IOC President Jacques Rogge arrived in London on 26 July ahead of a series of public events in the British capital to mark One Year to Go to the 2012 Olympic Games.
President Rogge met members of LOCOG, including Lord Coe, with whom he toured the newly-completed aquatic centre in the Olympic Park. President Rogge went on to join a celebration event in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday evening, attended by thousands of Olympic fans, where the designs of the Olympic Medals were unveiled. In the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Sir Craig Reedie, Member of the IOC Executive Board, Adam Pengilly, IOC Athletes’ Commission Member, IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald, British Olympic Association Chairman Lord Moynihan and Lord Coe, President Rogge formally invited the world’s athletes to come to London.
The formal opening of the Zaha Hadid-designed aquatic centre means that construction of all six of the main permanent Olympic Park venues is now complete. The Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena and Basketball Arena were completed earlier this year. The five-year construction project in the Olympic Park has transformed the East End of London and has been achieved on time and on budget.
The President noted the substantial progress made by the London organising committee and said he the team should be congratulated for its work as attention focused on the countdown to the Olympic Games and people’s dreams started to come into focus.
IOC Member Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal reopened the Medway Park sports centre in Kent, Great Britain, on 28 July after its multi-million-pound redevelopment in time for the 2011 European Modern Pentathlon Championships. The event is a qualification event for the 2012 Olympic Games with the top eight athletes securing a place in the Olympic competition. Medway Park, which held a World Cup event in 2012, has undergone extensive redevelopment and can host all five Modern Pentathlon disciplines in one location.
It’s the last call for registrations for the 14th IOC World Conference on Sport for All. The Conference takes place in Beijing on 20-23 September and brings together experts and practitioners to share their latest findings in promoting sport for everyone. This high-profile summit is organised every second year and is a key event in the calendar of the Olympic Movement, specialised NGOs, researchers, governments and UN bodies. The focus of this edition will be on the practical implementation of Sport for All. High-level speakers from around the world include IOC President Jacques Rogge, Chairman of the IOC Sport for All Commission Sam Ramsamy, IOC Medical Commission Chairman Arne Ljungqvist, Chairman of the UK-based International Inspiration Foundation Keith Mills, Chairman of the Beijing Olympic City Development Association Liu Qi, WHO representative Timothy Armstrong and Olympic medalist Paul Tergat, will attend to share their expertise in this field. Registration is open until 15 August and reservations can be made at: http://www.sportforall2011.org/cn/enindex.jsp
London 2012’s International Inspiration sports legacy programme has achieved its vision of reaching 12 million children and young people around the world. The programme is currently getting to children in 17 countries around the world, particularly in developing countries. The programme aims to use the power of physical education, sport and play to enrich the lives of millions of children and young people of all abilities. It works with local communities, teachers, coaches and governments to improve children’s lives and give them the chance to take part in sport and play. Through sport, young people learn how to become leaders, be positive role models and inspire their peers. School partnerships are also an integral part of International Inspiration, providing an opportunity for teachers, children and young people to develop and share innovative approaches to PE, sport and play in the classroom and their local community - as well as learning about and understanding each other’s cultures, experiences and international development issues. Over 200 schools in the UK are currently linked to a school overseas through International Inspiration.
To celebrate one year to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games online, London 2012 has created an interactive Twitter stadium and world map. Visit www.london2012.com/1yeartogo to see what athletes are saying about London 2012, which teams Twitter fans around the world are supporting using the #1yeartogo hashtag, and tweet your support for your team. You can also upload videos and photos and have them appear on a world map alongside messages from the world’s athletes.
Benjamin Raich, a YOG ambassador
On 21 July, the IOC announced that Austrian Alpine ski racer and Olympic champion Benjamin Raich will be a Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Ambassador for Innsbruck 2012, which will take place from 13 to 22 January 2012.
Raich, the gold medalist in slalom and giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympic Winter Games, is the second Winter Youth Olympic Games Ambassador, following the announcement of Lindsey Vonn earlier this year. The concept of having a YOG Ambassador was initiated last year at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Raich and Vonn follow in the footsteps of Singapore 2010 YOG Ambassadors Usain Bolt, Yelena Isinbayeva and Michael Phelps. See press releases at www.olympic.org (“Media section).
Worldwide TOP Partners have been busy preparing for London 2012. The Official Timekeeper of the Games, Omega, unveiled the second official Omega Countdown clock in Greenwich Park. McDonald’s, held a global web conference to announce the launch of its London 2012 activities. Coca-Cola and Samsung are both supporting the upcoming Olympic torch relay.
