President Bach attended the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. During his stay the President was able to see a number of sports events and meet with competitors. The President met with a group of athletes’ representatives to talk about the fight against doping. Joined by International Ski Federation (FIS) President Gian-Franco Kasper and Secretary General Sarah Lewis, President Bach spent more than two hours listening to their concerns and updating them on actions taken by the IOC. After the meeting, Swedish athlete Emil Jönsson said: “We think it is good that representatives from both the FIS and IOC met us. They understand that we are all on the same side.”
At the stadium the President, joined by IOC Member in Finland Sari Essayah, took part in the medal ceremony for the re-allocation of a silver medal from the Olympic Games London 2012 for Finnish javelin thrower Antti Ruuskanen, who received the medal in front of a large crowd in Lahti. President Bach presented the medal to the athlete before the Finnish national anthem was played in the stadium. The ceremony was the result of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation to honour clean athletes who are awarded an Olympic medal following the disqualification of a competitor.
During his stay the President also visited the Vierumäki Olympic Training Centre outside Lahti, which is the athletes' village during the World Championships. Whilst there, the President was able to meet with athletes and discuss the competition and a range of issues of mutual interest.
President Bach also met the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, and presented him with an Olympic torch from the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The two leaders discussed the reform of the anti-doping system and the need for testing and sanctioning to be independent from sports organisations and national interests. They also discussed the Refugee Olympic Team and the creation of a new IOC foundation which will set up “safe places” throughout the world for children to practise sport. IOC Member Sari Essayah also attended the meeting.
In Helsinki, President Bach held meeting with the Executive Committee of the Finnish NOC chaired by Timo Ritakallio, the new NOC President. IOC Member Sari Essayah was also present. The promotion of the role of sport in Finland and other areas of mutual interest were discussed.
Visiting the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) Bob and Skeleton 2017 World Championships in Schönau am Königssee, Germany, the IOC President presented the trophies at the victory ceremony of the women's skeleton competition. The medals were presented by IBSF President and IOC Member Ivo Ferriani, who had welcomed President Bach to the track. The winner was Jacqueline Lölling from Germany, who at 22 is the youngest world champion in the history of the sport. Also attending the World Championships was IOC Member and IOC Athletes’ Commission member Adam Pengilly, who is also an IBSF Vice-President.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
The IOC has been informed by the Hungarian Olympic Committee that the candidature of Budapest for the Olympic Games 2024 will be withdrawn within the next couple of days after having settled some formalities with the city of Budapest. The IOC has taken note of the statements of Prime Minister Orban and the Hungarian Olympic Committee that the candidature has been used to promote a broader domestic political agenda beyond the Olympic Games and was overtaken by local politics. It is disappointing that this decision had to be taken, the bid committee had presented an excellent project which has built on the reforms contained in Olympic Agenda 2020. It demonstrated also that smaller cities and smaller countries can stage the Olympic Games in a feasible and sustainable way.
For all these reasons the IOC can appreciate the success of Olympic Agenda 2020 as far as the organization of sustainable Olympic Games which fit into the long term development plan of a city region and country is concerned. This success is further demonstrated by the statements of Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris, that without the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 there would not have been any candidate. The IOC sympathizes for those who put in so much work for the candidature and for their many supporters. With regard to the candidature procedure as such, the political situation in our fragile world requires us to make adjustments in this respect as the current procedure produces too many losers as the IOC President has already said in December 2016. These adjustments will be discussed with all the stakeholders of the Olympic Movement. In the meantime the candidature procedure for the Olympic Games 2024 will continue with the two excellent candidates Los Angeles and Paris.
In a letter sent to Olympic Movement stakeholders on 24 February, the IOC gave an update of the current situation regarding the reforms of the anti-doping system. The letter outlines the specific actions being taken by the IOC with regard to the findings of the McLaren Report on doping and manipulation in Russia, explaining in detail the roles and responsibilities of the two Commissions established by the IOC to address the matter. It also highlights other steps taken in pursuing the reform of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) system.
