Youth and Athletes at the heart of Congress discussions
The XIII Olympic Congress today approved a set of recommendations with a strong focus on youth and athletes, declaring that “youth and athletes are equally at the heart of the Olympic Movement.”
Wrapping up a three-day meeting in Copenhagen’s Bella Center, the Congress embraced digital technology and the Youth Olympic Games as powerful tools for sharing Olympic values with the world’s youth. The 66 recommendations included proposals to get young people engaged in sport; to better protect athletes — medically, psychologically and after their sporting careers; to take full advantage of new digital technology; and to use the new Youth Olympic Games as a model for youth competition.
“The XIII Olympic Congress will be remembered as the Congress of Youth and Athletes. It has delivered clear guidance that serving young people and athletes should be our top priorities,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said. “We will find new ways to share the Olympic values with the world’s youth and get them involved in sport. We will redouble our efforts to protect the health and safety of athletes, and help them prepare for life after sport.”
Five themes addressed
The 66 recommendations cover each of the five themes that delegates discussed under the overarching theme of “The Olympic Movement in Society”. The five topics were “The Athletes”, “The Olympic Games”, “The Structure of the Olympic Movement”, “Olympism and Youth” and “The Digital Revolution”.
The Congress said the Olympic Movement should better protect athletes during their careers and do more to assist their transition to private life.
“Protecting the physical and psychological health of all athletes must be a major priority for the entire Olympic Movement,” the Congress declared in its concluding report. The delegates called for the creation of a new IOC commission to oversee issues related to coaches, trainers and other members of the athletes’ entourage.
The Congress also highlighted the problem of inactivity and called for action to address it, especially among young people. Delegates asked for closer cooperation between governments and sports organisations, and said governments should build more sporting facilities and offer more time for sport in schools, “at all ages and at all levels.”
The Congress called the new Youth Olympic Games “a unique opportunity in the history of the modern Olympic Movement to raise the bar worldwide in terms of the delivery of educational and sport programmes for all young people.”
Delegates also recommended the creation of a digital task force to help National Olympic Committees, International Federations and all other Olympic organisations take full advantage of new media and digital technology to promote the Olympic values and participation in sport. However, delegates also acknowledged the “digital divide” and advised the Olympic Movement to help make technology more widely available.
From contributions to recommendations
The recommendations were drawn from hundreds of ideas and suggestions offered over the past two years by Olympic Family members, academics, medical specialists, coaches, referees, athletes, journalists, representatives from non-governmental organisations and members of the general public. More than 1,700 contributions were delivered via the “Virtual Olympic Congress,” an online forum.
Congress delegates refined the proposals and offered their own perspectives over the course of their three-day meeting in Copenhagen.
Rogge will appoint working groups to review the proposals before forwarding them to the appropriate decision-making bodies within the Olympic Movement.