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25 Mar 2015
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



© IOC / Christophe Moratal

On 21 March, IOC President Thomas Bach met US Secretary of State John Kerry at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, where the pair discussed the role of sport in society. The Secretary of State stressed the important role that Olympic sports play in understanding and reconciliation by keeping doors open regardless of political differences. President Bach explained that sport is always about building bridges, never about erecting walls. In order to accomplish this, he added, the IOC must be politically neutral without being apolitical. Mr Kerry, agreeing with this, congratulated the IOC President on the approval of Olympic Agenda 2020. After the meeting, the Secretary of State signed the Golden Book of Honour of the IOC, writing: “The Olympic Movement is so powerful and from my earliest days I have followed each Olympic year with passion. This Movement transcends all politics and truly creates a sense of global possibility. Thank you for helping to break down barriers.” President Bach then gave Mr Kerry a tour of The Olympic Museum. The Secretary of State was in Lausanne for negotiations with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tehran's nuclear programme. Full release here.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

IOC President met the President of the International Military Sports Council (CISM), Abdul-Hakeem Al-Shino, accompanied by CISM Director Olivier Verhelle. The two leaders spoke about the close cooperation between the IOC and the CISM as well as the follow-up of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

President Bach welcomed IOC Member Mario Pescante accompanied by representatives from the Vatican led by Mons. Melchor Sánchez de Toca y Alameda, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and by representatives from the Italian NOC (CONI) led by Carlo Mornati, CONI Deputy Secretary General. The discussions focused mainly on the role of sport in society and initiatives which the Vatican is about to take with respect to sport.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

A delegation from the city of Baden Baden, led by its Mayor, Margret Merget, visited President Bach this week. In 1981, the German city hosted the Olympic Congress, the theme of which was “United by and for sport” and in which the IOC President took part as a representative of the athletes.

 © IOC / Christophe Moratal

The President met with Mikhail Kusnirovich, the owner of Bosco, which supplied the uniforms for the Organising Committee of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

The President also met IOC Members Franco Carraro, Ser Miang Ng, Marisol Casado and Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, with whom he discussed various issues related to implementing the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations. He offered a dinner to the members of the Finance Commission and the Audit Committee. Last Sunday, he welcomed the members of the Ethics and Programme Commissions during a joint dinner.


© IOC / Benoit Fontaine

As President of the African Football Confederation (CAF), Issa Hayatou was inducted into the African Sport Hall of Fame in the leaders category during a recent ceremony in Dakar. He received his trophy from the Senegalese Football Federation President, Augustin Senghor, and the Secretary General of the Senegalese Sports Ministry.

© IOC / Benoit Fontaine

Andrés Botero Phillipsbourne, who is also President of the International Water Ski Federation (ISWF), recently received the Stefano Casiraghi Memorial Trophy at the 6th Gala of the International Powerboating Union (UIM) organised in Monaco.

© IOC / Benoit Fontaine

Lydia Nsekera, Chair of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, gave a speech (available here) at the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held at the UN headquarters in New York (USA). She reiterated how sport can be effective in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the post-2015 agenda, and triggering individual and social development worldwide. (See “Commissions” section).


© IOC / Benoit Fontaine

Lamine Diack, who is also President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was recently awarded the 2015 special trophy by the 9th International African Sports Convention in Kigali (Rwanda). This distinction is in recognition of his career as a sports leader and his contribution to the development of sport in Africa.


