Olympic Highlights 01/10/2019

01 Oct 2019



Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach was in New York (USA) for the 74th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. He then flew to Doha (Qatar) for the joint meeting between the IOC Executive Board and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council on the occasion of the World Athletics Championships. This was followed by a visit to the NOC of Qatar and the NOC of Saudi Arabia. 

In New York, President Bach joined the opening debate of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly with world leaders of the 193 member states. The IOC has had Permanent Observer Status at the United Nations since 2009. IOC Member Luis Alberto Moreno, who joined the IOC President in New York, is the current IOC Permanent Observer at the UN.

The IOC President held a number of meetings with many of the world leaders present.

During a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, he discussed the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the great progress being made. 

IOC / Greg Martin

With the French President, Emmanuel Macron, he was also able to discuss preparations for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. 

President Bach was also able to meet Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and discuss the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026. 

With Ueli Maurer, President of the Swiss Confederation, he discussed the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 and the relationship of the IOC with Switzerland.

IOC / Greg Martin

The President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in, confirmed an interest in the joint hosting of the Olympic Games 2032 with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as a potential candidature for the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

IOC / Greg Martin

The great success of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the legacy being left behind were discussed in a meeting with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri.

Ahead of his visit to Doha, President Bach also met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Earlier, President Bach met the Colombian President Iván Duque who expressed a strong interest in a candidature for the Youth Olympic Games in 2026. They also discussed the programme of the Olympic Refuge Foundation in Colombia.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Bach met with the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and with current President of the General Assembly, Tijani Muhammad-Bande with whom he discussed the Olympic Truce Resolution Tokyo 2020 which will be tabled on 9th December to the UN General Assembly. The President of the General Assembly promised his support.

With the President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in view of the Croatian Presidency of the European Union in the first half of next year, IOC President discussed the European Sports Model.

President Bach also met UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi; UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director-General Guy Ryder; and the INTERPOL Secretary General Jurgen Stock.

President Bach had a number of other meetings with more than a dozen other heads of state and government, where the role of sport in their countries, their respective NOCs, and upcoming Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games were discussed. 

IOC / Greg Martin

Taking the opportunity of the UNGA, President Bach held a dinner with IOC Members and Honorary Members present in New York: IOC Vice President Anita DeFrantz, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Richard Carrión, Mamadou Ndiaye, Luis Alberto Moreno and Laura Chinchilla and IOC Honorary Member, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, were present. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus was also there. The Yunus Centre is working in close partnership with the IOC on a social entrepreneurship programme called “Athlete365 Business Accelerator”.

IOC / Greg Martin

Elsewhere in New York, President Bach met with the President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery, David Zaslav. They were able to discuss the ongoing cooperation with Discovery, the rights-holding broadcaster in Europe, in the run-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. They also discussed their cooperation with the Olympic Channel and the impact of digitalisation on sport.

Before leaving for Qatar, President Bach met IOC Honour Member and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and discussed a number of issues in the news, particularly those affecting upcoming editions of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Winter Games. 

In Doha, the Qatari capital, President Bach attended the IAAF World Championships, seeing the opening ceremony, the “midnight marathon” for women and attending the Khalifa Stadium for the evening session. The Championships saw a 'first' with the heats of the mixed 4 x400m relay race, which will feature on the Olympic programme for the first time in Tokyo next year.

During the visit, President Bach was welcomed by NOC President, Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The two were able to speak about the rising number of sports events being staged in the country. They also discussed the major backing for the Olympic Refuge Foundation given by Qatar and plans to support for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

IOC / Greg Martin

During his time in Doha, President Bach also met Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss the country's support for Olympic Sport and its values.

IOC / Greg Martin

Earlier, President Bach presided over the traditional joint meeting between the IOC Executive Board (EB) and the IAAF Council chaired by IAAF President Sebastian Coe.  At the meeting, President Bach congratulated Lord Coe on his unanimous re-election, following his wide-ranging reform process.

The meeting also discussed the challenge of attracting young people to sport, as well as the tendency towards the politicisation of sport, which can threaten its universality.

At the meeting, the approach to transgender and DSD athletes was also discussed, with IOC Vice-President Uğur Erdener giving information on the IOC's working group which is preparing a framework for the International Sports Federations. They also discussed the good cooperation between the IAAF's athlete integrity unit and the International Testing Agency (ITA), particularly in relation to the Tokyo pre-Games testing programme.

The IOC EB held also a meeting in Doha, with on the agenda, topics such as the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

IOC / Greg Martin

During the World Championships, President Bach hosted a breakfast for all the IOC Members and IF Presidents present. He also visited the IAAF Heritage World Athletics Championships Exhibition, an impressive athletics exhibition where he met five other Olympic champions: IOC EB member Sergey Bubka, IOC Member Nawal El Moutawakel, Lord Coe, Lasse Viren and Alberto Juantorena. 

