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26 Apr 2016
IOC News

Olympic Highlights



© IOC / Ian Jones

IOC President Thomas Bach attended the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 organised in Ancient Olympia (Greece) by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC). In his speech the IOC President took the opportunity to deliver a message of solidarity to the people of Brazil, who are currently experiencing political and economic difficulties. The IOC President also spoke of the power of the Olympic flame in promoting peace and spreading the Olympic values. The ceremony was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos; Brazilian Minister of Sport Ricardo Leyser; the President of the Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, IOC Honorary Member Carlos Nuzman; HOC President Spyros Capralos; IOC Vice-President and Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Nawal El Moutawakel; IOC Vice-President Zaiqing Yu; IOC Member Alex Gilady; and IOC Honorary Members King Constantine and Lambis V. Nikolaou. Full press release here.

Meeting in Ancient Olympia, the IOC President and the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos discussed different topics of mutual interest such as the refugee crisis and the new Olympic Laurel award that will incorporate a stone from Ancient Olympia in the design. Starting this year at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Olympic Laurel award will be given at the Opening Ceremony of every Olympic Games to honour outstanding individuals in education, culture, development and peace through sport. President Bach thanked President Pavlopoulos for his personal support to ensure that an element from Ancient Olympia will be part of the award. The day before the lighting ceremony, President Bach had inspected the stone at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. Full press release here.

On the eve of the flame lighting ceremony, President Bach laid a wreath at the memorial to Pierre de Coubertin, which is located on the premises of the International Olympic Academy in Olympia. He also visited the archives of the Olympic Games Athens 2004 at the Academy. He was accompanied by IOC Vice Presidents Nawal El Moutawakel and Zaiqing Yu, Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman and HOC President Spyros Capralos. A breakfast with the Hellenic Olympic Committee, a reception hosted by the Mayor of Olympia Efthymios Kotzias and a ceremony at the International Olympic Truce Centre were also on his agenda.

The IOC President also met the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, with whom he spoke about the role of sport in society and the cooperation between the IOC and the European Union.

© IOC / Ian Jones

On Saturday 23 April, President Bach, accompanied by IOC Vice President Zaiqing Yu, took part in a 2 km fun run organised in the Olympic Capital. The following day, thousands of enthusiasts took part in the Lausanne 20 km race, one of Switzerland’s biggest mass participation sports events.


© IOC / Christophe Moratal

Anita L. DeFrantz and her teammates from the Olympic Games Montreal 1976 women's eight have been inducted into the United States Rowing Hall of Fame. They won the bronze medal at the first Olympic regatta that included women. This is the second time Anita L. DeFrantz has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. The first time was in 2010.

© IOC / Benoit Fontaine

Patrick Baumann has been elected President of SportAccord during the General Assembly of SportAccord on 22 April in Lausanne. Also Secretary General of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), he will serve one four-year term in office.


Worldwide TOP Partner Samsung premiered its documentary “A Fighting Chance” at a private media screening during the Tribeca Film Festival being held in New York (USA). “A Fighting Chance” tells the inspiring stories of four athletes defying barriers to pursue their dreams of competing at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, this collaborative effort is part of Samsung’s commitment to spread the Olympic spirit around the world. The documentary takes viewers on a journey to the worlds of athletes from three diverse countries - Lesotho, Vanuatu and the Dominican Republic - capturing the history, ambition and shared passion of these Olympic Games hopefuls. Full press release here.


The IOC has launched its global promotional campaign to communicate the Olympic Movement’s vision of building a better world through sport. The aim of the campaign, entitled “Together we can change the world,” is to inspire the spirit of unity, peace and hope for a better tomorrow. The first phase of the campaign consists of four films: Together, Breath, Respect and Counting Stars. Each tells the story of the core Olympic values and their role in enhancing a united world through sport. The clips will be aired around the world by the Olympic broadcast partners in the build-up to the Olympic Games Rio 2016. In addition to the campaign hub at, social media activation is planned to start on Olympic Day, 23 June 2016, to support #OlympicPeace. Discover the films here.

This week, the IOC's Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, presented IOC strategies and tools aimed at protecting the integrity of sport and clean athletes to various stakeholders gathered at the SportAccord Convention in Lausanne. At the General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Pâquerette Girard Zappelli explained how the IOC will protect the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio 2016 against competition manipulation. While the Rio 2016 Rules on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions will be applied, the IOC will also operate a Rio 2016 Joint Integrity Intelligence Unit together with the Brazilian authorities. Furthermore, the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) was updated on the Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS), the IOC's information exchange system between law enforcement, sports organisations and betting operators and regulators, which is available to all federations for their events. They were also urged to comply with the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions by the next winter season (2016/2017), in order to be fully equipped for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang a year later. Pâquerette Girard Zappelli spoke about the importance of good governance and available tools to the Association of IOC-Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF). All stakeholders were urged to be proactive about the related initiatives they are undertaking, in a move to re-establish together the credibility of international sports organisations.

