The IOC President, Thomas Bach, welcomed Oliver Bäte, the CEO of TOP Partner Allianz, to Olympic House on Tuesday 26 April. After a tour of the IOC headquarters, they discussed further strengthening the partnership with a special view to supporting athletes during and after their sports career. Bäte reported on the excellent response he had received from clients and employees regarding the relationship with the IOC.
Earlier, President Bach welcomed the newly elected board of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, the DOSB, led by its President Thomas Weikert, for a board meeting in Lausanne. The IOC President, who is a member of the board but has put his membership on hold, had invited the DOSB leadership to Lausanne after their election in December. They discussed the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Olympic community’s support for Ukraine, and future editions of the Games. They also had a tour of The Olympic Museum.
Speaking at the 100th anniversary celebration of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in Lausanne, President Bach highlighted the uniqueness of equestrian sport and praised the FEI – under the leadership of its President, Ingmar De Vos, who is also an IOC Member – for its contribution to the Olympic Movement.
President Bach headed to Singapore on Wednesday. He was welcomed by IOC Vice-President Ser Miang Ng, who accompanied him throughout the visit along with the President of the Singapore NOC, Chuan-Jin Tan. Following presentations on Singapore’s plans to further develop sport in the country at the National Stadium, there was a presentation on virtual sports and esports. The IOC and the Singapore NOC are exploring the possibility of Singapore hosting the inaugural Olympic Virtual Sports Festival in early 2023. See full news release here. Later, President Bach attended a demonstration of two of the virtual sports (taekwondo and archery) that may form part of the event.
The President met several generations of Singaporean Olympians at a reception and lunch, where he was also joined by the Singaporean Sports Minister, Edwin Tong, before heading to the Istana to meet the Singaporean President, Halima Yacob.
Later, the President visited the Botanic Gardens, where an orchid has been named in his honour, before attending a tree dedication ceremony at the Gardens by the Bay complex.
President Bach was in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday 30 April as IOC Vice-President John Coates stood down as President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) after 32 years in charge.
Speaking at the AOC Annual General Meeting (AGM), Coates told delegates: “Our Olympic team must always express that Australia is, or at the very least aspires to be, a peaceful, cohesive and equal society where everyone gets their chance. It is our independent pursuit of Olympic ideals which makes it possible for us to do what we do so well: to help Australia chase their dreams. Today, with a full heart, I thank you for giving me the chance to live mine.”
Paying a personal tribute, President Bach told attendees: “In the Olympic Movement, we know a lot about unique individuals. You may not have the grace and elegance of Cathy Freeman, and you may not have the dynamism of Dawn Fraser, but you are truly a ‘one-off’. You have changed the face of the Olympic Movement here in Australia. You are a champion, my friend.”
Coates is the only NOC President who has succeeded in bringing the Olympic Games twice to their home country. He will continue as Honorary President of the AOC and as Vice- President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032.
Later, in a vote at the AGM, the AOC chose Ian Chesterman to replace Coates at the head of the organisation.
During the meeting, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, IOC Member Kirsty Coventry, gave a short presentation on the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032. She will chair the first meeting of the Coordination Commission in Brisbane later in the week.
After the AGM, President Bach went to a meeting with the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. They discussed the plans for the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032, which will be the third time the Olympic Games will be held in Australia.
The tributes were concluded in the evening at a celebratory dinner, where the Governor General and representatives of the Federal and Queensland governments joined guests from the Olympic Movement.
On Sunday, President Bach, accompanied by Chair of the Brisbane 2032 Coordination Commission Kirsty Coventry, met members of the Organising Committee. The new President of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee, Andrew Liveris, who was Chair of the former TOP Partner Dow Chemicals, was joined by the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Lord Mayor of Brisbane Adrian Schrinner.
Afterwards, President Bach attended a lunch meeting with Kerry Stokes, the Chair of Seven Group, the current Rights-Holding Broadcaster in Australia. They discussed the success of the coverage of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, as well as the upcoming Olympic Games in Brisbane, for which the rights-holder in the region has not yet been decided.