While in Doha, President Bach met IOC Members Habu Gumel, Yelena Isinbaeva and Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul as well as Jean Todt, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), with whom he discussed the cooperation between their respective organisations. 

Following his visit to Doha, President Bach flew to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, thus showing the power of sport to build bridges.

President Bach was welcomed by the President of the Saudi NOC, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al Saud. He was able to see a number of new sports facilities and hear directly from the NOC's Executive Board about a modernisation plan for sport in the country, part of the national Vision2030 reform plan. The NOC’s plans include more and better access for female athletes. He also heard about the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

IOC / Greg Martin

Later, he met athletes at the King Abdullah Sports City. Young men and women were able to show their skills in fencing, table tennis, athletics, football and taekwondo.

Afterwards the President met the members of the newly elected Athletes' Commission - with gender parity - who were able to present their strategy for athlete engagement in the Kingdom and empowering the athlete voice. "I'm really excited by the development of sport in Saudi Arabia at both at the grass roots and elite level," said President Bach. "The enthusiasm of the young athletes really touched me, and also to see, in particular, the many young girls participating is really a very encouraging sign," he added. Full news release here.



At the 52nd IAAF Congress in Doha, Sergey Bubka and Nawal El Moutawakel were elected as IAAF Vice-President and IAAF Council Member respectively (see the IF section).

Hong Zhang (right in photo) has just been appointed Associate Professor at the Harbin University of Science and Technology (People’s Republic of China), where she studied for and obtained her law degree.


Camilo Pérez López Moreira was elected as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) during the IF’s Annual General Meeting in Lisbon (Portugal) (see the IF section).

Paris Sarrikostas

Spyros Capralos, who is also the Hellenic NOC President, was a keynote speaker at the Sports Business Summit for Southeast Europe, organised by The Economist in Athens on 20 September. He spoke on the theme “The role of the Olympic Games in sport and society”, and also took part in a round table discussion with Greek Deputy Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis, The Economist contributing editor John Andrews, and US Soccer CEO Alec Papadakis. Their discussion focused on the current state of Greek sport, the Greek model and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

TOP Partners

As part of its celebrations for next year’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic has been hosting a special exhibition at the Panasonic Centre Tokyo, based on the theme of sports and manga. The “Sports x Manga” exhibition highlights how the sports world has influenced the manga genre of highly stylised comic books and graphic novels, which has become one of Japan’s most popular art forms. Full news release  here.


Christopher Carroll will become the Director of Digital Engagement at the IOC next month. The US-born communications and marketing expert, who has spent most of his professional life in various countries and cultures, will take over the newly established role on 16 October 2019. As the IOC is looking to further extend its direct digital engagement with fans globally, in close cooperation with the Olympic Channel, Carroll will play a key role in this transformation. Carroll brings extensive experience building iconic brands and leading digitally innovative, fully-integrated global media programmes. He joins the IOC from 90/24 Media in Amsterdam, where he was a Managing Partner and Chief Commercial Officer. Full news release  here.

2016 Getty Images

Ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, IOC-supported Olympic champion and environmentalist Hannah Mills spoke at the UN Youth Climate Summit, highlighting the power of sport to help the world address climate change. Rio 2016 sailing gold medallist Mills joined other athletes on stage, including PyeongChang 2018 snowboarding gold medallist Chloe Kim, Rio 2016 fencing gold medallist Ibtihaj Muhammed, and Joan Benoit Samuelson, the gold medallist in the very first women’s Olympic marathon, organised at the Los Angeles 1984 Games. Press release  here.

Olympic Channel

Demonstrating the unifying power of sport, the Olympic Channel documentary Running in North Korea follows Olympians Aimee Fuller (Great Britain) and Mirjam “Mimi” Jaeger (Switzerland) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as they compete in a marathon and explore this intriguing country. During their week-long visit, Fuller and Jaeger experience the local sports culture and meet fellow Olympians from the DPRK. This Olympic Channel original documentary was made possible through the efforts of the DPRK NOC, which helped the IOC to give the film crew access to the country. Full press release  here.

international sportS FEDERATIONS


AFP / Getty Images

Sebastian Coe (left in photo) was re-elected for a second term as President of the International Association of Athletics Federations at the IF’s 52nd Congress in Doha ahead of the World Athletics Championships. Ximena Restrepo (right), Sergey Bubka, Geoffrey Gardner and Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud were elected as Vice-Presidents. Restrepo, the 400m bronze medallist at Barcelona 1992, thus becomes the first female Vice-President of the IAAF. The Congress also elected new IAAF Council members. In addition, following the recommendations of the IAAF Taskforce, the Congress voted in favour of maintaining the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF). More info here.

Meeting from 24 to 26 September in Harrogate (Great Britain), during the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, the International Cycling Union (UCI) Management Committee endorsed the progress made in the new organisation of road and track cycling, and at the same time supported the Federation’s efforts to promote women in the sport and develop cycling for all. Full details here.

