The Athlete Townhall is an opportunity for you to connect with other Olympians and athlete representatives from around the world.

On day one, IOC President Thomas Bach participated in an exclusive Q&A and athletes gave feedback on their Games-time experiences.

Visit our Athlete Townhall page for the full agenda and list of speakers.

We also want to inform you of all of the support, offers and advice we have for you, the athletes, to help you succeed on and off the field of play.

EMMA TERHO

IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) Chair Emma Terho OLY opened the two-day digital event, organised by the IOC AC and moderated by British Olympian Jeanette Kwakye OLY – who you might recognise from her similar role at the previous two International Athletes’ Forums.

“We want to celebrate the amazing achievements from all of you who competed in Tokyo and Beijing,” said Emma in her opening address. “We also want to inform you of all of the support, offers and advice we have for you, the athletes, to help you succeed on and off the field of play. And we want to have a conversation about how you as Olympians, can give back to your community.”

The idea of the Athlete Townhall was put forward by the IOC AC to the IOC Executive Board in February 2022, looking to build on the success of the virtual International Athletes’ Forum in 2021. Day one achieved just that, bringing together Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Olympians and the global network of athlete representatives to discuss their experiences with each other.

Recap of Day 1

The Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be more sustainable. The Games will be more inclusive, more open. Paris 2024 will give us an indication for the future of the Olympic Games, and this is why we’re saying that these Games will begin a new era.

IOC President, Thomas Bach

Your questions answered

The highlight of day one was an exclusive Q&A with the IOC President, who fielded questions on a range of topics. As an Olympic champion in fencing and founding member of the IOC AC, President Bach has an in-depth understanding of athletes’ needs, and was able to provide some recent updates from the Olympic Movement. Participants from around the world were given the opportunity to submit questions online, either in advance or directly during the session.

“I’m extremely relieved that we could make [Tokyo 2020] happen with all our partners, and I’m still very touched by the many comments of so many athletes, be it from Tokyo or Beijing, who came to us and acknowledged this,” said President Bach after being asked about the challenges that were overcome to successfully deliver Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022. He was then asked to address the future of the Olympic Games, starting with Paris 2024.

“The Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be more sustainable. The Games will be more inclusive, more open. Paris 2024 will give us an indication for the future of the Olympic Games, and this is why we’re saying that these Games will begin a new era.”

Celebrating your Olympic Games

Day one also provided the chance to celebrate the achievements of those of you who competed at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, and gather feedback about your experiences there. Taking place during a global pandemic, these two editions of the Games highlighted strength of our athlete community, as thousands of you overcame unprecedented challenges to qualify for and compete at the Games.

In a panel discussion centred on the athlete experience, Brazil’s eight-time Olympian Jaqueline Mourão – who competed in the women’s mountain bike at Tokyo 2020 and in cross-country skiing at Beijing 2022 – praised organisers and athletes for adapting to the unique circumstances and delivering spectacular Games.

Tokyo 2020 was a big, big challenge. The gratitude to be able to be there and racing, everybody felt that.

Jaqueline Mourão

“With the pandemic and no access to the gym, sometimes quarantining, Tokyo 2020 was a big, big challenge. The gratitude to be able to be there and racing, everybody felt that,” Jaqueline said.

What we delivered to you in Tokyo and Beijing

Also on the panel were Italian short track speed skater Arianna Fontana, Costa Rican surfer Leilani McGonagle and Trinidadian sprinter Richard Thompson, each reflecting on their experiences and the new offers and services available to Olympians at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022.

Arianna, for example, took advantage of the Athlete Moment, which gave her the opportunity to connect with loved ones via video link immediately after her gold medal-winning performance in the women’s 500m.

“It meant everything to me to see my family after my race, because they’ve always been with me to all my Olympic Games,” said Arianna. “I was really sad that they weren’t able to be in Beijing, so having that moment where I got so see them made everything even more special.”

 

Eritrea’s Shannon Abeda, an Olympian in Alpine skiing, also dialled in to the Athlete Townhall to explain how he took advantage of the Athlete365 Connect and Airbnb500 offers after Beijing 2022.

“Athlete365 was incredible for me,” he said. “First off, Athlete365 Connect was very helpful in getting my pictures from the Olympics. In PyeongChang I had to spend a lot of money getting images so it was nice having the images ready on my phone. The Airbnb grant was then really, really nice after the Olympics to kind of relax and take advantage of the decompression.”

The global athlete community will reconvene on day two of the Athlete Townhall to learn about further support available through Athlete365, plus inspiration for how to use your status as an Olympian to give back.

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