In the evening, the President had dinner with the new President of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee, Andrew Liveris, and John Coates, who is also a Vice-President of the OCOG. They discussed preparations for the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032 and President Bach’s upcoming visit to Brisbane later this week.
Later this week, President Bach will be travelling to Fiji for the General Assembly of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), before visiting several island nations in the region. More details in next week’s issue of the Olympic Highlights.
Other Olympic news
At the beginning of May, the IOC welcomed Leandro Larrosa as its new Director of Digital Engagement and Marketing. The Argentina-born communications and marketing expert joins the IOC with a wealth of experience in building brands and leading digitally innovative programmes in both Latin America and Europe. Full news release here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that Montreal, Canada, will host the FINA World Junior Diving Championships from 27 November to 4 December 2022. More info here. In addition, Lima, Peru, will host the 8th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships from 30 August to 4 September this year. Scheduled to take place in Kazan (Russian Federation) in 2021, the event was postponed to 2022 before FINA removed the event from Kazan following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More details here.
National Olympic Committees
The President of the Albanian NOC, Fidel Ylli, recently held a meeting with the new Deputy Minister of Education and Sport, Endrit Hoxha, and the Director of the Sports Directorate, Jetlir Gjergji. Their discussions focused on the preparations for the annual sports activities and the budget for sport, with emphasis on the need for cooperation between the Ministry and the NOC for several projects aimed at further developing sport in the country. More details at www.nocalbania.org.al.
The Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) Inc. has developed a new funding scheme to assist athletes, and is investing approximately USD 1.6 million in direct athlete funding for 2022. In addition, the Annual Athlete Funding Subsidy Programme will continue for the new 2021-2024 Olympic quadrennial. Full details here.
The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens has received the Casambi Award for Best Project in 2022 for the wireless lighting system implemented with a view to both highlighting the historic monument and reducing its environmental footprint. This renewed lighting system is an initiative led by the Hellenic Olympic Committee. Full details here.
The Olympic Committee of Israel has launched the second English version of its Scientific Journal. Click here to access the Journal.
The capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, will host the 2023 World Combat Games (WCG). The President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SOPC), Prince Abdulaziz ibn Turki Alfaisal, held a signing ceremony with the President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and SportAccord, Ivo Ferriani. Info at http://olympic.sa and www.gaisf.sport.
The Spanish NOC, the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organisations (CEOE) and the CEOE Foundation have signed an agreement to create an alliance between businesses and sport, with the aim of making common progress for both athletes and businesses. More details here.
Tunisian Olympic sailor Eya Guezguez died at the age of 17 in a training accident on 10 April. Guezguez, who competed at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, was sailing with her sister Sarra when their vessel capsized due to strong winds. The tragedy comes less than a year after the pair finished 21st in the 49er FX event at Tokyo 2020. “She was an inspiring talent and role model for her athletes’ generation. Eya Guezguez’s participation at Tokyo 2020 alongside her twin sister Sarra will continue to motivate girls everywhere,” said President Bach. More info here.
In mid-April, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) co-hosted the Pan-American Association of Sports Confederations (ACODEPA) Executive Committee in Colorado Springs. The two entities discussed strengthening relations for the benefit of their organisations, stakeholders and athletes. The partnership with ACODEPA involves a commitment by both organisations to promote stronger ties between US National Federations and their respective continental confederations, so that US National Federations can be more active and relevant in building strong continental sports confederation relationships for the benefit of all athletes in the Americas. With the LA28 Games on the horizon, ACODEPA and the USOPC have a shared vision to maximise opportunities to strengthen sport in the Pan-American region. More info at www.teamusa.org.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has confirmed that the 2026 Commonwealth Games will be hosted by the State of Victoria in Australia. Victoria 2026 will be staged in March 2026 across multiple cities and regional hubs, including Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland. Full details here.