Following the General Group Competition of the 37th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships held in Baku (Azerbaijan) from 16 to 22 September, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) confirmed the list of nations qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (list available here on the event calendar page of the FIG website). The remaining route to Tokyo is via the 2020 continental championships, where there will be one place available in each continent's individual and group events respectively. Individual gymnasts will have another opportunity to qualify with the 2020 World Cup Series, which will comprise four stages in April, with three places up for grabs. More info here on the Olympic qualification system.


David Haggerty (photo) has been re-elected President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for 2019-23 at the IF’s Annual General Meeting in Lisbon (Portugal). Delegations from a record 156 national federations took part in this AGM. More details  here. The ITF also elected new ITF Board of Directors for the period 2019-2023. Full details  here.


Argentinian NOC

The Argentinian NOC has announced that a seminar on Olympism brought together 120 participants from various provinces and 20 speakers, including two Olympic medallists, teachers, researchers, academics and sports officials. The topics addressed focused on the importance of values in competitive and leisure sport and management. The seminar was managed by the Education Commission and the Olympic Academy of the NOC, whose President is Carlos Alberto Marino, and was led by Silvia Dalotto Marcó, the Academy Director. More details here. In addition, from 16 to 20 September, the 37th Session of the Argentinian Olympic Academy was held, with the participation of 41 young members of national sports federations, the Academy Participants Association and universities in various provinces in the country. More details here.

Spanish NOC

The fifth edition of the “Todos Olímpicos” [All Olympic] campaign in the Canary Islands will soon kick off, thanks to the renewal of the agreement signed on 26 September between the President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco (left in photo) and the Director of the DISA Foundation, Sara Mateos (right). Thanks to this agreement, some 11,200 pupils from 140 schools and colleges in the Canaries will learn about the Olympic values from 3 October 2019 until 5 June 2020. More info here.

A. Molen/ PNG Olympic Committee

Effective communication among stakeholders and better use of existing services and facilities were two main areas identified that could boost the Papua New Guinea team’s Games success in the future. These were stressed during Team PNG’s 2019 Pacific Games Evaluation workshop, held in Port Moresby. Presentations were given by representatives of the Papua New Guinea NOC, including President John Dawanincura, the PNG Sports Foundation and national sports federations. Also present was Vice-Minister for Sport Wesley Raminai. Officials and athletes also took part in this workshop, alongside the presidents and managers of national federations. Full details here.

The Uruguayan NOC has announced the death of two-time Olympic bronze medallist, Juan Antonio Rodríguez (photo) on 27 September. He was 91. Rodríguez won his first medal at the Olympic Games London 1948 in the men’s double sculls, with William Jones. Four years later in Helsinki, he achieved the same result with Miguel Seijas. In 2000, the NOC presented him with its golden pin at a ceremony held at the national president’s office. Details on  www.cou.org.uy.

Venezuelan NOC

The Venezuelan NOC took part in an Olympic Solidarity Forum for NOCs on the American continent, which was held on 24 and 25 September in Panama City. The Chef de Mission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Ramón Arturo Castillo, and the NOC’s Technical Director, Magdampi Carolina Marín Blanco (photo), were in attendance. The objective for Tokyo 2020, accreditation, the Olympic Village, sports and cultural exchanges, medical services, doping and athlete registration were all addressed during this Forum.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has announced that, by the close of registration, a total of 535,717 applications had been received from members of the public hoping to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay as torchbearers. The applications were being submitted from June this year. Full news release  here.


Lausanne 2020

The official competition schedule of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 has been unveiled by the Organising Committee. The first competitions kick off in Les Diablerets, Villars and Lausanne on 10 January 2020, the day after the Opening Ceremony, and continue until the Closing Ceremony on 22 January. Overall, 81 competitions will be held at eight different sites over the 13 days after the Opening Ceremony. In total, 1,880 athletes (940 men and 940 women – full gender equality) will compete in these YOG. Full press release here.

In addition, on 27 September, Lausanne 2020 outlined, at its last meeting with the IOC’s Coordination Commission, the final preparations for the 3rd Winter YOG, just days after the Youth Olympic flame was lit and as it now starts its journey nationwide. Full news release here.

recoGNISED Organisations

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Japanese government have signed an agreement to continue funding for the Regional Anti-Doping Organisations (RADOs) in Asia. The agreement was signed by WADA President Craig Reedie and the Commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency (JSA), Daichi Suzuki, during a two-day international anti-doping seminar for Asia and Oceania in Tokyo, hosted by the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA). The partnership means that the JSA will strengthen its commitment to further develop RADOs in the Asia region beyond 2019. The funding will continue to assist RADOs with the development of anti-doping programmes and provide funds for WADA to help with the training of anti-doping officials in the region. More info here. In addition, WADA announced that Australia and France have been selected as the respective host countries for WADA’s 2020 and 2022 Global Education Conferences. Full details here

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