing in August 2014 as well as the inclusion of sport in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

The President met Jacques Antenen, the Canton of Vaud Police Commander and his senior management, made up of Patrick Suhner, Chief of Staff; Alain Gorka, replacement Commandant of the Gendarmerie; and Alexandre Girod, Head  of the Security Police. The IOC President thanked Commander Antenen and the police forces of the Canton of Vaud for their excellent cooperation, particularly with regard to security.

On 15 January, the IOC launched the bid process for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in 2024 with an Invitation Phase. It is the first bid process following the adoption four weeks ago of Olympic Agenda 2020. Interested NOCs and potential bid cities are invited to discuss their initial ideas with the IOC and receive various levels of assistance and feedback ahead of the 15 September deadline for officially committing to a bid. There has been strong interest in hosting the 2024 Olympic Games, with the NOCs of Germany, Italy and the United States already indicating their intention to bid. Full press release here.


© IOC/Ian Jones

On 13 and 14 January in Geneva (Switzerland), Jacques Rogge represented the IOC President at the second meeting of the World Health Organisation’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.



Richard W. Pound has been named Companion of the Order of Canada (the highest distinction within the Order). This honour recognises his “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation”.


Austin L. Sealy has been made a Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s honours list of Queen Elizabeth II.


© PyeongChang 2018

The venue master plan for the PyeongChang 2018 Games has been finalised, it was announced at the conclusion of the fourth project review visit (15-16 January 2015) of the IOC’s Coordination Commission. While good progress has been made since the IOC’s last visit, the Chair of the IOC’s Commission, Gunilla Lindberg, also stressed that timelines remain tight, including ahead of test events starting in 2016. Day one of the two-day meeting included a visit to a number of the new venues being built for the Games as well as executive meetings, part of which was joined by Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon. This was followed on day two by progress reports on all key areas of the Games organisation. Full press release here.

Women and Sport Seminar participants in Siem Reap. © NOC of Cambodia

A regional women and sport seminar/training session was held from 8 to 11 January in Siem Reap (Cambodia). Placed under the aegis of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, this seminar was organised by the Cambodian NOC in cooperation with its women and sport commission. It brought together 70 delegates representing 24 Asian NOCs. For the first time, the NOCs taking part were asked to send two delegates: an (active or retired) athlete and an NOC or National Federation leader. Numerous Olympians, such as Korean Olympic judo champion Kim Mi Jung, were present. The IOC Women and Sport Commission was represented by Beng Choo, a member of the Commission and Vice-President of the Malaysian NOC. Natalya Sipovich, Chair of the OCA Women and Sport Commission, represented the Olympic Council of Asia. With the support of these two experts in powerful change coaching, participants went through intensive training in self-leadership and mentoring. The event aimed to improve opportunities for women in sports administration, and strengthen the participants’ knowledge and competences in leadership. It was also an opportunity for women in the region to connect and share best practices.



The Conference on New Sports Medicine Concepts in Handball will be held on 23 and 24 January in Doha (Qatar). Organised in cooperation with the International Handball Federation (IHF) Medical Commission and the Organising Committee of the men’s World Handball Championships (Qatar 2015), this Conference will also present an overview of the latest clinical treatments and approaches in sports medicine and their relevance in the understanding of the concepts behind handball injuries. Info at

Athletes at the launch of the Super 8 campaign © T.R. Foley/UWW

On 14 January at the Lausanne Olympic Museum, United World Wrestling (UWW) President Nenad Lalovic kicked off the organisation’s “Super 8” campaign, in presence of the IOC President. The eight-week programme, bookended by International Women’s Day on 8 March, brings together eight female wrestlers, including three Olympic champions, for two months of activities to raise awareness of women’s wrestling and increase female participation at all levels of the sport. IOC EB member Claudia Bokel, also present, attended a a panel discussion on women in wrestling and international sport, with the participation of Carol Huynh, UWW Athletes’ Commission Chair; Sofia Mattsson, Super 8 Ambassador and active wrestler; and Lindsay Glassco, IOC Director of International Cooperation and Development. The final day of the Super 8 will take at the Women’s Wrestling World Cup in St Petersburg (Russian Federation). Info at

