Thanking the previous incumbents
Before I start, I want to wholeheartedly thank and wish the very best to my peers who stepped down from the IOC Athletes’ Commission at the conclusion of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Kirsty Coventry was our Chair and, under her leadership, along with the experience of Vice-Chair Danka Bartekova and members James Tomkins, Tony Estanguet and Stefan Holm, the Commission had an incredible period, overseeing many new ambitious projects, all the while standing up for athletes around the world. They are and always will be an inspiration to me and the rest of the Commission.
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
On behalf of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, I would like to thank the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese Government, the wonderful volunteers and the people of Japan.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were a Games like no other. Athletes had to make many sacrifices and overcome unprecedented challenges to prepare themselves for the Games. Having heard and learned of these stories, both during and after the Games, the Commission and I discussed the feedback we’ve received from athletes.
It was wonderful to hear from the athlete community about the success of the Games and how it enabled them to realise their Olympic dream despite an incredibly difficult period for society as a whole. The importance of these Games for athletes cannot be underestimated.
As the Commission, we also emphasise the importance of the mental health of our fellow athletes. The resources made available through the #MentallyFit campaign, including a confidential mental health helpline which is available in 70 different languages, were well-received. We will continue to prioritise our efforts in the area of athletes’ well-being and mental health.
It was wonderful to hear from the athlete community about the success of the Games and how it enabled them to realise their Olympic dream
athletes from the new sports brought inspiration and a new-found energy to these Olympic Games
Engagement with global network of athlete representatives
Led by our Vice-Chair Seung Min-Ryu and me, a couple of calls were held with the global network of athlete representatives. As we have new members in the Commission, we took the opportunity to introduce them to the network and followed that by actively discussing the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
We also took this opportunity to collect further feedback from our fellow athletes and athlete representatives about their experience in Japan. Their feedback is critical in helping us to learn and continuously improve the athlete experience. It was also incredible on this call to hear some of the stories from athletes, and it is not easy to put to scale their overall appreciation for having had the opportunity to compete at the Games despite the challenges they have had to overcome. At the same time, athletes from the new sports brought inspiration and a new-found energy to these Olympic Games, with more youth, and a more urban tone in a gender-balanced sports programme.
In the coming weeks, our Commission has committed to organising dedicated calls with a number of athletes’ commissions from National Olympic Committees and International Federations in order to further collect feedback and discuss the Commission’s priorities moving forward.
Afghanistan’s sports community
Finally, on behalf of our Commission, I would like to express our heartfelt and sincerest appreciation for all the governments and sports organisations who have come together to help the vulnerable sports community in Afghanistan.
We extend our full support for all the efforts that continue to be taken to support the sporting community in Afghanistan during these challenging times.
In conclusion, the IOC Athletes’ Commission will continue to focus on our engagement with athletes both leading up to our in-person meeting to be held in November and during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
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