The Olympic Charter outlines the IOCs mission to promote safe sport and the protection of athletes from all forms of harassment and abuse.

The creation of the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) in 1981 allowed the athlete voice to be amplified and better safeguard competitors. Since then, numerous initiatives have been introduced to serve athletes.

The Athlete Safeguarding Toolkit released in 2017 provided further support and focus on the topic outlining guidance and steps that have been adopted across International Federations and National Olympic Committees.

Safeguarding athletes to ensure that they can train and compete in a protected and safe environment has always been important but has come to the forefront of conversation in recent years. Protecting athletes enables you to perform at your very best, and that is what we have strived for since the very beginning and continue to work towards on a daily basis.  Here, you can read about the implementation of the IOC Safe Sport initiatives and their effect on the Olympic Movement.

IOC Athletes’ Commission

The wheels were set in motion for amplifying the athlete voice in 1981 when the IOC AC was created. The AC’s goal was to represent athletes and ensure that your views as athletes were at the heart of decision-making in the Olympic Movement. In 2000, the first election of the IOC AC took place at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, with eight IOC AC members becoming IOC Members. Additionally, the IOC AC Chair joined the IOC Executive Board (EB) to ensure that athletes are represented at the highest level.

International Athletes’ Forum

In 2002, the first IAF was held in Lausanne. This Forum allowed athlete representatives to gather together to discuss the key issues affecting athletes globally and would become a biennial event. Recent editions of the IAF have helped to catalyse the introduction of various measures to safeguard athletes.

Olympic Agenda 2020

In December 2014, the Olympic Agenda 2020 was unanimously agreed upon at the 127th IOC Session in Monaco. The resulting recommendations covered a wide range of topics from environmental sustainability to gender equality. One of the recommendations was to strengthen support to athletes, putting your experience at the heart of the Games and committing to further invest in support both on and off the field of play.


IOC Guidelines for IFs and NOCs introduced
IOC Guidelines for IFs and NOCs

In July 2016, the IOC EB introduced the IOC Guidelines for IFs and NOCs. These Guidelines detail what the IOC considers to be the minimum requirements for athlete-safeguarding policies and offers a step-by-step approach to developing Prevention of Harassment and Abuse (PHAS) initiatives.

IOC Games-time Safeguarding Framework

One month later, Rio 2016 saw the introduction of the IOC Games-time Safeguarding Framework. This refers to a set of guidelines which is now in place at all editions of the Summer and Winter Games as well as all editions of the Youth Olympic Games. This Framework includes education as well as IOC Safeguarding Officers who are present at the Games as an in-person resource for you when you need to seek advice and support and is someone to whom reports can be submitted for immediate follow-up.

See our Safe Sport Resources here

IOC Safeguarding Toolkit

At the 2017 edition of the IAF, the IOC Athletes’ Commission Strategy was introduced after safeguarding was identified as a priority at the 2015 edition of the Forum. This also heralded the launch of the IOC Safeguarding Toolkit, which aims to provide a comprehensive resource to organisations seeking to build policy to support and safeguard their athletes.


Athletes’ Declaration adopted by the IOC Session on behalf of the Olympic Movement
Athletes’ Declaration

In 2018, the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration was adopted by the IOC Session on behalf of the Olympic Movement to further support athletes. This Declaration’s overarching goal is to support athletes such as you no matter their sport, age, gender or nationality, by outlining a common set of rights and responsibilities. A Steering Committee of 20 led the initiative, but it was shaped by the input of over 4,000 athletes from 190 countries.

IF Webinar Series on Athlete Safeguarding

As part of the IOC’s growing #SafeSport educational programme, this first of its kind 10-part webinar series was presented in Autumn 2019. It provided IFs with equal access to leading experts in athlete safeguarding and covered 12 key areas where sports organisations commonly find challenges in developing and implementing safeguarding policies and procedures. The entire series is now available online.

To learn more about safe sport and what can constitute harassment and abuse, take a look at Athlete365’s dedicated safe sport page.