Coordination Commission visit to PyeongChang. © PyeongChang 2018

For its fourth visit to the host region of the 2018 Games, the IOC Coordination Commission for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang held all its meetings for the first time in the city of Gangneung from 17 to 19 March. Gangneung will host three of the seven Olympic winter sports – curling, ice hockey and ice skating. Speaking after the meeting, IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg said, “The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG), led by President Yang-ho Cho, and its partners have taken a solid step forward this week in their Games’ preparations. We have seen significant advances in the development of the venues, a major new partner joining POCOG, and a successful first meeting of the Integration Working Group, with all parties working hand-in-hand for the benefit of the 2018 Games. We are satisfied with progress, particularly on construction, but this positive momentum now needs to be continued to allow POCOG and Korea to deliver on their vision and commitments.” During the visit, the Commission members looked at a number of different areas of POCOG’s work including services to the athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations, and media; sport; venues; transport; marketing; people management; legacy; education; technology; and the Paralympic Games. The Commission also visited a number of the venues in the mountain cluster and the coastal cluster. Full press release here.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

The Finance Commission and the Audit Committee held a joint meeting on 17 March in Lausanne, chaired by Ser Miang Ng and Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant. President Bach greeted the participants, to whom he underlined the respective Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.

Alongside the United Nation’s 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women this week, the IOC, through its Women and Sport Commission, successfully co-hosted with UN Women a side-event exploring how sport and physical activity can promote gender equality and empower women and girls.  Under the theme “Looking ahead – the place of sport for women’s empowerment post-2015”, the meeting featured a number of impressive and inspirational women and men who have personally experienced the power of sport. Two-time American Olympic medallist Michelle Kwan delivered a keynote speech. A role model for many young girls and women, the former figure skater gave a first-hand account of the role that sport has played in her life, both as a woman and as an athlete. Lydia Nsekera concluded with these words: “Working together, and with other women and men from all sectors of society, we can use sport to empower women and girls to lead more fulfilling, productive and healthier lives.” Full press release here.


The IOC, in cooperation with the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) is coordinating a plan to provide USD 500,000 to rebuild sports facilities and the headquarters of the NOC in Vanuatu after the island nation was devastated by a cyclone on 13 March. The fund will also help other countries in the region affected by the disaster. President Bach declared: “Our thoughts and the thoughts of the entire Olympic Movement are with the people of Vanuatu.  We are committed to providing aid to rebuild Vanuatu’s sporting infrastructure as part of the nation’s rebuilding process. We want to support the athletes in this region so that they can return to their sporting life as soon as possible, and in such a way give hope to the whole population.  Especially in such times, sport can play its part in helping people normalise their lives and rebuilding a shattered society. We hope that our contribution will give hope to the people of Vanuatu and others in the region on their difficult path to recovery.”

The IOC has agreed to a second request from the Swiss Government to allow facilities at The Olympic Museum to be used as a press centre during talks between the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States of America and the European Union. The first round of talks in Lausanne concluded on Friday. Negotiations are expected to resume on Wednesday 25 March, with Lausanne considered the preferred location. US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif were in Lausanne to negotiate Tehran’s nuclear programme. In an open letter to participants in the talks, IOC President Thomas Bach addressed all those taking part: “The IOC is a non-governmental organisation committed to promoting peace, development and mutual understanding. We can do this also thanks to our Observer status at the United Nations,” before adding: “To be able to accomplish our mission, we have to be strictly politically neutral, but we are not apolitical. Therefore the Olympic Movement is always about building bridges and never erecting walls.”

The IOC has announced that, on 11 May 2015, it will launch a tender process for the sale of broadcast rights for all territories within Europe, for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in PyeongChang and the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2020 in Tokyo. The IOC has appointed IMG as consultants in the tender process for the sale of rights in Europe. The deadline for submitting a tender is 15 June 2015. Full press release here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced pledges of USD 6.45 million from world governments in the fight for the clean athletes, which will create a joint fund of nearly USD 13 million. One of the first initiatives of Olympic Agenda 2020 was the creation of a USD 20 million fund to protect the clean athletes, 10 million of which was to be used in particular to research new techniques to detect prohibited substances and methods. On this occasion, President Bach declared: “With Olympic Agenda 2020, we are changing the philosophy with regard to the credibility of sports competitions and of athletes. We must consider every cent in the fight against doping as an investment in the future of Olympic sport, not as an expense. This fund clearly shows that we support innovative anti-doping research that will lead to better protection of the clean athletes.” Full press release here.



