IOC INTERNATIONAL ATHLETES’ FORUM
The programme featured a number of plenary sessions and working group sessions focusing on several aspects of athlete life.
Firstly, the working groups recognised the importance of the entourage members and the vital role they play in the development of athletes, both on and off the field of play. Educating entourage members on their role and responsibility to athletes was deemed key, and as well as increased recognition and accountability for all members of the athlete’s entourage.
Athlete safeguarding was also a major discussion point, as the working groups spoke about anti-doping measures, the fight against illegal and irregular betting in sport, and the security of athletes within the Olympic Movement.
After the working groups concluded their discussions, a plenary session was held for a presentation of the final conclusions and remarks from IOC President Jacques Rogge, with an IOC Athletes’ Commission meeting on 11 October for further reflection on the Forum.
Around 100 athletes from five continents attended the 5th International Athletes’ Forum. For the first time, a day of joint meetings was organised between the IOC AC with the IPC AC, WADA AC, and ACs from other sporting bodies.
- Different aspects of athlete life
- The role of the entourage
- Communication and social media, safety, and security
- Anti-doping and Games-time experience
Outcomes and recommendations
The 5th International Athletes’ Forum acknowledged the importance of athlete support, particularly with regard to athletes’ entourage members and the sporting bodies involved in the Olympic Movement. The key recommendations from the Forum were as follows:
- The role of the entourage: Athletes should designate one person as a central point of contact of their entourage to manage all interfaces. The entourage should exist to assist and guide the athlete and should be investigated if an infraction occurs for their athlete in relation to the WADA guidelines.
- Athlete Career Programme: The IOC should continue to support the Athlete Career Programme (now Athlete365 Career+) and develop and provide National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) with a toolkit to support and raise awareness of these programmes in each region.
- Athlete involvement in safety: The Forum strongly believes that athletes’ involvement in the decision-making process around health, safety and security should be increased. Their role should also be broadened in areas such as sports rule evolution and event organisation.
- Doping sanctions: The Forum unanimously supports the view that athletes convicted of a deliberate and aggravated doping offence should receive a lifetime Olympic ban, and that coaches, doctors and any other member of an athlete’s entourage found to be taking part in these practices should be sanctioned.
- Fighting irregular betting: The IOC should develop various tools to educate athletes and their entourage regarding the risks associated with betting on their sport. NOCs and IFs should establish clear rules and sanctions to prevent athletes from betting on their sport and events, similar to those in place for the Olympic Games. £
- Athletes’ Commissions: The Forum strongly supports the continued creation of athletes’ commissions by NOCs and IFs, and recommends that the commissions be represented within each NOC’s executive body by at least one member who is an athlete, who will have the right to vote within the body. Additionally, the athletes’ commissions should be represented at the NOC General Assemblies by at least two of their members, who must be athletes elected by the commissions.