The IOC President was in Seoul for a series of official meetings, before travelling to PyeongChang for the IOC Executive Board’s first meeting of the year. His visit coincided with the eighth visit of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
In Seoul, the IOC President Thomas Bach met the Prime Minister and acting President of the Republic of Korea, Hwang Kyo-ahn, and the Speaker of the Korean National Assembly, Chung Sye-kyun. The IOC President discussed the forthcoming Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with the Korean leaders. Given the domestic political differences, they all agreed that the Olympic Games are a great opportunity to bring all the South Korean people together and can unite them again behind the Olympic Games and their athletes, after the deep political crisis which is currently dividing the population. President Bach expressed his confidence in the success of the Olympic Winter Games, following a busy schedule of test events in PyeongChang this season. “I trust Korea and I trust Koreans 100 per cent,” he said. The President was accompanied by the Chair of the Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Gunilla Lindberg.
IOC / Greg Martin
Still in Seoul, the President was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Korea National Sports University. Speaking in front of an audience that included several Korean Olympic champions, President Bach highlighted the power of sport to bring people together, and emphasised that the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 were coming at an important time for the country.
He also had the opportunity to meet the former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
IOC / Greg Martin
On his arrival in PyeongChang, the IOC President toured the Olympic Village to see for himself the progress being made. He was accompanied by several skeleton athletes who were taking part in a test event at the Alpensia Sliding Centre. The Olympic Village will be completed in September and post-Games apartments are already sold.
IOC / Greg Martin
The first meeting of the IOC Executive Board (EB) in 2017 in PyeongChang reviewed the protection of clean athletes, the candidature process, the legacy of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the preparations of the next editions of the Olympic Games, the gender equality and other institutional matters.
On the protection of clean athletes, the EB issued a Declaration on the reform of the WADA Anti-Doping System, providing 12 principles for an independent and more robust global Anti-Doping System to protect the clean athletes. The full declaration is available here.
The EB has established a Working Group, consisting of the four IOC Vice Presidents, to explore changes to the candidature procedure. This is in follow-up to Olympic Agenda 2020 and the initial steps that the IOC already took last year in Rio, where the results of the Working Group on future Olympic Winter Games were approved by the Session. After the EB will receive the report of the Working Group, the IOC Members will have the opportunity to discuss these recommendations in July this year on the occasion of the Candidate City 2024 Briefing for IOC Members. Read the full press release here.
An overview of the legacies of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 that have been delivered and those that are under development was presented. The relocation of the five temporary pools from the aquatics stadium is underway; the handball arena will be dismantled and used for the construction of four new schools; the hockey pitches are being used by a local university; and parts of the Olympic Park are open to the public at weekends. The whole Park is scheduled to be reopened by July this year. Thanks to the Games, the percentage of the population with access to high-quality transportation has risen from 18 per cent in 2009 to 63 per cent, with four new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) routes and a new metro line. The light rail network has been expanded, with 130 new trains now in operation. The Olympic Games helped the country to achieve record tourism numbers with a 6 per cent increase in revenue generated by tourism in 2016. Some 16,000 jobs were created through the new hotels which have been built. Discover here a factsheet summarising some of the ways that Rio 2016 made the world a better place through sport.
President Lee Hee-beom of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee and Gunilla Lindberg, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission presented their respective reports on the current status of the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. President Bach praised the progress that has been made in the preparations and reaffirmed the IOC’s continuous support for POCOG and for the success of the Games. This was also confirmed during the visit of the IOC Coordination Commission in prelude to the EB. The EB approved Rules 40 and 50, deciding to maintain the same approach for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as for the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Regarding the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, President Yoshiro Mori, CEO Toshiro Muto of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and John Coates, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission gave their respective updates on the latest activities. The EB approved the proposed Fukushima Azuma stadium as an additional baseball and softball venue, following the joint initiative by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and IOC President Bach to hold some of the sporting events from the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in the disaster-affected area in the Tohoku region when they met in Tokyo last year. Read the full press release here.
The EB received an update on the preparations of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 from Zhang Jiandong, Executive Vice President, and Guo Huaigang, Director of Secretariat and Administration, of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee. The preparations for Beijing 2022 remain a priority for the Chinese government, as reflected by the recent visit of President Xi Jinping of China to the IOC in January.
Concerning the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018, the EB approved a request to change the dates from 1-12 October 2018 to 6-18 October 2018, in order to optimise weekend days by including one additional weekend. The EB also approved the proposed addition of Roller Speed as an additional event for men and women and the qualification system for Roller Sports. An update on the preparations for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 was also presented.
