The programme

The programme featured a number of plenary and practical sessions focusing on empowering athletes’ commissions. These included “How to effectively lead an athletes’ commission”, led by inspirational athlete leaders Angela Ruggiero and Tony Estanguet; “Athletes’ commission management”, which saw athletes discuss a commission’s mission, vision, roles and responsibilities, and best practices; and “How athletes’ commissions can benefit from new media”, which featured Olympic Broadcasting Services CEO Yiannis Exarchos and Professor Andy Miah as speakers.

In addition, there was a panel discussion on “Athletes’ services”, which saw Kirsty Coventry and Olivier Niamkey provide insight about the Olympic Solidarity programme, and invited Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) representatives Tricia Smith and Michael Lenard to explain how the CAS safeguards the interests of athletes. And there was also an important panel session on supporting athletes’ welfare, featuring Olympic champion triple jumper Jonathan Edwards and safeguarding expert Margo Mountjoy as speakers, which addressed life beyond competition, the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport, and how to manage athletes’ entourages.

The Forum closed with a Q&A session with IOC President Thomas Bach.


More than 100 athletes from 40 countries attended the Forum, including athlete representatives from IFs, the IPC, Continental Associations, and, for the first time, OCOGs

  • To assess the implementation of the Olympic Agenda 2020 athlete-related recommendations
  • To empower athletes’ commissions and their chairpersons
Outcomes and recommendations

The 7th International Athletes’ Forum warmly received the Olympic Agenda 2020 athlete-related recommendations, and re-emphasised that athletes’ commissions were a fundamental part of the Olympic Movement and should continue to work with stakeholders to ensure their effectiveness. The discussions resulted in an agreement to empower athletes through better communication and provision of information, and produced five key recommendations:

  1. Support to Stakeholders: The IOC to help its stakeholders be effective by providing guidelines and support for the establishment of athletes’ commissions in IFs, NOCs and OCOGs.
  2. Support to Athletes: The IOC to directly support athletes through new and developed educational resources, and through Olympic Solidarity, which will provide funding for bi-annual Continental Athletes’ Forums.
  3. Athlete Games-time Experience: The IOC Athletes’ Commission to benefit from greater support and promotion during Games time, so that it can focus on improving the athletes’ Games-time experience related to ceremonies and communication with athletes.
  4. Safeguarding: In order to reinforce safeguarding the interests of athletes, the CAS to set up initiatives for assisting, developing and teaching athlete arbitrators. The IOC Athletes’ Commission should work with the IOC to develop and introduce more safeguarding material for athletes.
  5. International Athletes’ Forum: To be as effective as possible by continuing to include a day of practical meetings and sharing of best practices, increasing the level of engagement between participants, and facilitating a continued dialogue and exchange after each Forum.