International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s opening speech today set the tone for the one-day IOC Session held in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
President Bach noted that the Olympic Movement is starting 2020 on a solid foundation thanks to the success of implementing the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms. “We are where we are today thanks to the collective and concerted effort by all of us to take on the challenges of our times. In our fragile world, the stability that we are enjoying is perhaps the strongest currency that you can have. Not many other organisations can claim to have this strong currency in our volatile times,” he said.
He underlined that two pillars of this strong foundation are the solidarity model and political neutrality: “This Olympic year also reminds us that we can send this strong message of unity in diversity to the world only with solidarity. Universality at the Olympic Games is possible only if everyone can participate under fair conditions. This is why our Olympic Solidarity model is so important. This model benefits all athletes from all NOCs in the world. Not just a few countries. Not just a few sports,” the IOC President explained and stressed. “Here we need to stand firmly and declare that our solidarity model is not for sale. We are a values-based organisation. We are a solidarity-driven organisation. For us, money is not an end in itself. Money is just a means to achieve our mission.”
President Bach also elaborated on the importance of political neutrality: “Another important element of our mission is political neutrality. We can accomplish our mission to unite the world only if the Olympic Games stand above and beyond any and all political differences. We can achieve this global solidarity and true universality only if the IOC and the Olympic Games are politically neutral.”