The International Olympic Committee is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement. Its job is to promote Olympism around the world and lead the Olympic Movement.
The IOC is the catalyst for all the Olympic family members: National Olympic Committees, International, Federations, athletes, Organising Committees for the Olympic Games, TOP partners and broadcasters, plus United Nations agencies. The IOC cultivates its success through a series of programmes and projects which give life to the Olympic values. Its role is to ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games, support all the organisations affiliated to the Olympic Movement and encourage the promotion of the Olympic values.
The IOC entrusts the honour and responsibility of hosting the Games to a city elected by the IOC Session. The organisation for the Games is based on a partnership between the IOC and the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG).
The Olympic Games are the exclusive property of the IOC, which is the supreme authority for all matters concerning the Games. Its role is to supervise, support and monitor the organisation of the Games; ensure that they run smoothly; and make sure that the rules of the Olympic Charter are respected.
The Olympic Movement is composed of three main constituents: the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Sports Federations (IFs) and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
In addition to these three constituents the Olympic Movement is made up of all the organisations which recognise the IOC’s authority: the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the athletes, judges and referees, associations and clubs, as well as all the IOC-recognised organisations and institutions.
As is clearly defined in the Olympic Charter, “The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values.” (Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, Rule 1.1)
Olympic Agenda 2020 is a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement that was launched by IOC President Thomas Bach after his election in September 2013.
A year of open, transparent and widespread debate and discussion has resulted in 40 recommendations – made public on 18 November 2014 – that were discussed and unanimously approved by the full IOC membership at the 127th IOC Session on 8 and 9 December 2014 in Monaco.
The 40 recommendations that make up Olympic Agenda 2020 stem from the thousands of contributions received from members of the Olympic Movement, public and civil society.
More than 40,000 submissions were received, from which 1,200 concrete ideas were produced. These ideas were then further refined into the 40 recommendations by the IOC Executive Board, the 126th IOC Session, 14 Working Groups, the IOC Commissions, and two Olympic Summits.
In 2021, Olympic Agenda 2020+5, the new strategic roadmap which includes 15 recommendations, is the successor of Olympic Agenda 2020. Building on the results of the previous roadmap, it will guide the work of the IOC and the Olympic Movement for the next five years.
The budget for the Olympic Games has naturally evolved over time and varies for each edition depending on the current context of the host city. However, the basic principles of financing the Games remain broadly the same and can be broken down into two distinct budgets:
The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) Budget
This is mainly privately financed with a large contribution from the IOC that comes from its different revenue sources, including The Olympic Partner (TOP) programme and the sale of broadcast rights for the Olympic Games.
The IOC contributes a large part of the finances needed to stage an Olympic Games. It will contribute, for example, more than 1.5 billion USD to the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. For the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, we will invest 880 million USD in addition to providing other benefits. The IOC also provides the possibility to the Games organisers to commercialise the Olympic rights in their territory as well as to manage the ticketing of the event. Another revenue source for the local organisers is a national partnership programme.
As part of its contribution, the IOC pays for the host broadcast operation, Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS), and provides various forms of Games support to the OCOG including through its “Transfer of Knowledge” programmes.
The most recent editions of the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games have all either broken even or made a profit.
The Non-OCOG Budget:
This budget is generally under the control of the local authorities and comprises several elements:
Capital Investment budget (Competition and Non-Competition venues) - This is directly related to the construction of the permanent competition and non-competition venues which must have a long term legacy. The financing of such investments are usually undertaken by the public authorities and/or the private sector.
Operations budget - This includes the operational services of public authorities in support of the Games (such as security, transport, medical services, customs and immigration, etc.).
In addition, each city/region/country has a long-term investment plan for general infrastructure which deals with wider infrastructure investments that the host country and city are making independently of the Games, such as investments in roads, airports and rail ways. How this is funded and the scope of this investment plan very much depend on what already exists in the city and the long term development vision of the city and country.
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You can report suspicious approaches, activities related to competition manipulation, infringements of the IOC Code of Ethics or other matters, including financial misconduct or other legal, regulatory and ethical breaches over which the IOC has jurisdiction, by using the IOC Integrity and Compliance Hotline.
To become an IOC member, it is necessary to be elected by the IOC Session by a majority of the votes cast. The IOC recruits and elects its members from among the people it deems qualified.
The IOC’s members include active athletes, former athletes and the presidents or senior leaders of the International Sports Federations (IFs) or international organisations recognised by the IOC.
Through Olympic Solidarity, a Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), assistance is provided to all of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), particularly to those which are in greater need, so that they can develop their own structures to favour the expansion of sport in their countries.
World and continental programmes are set up to increase global assistance to the athletes, strengthen the structure of the NOCs and maintain assistance to training for coaches. Athletes can also obtain subsidies to help them train with a view to qualifying for the Olympic Games.
