Marking one year to go to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, a ceremony took place in the Republic of Korea at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. The ceremony was attended by IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg, Korean Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Chung Sye-kyun, President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee Lee Hee-beom, and representatives of the Korean government.
On the same day, IOC President Thomas Bach signed the official invitation to the NOCs and their winter sports athletes to take part in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. (see also under “Organising Committees for the Olympic Games” below.)
In an editorial published on this occasion, the IOC President underlined that “when the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 finally begin, it will a moment for Korea to amaze the world. Hosting the Olympic Games is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it opens a unique window of opportunity to write a new chapter in your sporting history”, before adding that “the fact that the next three Olympic Games are taking place in Asia – PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 – provides a historic opportunity for the three host countries to strengthen their ties based on this shared experience and in the spirit of Olympism.” Full text of the editorial here.
The IOC President has hosted the new President of the Korean NOC, Lee Kee-heung. The meeting focused mainly on the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, one year out until the Games begin.
Dominican NOC President Luis Mejia Oviedo was welcomed by the IOC President. Besides the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, they spoke about the upcoming Pan-American Games and Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
President Thomas Bach has also met the new President of the Romanian NOC, Mihai Covaliu, accompanied by IOC Member Octavian Morariu. The situation of sport in the country and the preparations for the next Olympic Games were among the subjects discussed.
The President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), Ivo Ferriani, who is also an IOC Member, spoke with the President about preparations for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022, and the fight against doping.
With the President of the World Karate Federation (WKF), Antonio Espinos, preparations for karate’s inclusion as an Olympic sport at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was addressed.
The President of the International School Sport Federation (ISF), Laurent Petrynka, was received by the President, with whom he spoke about the place of sport in the education system and the development of sport in schools.
IOC / Ian Jones
Jacques Rogge received the Paralympic Order during a “Road to Tokyo” gala evening organised by the Belgian Paralympic Committee in Brussels. The award was presented by the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and IOC Member Philip Craven, in the presence of Princess Astrid of Belgium and several ministers. The Paralympic Order is the highest recognition for those who have contributed to the development of the Paralympic movement.
IOC / Ian Jones
Triple Olympic ice hockey champion Hayley Wickenheiser has decided to call an end to her competitive sports career after more than 20 years. Elected as a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission by her peers at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, she was then elected as an IOC Member at the 126th IOC Session.
Official Olympic Timekeeper Omega has started counting down to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Gunilla Lindberg, Chair of the IOC’s PyeongChang 2018 Coordination Commission and an IOC Executive Board member, joined Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of Omega, and Lee Hee-beom, President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee, to unveil the clock in the City Hall Plaza, Seoul, at a ceremony held ahead of the one-year-to-go celebrations in PyeongChang (photo above). Read the full news story here.
international sportS fEDErations
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has launched its 2017+ Licensing Programme for Officials, which will help meet the requirements of modern basketball officiating and maximise the opportunities presented by FIBA’s New Competition System, which comes into effect in November. The aim of the programme is to ensure the highest quality of refereeing in basketball and to generate opportunities for more National Member Federations to have FIBA Referees. Read the full news here.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced that the Czech Republic’s Katerina Nash (right) and Switzerland’s Simon Zahner (left) have been elected to represent cyclo-cross on the UCI’s Athletes’ Commission, after a vote held during the 2017 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships organised in Bieles (Luxembourg). Nash and Zahner were chosen from a field of nine candidates – five men and four women – by athletes participating in the UCI Elite World Championships. The members of the UCI’s Athletes’ Commission have been elected with a four-year term running from the UCI Congress in 2017 to the Congress in 2021. Read the full news here.
One week after opening registration for the 2017 World Championships, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced on 7 February that already received over 3,000 people have registered for this even. The Championships will be held from 7 to 20 August this year in Budapest (Hungary). Read the full news here.