Coca-Cola launched its Future Flame programme, looking for people with inspirational stories to tell, and want a chance to be one of 8,000 torchbearers. David Beckham unveiled Samsung’s Olympic torch relay programme. Visa published an Economic Impact Report on the likely impact of the 2012 Olympic Games on London and the UK as a whole.
GE announced plans to cooperate on the installation of a state-of-the-art energy efficient lighting system on Tower Bridge.
Atos announced that its technology plans for London 2012 are on track, while Acer said it will supply more than 25000 devices and technical resources to support the staging the London 2012 Olympic Games. Panasonic unveiled a limited edition range of London 2012 camcorders, cameras, headphones and memory cards.
The two newest members of the Worldwide TOP Programme, Dow and P&G, continue to work hard on their plans for London 2012. Dow supports the Olympic Movement by bringing world class expertise in sustainable solutions and innovation. P&G has continued its “Thank You Mom” campaign, following its success at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. (More details can be found at www.olympic.org/sponsorship).
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
Representatives of the International Ski Federation (FIS) visited the Rosa Khutor resort in Russia last week following the decision of the IOC to include both Freestyle Ski and the Snowboard slopestyle in the programme of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The FIS team met the Sochi 2014 organising committee and representatives of the Russian Freestyle Federation and the Russia Alpine Ski and Snowboard Federation. The delegation inspected the status of preparations and development work at the venue, and pronounced itself pleased with progress to date. More information can be found at http://www.fis-ski.com/.
FISA, the International Federation of Rowing Associations, announced that a total of 48 countries have entered the 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships at Eton, Great Britain, next week. Besides being a world-status event with a total of 578 athletes vying for the title of Junior World Champion, the Championships at Dorney Lake will act as a test event for the 2012 Olympic Games rowing regatta. More information at www.worldrowing.com
The International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships take place in Daegu, Korea from 27 August-4 September with over 200 teams and 2000 athletes competing. Members of the present IAAF Council will meet for their last session in the week prior to the Championships before elections for the executive body take place on the first day of the 48th IAAF Congress. As is traditional, the new IAAF Council will meet the Executive Board of the IOC the day before the start of the World Championships on August 26. There will be a joint press conference by IOC President Rogge and the President of the IAAF following that meeting. Further details can be found at http://www.iaaf.org
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) marked the 130th anniversary of the signing of a convention in Antwerp, Belgium establishing the European Gymnastics Union, the forerunner of the FIG. The founding charter of the FIG was signed by representatives from Belgium, France and Holland. The association’s architect and original president was Nicolas J. Cupérus of Belgium. To commemorate the event, the Royal Belgian Gymnastics Federation decorated the Cupérus monument in Antwerp’s Nachtegalenpark with floral arrangements. The FIG has awarded the 44th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships to Belgium and the event will take place in 2013 in Antwerp. More information at http://www.fig-gymnastics.com
The International Federation of Volleyball (IFVB) has delivered balls and nets to refugees in the Central African Republic as part of its social responsibility programme and in collaboration with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Balls and nets were provided by the IFVB to 20 villages and refugee camps, some of which have almost 600 children living there. The delivery was overseen by the UNHCR’s Claude Marshall, who as a volunteer for the agency, helps develop and find support for sports projects for young refugees, mainly in mass refugee camps or settlements around the world. Volleyball is particularly well suited to refugee camps as it does not need much space and recreation space is often very tight, Marshall said. The IFVB has been working with the UNHCR since 1998. Further details at: http://www.fivb.org
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The Slovakian National Olympic Committee organized an International Youth Camp under the slogan “We All Have a Common Dream”. The camp was inspired by the Culture and Education Programme of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) and attracted the support of the IOC. The camp, aimed at youngsters aged between 15 and 18, ran from 5-10 July in the Tatra Mountains and attracted participants from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia.
The youngsters, all nominated by their respective NOCs, enjoyed a wide-ranging programme of activities, including rafting, hiking and swimming as well as media workshops, lectures about the ancient Olympic Games and innovative ‘fair play’ games.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its 2010 Annual Report. The Agency’s Chairman, The Honorable John Fahey, said it had been an extremely busy year for the agency and that it had made great strides in many areas. He highlighted milestones as the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport, which gained its 150th signatory during the year, finishing 2010 with 152 nations having ratified the convention. Mr Fahey said the much-valued support of WADA’s stakeholders and various authorities was instrumental in the agency’s efforts to minimize the impact of doping. He observed that testing alone will not win the fight against dope cheats and that information sharing with law enforcement agencies worldwide is vital in the fight against doping. Full details at http://www.wada.org