The EB approved the proposed Gender Equality Review Project, put forward jointly by the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the IOC Women in Sport Commission. The project aims to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality in the Olympic Movement and will develop tangible recommendations and guidelines for actions. Led by Chairperson Marisol Casado, the composition of the proposed Working Group of the Gender Equality Review Project was also approved by the EB. A full report and recommendation is expected by December 2017. Read the full press release here.
An update was presented on the activities of the Olympic Channel, where it was highlighted that all corporate and organisational matters have been completely implemented and are fully functioning. On the operational side, more than 5,000 pieces of content are currently available on the platform, with all sports and disciplines as well as 206 countries represented. The social media community is growing and to date, the Channel has 5.8 million followers across its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo and YouTube handles, which accounts for approximately 16 per cent of all IOC social media followers on the same platforms, and has driven more than 555 million video views and 2.62 billion impressions. The current marketing activities are focused on optimising digital marketing to drive awareness and engagement for the Olympic Channel. The close cooperation with key stakeholders was stressed, with 49 agreements with International Federations and sports organisations. Currently, 198 sporting events and approximately 500 live transmissions are scheduled for 2017. Alibaba, which has been announced as the third Founding Partner, will leverage its leading digital media technologies to help develop and customise the Olympic Channel for a Chinese audience. Localised versions of the Olympic Channel that will offer language- and region-specific user experiences are currently a key priority for the Channel. The first of these partnerships has been announced in the United States with NBCUniversal and the USOC. The partnership began in December 2016 and will see a linear channel in mid-2017. In addition, the global digital platform is now offered in seven languages, with four more to be added in the near future.
A report was made on the current situation of the NOC of Kenya and the ongoing difficulties in approving a new NOC constitution. The EB approved an emergency measure taken by the IOC President to withhold payments to the NOC of Kenya until the issue is resolved. The EB welcomed recent positive developments and commitments made by the NOC and consequently, no further actions will be taken at this stage by the IOC. The IOC will continue to monitor closely the completion of the entire process.
The EB received updates on the activities of the Association of International Olympic Summer Sports Federations (ASOIF), the Association of International Olympic Winter Sport Federations (AIOWF) and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). It was reported that all 28 IFs of ASOIF have completed the “Assisted Self-Assessment questionnaire” to evaluate the state of governance in their organisations and that an interim report will be made public at the ASOIF General Assembly in April.
While in PyeongChang, the IOC President visited the Hospitality House of Korea Telecommunications, one of the partners of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. He also attended a dinner hosted by POCOG President Lee Hee-beom at the Woljeongsa Temple. They enjoyed the warm hospitality of the monks with traditional food, music and culture.
IOC / Greg Martin
President Bach also visited the Alpensia Sliding Centre, where the 2017 IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup – an Olympic test event – was being held. He was accompanied by International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) President and IOC Member Ivo Ferriani.
In Seoul, the President held a meeting with the editors-in-chief of the main broadcasting and print media in Korea. They discussed the much-improved performance of Korean winter sports athletes, the excellent progress in the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games and raising awareness of the Games next year. He also had a separate meeting with SBS, the domestic rights-holding broadcaster for PyeongChang 2018.
IOC / Greg Martin
With PyeongChang 2018 now less than a year away, the IOC Coordination Commission wrapped up its eighth visit (13–15 March) to the Korean host city confident that athletes and fans in 2018 would have a unique Olympic Winter Games experience. Speaking at the end of the meeting, Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg said: “PyeongChang 2018 will deliver top-quality venues and fields of play on both snow and ice for the best Olympic winter athletes next year. We can say this with certainty, as we have witnessed good progress in venue construction and received great feedback from the athletes at the 17 test events completed so far this winter. This, combined with two first-class Olympic Villages, will make these Games truly memorable for the Olympians and Paralympians of 2018.” During the visit, the commission visited the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, the Alpensia Sliding Centre, the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium and the International Broadcast Centre. They also joined the IOC President and EB Members on a visit of the PyeongChang Olympic Village. The Coordination Commission will complete its next and final visit to PyeongChang in August. Read the full press release here.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC)
The IOC and INTERPOL held a partnership development meeting in Seoul, as part of its efforts to promote and protect the integrity of sport amongst national stakeholders ahead of the country hosting the next Olympic Winter Games in 2018. The meeting, which is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, took place ahead of the IOC EB meetings in PyeongChang. It brought together key figures dealing with the national prevention of competition manipulation, including representatives from law enforcement, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games Organizing Committee, the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee, national sports federations, the National Gambling Control Commission, and the sports and justice ministries. During the meeting, the discussions covered the setting up of a Joint Intelligence Integrity Unit for protecting the integrity of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, which could also serve as a lasting legacy to protect sport in the country from integrity breaches. Read the full press release here.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire Abidjan hosted the last of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Marketing and Communication Workshops for the Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers. The working session on 12 and 13 March confirmed the continued commitment and dedication of basketball’s world governing body to preparing all its national member federations across the globe for the FIBA Competition System 2017+, which comes into effect in November. Read about it here.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has just launched the 2017 AIBA Year of Africa. Developed in collaboration with the African Boxing Confederation, the programme aims to deliver an enduring legacy for boxing among the continent’s 54 national federations. It will reach more than 750,000 people across 12 regional hubs through initiatives including the HeadsUp Truck, AIBA’s new GlovesUp gateway into boxing, and 4,835 certified course places which are set to initiate a 250% increase in the number of certified coaches, referees, judges and technical staff. Read more here.