Protecting clean athletes from competition manipulation was the focus of a partnership development meeting organised jointly by the IOC and INTERPOL in Brussels (Belgium).The meeting brought together key figures dealing with the national prevention of competition manipulation including representatives from law enforcement, the Federal Prosecutor's Office, the Belgium Olympic Committee, national sports federations, the Belgian Gaming Commission Secretariat and the Sports Ministry. Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, IOC Member, member of the IOC Ethics Commission and President of the Belgium Olympic Committee, opened the meeting. The event, held on 22 April, was preceded by a two-day meeting of the INTERPOL Match-Fixing Task Force, during which the IOC presented the measures it will take to protect sport’s integrity at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. Full press release here.




The Brazilian public were given a taste of Olympic fencing on 20 and 21 April, when the Rio Loves Fencing demonstration event took place at Fort Copacabana, featuring top Brazilian fencers including the world number 12, Nathalie Moelhausen. Members of the public had the chance to try fencing for themselves, and a range of activities was available for children. The event marked the start of a week of fencing in Rio, where the official test event took place at the Carioca Arena 3 from 23 to 27 April. At the same time, a special International Fencing Federation (FIE) initiative to give thousands of schoolchildren in Rio the chance to discover fencing drew to a close. The two-month Fencing School programme, which visited nearly 40 schools and communities in a variety of the city’s neighbourhoods, was met with great enthusiasm (photo above). More info on

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that a new portfolio of events will be launched in 2019 which will completely change the landscape of international hockey. A new annual global home and away league involving the world’s leading hockey nations will complement the Hockey World Cup and Olympic Games tournaments. This means that there will no longer be Hockey World League Semi-Finals and Finals, while the last Hockey Champions Trophies will take place in 2018. The proposals were approved by the FIH Executive Board in Lausanne at the beginning of April. The decision was made after more than 18 months of consultation, research and development between a number of stakeholders, overseen by a working group specially formed for this project. This included correspondence with more than 700 individuals: athletes, National Associations, Continental Federations, the IOC, ASOIF, major broadcasters, individuals at Continental Federation congresses, officials, umpires, FIH Committee members and FIH staff. Read the complete article here at

The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) recently organised the 12th edition of the FINA World Swimming Officials Seminar in Rio de Janeiro on 12 and 13 April in collaboration with the Brazilian Swimming Federation. The event took place on the eve of the LVI Brazilian Swimming Championships which doubled up as the Rio 2016 Swimming Test Event (15-20 April). Some of the Seminar's participants were officiating at this event. The participants were the officials nominated to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity, the Local Organising Committee nominated one official from each Brazilian State to participate in the Seminar with the purpose to educate and raise the level of their key officials. Apart from the international technical Officials nominated to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, FINA, according to the Technical Swimming Committee's decision, also nominated the officials appointed to be reserves. More info on


At its recent board meeting held in Basel (Switzerland) the World Curling Federation (WCF) committed to developing its existing broadcast partnerships with the USA Curling Association (USCA) and Champions Curling Tour (CCT) to deliver more high-quality TV coverage of the sport to its supporters. These commitments are part of the WCF’s ambition to produce high-quality TV programming in the lead-up to the next Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018. More info on

The FIS (International Ski Federation) Development Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Training Camp 2016 was successfully held in Silvaplana (Switzerland) from 13 to 18 April, bringing together 12 participants from Estonia, Serbia, Lebanon and Lithuania (see photo above). The programme included extensive on-snow training in the events of slopestyle, halfpipe and big air, and athletes benefited from the knowledge of FIS experts. The athletes also worked on the sports field and took part in various workshops, including waxing and judging clinics as well as coaches’ meetings. More info on


The International Surfing Association (ISA) has welcomed the Surfing Cook Islands Association as its 99th member federation. More info on


The Bahrain Olympic Committee has urged four national sports federations (table tennis, basketball, volleyball and handball) to submit updates on the inauguration of their girls’ training centres. The chair of the NOC’s Women’s Sport Committee, Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, has adopted the girls’ training programme in cooperation with country’s education ministry, in a bid to develop women’s sport in the kingdom. More info on

