Launched at the start of 2020, the Olympic Solidarity NOC AC Activity Grant helps fund activities focused on supporting athletes.

Over 60 NOC ACs have benefitted from the programme in 2021, and it continues to have a positive impact on a range of activities to support athletes.

NOCs can apply for a grant for their AC, or use the funds to set up an AC if they don’t already have one.

The grant allowed us to set up our Athletes’ Commission so that we can now provide support to our athletes for a better future.

Victoire Ngon Ntame, Cameroon NOC AC Chair

In 2021, over 60 NOCs applied for the NOC AC Activity Grant. This was the second year that ACs could put the grant to use and support their athletes around the globe.

From funding vital workshops on key topics such as anti-doping, mental health and safe sport to organising development projects within local communities, the NOC AC Activity Grant continues to create new opportunities and experiences for athletes around the world.

Improving dialogue with athletes in Africa

Recognising the importance of establishing an AC to better allow for direct dialogue with its athletes and provide them with the most appropriate support, the Cameroon NOC used part of the grant to set up an AC.

Athletes gathered from the 10 regions of the country for a three-day seminar, where they officially formed the AC and held a session to present the vision, missions, objectives, agenda and functioning of the Commission. The seminar also included an overview of Athlete365 and the opportunities, tools and resources available through the platform.

The ACs of the Mali and Guinea NOCs also put the Activity Grant funding to inspiring use. The Malian NOC AC focused its efforts on empowering the athlete representatives in the country. It held a forum in 2021 for the chairs of all National Federation (NF) ACs which focused on public speaking, how to write an activity report, and advice on managing social networks. It also held a series of workshops with athlete representatives from athletics, cycling, basketball, handball and Para sport, each of whom discussed career transition and other key topics for their athletes.

The Guinean NOC AC, meanwhile, held its first ever Athletes’ Forum, which featured a wide variety of topics. Athlete representatives discussed planning for life beyond competitive sport, building a CV and the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport. The Forum also involved discussions about how Guinean athletes can better embody the Olympic Movement and promote the Olympic values, while athletes were also encouraged to sign up to Athlete365.

Suriname AC conducted training session for athlete welfare counsellors.

The grant enormously helped our AC help our athletes and implement our agenda

Kirtie Algoe, Suriname NOC AC Chair

New career support for athletes in the Americas

The Chile NOC AC seized an opportunity to use the Activity Grant to organise and fund 15 scholarships for athletes to take an online English course for two months, including flexible dates for those competing at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022. English was identified by the AC as fundamental to athletes’ personal development during international competition and after retirement in supporting their competitive sporting careers and career transition.

The AC also held its first national Athletes’ Forum with the support of the Activity Grant. Held virtually at the end of September 2021, the event took place over two days, with the aim of securing a minimum participation rate of 70 per cent across all NF ACs. Topics covered included the national system of scholarships for high-performance athletes, protocols and regulations against abuse, mistreatment and discrimination in sport, the upcoming AC elections, anti-doping, and personal marketing through social media.

“The Olympic Solidarity funds have been very beneficial for our athlete community. It allowed us to carry out activities that directly impact their development in their sport career and also in their post-sport career. We hope to keep generating these initiatives every year,” said Francisca Crovetto, Chile NOC AC Chair.

The Suriname NOC AC also capitalised on the USD 10,000 funding, holding several activities for its athletes, with a focus on networking and sharing experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health and safe sport. Specifically, the NOC organised an annual meeting with its AC, a National Athletes’ Forum and a five-day training session for athlete counsellors, which included mental strength sessions and an anti-doping webinar.

Promotion of the Chile AC’s athletes’ forum and English classes for athletes.

The funding helped us support the creation of ACs in each sport federation in KSA and also produce more material for our athletes in Arabic.

Ibrahim Almoaiqel, Saudi Arabia NOC AC Chair

Identifying and addressing key challenges for Asian athletes

In Asia, the Bhutan NOC AC also held an Athletes’ Forum to discuss athlete-related opportunities, issues and challenges. One such issue identified as a priority was the area of physiotherapy and the enhancement of athlete performance through injury prevention. Due to financial constraints with most NFs in Bhutan, employing a full-time professional physiotherapist is a huge challenge. Based on the Athletes’ Forum discussions, the AC has proposed a basic physiotherapy training plan to support coaches and senior athletes across the country.