The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Executive Committee met for the first time in 2015 on 12 and 13 March. Several important decisions were taken, including confirmation that the 2019 World Cup will be held in Asia - as the Republic of China and the Philippines are the two candidates. The FIBA Central Board will make the final decision at its meeting in June. For the 2023 edition, Germany, Turkey and Qatar are the candidates, and the host country will be chosen in 2016. Info at

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has published the report and recommendations of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). The CIRC’s terms of reference were to investigate “the causes of the pattern of doping that developed within cycling and allegations which implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over ineffective investigation of such practices”. The CIRC was created by the UCI in January 2014. The report is available at

As part of its scholarship programme, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has launched the “Scholarships for Swimmers – Targeting Rio 2016” initiative, aimed at providing specific support to the Southeast Asian national federations. The programme will offer the opportunity to obtain financial and technical assistance for two potential elite athletes selected by their national bodies. This assistance will help to improve their preparation and possibly qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. FINA will assist the scholarship-holders to train at a high-level training centre in Thanyapura, Phuket (Thailand) for a full year, from May 2015. In addition, FINA has announced that Budapest (Hungary) will host the 17th World Championships and World Masters Championships in July 2017. Budapest will replace Guadalajara (Mexico), which was originally awarded the event. As Budapest had been selected to host the 2021 edition, a new candidature procedure for this edition will soon be launched. Info at



The 6th gala of the International Powerboating Union (UIM) was held once again in Monaco in the presence of IOC Member Prince Albert II, who opened the festivities, and UIM President Raffaele Chiulli. Over 400 people, including numerous world champions, attended the prize-giving, during which awards were presented for safety and the environment. Info at


© Argentine NOC

The Argentine NOC has informed us that the second edition of the advanced sports management course sport has just begun. This training, placed under the aegis of Olympic Solidarity and led by the NOC, aims to allow paid and voluntary staff of sports organisations to grow and improve their management skills. NOC Secretary General Mario Moccia was present on this occasion. Info at

Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki and Spyros Capralos. © Hellenic NOC

The 2014 IOC “Sport and Art” Trophy was awarded to Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki at a ceremony organised by the Hellenic NOC, whose President is Spyros Capralos, at its headquarters in Athens at the start of the year. Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki received this trophy for her work based mainly on the human body and her significant contribution to promoting the Olympic Movement through art. During the ceremony, prizes were given to athletes who shone in 2014. Guests were also able to visit the art exhibition entitled “Body and Mind”. Info at

© Italian NOC

In view of the Rio 2016 Games, the Italian NOC organised a talk on the Olympic Truce, at the behest of Mario Pescante (photo), IOC Member and the IOC’s UN Permanent Observer. The talk brought together numerous sports leaders, high-level athletes and representatives from the world of politics and academia. Besides Mario Pescante, those who spoke included NOC President Giovanni Malagò and numerous athletes, including Manuela Di Centa, who is also an IOC Honorary Member (cross-country skiing), Mauro Checcoli (horse riding), Luca Pancalli (disabled sport), Novella Calligaris (swimming), Daniele Masala (pentathlon) and Nicola Pietrangeli (tennis), who spoke about their experiences in sport, underlining the value of sport, a synonym for friendship and union. Info  at

The President of the NOC of Kyrgyzstan, Murat Saralinov, died on 13 March at the age of 55. Elected as NOC President in April 2010, he was re-elected in June 2014. The Olympic flag was flown at half-mast at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne in his honour.

