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Olympic Highlights

18 Mar 2015
Olympic News



 © IOC / Ian Jones

IOC President Thomas Bach was in Tokyo

(Japan) to announce a milestone TOP partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) chaired by President Akio Toyoda. On this occasion, President Bach said: “This is a very symbolic day. It is the first time in the successful history of the TOP programme that we have had a mobility category. It is in the spirit of the Olympic Agenda 2020 not just in terms of innovation but also in terms of sustainability in mobility. Toyota is the world leader in its field and this partnership signifies a strong commitment to the future of the IOC and the Olympic Movement. Toyota and the IOC share the same values and we welcome Toyota Motor Corporation to the Olympic family.” Toyota President commented as follows: “We will do everything possible to fulfil our new role in The Olympic Partner Programme and to justify the trust that the IOC has placed in us. The addition of the mobility category to The Olympic Partner Programme is important recognition for our entire industry. Under this Olympic flag, let us today reaffirm the power of sport to bring people together. Let us dedicate ourselves to creating a better world by promoting sport in the Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play.”
Indeed, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, with sustainability as one of its key pillars, Toyota will work with the Organising Committees through to 2024 to provide sustainable mobility solutions for the Games to help with safer, more efficient mobility, including intelligent transport systems, urban traffic systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems. The partnership will help deliver a mobility legacy in the host cities and countries. Toyota will join the TOP Programme in 2017 (TOP IX), but will have marketing rights in Japan with immediate effect.  Full release here.

© IOC / Ian Jones

The IOC President and the Chairman of the IOC Marketing Commission, Tsunekazu Takeda, visited the Toyota City Mega Web exhibition which showcases the latest cutting-edge products that will form part of Toyota’s sustainable mobility solutions. They had the opportunity to test drive some of the vehicles, including the Mirai, Toyota’s new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle; the three wheeled, electric powered i-ROAD; and the Winglet, Toyota’s personal transport assistance robot. The President also met Japanese racing driver Takayuki Kinoshita and took the opportunity to drive with him in a Lexus LFA supercar.


© IOC / Ian Jones

Also in Tokyo, President Bach once again held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The leaders discussed the excellent cooperation and the strong commitment of the Japanese business community towards the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. President Bach remarked that the relationship was a strong asset for the preparation of the Games.  Full release here.

During his stay in Tokyo, the President held meeting with the IOC Member, Tsunekazu Takeda, also President of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Vice-President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (Tokyo 2020). He also met the IOC Honorary Members, Chiharu Igaya and Shun-ichiro Okano, the Tokyo 2020 President, Yoshiro Mori, the Tokyo 2020 Sports Director, Koji Murofushi as well as the President of Japan Sailing Federation and JOC Vice President, Hirobumi Kawano.

President Bach was the keynote speaker at the 10th edition of the “Herausforderung Zukunft” forum in Bochum (Germany) on 10 March. He talked about Olympic Agenda 2020 and the position and role of sport in society.

Reacting to news of the death of three French athletes, Camille Muffat, Alexis Vastine and Florence Arthaud, the IOC President declared: “With them, the world of sport and the Olympic family have lost three of their key members. They were all not only champions in their sport but also contributed greatly as role models. The Olympic Movement mourns with their families and friends, their fellow athletes, the French National Olympic Committee and with France.” The Olympic flag was flown at half-mast for three days at the IOC headquarters to honour these great champions, who were killed on 9 March in a helicopter accident in Argentina. Swimmer Camille Muffat won three medals (gold, silver and bronze) at the 2012 Games in London. Boxer Alexis Vastine won a bronze medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing. For her part, sailor Florence Arthaud won the Route du Rhum single-handed transatlantic race in 1990


The Evaluation Commission for the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2020 met in Lausanne on 11 and 12 March, under the chairmanship of IOC Member Yang Yang. The Commission held meetings by videoconference with the two candidate cities for these Games, Brasov (Romania) and Lausanne (Switzerland). The host city will be elected during the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) on 31 July this year.



Representatives from more than 50 National Federations, along with FISA Council and Commission members, organising committees and FISA staff, gathered on 8 March to discuss the future of the sport following the IOC’s adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020. The purpose of the conference was to inform the federations about the implementation of FISA’s strategic plan, in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, and to create a forum for discussion amongst these key stakeholders on their roles in aligning the sport of rowing with Olympic Agenda 2020. The morning session was devoted to informing the federations and commission members about rowing and the Olympic Movement. The afternoon sessions allowed the federations to discuss and develop ideas on how each can address universality and gender equality, two of the key elements of Olympic Agenda 2020 and FISA’s strategic plan. This approach underlines the FISA objective not only to find solutions at the international level, but also to align each of the national federations with the broader goals and objectives of the IOC and FISA. Details on

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has announced the launch of its reinvigorated Athletes’ Commission. A number of changes have been made, ranging from the election method of its members to the balance of its composition and the tasks it is required to carry out, with the aim of ensuring even closer ties with the athletes. Each national federation will nominate athletes for each discipline (road, mountain bike, trials, BMX, cyclo-cross, track, para-cycling and indoor). For the Olympic (road, mountain bike, BMX and track) and Paralympic disciplines, each federation will nominate two athletes (one man and one woman). The Commission members will then be elected by their peers for a term of office lasting until 2017. There will be 13 members in all (representing all the disciplines). The Commission Chair will be co-opted to the UCI Management Committee. The UCI will announce the composition of the Commission in May this year. Details on