At the beginning of January, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) celebrated 200 days to go until the 16th World Championships in July in Kazan (Russian Federation). The competition schedule will include mixed events for the first time. In addition, the Swimming Coaches Certification Course of 2015 was held from 10 to 12 January in Kampala (Uganda) as part of the FINA development programme. Throughout 2015, as part of this programme, clinics for coaches and officials in the five disciplines – swimming, diving, water polo, open water swimming and synchronised swimming –  will be organised in Congo, Ecuador, Guam, Jordan, Nigeria, Peru and Sri Lanka. Info at

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has named its 2014 World Champions: the USA’s Serena Williams for the fifth time and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic for the fourth time. Americans Bob and Mike Bryan were named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the 11th time in 12 years, and Italy’s Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won the Women’s Doubles title for the third straight year. The USA’s Catherine Bellis and Russia’s Andrey Rublev took the junior titles, while Japan’s Yui Kamiji and Shingo Kunieda won the wheelchair awards. Info at

The ITTF Star Awards. © ITTF

Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and China’s Ding Ning (world no. 1) won the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Star Awards in the player of the year categories. Seven awards were presented during the ceremony organised in Dubai (UAE) at the beginning of January. The winners were chosen by an expert panel consisting of a representative from the ITTF Athletes’ Commission, the ITTF Para Division, the ITTF President, Thomas Weikert, and four members of the international media. Full list of winners at



Jouko “Jokkeri” Tormaenen (photo), Chair of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Ski Jumping Committee, died on 2 January in Rovaniemi (Finland) aged 60. A real legend in ski jumping in Finland, he won a gold medal (large hill) at the Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games in 1980. Info at

The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced that Scotland will host four international championships between 2016 and 2020. Indeed, the 2016 European Championships will take place in Renfrewshire, the 2018 World Junior Championships in Aberdeen, the 2019 World Wheelchair Championships in Stirling and the men’s 2020 World Championships in Glasgow. Info at


© Albanian NOC

The Albanian NOC, in cooperation with the Children’s Cultural Centre in Durres, organised a competition for the best video on the theme “Albania at the Olympic Games”. The project aimed to encourage pupils to gather information on the Olympic Movement in Albania and present it in the form of a video. A jury made up of the NOC’s Cultural Commission chose the best three videos, revealed at a ceremony (photo above) held in the presence of pupils, several members of the NOC Executive Board and the Deputy Mayor of Durres. The winning video will be posted on the NOC’s YouTube channel. Info at

© Algerian NOC

To promote women’s participation in the sport at every level, the Algerian NOC organised a second technical course for women’s handball coaches (level 1) at the end of December 2014 (photo above). This course brought together 50 participants, current or former members of the national team. The aims of this course included reintegrating athletes from national teams, strengthening women’s operational capacity at sports management level, encouraging women and young girls to practise handball, and promoting sports careers. Info at

© Andorran NOC

At the General Assembly of the Andorran NOC, its President, Jaume Martí Mandicó (right in photo), awarded the 2014 IOC Sport and Art Trophy to Luis Dejuan Massana (left in photo). Info at www.coa-ad.

© NOC of Argentina

The NOC of Argentina, through the Art and Culture Commission and Olympic Museum, organised the prize-giving for the 32nd edition of the national drawing and literature contest (photo above). Aimed at 6-to-19-year olds from various educational institutions in Argentina, this contest aims to promote the Olympic values through education. Taking part in the ceremony were NOC Vice-President Alicia Masoni de Morea and Secretary General Mario Moccia, as well as the members of the aforementioned Commission. Info at

A symposium entitled “The 2015 Code to fight against doping” in Bahrain brought together some 360 participants representing the Education Ministry, Interior Ministry, the Bahrain Defence Force, and sports  associations, sports clubs and gyms as well as National Coaching Programme graduates. This symposium was placed under the patronage of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Chairman and Bahrain NOC Vice-President, Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

© Bulgarian NOC

The Bulgarian NOC and the Bulgarian Sport Foundation organised the 23rd Annual Award Ceremony to recognise the best athletes, teams and coaches of 2014 (photo above). Over 500 guests were present, including the Minister of Sport and numerous Olympians. Tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, ranked 11th in the world, won the best achievement award; while the rhythmic gymnastics ensemble, current world champions, won the best team category. The best young sportsman award went to boxer Blagoy Naydenov, a gold medallist at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing; while the Olympic Honour medal went to Olympic swimming champion in 1988, Tanya Bogomilova-Dangalakova. The awards were presented by NOC President Stefka Kostadinova. Info at

