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10 Feb 2015
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



© IOC / Ian Jones

IOC President Thomas Bach ended his five-days trip to the United States with a meeting in New York with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
President Bach informed the UN Secretary-General about the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020. The topics discussed by the two men included the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The IOC President also invited the UN Secretary-General to carry the Olympic torch during the Torch Relay and to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

© IOC / Ian Jones

Also in New York, President Bach met IOC Honour Member and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The two men discussed the positive impact of Olympic Agenda 2020 to place sport in the heart of society and the global political situation.

© IOC / Ian Jones

The IOC President’s trip to the United States had started with a meeting in New York with former US President Bill Clinton. The two men spoke about global problems as well as the possibility of closer cooperation between the IOC and the Clinton Foundation. President Bach was accompanied by IOC Member Gerardo Werthein, who knows the Clinton Foundation well, having participated in a panel on “Sport for Development: Getting Youth in the Game” at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative - Latin America, in 2013.


© IOC / Ian Jones

President Bach then travelled to Phoenix (Arizona). Accompanied by IOC Member Alex Gilady, he met Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal, Mark Lazarus, Sports Group Chairman and Gary Zenkel, NBC Olympics President, as well as Steve Easterbrook, the new CEO of TOP sponsor McDonald’s. He also met Roger Goodell (photo), the Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) and took part in a media roundtable, before attending the 49th Super Bowl. A meeting was held with Carlos Arthur Nuzman, IOC Honorary Member and President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and Sidney Levy, Rio 2016 CEO, to discuss the organisation of the Games.

© IOC / Ian Jones

He then travelled to Vail/Beaver Creek for the opening ceremony of the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Ski Championships. He had the opportunity to meet many athletes competing in the Championships as well as some skiing legends. IOC Executive Board (EB) Member Anita DeFrantz and IOC Member Angela Ruggiero were also present as well as the CEO of the US Olympic Committee (USOC), Scott Blackmun. After attending the women’s Super G, the President congratulated the FIS President, IOC Member Gian-Franco Kasper, as well as the local organisers, for their excellent work. During a meeting with Gian-Franco Kasper and Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General, the discussion focused on the programme of the Olympic Winter Games in 2018 and 2022. With the Chairman of Seven West Media Ltd., Kerry Stokes, the President discussed the launch of the Olympic Channel and its importance for the promotion of Olympic values.

© IOC / Ian Jones

President Bach then went to the USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, where he visited new training facilities and a new medical structure, as well as meeting athletes. He also made a speech at a reception held at the headquarters, with USOC President and IOC Member Lawrence F. Probst III and CEO Scott Blackmun as well as the Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper. He also held discussions with the leader of the Boston candidature for the 2024 Olympic Games, John Fish and former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick.

President Bach was in Germany on Sunday for a gala evening to support peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, entitled “Reinforcing Co-operation - a German contribution to the Middle East”. The IOC President was a guest of honour, alongside former Queen of the Netherlands Princess Beatrix. The gala was organised to raise funds for a joint post-graduate educational programme between four academic institutions: The Royal Scientific Society (Jordan), Al-Quds University (Palestine), Tel Aviv University (Israel) and Heinrich Heine University (Germany). On this occasion, the IOC President said: “Strong cooperation and bridge-building are key to progress in the Middle East. Sport and the Olympic Movement have time and again shown their ability to help bring people together around the world where such reconciliation is needed - and the Middle East is no different. The IOC has been instrumental in bringing the sporting movements of Israel and Palestine together to cooperate. We are helping Palestinian athletes move freely across the region to train and to attend events, but also to ensure that, in line with the Olympic Charter, Israeli athletes are free to take part in all major sporting events. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra provided the perfect backdrop to this evening, consisting as it does of musicians from countries right across the Middle East who can come together to cooperate with such a harmonious outcome.”

© IOC / Richard Juilliart

It is with great sadness that the IOC has learnt of the death of long-time IOC Member and former President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Mario Vázquez Raña, aged 82. “Mario Vázquez Raña dedicated a great part of his life to Olympic sport”, said IOC President. “He served over decades with great commitment as President of PASO, even until his last moments. He had outstanding merit within the Olympic Movement and we will always remember him as a great Olympic leader.” A member of the IOC from 1991 to 2012, Vázquez Raña played a central role in promoting sport and the Olympic Movement in his home nation of Mexico, the Americas and around the world. His three decades of service to the IOC included appointments as Executive Board member, Chairman of Olympic Solidarity. He was also a member of several Commissions. Vázquez Raña headed the ANOC from 1979 to 2012, and was Chairman of the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) from 1975 until his death. Read the press release here.