The IOC President is elected by secret ballot by the IOC members at the Session.
The President’s term of office is eight years, and can be renewed once, for four years.
The ninth IOC President Thomas Bach was elected on 10 September 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.
The role of the President is to represent the IOC and to preside over all its activities. He establishes election rules, except for the election of the President.
He can also take a decision on behalf of the IOC, when circumstances dictate that the IOC Session or Executive Board cannot do so.
The IOC is committed to building a sustainable future by working with partners and major groups and driving a global framework for action. Sport presents broad opportunities to promote sustainability awareness, capacity building and far-reaching actions for environmental, social and economic development across society.
As the Olympic Games have grown to become the world’s foremost sporting event, their impact on a host city and country has also increased. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) realised that the Games need to create more than just good memories from 16 days of competition.
Today sustainability and legacy are essential parts of any modern Olympic Games project. These have been increasingly important themes since the early 2000s and are central concepts in the Olympic Agenda 2020 initiative, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement.
National Olympic Committees (NOCs) exist in the different countries of the world. They are one of the three constituents of the Olympic Movement, alongside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Sports Federations (IFs).
The NOCs’ mission is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in their respective country, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. There are currently 206 NOCs.
Olympic Solidarity is one of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s commissions. Its job is to organise the assistance the IOC gives to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to help them develop sport in their respective countries.
Through Olympic Solidarity, athletes can benefit from the “Olympic scholarships for athletes” programme, which allocates subsidies enabling athletes to train and qualify for the Olympic Games.
The Executive Board is the executive body of the IOC. It assumes the general overall responsibility for the administration of the IOC and monitors compliance with the Olympic Charter. The Board is made up of the IOC President, four vice-presidents and 10 other members, all elected by the Session.
The Session is the general assembly of the IOC’s members. The supreme body of the IOC, its decisions are final. An ordinary Session is held once a year. Extraordinary Sessions may be convened by the President or upon the written request of at least one-third of the members.
The Olympic Charter states, in the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, that “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms [...] shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.
The New Norm is an ambitious set of 118 reforms that reimagines how the Olympic Games are delivered. The plan, which focuses on six recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 related to the organisation of the Games, will provide cities with increased flexibility in designing the Games to meet long-term development goals, and will ensure that host cities receive more assistance from the IOC and the wider Olympic Movement.
The New Norm has been approved by the IOC members during the 132nd IOC Session held in PyeongChang in February 2018.
More than 80 of the 118 solutions that have been proposed would result in cost efficiencies without compromising the Olympic experience. The plan invites opportunities to reduce venue sizes, rethink transport options, optimise existing infrastructure and reuse the field of play for various sports.
The “Olympic Truce” or “Ekecheiria” is a tradition that was established in Ancient Greece in the 9th century B.C. by the signature of a treaty between three kings. Subsequently, all the other Greek cities ratified this “international agreement”, thanks to which permanent, recognised immunity of the sanctuary of Olympia and the region of Elis became a reality. During the Truce period, the athletes, artists and their families, as well as ordinary pilgrims, could travel in total safety to participate in or attend the Olympic Games and return afterwards to their respective countries.
In 1991, the IOC decided to revive the concept of the Olympic Truce on the occasion of the Olympic Games, with a view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to contribute to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world’s conflicts.
Since 1993, the United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly expressed its support for the IOC by unanimously adopting, every two years, a year before each edition of the Olympic Games, a resolution entitled "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal". Through this (symbolic) resolution, the UN invites its member States to observe the Olympic Truce individually or collectively, and to seek, in conformity with the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, the peaceful settling of all international conflicts through peaceful and diplomatic means, recognising the importance of the IOC’s initiatives for human well-being and international understanding.
Its mission is to ensure respect, within the Olympic Movement, of the ethical principles set out in the Olympic Charter. To do this, it establishes a Code of Ethics which contains the applicable rules.
In the event of a violation of the Code, it recommends measures to the IOC Executive Board. These range from a reminder of the rules to sanctions such as suspension of an NOC. The Ethics Commission also seeks to avoid breaches of the Code of Ethics by advising all the members of the Olympic Movement.
This independent Commission is composed of nine members, the majority of whom are personalities from outside the Olympic Movement.
The International Sports Federations (IFs) establish the rules that govern their sport and ensure that they are applied. They are responsible for the technical aspects of their sport at the Olympic Games. The IFs ensure that their sport is developed worldwide and disseminate the values of Olympism through their activities.
For the IOC, the participation of women in sports activities, the Olympic Games and sports administration structures is a major preoccupation.
Indeed, it is committed to gender equality. It is written in the Olympic Charter that the role of the IOC is “to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women” (Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, Rule 2.8).