© Hellenic NOC

The Hellenic NOC recently presented prizes to athletes and sports personalities, organisations and institutions for their contribution to sport and Olympism (photo above). Olympic participation pins for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi were presented to the athletes. The IOC Women and Sport Diploma was awarded to Fani Palli-Petralia; while the 2014 IOC Sport and Art Trophy was awarded to Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki. Yiannis Exarchos, the CEO of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), received an NOC award for his contribution to promoting the Olympic values. A prize was also presented to the A.G. Leventis Foundation for its support to athletes with Olympic Preparation Subsidies, and to the Olympic Academy for its entry in the Guinness Book of Records, thanks to the celebration of Olympic Day in 2014 by some 45,000 schoolchildren. Info at

© Guatemalan NOC

The Guatemalan NOC has informed us that the Congress of the Republic paid tribute to the 56 medallists of the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games held in Veracruz in 2014 (photo above). The NOC Executive Committee was represented on this occasion by members Lorena Toriello de García-Gallont and Rafael Cuestas. The Chef de Mission of the delegation present in Veracruz, Fernando Cáceres, also attended this ceremony. Info at

© Indonesian NOC

The Indonesian NOC held a Welcome Dinner for Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President and IOC member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who is leading an OCA delegation to visit Jakarta in the lead-up to the 18th Asian Games to be held in Jakarta and Palembang in 2018.  The OCA delegation was welcomed by NOC President and IOC member Rita Subowo and the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sport, Imam Nahrawi.  During the dinner, the NOC and OCA Presidents gave awards to the Indonesian athletes who won gold medals at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014 (photo above). Info at

(R to l) Igal Carmi, David Gerstein and Alex Gilady. © NOC of Israel

The NOC of Israel has awarded the 2014 IOC Sport and Art Trophy to David Gerstein, a painter, sculptor and gallery owner in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He is well known for his outdoor sculptures, which can be found worldwide. He has produced a series of works influenced by various sports such as the marathon, swimming and cycling. The trophy was presented by IOC member Alex Gilady and NOC President Igal Carmi. The ceremony was held in Tel Aviv at a gala evening in the presence of 400 guests - athletes, coaches, sports personalities and officials such as the Minister of Culture and Sport, Limor Livnat. Info at

© Lithuanian NOC

The Lithuanian NOC’s Women’s leadership project, entitled “Let’s start the change!”, recently brought together 18 representatives from various Lithuanian sports organisations (employees of organisations and former elite athletes) (photo above). On the programme were lectures and practical sessions on leadership and change management, projects, finance, marketing, communication and teamwork. Speakers included Daina Gudzineviciute, NOC President and Chair of the European Olympic Committees’ Gender Equality in Sport Commission, and Virginija Langbakk, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality. Info at

Sports award winners. © NOC of Mali

The 5th edition of the “Sporting Merit Night”, the theme of which was fair play, was held in December in Bamako. This initiative by the NOC of Mali saw the presence of the First Lady of Mali, Keita Aminata Maïga (who is President of the National Olympic Academy); the President of the National Assembly, Issaka Sidibe; Sports Minister Housseini Amion Guindo; and NOC President Habib Sissoko as well as a distinguished guest in the person of Mustapha Berraf, Algerian NOC President and Vice-President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA). The best sports leader prize was awarded to Wahab Zorome, President of the Mali Fencing Federation; while the fair play prize went to the former Chair of the Equestrian Standardisation Committee, former minister Adama Kone; and the best athlete award went to basketball player Djeneba N’Diaye, winner of the under-18s Afrobasket with Mali. Info at

The year’s award winners. © Mongolian NOC

The Mongolian NOC, in cooperation with the Mongolian Sports Press Union, recently organised the “Burte Chono” annual Olympic gala. The end-of-year awards were presented to athletes G. Boldbaatar (world judo champion) and S. Tserenchimed (world wrestling champion); the basketball team; wrestling coach Ts. Hosbayar; athletics legend Ch. Zorigtbaatar; wrestling judge B. Tumurbaatar; and young athlete U. Duurenbayar (world judo champion). Those present included Sports Minister G. Shiilegdamba, NOC President Demchigjav Zagdsuren and IOC honorary member Shagdarjav Magvan.