Several activities on 21 February marked one year on since the flame was extinguished at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, giving the opportunity to look back at the legacy of the second Winter YOG and the impact they will have upon the city, the nation and the athletes. In addition to the NOK 20 million surplus that was announced by the Norwegian NOC – which will go back into the national sports system – the Organising Committee also picked up a regional award for the organisation that has had the most positive impact on the Lillehammer region in the last two years. The award was accepted by young volunteer Ane Holm Grøneng and the CEO of the Organising Committee, Tomas Holmestad (photo above). The IOC marked the anniversary with 10 days of daily highlights and interviews with the talented young athletes and participants who are making a name for themselves in the world of sport, both on and off the field of play one year on. The full news story is here.
international sports federations
In the framework of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) governance reforms approved in December 2016, the inaugural IAAF Vetting Panel has now been appointed. The panellists are required to be independent of the IAAF, with experience in screening applicants and candidates for appointments to official positions. The three candidates who will form the IAAF Vetting Panel are Chair Akere Muna, and members Mark Pieth and Don Mackinnon. The inaugural Panel has been appointed to serve until the 2019 IAAF Congress. Read the full news here.
The President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Ching-Kuo Wu (right of photo), recently welcomed the President of the World Boxing Association (WBA), Gilberto Mendoza (left), to Taipei (Chinese Taipei) for a meeting to discuss the areas in which they can unify the boxing family at large. This meeting will pave the way for wider knowledge-sharing between AIBA and the WBA on subjects such as education policies and anti-doping campaigns, alongside the creation of further opportunities for the sport and its athletes. Read the full story here.
During its first meeting at the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)’s headquarters in Lausanne, the FIG Executive Committee took key decisions for the future of gymnastics. FIG President Morinari Watanabe also announced the Federation's new commissions. The Committee agreed to the development of a new FIG discipline, and appointed a Technical Coordinator for the FIG. Steve Butcher will assume this new position, which consists of overseeing the technical committees of all disciplines in order to establish greater uniformity of the rules. Read the full story here.
The brand new aquatic venue that will host the upcoming 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, was officially inaugurated on 21 February as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu and FINA Vice-President Tamas Gyarfas in his office in the Parliament. Though the grand opening is scheduled for May, the new centre called the Danube Arena, is ready to welcome the athletes. Read the full news here.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Executive Committee and Administrative Council met in New Delhi, India, to discuss the recommendations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic shooting programme, and the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020 principles regarding sustainability. The ISSF Executive Committee and the Administrative Council discussed and unanimously approved the recommendations of the ISSF Ad Hoc Committee concerning the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020 and its objective of achieving gender equality for Tokyo 2020. The ISSF Executive Committee also designated a new Ad Hoc Committee for Sustainability and appointed Jörg Brokamp, Chairman of the ISSF Technical Committee, as Chairman of the new body, which will be responsible for developing ISSF sustainability and environmental policies and guidelines, on the road to Tokyo 2020. Read the full news here.
United World Wrestling (UWW) has announced a ground-breaking partnership with NBC Olympics and SportsEngine to televise and livestream more than two dozen wrestling events annually through 2020. As part of the agreement, NBC Sports Group will hold the exclusive television and streaming rights to the World Championships, Freestyle World Cup, Women’s World Cup and Greco-Roman World Cup in the United States. Read the full news here.
World Sailing announced that Sanya, People’s Republic of China will host the 2017 edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships. More than 400 sailors from over 60 nations are expected to compete on the waters off Hainan Island from 9 to 16 December 2017. More info at www.sailing.org
national olympic committees
For the second year in a row, the Albanian NOC has held a series of training seminars with physical education teachers to promote the “Olympic Education in School” project. Seminars were held in the cities of Tirana, Lezha and Fier. About 75 teachers are participating in the project, which follows an agreement signed between the NOC and the Ministry of Education and Sport of Albania.
The Algerian Olympic Museum opened its doors to the general public on 15 February. With the exhibitions, visitors can relive historic moments in Algerian sport and the achievements of their athletes. Several hundred school children attended the opening alongside IOC Honorary Member Mustapha Larfaoui as well as Olympians Nouria Merah-Benida, Ali Saidi-Sief, Abderrahmane Hammad and Mohamed Allalou. The Museum was officially inaugurated late January by the Algerian NOC President, Mustapha Berraf.
A seminar on social media was recently held in Azerbaijan for 19 schools participating in the Olympic Moves programme. Supported by Worldwide TOP Partner Coca-Cola and the IOC, the programme was led by the NOC of Azerbaijan in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Education. Mehman Karimov, Marketing Director (photo above) briefed the participants on the Olympic Moves programme and the role of social media in the modern Olympic Games. The NOC’s social media experts gave a general presentation on the current situation of social media at both international and national levels. A practical session focused on how to create a sample Facebook page, group and profile. The seminar concluded with the award of certificates to 38 teachers. More info at www.noc-aze.org.
The President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco, gave a lecture on “Olympism: present and future” at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, highlighting the development of the Olympic Movement in Spain. The full news story is here.