On 8 March, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) signed a pledge to become a member of the International Gender Champions’ Network in Geneva, an initiative committed to working towards gender parity in sport and organisations. FEI President Ingmar De Vos joined the heads of four other sporting bodies: the IOC, World Archery, the International Hockey Federation and the International University Sports Federation. The FEI will offer male employees one month paid paternity leave following the birth of each child, contributing to an improved work-life balance. The federation also made a commitment to increase female membership of FEI committees. Read more here.
The President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), Morinari Watanabe has revealed the composition of the new FIG Commissions for the 2017-2020 Olympic cycle. Four Commissions have been set up for the first time: the Women in Gymnastics Commission, the Innovation Commission, the Compliance Commission and the Ambassador Commission. Read more here.
Last week “Wrestle Like a Girl” founder Sally Roberts (right) was presented with United World Wrestling’s Women and Sport award by UWW President Nenad Lalovic (left), at the 2nd Annual IF Women in Leadership Forum at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The two-time world bronze medallist is executive director of Wrestle Like a Girl, which aims to support and promote women’s wrestling by focusing on the entire athlete rather than just on-the-mat achievements. She also leads the organisation’s camp initiative, which provides a two-day wrestling camp where attendees learn wrestling techniques and life skills. Read more here.
World Rugby has announced a historic agreement to implement an optimised global calendar from 2020-2032. The ground-breaking arrangement, which was approved by World Rugby’s executive committee, promotes equity for the sport’s emerging powers, provides commercial certainty for all unions and prioritises player welfare. Read more here.
Executive vice-presidents of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Marta Eugenia Centeno O. de Sajche and Bouchra Hajij (photo) celebrated International Women’s Day by attending the 2nd IF Forum on Women in Leadership Roles in Lausanne. FIVB president Ary S. Graça and FIVB secretary general Fernando Lima took part in the UN International Women’s Day event in Geneva, which involved a roundtable discussion on the role of sports in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Read more here. The Brazilian city of Curitiba will host the 2017 Volleyball World League Finals next July in the 43,000-seat Arena da Baixada, which hosted matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This is the second time a major FIVB tournament will be played in a football stadium, following the success of the opening match of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championships in Warsaw, Poland. Read the full story here.
Victor Knoch of Hungary (photo) was elected to the International Skating Union (ISU) athletes’ commission as short track speed skating representative. He was elected by short track athletes at their world championships in Rotterdam (Netherlands). He joins the synchronised skating representative, Lathalie Lindqvist of Sweden, and speed skating representative Luiza Zlotkowska of Poland. Read more here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
NOC of Algeria
On 8 March, the NOC of Algeria celebrated International Women’s Day, as it does every year. Female Olympic champions, coaches and sports journalists were invited to a reception at the Olympic Museum in Algiers in the presence of NOC President Mustafa Berraf and members of the Executive Committee. During the NOC Executive Committee meeting at the beginning of March, basketball player Soraya Beloucif was awarded a diploma for completing the International Elite Sport course at the Lausanne Sports Academy. Her final dissertation was on the theme: “Towards optimum preparation of young female basketball players in Algeria”. More info at www.coalgerie.com.
NOC of Azerbaijan
The Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Culture and Sports and the NOC of Azerbaijan organised a series of meetings and presentations to promote the Olympic values through the inspiration of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. International Women’s Day was celebrated with a summit meeting with two women athletes who had taken part in the Olympic Games Rio 2016: Farida Azizova and Patimat Abakarova, who won a bronze medal in taekwondo. They were able to share information about their successes, their struggles and the challenges they faced on their way with the students. More info at www.noc-aze.org.