On 3 February, IOC EB Member and International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Ching-Kuo Wu (left of photo) received the Order of Merit of Uzbekistan, in recognition of his great contribution to the development of the Olympic Movement. The distinction was presented to him at the AIBA headquarters in Lausanne by the Vice-President of the Uzbek Boxing Federation, Tashmatov Sherzod (right of photo), on behalf of the Government, Sports Ministry and NOC of Uzbekistan.

© French Embassy in Romania

Octavian Morariu has received the National Order of Merit with the rank of Knight. This decoration was presented to him by the French Ambassador in Romania, François Saint-Paul, at a ceremony held on 4 February at the Ambassador’s residence in Bucharest. Morariu, who has joint French and Romanian nationality, is also the former President of the Romanian NOC.

© Algerian NOC

Mustapha Larfaoui (right of photo) was presented with an award in recognition of his entire sports career, at the very first edition of the Algerian Olympic and Sports Awards 2014, organised by the Algerian NOC. The former NOC and International Swimming Federation (FINA) President received his trophy from the Sports Minister, Mohamed Tahmi (left of photo) (See also the “NOCs” section).


An IOC delegation led by the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates, has recently held a project review in Tokyo. As well as a visit to the Olympic venues, the delegation had positive meetings with the Organising Committee for the Paralympic and Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020, and met Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe.



The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has launched a new online platform for cities bidding to host events in the World Series. The site will provide the latest information on bidding for IAAF events, the rights and obligations of host cities, as well as the best practices from past and future host cities of such events. Info at

Some of the biggest names in international basketball have been brought together to form an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Players’ Commission for the 2014-2019 period (list on The Commission is chaired by a former player, Serbia’s Vlade Divac, who, in September 2014, became the first ever players’ representative and, as such, serves on the FIBA Central Board. Thirteen of the 14 members of the Commission have been appointed, with one remaining to be nominated by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF).

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) launched a new programme at the end of 2014, "Swimming for All - Swimming for Life". Its main aim is to teach children to swim, which is a fundamental tool in protecting people from the dangers of drowning. Indeed, according to a World Health Organisation report dated 18 November 2014, 372,000 people die each year through drowning.

FINA’s programme offers standards criteria for teaching swimming on a global scale, and will be implemented mainly in the countries on the five continents that need it most. Info at

(left to right) Klaus Schormann, Tsunekazu Takeda and Aki Musarato. © UIPM

At the end of January, the President of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), Klaus Schormann, and Secretary General Shiny Fang met the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020, to discuss preparations for the modern pentathlon competitions at these Games. Besides a visit to Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, the venue for the modern pentathlon competitions in 2020, the UIPM President also went to the Japanese NOC headquarters, where he held discussions with NOC President and IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda, and the Head of Sports and Games Operations, Aki Musarato. Info at


The city of Lucerne (Switzerland) will host the World Wheelchair Curling Championships from 21 to 28 February 2016 (provisional dates). In a press release, the World Curling Federation (WCF) indicated that this would be the fourth time this event would be held in Switzerland, after the 2002, 2004 and 2008 editions. Switzerland will also host the 2015 World Mixed Curling Championships (in Bern, from 12 to 19 September) and the World Men’s Curling Championships in 2016 (in Basel, from 2 to 10 April). Furthermore, the WCF announced the winners of the second phase of its Sports Media Trainee Programme for the 2014-2015 season. The winners will join the WCF’s communications and media team at World Championship events over the next few months. Info at


The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has awarded Tainan City, Chinese Taipei, the hosting rights of the next three editions (2015, 2017 and 2019) of the WBSC Under-12 Baseball World Cup. The Under-18 World Cup in 2015 will be held from 28 August to 6 September in Nishinomiya (Japan)’s historic Koshien Stadium. Info at


Yacine Brahimi and Sofiane Feghouli, 2014 Athletes of the Year. © Algerian NOC

At the beginning of January, the Algerian NOC hosted, in Algiers, the first (2014) edition of the Algerian Olympic and Sports Awards. Placed under the patronage of the President of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, this ceremony was attended by many personalities from the government and the sports world. The title of Best Male Athlete of the Year went to two players from the national football team, Yacine Brahimi and Sofiane Feghouli. The ladies’ title went to Amina Rouba, two-time African rowing champion. See all the winners in the other categories (technician, sport for people with disabilities, men’s team, women’s team, sports personality and special prize for excellence) at

© Bahraini NOC

The Bahraini NOC’s strategic planning department held a seminar bringing together representatives of national sports federations (photo above). Held at Juffair’s training and sports development centre, the seminar was led by head of department Hassan Abdullatif, who presented the NOC’s vision, mission and strategy, as well as various operational projects and initiatives.