The NOC AC also introduced a safe sport initiative. In an effort to empower and safeguard athletes, the NOC AC helped develop – with the support of many other stakeholders in the country – a set of clear protocols for athletes to report harassment and abuse in sport.

For the Saudi Arabia NOC AC, the funding helped ensure that there is representation of athletes within each NF. The NOC AC will guide each NF AC on how to effectively run an AC and work with their respective federations. It brought together all AC chairs to discuss their roles and responsibilities, and to organise meetings and improve communication with the athletes. The Commission also translated a number of athlete resources into Arabic to further support the athletes and ACs in the country.

Russia AC members gather for their Athletes’ Forum.

hese projects are made for the needs of athletes. Thanks to the AC grant from Olympic Solidarity, we can develop athletes beyond the sports sphere.

Luiza Zlotkowska, Poland NOC AC member

Athletes’ rights and education are a key focus in Europe

The Russia NOC AC put the funds to good use and organised their AC meeting, an athletes’ forum as well as their AC’s elections. The forum was attended by athlete representatives from all Russian sports federations, and participants discussed important topics such as educational opportunities for athletes, Olympic Agenda 2020+5, athletes’ rights and Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter.

The AC remains fully focused on working with all national federations to ensure that each sport has a fully compliant AC in their organisation.

Sofiya Velikaya, Chair of the Russian NOC AC, said “The athletes’ forum was a great opportunity for Russian athletes representing summer sports to gather and discuss important issues and to elect the new members of the ROC AC. Athletes’ ideas and proposals will help us to develop our strategy for the next years.”

The Poland NOC AC similarly increased its support for athletes, focusing on the transition into the workplace. In 2020, it used the grant to hold a series of workshops and seminars on public speaking and other interpersonal skills that are essential for business. Following up on this in 2021, the AC delivered a more tailored approach to athletes interested in taking a new career path, including individual workshops, a focus on personal development and talks from industry specialists.

Poland AC conducted athlete workshops focused on tailored career transition support.

The AC travelled to the central islands provinces to help spread the Olympic values and power of sports to children in schools, and inspire the next generation of athletes.

Francis Manioru, Solomon Islands NOC AC Chair

Creating new opportunities for young athletes in Oceania

The Solomon Islands not only used the Activity Grant to organise their NOC AC elections, but they also created a new Youth Athlete Development project. Representatives from the AC visited schools in five different provinces from April to December 2021, introducing students to the role and function of the AC, raising awareness of the Olympic values and providing information on anti-doping. With the funding, the AC will now also hold quarterly meetings.

The Australian Olympic Committee enrolled its members on a capacity-building course to build on their skill-set and ability to deal with the functions of the AC. The course, delivered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, is highly regarded for any individual holding a director role, and will help the AC and its members to better understand their duties and responsibilities.

One of the Soloman Island AC’s workshops with a school in the provinces.

Our AC supports, guides and provides athletes with various platforms to grow and improve themselves – in sports and as individuals. Our programs are all geared towards this and we hope it benefits the athletes.

Pema Zangmo, Bhutan NOC AC member

About the Olympic Solidarity NOC Athletes’ Commission Grants

The International Athletes’ Forum in 2019 saw athlete representatives recommend the strengthening of financial support to Athletes’ Commissions (AC) of NOCs and other sporting organisations. As a result, from the beginning of 2020, the IOC made an annual grant of USD 10,000 available to each NOC AC to use for activities focused on supporting athletes.

Innovative uses of the grant are encouraged, and the first year of the Activity Grant being in place saw athletes learning from experts in virtual forums, supported at home with sporting equipment, and much more. For NOCs which do not already have an AC, this grant can be used to help set one up and put athletes’ voices right at the heart of sporting development.

Know more and as an NOC Athletes’ Commission, apply for your grant now.