As part of its development programmes, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has launched its Scholarships Programme, which aims to identify, qualify and prepare a limited number of athletes aspiring to participate in the FINA World Championships in Kazan (Russia) this year, and the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. The programme is designed to help the national federations which face difficulties in accessing high-level facilities.  The latest athlete to benefit from a scholarship is 19-year-old Fijian swimmer Meli Melani, who is currently training at the Spire Institute in the USA. Melani was recently named 2014 Fiji Sportsman of the Year. Details on

To mark International Women’s Day, the world rugby community celebrated the growth and development of women’s rugby under the theme “Make It Happen”. World Rugby and its member unions are committed to ensuring easy access to rugby for women and girls through initiatives like the “Get Into Rugby” programme. In 2014, this programme saw 121,000 girls in 183 countries introduced to the game. Details on


Surf Haiti, the national surfing association of the Caribbean nation, has become the 94th member of the International Surfing Association (ISA). Since its formation in 2011, Surf Haiti has used surfing to contribute to the country's social and economic redevelopment following the devastating earthquake in 2010. With a strong focus on youth development programmes, sustainability initiatives and the formation of the first-ever Haitian surf school, Surf Haiti provides better access to the sport for young Haitians while also educating members in best practices relating to the environment, clean water, local culture and personal development. By becoming an ISA member, Haiti will benefit from further investment, among other things in infrastructure. Details on


Distribution of health kits by the Guinean NOC. © Guinean NOC

As part of efforts to combat the Ebola virus in the sports community, the Guinean NOC has distributed health kits to 28 national sports federations and the country’s eight administrative regions. The kits contain chlorine, boxes of soap, bleach and Thermo Scientific Flash analysers. The distribution took place on 11 March at the NOC headquarters at the 28 September Stadium in Conakry, in the presence of representatives of the ministries of sport, higher education and culture, as well as the Red Cross and the national commission to combat Ebola.

© Jordanian NOC

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the President of the Jordanian NOC and IOC Member Prince Feisal Al Hussein (left in photo) called on girls and women in Jordan and around the world to embrace sport, both on and off the field of play. In his message, he underlined how sport can give girls and women the confidence to become leaders and provide them with a chance to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle. For her part, NOC Secretary General Lana Al Jaghbeer (right in photo), the only female NOC Secretary General in Asia, encouraged girls and women to be confident, take part and chase their dreams, in order to become the leaders of tomorrow. Details on

Future Lithuanian speed skaters. © Lithuanian NOC

The second Olympic Winter Sports Festival was held on 14 February in Druskininkai. The Festival was opened by Lithuanian NOC President Daina Gudzineviciute and the Mayor of Druskininkai, Ricardas Malinauskas. Open to everyone, whatever their level, the Festival included skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, short-track speed skating, figure skating and curling competitions. Professional athletes were also on hand to encourage the children taking part to practise winter sports. Details on

ACP seminar in Kigali. © Laurent Bagnis

During the 9th International African Sports Convention in Kigali, around 30 athletes, mostly from Rwanda, took part in a seminar on 11 and 12 March in the framework of the Athlete Career Programme, which the IOC runs in cooperation with Adecco. Organised jointly with the Rwandan NOC, the seminar was also attended by IOC Executive Board member and Athletes’ Commission Chair Claudia Bokel; Amadou Dia Ba, Chairman of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Athletes’ Commission; and ANOCA Commission member Kady Tounkara.

Yaniuska with her three boys. © Venezuelan Weightlifting Federation

 The Venezuelan NOC informs us that on International Women’s Day, the national weightlifting federation honoured Yaniuska Espinosa. In 2014, this mother of three boys won two gold medals and a silver medal at the South American Games in Santiago (Chile) in March; then a gold medal at the Pan-American Championships in San Domingo (Dominican Republic) in May; and finally another gold medal at the Central America and Caribbean Games in Veracruz (Mexico). Her aim for 2015 is to win gold at the Pan-American Games in Toronto (Canada) and obtain her Olympic qualification points at the World Championships in Houston (USA).


TOKYO 2020

Koji Murofushi with children from Ishinomaki. © Tokyo 2020 / Shugo Takemi

On 11 March 2015, four years after the Great East Japan earthquake, the Organising Committee for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to supporting the recovery of the affected areas and to showing the world how sport has contributed to uniting and revitalising Japan. While a minute’s silence was observed at the Organising Committee headquarters, Tokyo 2020 Sports Director Koji Murofushi was attending a commemoration ceremony in Ishinomaki, one of the affected cities in Miyagi prefecture. With local high school students, he cleaned the Olympic cauldron from the 1964 Games in Tokyo, which is currently being housed in a public park in Ishinomaki City since demolition work began on the National Stadium last year. Meanwhile, the region of Tohoku is the venue for the 14th Youth Leadership Camp, which is hosted by both the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This camp has brought together 30 young participants from 17 countries to share their own experiences with local communities and look at how to use sport as a rehabilitation tool in areas affected by natural disasters. Details on


© Comité National Paralympique canadien

Canada’s Chantal Petitclerc (pictured above) was named as the winner of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)’s International Women's Day Recognition Award on 8 March. The former wheelchair racer is Canada’s most successful Paralympian, with a total of 21 medals. Her first Paralympic Games were in Barcelona, in 1992; and she retired from competition after winning her 14th career gold at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. A member of the Order of Canada, Chantal Petitclerc was the Chef de Mission for Canada for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and will be again for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. This award is given every year to recognise a female leader from within the Paralympic Movement who inspires and demonstrates the Paralympic values. Details on

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