Asia Rugby, with the support of World Rugby, Olympic Solidarity, the NOC of Malaysia and Malaysian Rugby has organised a four-day training and education programme in Malaysia designed specifically for female and male coaches coaching in women’s rugby. The training programme, delivered by Thomas Bartholomew Browne and Ismail Kadir, targeted over 46 participants from Malaysia and across the Asian region. Malaysia was selected as the venue not only due to its central location in the region, but also because it will be hosting the South-East Asia Games in August 2017 — where both men’s and women’s rugby sevens will be contested. Info at www.worldrugby.org.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced the official opening of the application period for the 2017 ISA Scholarship Programme, which distributes financial aid and equipment grants to young surfers around the world. More than 300 surfers have benefited from the ISA Scholarship Programme since 2007. More info on www.isasurf.org.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
Taoufik Makhloufi, Amina Rouba and Amel Melih were been named the best athletes of 2016 at the 3rd Algerian Olympic and Sports Awards, organised on 26 January by the Algerian NOC (photo above). Makhloufi was honoured for his two silver medals won at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 (1500m and 800m). The trophy for best female athlete was awarded to Rouba (rowing) and Melih (swimming) for their African championship titles. The other trophies awarded included those to the best male and female hopefuls, athletes with a disability, best sports leader, and best men’s and women’s teams.
Eduardo Palomo was re-elected as President of the NOC of El Salvador at the NOC’s General Assembly at the beginning of February. Representatives of 41 national sports federations were present for this Assembly, which also elected the NOC’s Executive Committee for the 2017–2020 period (photo above). Read the full story here.
The Japanese NOC has announced its future strategic plan, which examines what the NOC can pass on to society and leave as a legacy, in the lead-up to and beyond the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The new framework also considers how the Japanese NOC should act as an NOC after the Games and summarises the efforts required to realise this ideal, and how to contribute to global peace through sport. The announcement was made by NOC President and IOC Member Tsunekazu Takeda (photo above), at a press conference held in Tokyo. More info at www.joc.or.jp.
The NOC of Mongolia, in collaboration with local Olympic councils, recently organised sports activities in the Umnugovi and Uvurkhangai districts. Tournaments in national wrestling, tug-of-war, basketball and athletics brought together many young children. Rhythmic gymnastics performances by youngsters were also on the programme (photo above). NOC representatives, local sporting figures and the media were present at this event, named “Childhood and Olympics”.
Encouraging physical activity among children, teens and adults was the theme addressed in a course named “The rings are functional”. Organised jointly at the headquarters of the Venezuelan NOC and the Brígido Iriarte stadium in Caracas, the course brought together some 120 people (photo above), and was among numerous initiatives developed by the NOC with support from Olympic Solidarity. The aim is to promote and encourage an innovative training system that promotes team values and team work.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
On 9 February, the Countdown Ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 was held at the Gangneung Hockey Arena. Thousands of spectators turned out to witness a star-studded affair spearheaded by PyeongChang 2018 Ambassador Yuna Kim (an Olympic figure skating gold medallist) and Magnus Kim, the cross-country skier who won the Republic of Korea’s first gold medal in the sport at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016. Attended by IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg, Korean Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Chung Sye-kyun, President of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee Lee Hee-beom, and by representatives of the government of the Republic of Korea, the celebrations showcased Korean culture with a concert with K-pop stars and the 2018 Choir. The IOC President shared a message of good luck and best wishes to PyeongChang via a short video message. Read the full news here. During the ceremony, the Olympic Torch was also unveiled by Yuna Kim and Magnus Kim and five young local students, all of whom were wearing the PyeongChang 2018 torchbearer uniform. Ticket sales also began on 9 February in the Republic of Korea and in some other territories around the world.
The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) recently concluded its first Open Days event, hosting delegations from 13 NOCs (photo above). Their visit was aimed at reviewing and showcasing the progress made in preparations for the Games, and ensuring the best possible conditions are made available for the athletes during the 2020 Games. The programme of the three days included meetings with representatives of various functional areas – from sport to transport – and tours of many of the Games venues. In total, 351 facilities in 44 prefectures across the country have already expressed an interest in hosting pre-Games training camps. Tokyo 2020 has published the list of training sites and venues online (available in French and English). Read the full news story here.
The registration deadline for the next annual Symposium of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is 20 February 2017. Organised from 13 to 15 March in Lausanne, this Symposium will bring together practitioners from International Federations, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, major event organisers, athletes, WADA-accredited laboratories and other key stakeholders that are integral to the clean sport movement. For the first time, representatives of governments and intergovernmental organisations involved in anti-doping matters will also attend. The theme will be “Tackling our Challenges and Strengthening the Future of Clean Sport”. All relevant information can be found here.