Olympic Highlights 07/01/2022

IOC/Greg Martin



With just 30 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, on 5 January the IOC held a series of the traditional consultation calls with athlete representatives from around the world, the National Olympic Committees and the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations. They were also joined by the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee. 

As Games participants start to arrive in the Chinese capital, everything is on track to stage safe Olympic Winter Games for all participants and the Chinese people, reported Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022. An update on the positive status of the preparations was also given to stakeholders by IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi and Olympic Games Operations Director Pierre Ducrey who, with their teams, had just landed in Beijing.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Beijing starts now for all of us. We must do everything to ensure that the Olympic dreams of athletes are not taken away just days before departure. The Playbooks are not just a rule book – they should now be a way of life.”

The stakeholders connected on all three consultation calls voiced their full support for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and the measures in place to ensure the safety of all involved. Read the full news release here.


IOC Member Giovanni Malagò, who is also President of the Italian NOC (CONI), has been made a Knight of the Grand Cross, the highest honour conferred by the Presidency of the Italian Republic. The distinction was awarded by the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, during a ceremony held at the Quirinale Palace in Rome at the end of December.

Cape Verdean NOC

IOC Member Filomena Fortes was re-elected for a third term as President of the Cape Verdean Olympic Committee at the General Assembly which took place in December. She has been NOC President since 2014.

IOC / Greg Martin

IOC Member and Olympian Federica Pellegrini has been named a Grand Officer of the Italian Republic. Italian Head of State Sergio Mattarella bestowed the distinction on her during a reception held at the Quirinal Palace in Rome at the end of December.

Other Olympic news
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Seven skateboarders have collectively won the Tokyo 2020 Fair Play Award, for an extraordinary display of sporting spirit during the Olympic Games. Sakura Yosozumi and Kokona Hiraki of Japan, Brazilians Dora Varella and Yndiara Asp, Britain’s Sky Brown, Australian Poppy Olsen and Bryce Wettstein of the USA were conferred with the honour for lifting fellow skater Misugu Okamoto after a fall. The seven skateboarders have been felicitated by the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP), which has recognised such acts of sportsmanship at the Olympic Games through the Fair Play Awards, ever since Beijing 2008. The CIFP is an IOC-recognised organisation created in 1963 to promote the ideals of fair play on the sports field and beyond. Full details here.

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On 26 December, the IOC and the entire Olympic Movement mourned the death of Archbishop and Peace Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu. IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Desmond Tutu always emphasised the power of sport to bring people together. In all the meetings I had with him, he always appreciated the great contribution of the Olympic Games to peace and understanding. It was his fervent wish that he could see the Olympic Games being celebrated in his beloved South Africa.” Tutu was one of the leaders of Cape Town’s candidature for the 2004 Olympic Games. He attended numerous editions of the Games and, as a sports lover, many sports events in South Africa and across the world. In 2002, he represented the African continent as one of the bearers of the Olympic flag in the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002. He also took part in the flame-lighting ceremony for the Olympic Games Athens 2004 in Olympia. Full news release here.

New genomic sequencing data from the Government of Japan have confirmed that there was no spread of COVID-19 between the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 participants and the local population. The findings confirm that the positive cases in the Olympic Village and those among the residents of Japan were unrelated. This once again demonstrates the success of the countermeasures put in place for the Games. The data were released by Saito Tomoya, Director of the Centre of Emergency Preparedness and Response of Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), during the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury & Illness in Sport at the end of last month. Full details here.

International federations

Summer ifs

Olympic Eventing champion in 2000 and Board Member of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) David O’Connor (USA) (photo) was presented with the General Douglas MacArthur Exemplary Service Award by the United States Olympic Endowment during a ceremony held at the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs (USA) at the end of December. The award recognises individuals whose commanding presence and endeavours have advanced the ideals of the Olympic Movement, and whose commitment to relevance is reflected in a legacy of dedication to the service of others. A triple Olympic medallist, O’Connor has been Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee and a member of the FEI Board since 2017. More info at www.fei.org.

The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) has revealed the composition of all Commissions and Committees for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games cycle. As part of its ongoing commitment to gender equality, the UIPM has launched a new Women’s Commission, chaired by Cassandra Choh of Singapore. In total there are seven committees and 11 commissions, on which the elected representatives will serve until December 2024. More details here.


The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has confirmed the promotion of Kelly Fairweather (photo) to the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from 1 January. Fairweather was formerly the ITF’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). A former IOC Sports Director and CEO of the International Hockey Federation (IHF), Fairweather joined the ITF as COO in January 2017. Full info here.

National Olympic Committees


On 28 December, the Barbados Olympic Association Inc. (BOA) hosted its first-ever virtual Annual Sports Awards Ceremony, to acknowledge and honour athletes, coaches, journalists, and sports administrators for resilience, performances and contributions over the past two years. For the first time, there was also a People’s Choice Award, for which people on social media were invited to vote on their choice for Athlete of the Year.  The star of the ceremony was the national 400-metre record-holder, Sada Williams, who received the Female Athlete of the Year Award, the President's Award and the People’s Choice Award after her outstanding performances at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. During the ceremony, speeches were delivered by BOA President Sandra Osborne; Dwight Sutherland, the Minister of Youth, Sport and Community Empowerment; and IOC Vice-President Nicole Hoevertsz, who is also Secretary General of the Aruba Olympic Committee. More info at www.olympic.org.bb.