NOC of Bahrain
The NOC of Bahrain informs us that the 5th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Women’s Games opened on 7 March in Doha (Qatar). The 11-day event brought together 890 athletes representing Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar in ten different sports. The opening ceremony took place under the patronage of the vice chair and CEO of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani.
NOC of Belarus
The NOC of Belarus Hall of Fame hosted the celebration for winners of the “Media Olymp 2016” competition. The contest aims to reward the sports journalists who best succeeded in communicating the NOC’s activity to the public, and covering the preparations and participation of Belarusian athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The competition was organised by the NOC’s media commission, in cooperation with the national ministry of information and the Belarusian Sports Press Association. Read more here.
The Chilean NOC made a major donation (over 25 million pesos) to the construction of a multi-sports complex for the San Lorenzo de Recoleta college. The sports facility was opened in the presence of the school children, representatives of Team Chile and sports authorities. The donation, part of the IOC’s OlympAmerica project, helped to finance a sports field, football goals, official basketball nets and a volleyball net. The NOC was contacted by the “Ganémosle a la Calle” Foundation, which aims to help hundreds of children escape the streets through sport. Two further projects are planned for this year, including another sports centre in the area affected by last summer’s fires in the central southern part of the country. More info at www.coch.cl.
The Colombian NOC’s education department organised a sports administration course in Bucaramanga with the support of the Sports Institute (Indeportes). From 14 to 17 March, the course brought together around 60 leaders at the regional sports and recreation institute. The course covered topics including the Olympic Movement, Olympic Agenda 2020, Olympic Solidarity, strategic management for sports organisations, organising sports events, volunteering and marketing. More info at www.coc.org.co.
The President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco (right) and the president of the Spanish refugee assistance commission (CEAR), Carlos Berzosa (left) signed an agreement to implement activities and programmes using sport as a way of helping refugees to integrate into Spanish society. Under the agreement, which was signed at the CEAR reception centre in Getafe, the NOC agreed to make a financial contribution as part of the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity programmes. This contribution will be used in the first instance to set up a sports facility within the CEAR reception centre. There are also plans to hire a coordinator to plan sports and other leisure activities for refugees. The NOC will provide the necessary sports equipment for these activities. More info at www.coe.es.
NOC of Guatemala
The Guatemalan Olympic Foundation organised a “Training the trainers” workshop in partnership with the NOC of Guatemala, under version 2.0 of the OVEP programme (Olympic Values Education Programme), in Guatemala City. Around fifty coaches, leaders and members of the foundation’s sports and social project, along with NOC personnel took the three-day course, which will give them the ability to pass on the Olympic values and the benefits of sport to Guatemalan youngsters, with a view to building a peaceful and better world. Guatemala is the first country to host this course since the latest edition of OVEP was launched in November. More info at www.cog.org.gt.
The Venezuelan NOC has signed a new agreement with the NOC of Panama to strengthen cooperation and exchanges between the two NOCs, which will help to improve the level of competition in the region. The memorandum covers training courses not only for athletes but also for coaches, judges, referees and leaders. The Venezuelan NOC also announced that the first International Sports History Days would take place from 5 to 7 April at the NOC headquarters. The event will bring together sports historians, journalists and researchers working on the American continent.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The PyeongChang 2018 volunteer programme drew an impressive response, with more than 91,000 people from across the host country applying to play their part at the next Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Some 41,350 of them earned selection for the interview process, which took place over the first two months of this year and was based on the following criteria: volunteer experience, commitment to the Games and basic knowledge of PyeongChang 2018. That process is now complete, with the organisers having chosen 16,200 local volunteers for next year’s Games. Read more here.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) launched Speak Up!, a new, secure digital platform intended for athletes and others to report alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) and non-compliance violations under the World Anti-Doping Code, and any act or omission that could undermine the fight against doping in sport. Read more here.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games were the most viewed in history, attracting a record cumulative audience of more than 4.1 billion people. According to Nielsen Sports figures, published to mark six months on from the Games, the Rio 2016 Paralympics saw the global cumulative TV audience increase by 7 per cent on the 3.8 billion people that watched the previous edition in London in 2012. In addition, more than one billion people globally were engaged in the Games via digital media channels. Read more here.
The International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) has published a video on the 2017 IOC/IPC/IAKS Prize. Prizes will be awarded at the IAKS’ 25th International Congress, which takes place from 7 to 10 November in Cologne (Germany). More info at www.iaks.org.