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Athletes our priority Getty

Olympic Solidarity aims to ensure that athletes with talent have an equal chance of reaching the Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena.

Giving every athlete a chance to succeed

The world’s greatest sporting festival, the Olympic Games, offers the world’s athletes the opportunity to come together in the same city, the same “village” and the same stadium. They are also the chance for athletes from less advantaged countries to pit themselves against, and sometimes beat, competitors from better off countries, with such stories also contributing to the success of the Games. However, talent and determination are not sufficient to make happy endings. High-level support and preparation are also needed, and many people are unaware of just how much these cost. It was for this reason that, on the occasion of the Games of the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona in 1992, the idea was born of offering specific financial and technical assistance to athletes preparing for the Olympic Games. Since then, this operation has been repeated for all the Games of the Olympiad, with constant improvements aimed at meeting the athletes’ needs as much as possible.

Enlarging the scope of our action

In order to respond to increasing requests from the NOCs with a solid tradition in winter sports, Olympic scholarships are also offered for the Olympic Winter Games, starting in Vancouver in 2010. The programme of Olympic scholarships for athletes is just one of Olympic Solidarity’s many forms of action.

Learn more on how the Olympic scholarships work

Key figures

Athletes our priority Getty

RIO 2016
  • 1,547 Olympic scholarships allocated
  • 185 NOCs benefited from the programme
  • 815 Olympic scholarship holders from 171 NOCs participating in the Games (477 men/338 women), in 22 sports
  • 10 additional scholarships were awarded to the Refugee Olympic Team (R.O.T.), 4 women and 6 men
  • 101 medals awarded (33 gold, 26 silver, 42 bronze)
  • 25 NOCs had their delegation made up of 50% (or more) of Olympic scholarship holders
  • The delegations of 6 NOCs (Swaziland, Lao PDR, Liechtenstein, Kosovo, San Marino and Solomon Islands) were made up entirely of Olympic scholarship holders.
  • Many national records, personal bests and first appearances by a country in a particular sport

More details in the brochure:
Olympic Scholarships for Athletes – Rio 2016

Athletes our priority Getty

SOCHI 2014
  • 440 individual Olympic scholarships and 4 tailor-made grants allocated
  • 273 Olympic scholarship holders qualified in 5 sports
  • 77 NOCs benefited from the programme
  • Only the second Olympic Winter Games to offer Olympic scholarships to athletes, following the successful debut of the programme ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

More details in the brochure:
Olympic Scholarships for Athletes - Sochi 2014

Athletes our priority Getty

LONDON 2012
  • 1,264 Olympic scholarships allocated
  • 657 Olympic scholarship holders from 165 NOCs participating in the Games (409 men/248 women), in 20 sports
  • 76 medals awarded
  • 177 NOCs benefited from the programme
  • 29 NOCs had their delegation made up of 50% (or more) of Olympic scholarship holders.
  • The delegations of 4 NOCs (Cayman Islands, Equatorial Guinea, Lao PDR and Swaziland) were made up entirely of Olympic scholarship holders.
  • Many national records, personal bests and first appearances by a country in a particular sport.

More details in the brochure:
Olympic Scholarships for Athletes - London 2012

What a performance in London!

Athletes our priority Getty | Anthony Obame (L) and Pavlos Kontides (R)

  • Anthony Obame was the first athlete from Gabon to win an Olympic medal (silver - taekwondo) and Pavlos Kontides the first athlete from Cyprus to win an Olympic medal (silver - sailing).
  • Bronze medallist Yuri Alvear Orejuela won the first Olympic medal in judo for Colombia.
  • Carlo Molfetta was the first Italian to win Olympic gold in taekwondo.
  • At 19, Zulfiya Chinshanlo from Kazakhstan was the youngest gold medallist in weightlifting in Olympic history.

Athletes our priority Getty | Battsetseg Soronzonbold

  • Battsetseg Soronzonbold was the third woman from Mongolia to win an Olympic medal and the first to win one in wrestling.
  • Un Guk Kim won Olympic gold in weightlifting (-62kg) for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and set a new world record.

Athletes our priority Getty | Sandra Perkovic (L) and Blanka Vlasic (R)

  • Sandra Perkovic won Croatia’s first Olympic gold medal in athletics. The only other medal won by Croatia was a silver, won in 2008 by former Olympic scholarship holder Blanka VLASIC in the high jump.
What the athletes say

Athletes our priority Getty | Ella Nicholas

Ella Nicholas, Cook Islands, canoe, London 2012: “The Olympic Solidarity programme has made it possible for me to keep paddling and competing, striving towards my goal of taking part in the London Olympic Games. Without this support I would not be able to combine study and paddling.”

Athletes our priority Getty | Natalya Coyle

Natalya Coyle, Ireland, modern pentathlon, London 2012: “Without the Olympic scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to compete. It’s an expensive sport, but fortunately because of the scholarship I have been able to go to all the World Cups, which helped me qualify for the World Cup Final, and hopefully I was able to qualify for London 2012. Without it I really wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere.”

Getty | Te- An Lien

Te- An Lien, Chinese Taipei, luge, Sochi 2014: “Most of my training is done in Europe or America, so it can be very expensive. Any support, no matter how small, can be very useful, so the scholarship has definitely helped me in terms of financial support.”

Athletes our priority Getty | Isabel Clark Ribeiro

Isabel Clark Ribeiro, Brazil, snowboard cross, Sochi 2014: “It has been very helpful. My federation has more funds to help my training and cover the costs. I am very lucky and grateful to receive the Olympic Solidarity and be able to train and compete at the highest level.”

Find more detailed information on Olympic scholarships in:

Olympic Scholarships for Athletes - Sochi 2014 - Final Report
Olympic Scholarships for Athletes - London 2012 - Final Report

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