The Cape Verdean Olympic Committee signed three cooperation protocols in December. The first was with the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Cape Verde (ONAD-CV), under the scope of the organisation's Anti-Doping Education and Training Campaign for Secondary School Students and Young Athletes to Practise Clean Sport. The second was with the Institute of Cultural Heritage (IPC), with a view to creating the Cape Verde Olympic Museum, which will tell the story of the Olympic Movement in Cape Verde and around the world. The third was with the international organisation Sports Embassy, with the aim of providing technical and psychological support to future Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holders for the 2024 Games, and improving Cape Verde's results at the Olympic Games. More info at www.coc.cv.


At the end of 2021, the Lithuanian Sports Awards honoured the best Lithuanian athletes. Hundreds of guests gathered in Vilnius to congratulate Olympic and Paralympic athletes and their coaches. This annual event has been organised since 1994 by the NOC of Lithuania (LNOC), the Lithuanian Paralympic Committee and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The winners of the awards for Olympic sports were selected by the Lithuanian Sports Awards Council, while fans were also invited to vote. Full details here, including the list of the winners.

Gaetan Luci / Prince’s Palace of Monaco

The Slovenian Olympic Committee has launched an environmental campaign to champion the protection of Alpine glaciers and a sustainable future for the Olympic Winter Games. At its centre is a small piece of Slovenia's quickly disappearing glacier named TOLI, the abbreviation of Triglav Olympic Legendary Ice. Prince Albert II, IOC Member and Chair of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, has taken on the co-patronage with the President of Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, and expressed his support for the project and its mission. Neatly packed into an electric cooler in the back of a hybrid vehicle, the glacier piece is on its way to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, stopping off at 10 former Olympic venues on its journey from Slovenia to China via Italy, Monaco, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The campaign has been devised to be climate positive and will offset its own carbon footprint by planting over 400 trees after the Beijing Games. More info at www.olympic.si, and you can follow TOLI on its way to Beijing at glacier.olympic.si.

Venezuelan NOC

The Venezuelan NOC started the new year by unanimously approving the report and accounts for 2021. In all, the representatives of 49 national federations and the athletes approved these documents. In addition, the photo gallery of photographer Edixon Gamez, entitled “La puerta a París Cali-Valle 2021”, was inaugurated. This collection of photos illustrates the participation by the Venezuelan team in the first Junior Pan-American Games in Cali-Valle (Colombia) last year.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee published in December its Post-Games Sustainability report, which highlights the Games’ achievements in the areas of climate, circular economy and promotion of a sustainable society. The report was released during the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board meeting that took place in Tokyo. Full details here. In addition, with only one month until the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 begin, the Main Media Centre (MMC) opened on 4 January. The MMC, a 98,000-square-metre facility, incorporates both the Main Press Centre (MPC) and the International Broadcast Centre (IBC). It is located in the newly built pavilion of the China National Convention Centre on Beijing’s Olympic Green. Full details here.

Beijing 2022
Beijing 2022

The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee has revealed the podiums, costumes and various other elements related to the victory ceremonies for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The podiums are made of recyclable and environmentally friendly materials. Coloured sky blue, in keeping with the main colour of the Beijing 2022 Games, they also incorporate core graphics combined with ice and snow lines. The victory ceremony costumes consist of three sets of clothing – entitled “Lucky Snow and Cloud”, “Great Landscape” and “Flying Snow in Tang Dynasty” (photo). Each set includes jackets, hats, gloves, boots and even self-heating thermal underwear. Full detailed info here.

Paris 2024

From 5 January to 1 February, the City of Paris is putting on an exhibition along the railings of the Town Hall, featuring posters provided by the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH). The exhibition, part of the Paris 2024 Cultural Olympiad, showcases 24 official Olympic Summer Games posters, plus a selection of artistic posters that embody the links between art and sport. Read the full news release here.

Recognised Organisations

On 30 December, a videoconference was held in Tunis (Tunisia) by the President of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and IOC Member Mustapha Berraf with the ANOCA Executive Committee members. On this occasion, the participants officially agreed on the organisation in August this year of the 4th Africa Youth Games in Cairo (Egypt), and of the 2nd Africa Beach Games in Hammamet (Tunisia) in summer 2023. More info at www.africaolympic.com.

The 2022 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods entered into force on 1 January. Approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s Executive Committee during its meeting on 14 September last year, and first published on 30 September, the List designates which substances and methods are prohibited both in and out of competition, and which substances are banned in particular sports. Full info here. In addition, WADA has published its 2020 Testing Figures Report (2020 Report), which summarises the results of all the samples WADA-accredited laboratories analysed and reported in WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) in 2020. More details here. In addition, the WADA has announced that, effective 4 January, Ross Wenzel joined WADA as its new General Counsel. Based out of the Agency’s European office in Lausanne, he will have overarching responsibility for WADA’s Legal Affairs, including direct oversight of its litigation. Full details here.

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