Safe sport: how YOG athletes are learning to protect themselves from harassment and abuse

With the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020 in full swing, the IOC Safe Sport booths have already hosted hundreds of athletes. Located at the heart of the Youth Olympic Villages in Lausanne and St Moritz and part of the Athlete365 engagement activities, the booths offer several education activities on safeguarding that are tailored to the YOG athletes.

Picture by IOC

These activities have been developed in line with the IOCs mission to “promote safe sport and the protection of athletes from all forms of harassment and abuse”, as stated in the Olympic Charter.

Led by the IOC Safeguarding and Deputy Safeguarding Officers with the assistance of trained volunteers, the booths include educational tools and activities to help communicate to athletes what constitutes harassment and abuse in sport. Additionally, the booths are meant to ensure that athletes understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to safe sport – sport which is fair, equitable and free from all forms of harassment and abuse.

YOG athletes are being engaged through many activities: a Safe Sport colouring wall, scenario-based educational tools (available in seven languages), photo opportunities promoting respect for everyone and designated goodies promoting safe sport. Also featured in the Safe Sport booths is a newly developed animation highlighting the importance of athlete mental well-being.

Safeguarding Officer

The IOC Safe Sport activities at the YOG are underpinned by the IOC’s Winter Youth Olympic Games Safeguarding Framework. This Framework ensures that the IOC Safeguarding Officer is on hand to respond to any safeguarding incidents, which can be reported in many ways, including via a 24/7 online reporting tool and the “Get Ready for Lausanne” app.

Lausanne 2020 Safe Sport
Picture by IOC

In recognition of the key importance of athlete safeguarding and the challenges faced by sports organisations in this field, in 2017 the IOC launched the IOC Athlete Safeguarding Toolkit, aimed at developing and implementing athlete safeguarding policies and procedures across the Olympic Movement.

Athlete Safeguarding Webinar Series

Most recently, the IOC, with the support of ASOIF and the AIOWF, also developed the IOC Athlete Safeguarding Webinar Series for International Federations.

This 10-part webinar series brought together 38 sporting experts from around the world to provide best-practice advice on 12 critical topic areas related to athlete safeguarding. The series, which can be found here, was followed by participants from 43 different organisations, including 33 International Federations with sports on the Olympic Summer and Winter programmes.

The IOC, in collaboration with key partners and experts, is committed to the continuing development of initiatives and programmes to promote safe sport for all. These initiatives can be found here.