The programme

After the plenary session to open the Forum, working groups discussed three topics related to athlete wellbeing. IOC Athletes’ Commission member Robert Ctvrtlik led the group entitled “Athlete education and career management”, which saw participants discuss the importance of raising awareness of this area and leveraging existing programmes to benefit the athletes. Charmaine Crooks, a member of the World Olympians Association (WOA) Executive Committee, led the discussion on athletes’ image and network, touching on the power and impact of athlete networks and how they can be expanded to benefit athletes.

The final working group, led by IOC Member Manuela Di Centa, examined the role of athletes in the preparation of the Games. IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli was a guest speaker within the working group, which discussed athletes’ inclusion from the candidature stage through to sitting on the board of Organising Committees.

On the second day of the Forum, the working groups finalised their recommendations and a final plenary session was held where these recommendations were presented.


Around 70 athlete representatives from IFs and Continental Associations attended the Forum in Dubai. Notable attendees included IOC President Jacques Rogge and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, IOC Member and President of FEI.


  • Athlete education and career management
  • Athletes’ image and network
  • Involvement of athletes in the preparation of the Olympic Games
Outcomes and recommendations

The 3rd International Athletes’ Forum reinforced the belief that education was an essential tool to help athletes during and after their career, and that athletes could be integrated further into the organising of the Games themselves. After the conclusion of the Forum, the groups produced five key recommendations:

  1. Raise awareness of education and career management: The IOC should use all communication platforms at its disposal to inform athletes, entourage members and the Olympic Movement on the importance of planning for a smooth transition after sport, to prioritise education, and to expand the Olympic Solidarity programme to include education and career management.
  2. Use existing organisations to benefit athletes: The Forum recognises the positive impact of the Athlete Career Programme (now Athlete365 Career+) and encourages further expansion of it to countries and areas in which it does not yet exist.
  3. Activation activities: The IOC should find ways to utilise athletes in humanitarian/social responsibility programmes and develop a database of Olympians who can be called upon for such activation activities.
  4. Improve athlete networks: Examine the possibility of requiring IFs and NOCs to have athletes on their executive boards, while providing these bodies with governance tools to enhance and develop athletes’ commissions effectively.
  5. Athletes’ involvement in the Games: Athletes must be involved from the start (candidature phase) to the end (debrief of the Olympic Games) in all matters related to athletes’ activities. Athletes on the Organising Committee boards require a clearly defined role and need to be given the necessary support to achieve their role.