On 21 February, the Guatemalan NOC, the Guatemalan Autonomous Sports Confederation and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Guatemala presented the official invitation to participate in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. NOC President Gerarde Aguirre announced that Guatemala had given a positive response regarding its participation. Aguirre stated national athletes and children of Guatemalan parents living abroad would be invited to take part in the qualification process. Guatemala has participated only once in the Olympic Winter Games – in Calgary in 1988, with four Alpine skiers and two cross-country skiers. More info at www.cog.org.gt
The Japanese Olympic Committee and Japan Sports Press Association held the annual “Sport Journalist Seminar” to deepen mutual understanding between national sports federations and the media. With about 100 sports journalists and communications professionals from national federations in attendance, a keynote lecture by FIG President Morinari Watanabe (photo) focused on the importance of enhancing international relationships and passing on of information in the sports community. Olympian Yuki Ota, a silver medalist at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 in fencing, was present at the event as well as Shinichiro Otsuka, ITU Vice-President. More info at www.joc.or.jp
A ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fair Play Awards was held at the Olympic Centre, the headquarters of the NOC of Poland. In the presence of NOC Secretary General Adam Krzesiński and the President of the NOC Fair Play Club Professor Halina Zdebska–Biziewska, this anniversary edition of the awards honoured several individuals for their promotion of fairplay. More info at www.olimpijski.pl
As part of the Olympic Solidarity Clean Athlete Programme, the Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth of Swaziland, David Ngcamphalala, joined Clean Athlete Ambassadors Sibusiso Matsenjwa and Carlota Munave to sign the Clean Athlete Pledge Certificate. The signing was held at the Olympafrica Sports and Development Centre in Swaziland. More info at www.socga.org.sz, the website of the Swaziland NOC.
The Venezuelan NOC held an Olympic activities course as part of its training programme for coaches. In one of the talks, Víctor Vargas, former Technical Director of the National Sports Institute, Mindeporte and the NOC, emphasised the importance of adequate planning and outlined the most important steps to create sports organisations at local, regional and national levels. Similarly, NOC President Eduardo Álvarez emphasised the need to continue developing local talent in a region which has produced 40 per cent of the country’s Olympic medallists.
olympic games organising committees
China’s President Xi Jinping visited some of the key venues for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 during a two-day inspection tour to check on progress of the preparations for the Games in the nation’s capital. During the inspection to the Wukesong sports center, venue for the ice hockey events, and the Capital Gymnasium, President Xi stressed that preparations for the Olympic Winter Games 2022 are an important mission for the city for the present and near future. He also presided over a symposium on city planning and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 where Guo Jinlong, President of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, and Gou Zhongwen, Director of the State General Administration of Sports presented updates on the preparations. The full news story is here.
Furthermore, the President of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, Guo Jinlong, and IOC Vice-President Yu Zaiqing formally launched the Marketing Programme of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 at a ceremony held in Beijing. Speaking at the event, Alexander Zhukov, Chair of the IOC Beijing 2022 Coordination Commission, highlighted that the domestic commercial partners play an essential role in the success of the Games that goes far beyond the financial support. He also stressed the excellent working relationship between Beijing 2022 and the IOC Coordination Commission. The full news story is here.
The development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Agitos Foundation, has launched the first of its Para sport development activities supported by Worldwide Paralympic Partner, Toyota. Representatives of the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and host country Kazakhstan gathered in Almaty for the start of the latest phase of the Organisational Capacity Programme (OCP). The OCP is designed to strengthen NPCs in the areas of governance, marketing and athlete development, and enable them to diversify their funding streams. So far over 1,000 people from 39 countries all around the world have been involved since the beginning of the OCP in February 2014. Full news here.
Worldwide TOP Partner, Samsung Electronics and Generations For Peace, chaired by IOC Member Prince Feisal Al Hussein, renewed their Peace Through Sport partnership for the tenth consecutive year, supporting youth leaders across the Levant region. Samsung Electronics Levant is supporting Generations For Peace programmes engaging youngsters in schools and youth centres in Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon as part of Samsung’s globally-respected Corporate Social Responsibility programme and its commitment towards supporting education and health. Full news here.
Lausanne Panathlon Club Honorary President Jean Presset died on 22 February in Lausanne. He was President of the Club from 1978 to 1983. He took part in the launch of the Fair Play campaign and in the creation of the Fair Play Charter. A member of the Fair Play Commission of the Swiss Sport Association, he was also Central Board member of Panathlon International; President of the Cultural Commission of Panathlon International; and Founding Member of the International Fair Play Committee. Jean Presset was awarded the Olympic Order in 1998.