Anti-doping exhibition in Oman. © NOC of Oman

The Anti-doping Commission of the NOC of Oman, whose President is Sultan bin Yaarub Al Busaiai, staged an awareness-raising exhibition as part of its plan for this year aimed at educating and keeping all segments of society aware of the risks of doping. This exhibition was held at the Grand Mall Muscat to raise awareness among as many people as possible. Next April, the Sultanate of Oman will host a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Yemen Regional Anti-Doping Organisation. This meeting will focus on international anti-doping regulations, international standards of prohibited substances and methods in sports, updating the list of such substances and methods, national anti-doping programmes, anti-doping violations and therapeutic use exemptions. Info at

© Netherlands NOC

The 2014 IOC Sport and Art Trophy has been awarded posthumously to Willem Frederik Bakker. The ceremony was held during the Netherlands NOC’s Athletes of the Year Gala. NOC President André Bolhuis (left in photo) awarded to the trophy to the late Mr Bakkers’s son (right in photo). The ceremony was broadcast live on national TV. Info at

Athletes and their sponsors. © Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

At the end of 2014, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee launched its Corporate Sponsorship Programme for Elite Athletes. Twenty athletes from nine sports will this receive monthly funding for two years from sponsors via the NOC. This programme was initiated by NOC President Hong-Dow Lin, who, observing the lack of resources for athletes, thought it was the NOC’s responsibility to support athletes in need. He aims to extend this programme in the future to benefit at least 100 athletes per year. Info at

 © Venezuelan NOC

The Venezuelan NOC has informed us that, on 6 January, athletes, coaches, sports officials and representatives of the authorities came together in the Luis Ramos de Puerto The Cruz school, in the State of Anzoátegui, as well as in the Divina Pastora church in Caracas (photo above) to celebrate the traditional Sports Mass, which has been organised across the country every 6 January since 1945 in order to honour the results obtained and to welcome the New Year.


TOKYO 2020

© Tokyo 2020/Ryo Ichikawa

Athletes aged 20 and hundreds of spectators form a giant “2020” to launch the 2020-day countdown to the Games of the XXII Olympiad in Tokyo (photo above). This special day coincided with Coming of Age Day in Japan, which celebrates young people who have turned 20 and have officially reached the age of majority. Olympians and athletes joined hundreds of 20-year-olds to celebrate the two events on the square outside the Tokyo 2020 headquarters as well as in areas of the Tohoku region affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Those attending the ceremony included swimmer Kosuke Hagino, a bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Joined by swimmers Akihiro Yamaguchi and Daiya Seto, gymnast Akiho Sato, Paralympic cyclist Miho Fujii, also aged 20, Kosuke Hagino took part in a public discussion with the spectators. Info at


The Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO), whose President is Mario Vázquez Raña, met in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) from 10 to 13 January. Representatives of the 41 NOC members of PASO, of the 36 Pan-American Sports Confederations, and various International Federations took part. The topics addressed included the reports by the organising committees for the Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019 Pan-American Games, the PASO anti-doping rules draft, and Pan-American Olympic Solidarity programmes. Info at

The Sochi Paralympic Winter Games have been named the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)’s Top Moment of 2014. The Games set several records: number of spectators (316,200) and global TV audience (2.1 billion in 55 countries). Almost 550 athletes from 45 countries (another record) took part. Info at
Jose Perurena, President of the International World Games Association (IWGA) has announced that the 10th edition of the World Games in Wroclaw (Poland) will be held from 20 to 30 July 2017. This event will bring together nearly 4,500 athletes and officials representing almost 100 countries. Info at


Norbert Müller was re-elected as President of the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee (CIPC) during the 2014 General Assembly in Speyer (Germany). He is also a member of the IOC Commission for Culture and Olympic Education. Info at

The 32nd edition of the “Sports Movies and TV 2014” International Festival was recently held in Milan (Italy). Organised by the Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs (FICTS), this edition took place on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Italian NOC (CONI). A preview of the digital restoration of La Grande Olimpiade, the Official Film of the 1960 Rome Games was screened. This film was restored by the IOC in collaboration with the Instituto Luce and with the support of the CONI. Some 150 films with a sports theme were also screened. The Garland of Honour was awarded to the Rai documentary 100 Anni di emozioni azzurre produced for the CONI’s 100th anniversary. Info at

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