“Get Set”, one of the most successful programmes of the London 2012 Games in terms of legacy, has just launched its Road to Rio mobile app, which will allow thousands of young people throughout the United Kingdom to take part in a mass participation project from now until the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Rio 2016. Inaugurated officially at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by British Olympic Association President Sebastian Coe and the Vice-President of the British Paralympic Association, Annamarie Phelps, the app challenges young people to travel and record the 9,298km distance from the Olympic Stadium in London to its Rio de Janeiro equivalent before the start of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “Get Set’s Road to Rio”, an educational platform from the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association, is partly funded by Spirit of 2012 – a charity established to sustain and extend the spirit of the London 2012 Games across the UK. Info at

(left to right) Offer Shimony, Gili Lustig, Yael Arad and Hilla Davidov. © Israeli NOC

The Israeli NOC, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education’s Physical Education Department, has launched a new project called “Olympism”. Created with Olympic Solidarity assistance, this school-based programme’s objective is to “build a better world through sport”. Over the past two months, presentations have been made by NOC Secretary General Gili Lustig; Project Leader Hilla Davidov; silver medallist Yael Arad, who is also a member of the NOC’s Executive Committee; and Director of the Physical Education Department Offer Shimony, among other people. The first phase will concern primary school children, and will offer sessions about the Olympic values and Games, Israeli Olympians and healthy lifestyles, as well as meetings with athletes.  The highlight will be the celebration of Olympic Day in schools. Info at

© São Tomé and Príncipe NOC

At the end of January, the President of the São Tomé and Príncipe NOC, João Costa Alegre (left of photo), hosted Portuguese NOC Secretary General José Manuel Araújo (right), who is currently on a mission within the São Tomé and Príncipe National Assembly. The situation of the Olympic Movement in the two countries and the Association of Lusophone Olympic Committees (ACOLOP) were at the heart of the discussions. Also present were São Tomé and Príncipe NOC Secretary General Antonio Menezes, as well as Rio 2016 Chef de Mission and President of the national sailing federation, José Luis de Jesús. Info at

© Seychelles NOC

Artist Colbert Nourrice (photo) has won the 2014 IOC “Sport and Art” Trophy, which was presented to him by the President of the Seychelles NOC, Antonio Gopal, last December, at the NOC’s end-of-year meeting. A painter, poet and musician, Colbert Nourrice received this award in recognition of his engagement towards the NOC through his artistic works and thanks to his expertise at various competitions organised by the NOC.

© Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

On 25 January in Taipei, the 18th edition of the Forum bringing together the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and the Chinese NOC was held. The Chinese delegation was led by NOC President Liu Peng (left of photo). This Forum established the roadmap for the exchange programmes between the two NOCs for 2015, covering areas as diverse as sport and law, women and sport, sports science, coaches, Sport for All and media. Established in 1997 and held alternately by the two NOCs, this annual Forum aims to increase and broaden the exchange programme. At this 2015 edition, Liu Peng presented the torch of the Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing 2014, to his Chinese Taipei counterpart, Hong-Dow Lin (right), in recognition of his delegation’s excellent performances during these Games. Info at

© Turkish NOC

Turkish NOC
President and IOC EB Member Uğur Erdener (right of photo) and Turkish Paralympic Committee President Yavuz Kocaömer (left of photo) have signed a historic agreement aimed at sharing knowledge and best practices with a view to providing new impetus to Turkish sport on an international level. The objective of this agreement, signed during a press conference at the Olympic House, is to open new means of communication and cooperation between the two organisations, in line with the Olympic principles. Info at


The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the programme of the Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020, will comprise 22 sports, with badminton and taekwondo making their debut. At its meeting on 31 January in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), the IPC Governing Board approved a further six sports to be added to the 16 sports approved and announced after its meeting in October 2014. Info at

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