IOC INTERNATIONAL ATHLETES’ FORUM
The programmed featured a number of key speakers from the Olympic Movement and other influential organisations. The first day opened with a plenary session presented by Jacques Rogge, Sergey Bubka (Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission), Kelly Fairweather (IOC Sports Director) and Gilbert Felli (IOC Olympic Games Executive Director). Additionally, Guro Johnsen (Director of the Athletes’ Career Programme at Adecco) and Tom Dielen (Director of the WADA European Regional Office) spoke on the opening day ahead of the working group sessions.
The working groups focused on athlete career transition, safeguarding athletes in the context of anti-doping and economic influences affecting athletes in sport, and were led by Frank Fredericks, Charmaine Crooks and Ådne Søndrål respectively.
On the second day, the working groups continued their sessions, and their recommendations were presented in a plenary session ahead of the final conclusions of the Forum. After this, the athlete representatives met and spoke with young athletes, and received a guided tour of The Olympic Museum.
Around 60 athlete representatives from IFs and Continental Associations, plus members of Adecco and WADA, who spoke at the first plenary session. The then IOC President Jacques Rogge was also present.
To explore how athletes can ensure that they are set up for a career once they retire from sport, as well as examining the roles of NOCs, IFs and entourage in this transition.
Outcomes and recommendations
The 2nd International Athletes’ Forum’s recommendations heavily emphasised the need to support and inform athletes during and after their sporting career, in order to create a smooth transition to life away from competition. The working groups produced a list of key recommendations:
- Athlete responsibility: It is every athletes’ personal responsibility to take the steps necessary to combine education with sport and prepare for their second career.
- Support network: Coaches, families, agents and senior athletes have a key role to play in helping young athletes to understand the importance of education.
- The fight against doping: The IOC, WADA, sports bodies and relevant public authorities should increase education and communication on the fight against doping and uphold the principles of clean sport. Additionally, strong sports-related sanctions should be in place for athletes, doctors, coaches or sporting bodies found guilty of being involved with doping.
- Communication with governments: The IOC should remind national governments that athletes need and deserve support during and after their sporting career, and to harmonise and support the 2005 UNESCO Convention on Doping.
- Athletes’ Career Programme: Ensure that IFs and NOCs cooperate with Adecco’s Athletes’ Career Programme, which provides a network and vehicle to help integrate athletes into the workforce.