© Lithuanian NOC

The Lithuanian NOC, whose President is Daina Gudzineviciute (photo),has teamed up with the Lithuanian Post Office to issue postcards devoted to the first European Games. Some 10,000 postcards will be distributed free of charge in major Lithuanian post offices. About 60 Lithuanian athletes will compete in these first European Games being organised in Baku (Azerbaijan). Info at

© Peruvian NOC

The Peruvian Olympic Academy has announced the start of the annual training programme for specialists in sports techniques and applied sciences in sport. The first event will be the 12th psychomotility seminar, held from 23 to 26 March at the Peruvian NOC headquarters in La Videna. The subjects addressed include the Olympic values, an introduction to sport from a psychomotility point of view, and physical activities in childhood. Info at

(Centre:) Hong-Dow Lin and Klaus Schormann. © Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

The President of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, Hong-Dow Lin, has received the President of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), Klaus Schormann, who was in Chinese Taipei at the invitation of Chinese Taipei Modern Pentathlon Association, which will host the UIPM Congress on 7 and 8 November. President Lin presented an Olympic pin collection to the UIPM President to thank him for his visit. Info at

ACP workshop in Venezuela © José Avelino Rodrigues

As part of the Athlete Career Programme (ACP), a workshop entitled “Life After Sport” has been held in Caracas. Opened by Venezuelan NOC President Eduardo Álvarez, and world karate champion Antonio Díaz, this workshop was hosted by Mauricio Rivas, a fencer and psychologist who is manager of the programme for Latin America. He shared his experiences with the athletes present, who were also able to take part in educational workshops aiming to raise their awareness of and prepare them for a professional career after their competitive sports career.


RIO 2016

The Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced the details of 44 test events that will be held in preparation for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. The programme includes 34 Olympic sports events, six Paralympic events and four events that feature both Olympic and Paralympic disciplines test events to be held in preparation for the Games. There are 21 events scheduled to take place in 2015, with the first set of outdoor events to be held between July and October this year. A series of indoor events will then be held from November 2015 to February 2016, with the final events to take place between March and May 2016, ahead of the Olympic Games, which begin on 5 August. More than 7,800 athletes will participate in the test events, providing each of them with a taste of the Olympic and Paralympic host city, while approximately 16,000 volunteers will also gain experience across the 156 days of competition. Info at


© PyeongChang 2018

The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018 in PyeongChang (POCOG) has signed an agreement with Korean Air, making it the official airline of the 2018 Games. The agreement was signed in Gangneung shortly before the fourth meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission for these Games and in the presence of the Commission Chair, Gunilla Lindberg. Press release at
In addition, POCOG has officially created an organising committee for its test events, provisionally named “PyeongChang Winter Series Foundation”. The first meeting of this committee was held in Seoul on 16 March in the presence of representatives of the seven winter sports federations of the Republic of Korea, delegates from the Gangwon Province and representatives from the host city and the cities hosting Olympic venues. In total, 28 international competitions will be organised by the Committee between February 2016 and April 2017, during which POCOG will review and improve its operational preparations for the 2018 Games.

TOKYO 2020

The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo has announced the signing of three new Gold Partners for its marketing programme. JX Nippon Oil & Energy has become a Gold Partner in the Oil, Gas & Electricity supply services category, with Tokio Marine & Nichido for the Non-Life Insurance Category and Nippon Life Insurance for the Life Insurance category. Info at


The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) launched the pilot of its new education programme, “Proud Paralympian”, on 15 March in Dubai (UAE) where the IPC Powerlifting World Cup was being held. This programme is for Paralympic athletes and para-athletes who aspire to compete in the Paralympic Games. The programme will officially be launched in 2016. Info at

Meeting in Tel Aviv (Israel), the Executive Committee of the  ‘International Workers and Amateurs in Sports Confederation’ (CSIT) has awarded the Latvian Trade Sport Association and the Latvian capital Riga the organisation of the 5th World Sports Games, which will be held in June 2017. The fourth edition, which will take place from 7 to 14 June in Lignano (Italy), is set to be the biggest ever organised since the reorganisation of the CSIT in recent years. In addition, the annual CSIT Congress will be held from 12 to 18 October 2015 in Cancun (Mexico), the main agenda point being the election of Executive Committee members. Info at

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