International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has announced the IOC commissions for 2023, maintaining gender equality across the commission positions following the historic milestone first reached in 2022. For the first time in history, the IOC is also looking ahead to the future of esports with the creation of a new Esports Commission.
The potential to engage new audiences
Marking the latest step in supporting the development of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement, the establishment of the Esports Commission, chaired by IOC Member David Lappartient, who led the IOC Esports Liaison Group until the creation of the new Commission, underlines the IOC’s recognition of the tremendous potential that esports have to engage new audiences and provide new opportunities for athletes and fans alike.
Virtual and simulated sports have become an increasingly important part of the sporting landscape in recent years. The IOC has already been exploring this potential through initiatives such as the Olympic Esports Week, which was held for the first time in Singapore from 23 to 25 June, and the Olympic Esports Series, which invited both professional and amateur players from across the world to compete in virtual sports competitions.
“The IOC believes that virtual sports have the potential to complement and enhance the traditional Olympic sports, and that they can provide new opportunities for athletes and fans to participate in the Olympic Movement,” said President Bach. “We believe that virtual sports can help to promote the values of excellence, friendship and respect that are at the heart of the Olympic Games, and that they can inspire young people around the world to get involved in sports and to lead active and healthy lifestyles.”
Gender equality across IOC commissions
The IOC commissions play a vital role in the organisation’s work, focusing on specific subject areas and making recommendations to the IOC President, the Executive Board and the IOC Session. The composition of each commission includes IOC Members and a range of external experts.
President Bach once again maintained gender equality across the commission positions for 2023, highlighting the organisation’s efforts to foster gender equality and inclusion throughout the sports movement. The IOC continues to lead by example in regard to corporate citizenship, which was one of the key recommendations of its strategic roadmap, Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
Of the 583 positions on the IOC commissions, 287 are occupied by men and 296 by women. This represents a substantial increase in female representation since 2013, when only 20 per cent of commission positions were held by women.
Chairs ensure consistent approach
Almost all of the already existing IOC commissions will retain the same chairperson as last year, ensuring a consistent approach in fulfilling their mandates. 14 chairs of the 33 commissions are female, which makes it 42.42 per cent.
The only recent changes were the appointments of IOC Member Karl Stoss as Chair of the Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games and of IOC Executive Board member Kristin Kloster as the Chair of the Coordination Commission for the XXV Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, both replacing members who resigned from their position.
The President also appointed two additional independent members to the IOC Advisory Committee on Human Rights, to reinforce the expertise of the body in the field of business and human rights – namely Ms Rebeca Grynspan Mayufis and Ms Alexandra Guáqueta.
Ms Grynspan Mayufis is a Costa Rican economist who has been serving as Secretary General (SG) of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) since 13 September 2021. Before that, she held various official positions in the UN system and in her country – including as Vice-President and Coordinating Minister of Social Affairs of Costa Rica (1994-1998).
Ms Guáqueta is a Colombian national who currently leads the global social impact and human rights function at a multinational consultancy firm that focuses on sustainability. Prior to her current role, Ms Guaqueta held various positions related to social standards – including as a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (2011-2015).
The next IOC Commissions Week, which sees all the IOC commissions meet to discuss their specific subject areas, will be held remotely in November.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 4.2 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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