For this, a women and sport working group was set up in December 1995, and became, in March 2004, a fully-fledged Commission. It advises the IOC Executive Board on the policy to implement in terms of promoting women in sport.
The fight against doping is a priority for the IOC. It works in close collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with an aim to applying a “zero tolerance” policy.
The IOC’s Medical Commission has been fighting doping since 1967. Its field of action expanded after the creation of WADA in 1999. The role of this independent Agency is to promote and coordinate, on an international level, the fight against all forms of doping.
At the Games, the IOC requires the Organising Committee to apply all practical methods of collecting urine and blood samples. It sets the number of tests to be performed in collaboration with the IFs concerned, the Games Organising Committee and the laboratory accredited for the Games, which works solely under the authority of the IOC.
The Session has the following powers:
1. to adopt or amend the Olympic Charter
2. to elect the members of the IOC, the Honorary President, honorary members and honour members
3. to elect the President, the Vice-Presidents and all other members of the IOC Executive Board
4. to elect the host city of the Olympic Games
5. to elect the city in which an ordinary Session is held, the President having the authority to determine the city in which an extraordinary Session is held
6. to approve the annual report and financial statements of the IOC
7. to appoint the independent auditor of the IOC
8. to decide on the awarding or withdrawal by the IOC of full recognition to or from NOCs, associations of NOCs, IFs, associations of IFs and other organisations
9. to expel IOC members and to withdraw the status of Honorary President, honorary members and honour members
10. to adopt or amend the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration upon recommendation of the Athletes’ Commission and to promote respect for this Declaration within the Olympic Movement
11. to resolve and decide upon all other matters assigned to it by law or by the Olympic Charter.
Results of the latest elections (since 1988) are available through the following document:
Tokyo 2020: Tokyo (Japan) was elected host city of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires on 7 September 2013.
Beijing 2022: Beijing (People’s Republic of China) was selected as the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 2022 at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur on 31 July 2015.
Milan-Cortina 2026: Milan-Cortina was chosen to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2026 at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne on 24 June 2019.
Paris 2024: Paris (France) was elected host city of the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad at the IOC Session in Lima on 13 September 2017.
Los Angeles 2028: The IOC Session in Lima also saw Los Angeles (USA) elected host city of the Olympic Summer Games 2028.
There are different Commissions within the IOC, such as, for example:
The Commissions are formed at the request of the IOC President, with the aim of advising the Session, the IOC Executive Board or the President as the case may be.
To become President, it is first necessary to be an IOC member.
Among its members, the IOC has active and former athletes, as well as presidents or high-level leaders of National Olympic Committees (NOCs), International Sports Federations (IFs) and international organisations recognised by the IOC.
Anyone concerned by a violation of the ethical principles in the IOC Code of Ethics can make a complaint to the Ethics Commission, provided that the complaint is against one of the bodies required to comply with the Code of Ethics - namely the IOC members, the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the cities bidding to host the Olympic Games and anyone taking part in the Olympic Games. The complaint will be sent to the IOC President for analysis and a recommendation by the Commission if the situation warrants it.
It is the members of the IOC, meeting at their Session, who choose the host. Electing the host for the Olympic Games is one of the powers of the Session.
The host city is elected by a majority of the votes cast by secret ballot. Each active member has one vote. An IOC member must refrain from taking part in a vote when the vote concerns an Olympic Games host election in which a city or any other public authority in the country of which he is a national is a candidate.
The honorary members, honour members and suspended members are not allowed to vote. If a majority is not achieved in the first round of voting, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and a further round or rounds of voting are held until a majority is obtained by one candidate.
To date, the IOC has had nine Presidents. In chronological order:
The ninth IOC President was elected on 10 September 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires
The Ethics Commission can recommend measures or sanctions against people or organisations who are required to respect the Olympic Charter and the Code of Ethics: the IOC administration and members, the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the cities bidding to host the Olympic Games or Youth Olympic Games and all the Olympic Games participants, including athletes and their entourage members, NOC delegations, and the International Federations (IFs) and their referees, judges, etc.
The host city’s Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) is in charge of organising this great event.
When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) selects a city to stage the Games, the city and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the host country create the OCOG which will organise the Games.
From the moment it is created, seven years before the Games, the OCOG works closely with the IOC.
The Paralympic Games are supervised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), a body recognised by the IOC. Each edition of the Paralympic Games is under the responsibility of an organising committee.
They are always held in the same year as the Olympic Games.
Since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul and the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, the Paralympic Games have been held using the same venues as the Olympic Games.
Since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the same organising committee has been responsible for staging both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The IOC headquarters have been in Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva, since 1915.
It was Pierre de Coubertin who chose this city. He explained later that not only did he see Lausanne as an ideal location for the administrative headquarters, but also that in the midst of the First World War the city could offer the stability that had become essential for Olympism.
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