On 21 April, the NOC of Colombia launched its sports administration course in the Valle del Cauca region, and sports directors of the region’s municipalities as well as the event organisers and sports leaders are taking part. The main objective is to provide them with administrative tools, to increase their awareness of the main elements of the Olympic Movement and to update their knowledge in the field of sports administration and law. The opening ceremony (see photo above) was presided over by Clara Luz Roldán, the new Chairwoman of Coldeportes, in the presence of Luis Alfonso Sánchez, an NOC Executive Committee member, and Gerardo Lerman, both of them course directors. More info on

© NOC of Guatemala

The 2nd Guatemalan Olympic Academy for leaders, held at the IRTRA Institute in Retalhuleu from 13 to 15 April, brought together more than 60 representatives of the national sports federations and associations, and of Special Olympics, as well as staff from the NOC of Guatemala and the Guatemalan Autonomous Confederation. The guest of honour was Conrado Durántez, President of the Spanish Olympic Academy and of the Paniberian Association of Olympic Academies. The themes discussed included: the Ancient Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin and his legacy to the modern Olympic Games, sport and youth, and the Olympic value of excellence. The Academy will next be holding an academy for university students, with the 25th Session for Young People in October this year. More info on

After the signing of cooperation protocols with the Portuguese Council for Refugees and the Support Platform for Refugees, the Portuguese Olympic Committee has been implementing the project "Living the Sport – Embrace the Future" to integrate sport in the plan to host refugees in Portugal. Over the past few weeks the NOC has developed several activities, including football, tree climbing and fencing (see photo above), a mini-Olympic Games and hip-hop classes. Another highlight of these activities was the opportunity to watch the Benfica-Tondela football match in Lisbon’s Stadium of Light, thanks to an offer from Sport Lisboa and the Benfica Foundation. During the third school term and the summer holidays the activities will continue in the Reception Centre for Refugee Children. The project, supported by the IOC, aims to provide a supply of sports goods and services through a varied programme of initiatives. More info on

© Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

On 8 April the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) hosted the Executive Committee meeting of the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS). The CTOC took the opportunity to stage the 2016 International Conference on Sports Medicine on the same day, under the theme “Sports Medicine: the highlights and updates” (see photo above). The conference covered a multitude of issues related to sports injuries, doping and the role of sports science in athlete development. More info on

© Venezuelan NOC

A working session was convened recently at Olympic House by the President of the Venezuelan NOC, Eduardo Álvarez (see photo above). The main topic of the meeting was the organisation of the country’s first national Olympic festival, due to take place in June this year, which aims to raise the profile of the country’s best athletes competing in Olympic sports.



The Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 (POCOG) is aiming to enhance accessibility in restaurants and accommodations in host cities through its Accessibility Recognition Programme. To make it easier for everyone – including the physically impaired, pregnant women and the elderly – to get around and enjoy the Olympic atmosphere during the Games, POCOG is encouraging local businesses to join the programme by improving their facilities, for which host city authorities will provide financial aid. Recognised restaurants and hotels will be featured on POCOG and host city websites, social media channels, mobile applications and in official guidebooks for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. POCOG will provide Accessibility Recognition Stickers that can be posted at the entrance to these establishments. More info on


© IOC / Arnaud Meylan

Francesco Ricci Bitti was re-elected President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) at the ASOIF General Assembly which took place in Lausanne on 19 April.

The 2016 SportAccord Convention took place in Lausanne from 17 to 22 April. The next edition would take place in Aarhus (Denmark) from 2 to 7 April 2017. More info on

On 15 April the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revoked the accreditation of the Moscow Antidoping Center in Russia due to non-compliance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) and the related Technical Documents. The revocation, which has been accepted by the laboratory, enters into force immediately and means that the laboratory will continue to be prevented from testing doping control samples on behalf of WADA or any testing authority. On the same day, WADA announced it had suspended the accreditation of the Laboratório de Análises de Dopagem (LAD) in Lisbon, Portugal, with immediate effect. The suspension prohibits the laboratory from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities, including all analyses of urine and blood samples. Furthermore on 21 April, WADA has suspended its accreditation of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory in Beijing, China for a maximum period of four months. See the complete press releases on

Panathlon International will hold its 20th International Congress on 20 May in Antwerp (Belgium), on the theme “Ethics and Governance in Sport: are we committed to change?” The Elective General Assembly will take place from 19 to 22 May, also in Antwerp. More information and the full programme can be found on


In the previous issue, the website of the International Gymnastics Federation (in the IFs section) should have been given as and not

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