"2014 was a momentous year for the Olympic Movement. After almost 18 months of debate and discussion we reached a strong consensus within the Olympic Movement on Olympic Agenda 2020. The unanimous approval of the 40 recommendations that make up Olympic Agenda 2020 gives us a clear vision of where we are headed and how we can protect the uniqueness of the Games and strengthen Olympic values in society.
It is critical that in 2015 we capitalise on the momentum and energy we have created. We are already moving to the implementation of our strategic roadmap for the future: Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations will be fully applied in the bid process for the Olympic Games 2024, which opens on 15 January 2015. A new invitation phase will be offered to cities interested in hosting the Games so that they can discuss their initial interest with the IOC. We can already see strong interest around the world in those Games. The Olympic Winter Games 2022 bid process is already underway, but elements of Olympic Agenda 2020 will be implemented where possible, especially with regard to the IOC assisting bid cities in reducing costs and ensuring a sustainable legacy.
Work continues on the Olympic Channel which will provide a platform for the promotion of Olympic sports, athletes and the Olympic values beyond the period of the Games. We will start developing the brand and “look” of the Channel, as well as working with the TOP sponsors on collaboration. The corporate structure of the Channel will be developed, and we will start to hire the key staff who will launch and run the Channel. The Channel will harness the huge global interest and extend it beyond the Games in a way that will engage audiences, especially young audiences, in the power of what sport can do.
This year, the IOC will celebrate 100 years in Lausanne. Preparatory work will continue on a new building which will consolidate the IOC headquarters in one location in Lausanne. The IOC administration will be brought together at Olympic Unity House, resulting in substantial long-term savings, increased working efficiency and energy conservation.
2015 will see the preparations for Rio gathering pace, with one year to go marked on 5 August. The preparations are on a good footing, and support for the Games are on the rise. There will be more than 20 test events during 2015. Rio 2016 should be congratulated on its efforts as we move into the delivery phase.
Even if there are no Olympic Games this year, we will have many outstanding sports events in 2015 with Continental Games and many World Championships in Olympic sports which will help foster unity amongst the stakeholders of the Olympic Movement.
Our work undertaken in collaboration with the United Nations will also play an increasingly important role in the year ahead. Following the UN General Assembly’s recognition of the autonomy of the IOC and sport, we must work to strengthen the autonomy of sport. It is essential that we work with national governments to integrate sport into the UN post 2015 Development Agenda, particularly in the fields of education, health, urban planning, cohesion of society and peace-building.
We will continue to work closely with the UN to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport without discrimination of any kind. In 2015 and beyond, we will work together to produce sporting initiatives to promote social integration and economic development worldwide.
We head into 2015 united and confident, with an Olympic Movement more successful than ever. We have built on our unity in diversity. Working together, we can accomplish even more in the year ahead.
Happy New Year 2015!"