07 Jun 2021
IOC President Thomas Bach took part at the opening of a conference entitled “Can sport diplomacy contribute to building a stronger Europe in the world?” The event was hosted on 3 June by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). Delivering his address live from Olympic House in Lausanne via video to around 500 participants online and on site, President Bach highlighted how sport and diplomacy can complement each other. President Bach stressed the importance of the IOC’s political neutrality: “We can accomplish our mission only if our political neutrality is respected by politics. If this political neutrality is not respected, then the Olympic Games would become divisive rather than unifying. If this political neutrality is not respected, then it is just not possible for us to bring together the world in peaceful competition.”
President Bach also warned against the Olympic Games and any other sports competitions becoming instrumentalised to promote political ends. He said: “The most blatant expression of such disrespect are calls for boycotts of sporting events, or boycotting host countries of sporting events. Such kinds of sport boycotts are against the mission of the Olympic Games to build bridges. They destroy the principle of political neutrality and have been proven to achieve nothing at all.” Full text of the President’s address here. Full news release here.
IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the members of the Management Committee of the International Cycling Union (UCI) which met at Olympic House. As a prelude to their meeting, the IOC President informed the Committee members of the latest developments concerning the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the smooth operations of the Olympic Virtual Series produced by the UCI and the IOC. President Bach visited the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, in May. (see also under ‘IFs’)
At Olympic House, the IOC President had a meeting with the President of the Polish NOC, Andrzej Krasnicki. They discussed the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Polish athletes’ preparations for these Games, as well as the 3rd European Games in 2023 in Poland.
In a video conference, President Bach spoke with the recently elected President of the NOC of Kosovo, Ismet Krasniqi. Together, they discussed the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the situation of athletes in Kosovo in terms of their participation in these Games.
At Olympic House, President Thomas Bach and José Perurena, President of the International Canoe Federation (ICF) and the International World Games Association (IWGA) spoke about the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the excellent cooperation between the IOC and the IWGA, as well as various current Olympic topics.
During a meeting with the Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod, the President praised the upcoming launch by the Olympic Capital of a campaign to promote gender equality in sport, as well as the creation of a Fund for Equality in Sport.
President Thomas Bach welcomed the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, to Olympic House.
On 2 June, IOC President Thomas Bach delivered a video message during a special session on “Safeguarding Sport From Corruption”, organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This virtual event of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Special Session on Corruption invited representatives of the 193 UN member states to discuss the threats posed by corruption to sport and exchange about innovative initiatives to address those risks. In his message, the IOC President reiterated how the Olympic Games serve as a catalyst for peace and development, and stressed the importance of ensuring the Olympic Movement’s credibility and integrity. He explained how the IOC is leading efforts in eradicating corruption in sport, for example through its strong involvement in the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS); by collaborating closely with UNODC; with its new approach for selecting hosts for the Olympic Games; and its strategic roadmap Olympic Agenda 2020+5. Other speakers during the event included UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly, FIFA President and IOC Member Gianni Infantino, and high-level representatives of the UN member states and the FBI.
At The Olympic Museum, President Bach took part in the official presentation of Toon In! – The Unofficial & Entirely Unsanctioned Olympic History by Michael Payne. With his new book, the former IOC Marketing Director traces an unofficial Olympic history through over 1,200 Olympic-themed cartoons and over 100,000 words. The ceremony was held during the fifth global session of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) e-College, with AIPS President Gianni Merlo and AIPS Young Reporter Silvana Strieder in attendance.
The President discussed various current Olympic topics with IOC Vice-President and Chair of the Finance Commission, Ser Miang Ng.
The Board of the International Olympic Truce Centre, chaired by the IOC President, met virtually and reviewed the activities undertaken by the Centre and the IOC with regard to the promotion of peace. The Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committees also reported to the Board on the progress made with implementing their respective Olympic Truce programmes.
IOC Honorary members
The IOC was saddened to learn of the death of IOC Honorary Member Fernando F. Lima Bello, at the age of 89. Lima Bello was a world champion sailor (Snipe) in 1953 and competed at two Olympic Games, Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972 (Dragon). He was later a member of the International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing) and President of the Olympic Committee of Portugal. President Bach said: “I got to know Fernando when he was part of the Evaluation Commission for the Olympic Games Athens 2004. He was not only a very good friend but someone who always knew every last detail of the entire dossier. He was someone who worked tirelessly to ensure the best conditions for the athletes and who always strove to promote the Olympic values.” Appointed as a NOC member in 1975, he later joined the NOC’s Executive Board from 1977 to 1980, when he attended the Games of the XXII Olympiad Moscow 1980 as Chef de Mission for the Portuguese team. One year later, he was elected NOC President, a position he held until 1989, the year of his election as an IOC Member. During his 21-year tenure at the IOC, he was a member of Commissions with mostly a strong focus on the cultural and educational aspects of the Olympic Movement. Full news release here.
The IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 met on 1 June, with the Organising Committee delivering a clear message – Paris 2024 is ready to take centre stage. Speaking after these meetings, the Commission Chair, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, said: “As the Tokyo 2020 Games approach, it’s clear Paris 2024 is ready and excited to take on the great responsibility of receiving the Olympic flag from Tokyo 2020.” He continued: “The Organising Committee’s innovation, flexibility and creativity continues to bring the recommendations outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the New Norm to life, setting a precedent for a new era of Games, fit for a post-coronavirus world.” Paris 2024 used the meeting to provide an update on its plans to organise the world’s first Olympic and Paralympic Games that contribute positively to the climate. Maintaining parity throughout its organisation and recent engagement strategies were other important topics discussed. Full news release here.
Building on the success of the Tokyo 2020 programme, the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Worldwide Olympic Partner P&G are extending Athletes for Good to Beijing 2022 athletes and hopefuls who are working with charities in the areas of equality and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and community impact. Sixteen selected recipients’ charities will receive a USD 25,000 grant to help support the continued good work they are doing within their communities. Applications are open on the Athlete365 platform until 22 June 2021, and all Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 are eligible to apply. Full news release here.
Other Olympic news
The IOC, together with the NOCs and government authorities of Qatar and Rwanda, has established two further pre-Games vaccination opportunities for Olympic and Paralympic Games participants. These two vaccination hubs allow Games participants who will be unable to be vaccinated in their home countries in advance of travelling to Japan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to get inoculated. The two hubs will both offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, in line with the IOC announcement on 6 May 2021 of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world. Concerned NOCs can apply for travel support from Olympic Solidarity should they need it. Full news release here.
On 2 June, the IOC announced that the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and the Organising Committees of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (OCOGs) Paris 2024, Milano Cortina 2026 and LA28 will together introduce a new global hospitality model. Fans and stakeholders will have access to unique ticket-inclusive travel and hospitality experiences through one, official, exclusive hospitality provider. To support this global hospitality programme, following a multi-stage selection process, On Location, a leader in the experiential hospitality business, has been appointed as the exclusive service provider for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, Milano Cortina 2026 and LA28 hospitality programmes. The new model will also enhance services for athletes’ families and friends wanting to see their loved ones compete at the Games, with support for travel, access to accommodation, and other services, including dedicated ticket inventory. Full news release here.
As part of its ongoing efforts to promote athletes’ safety, the IOC has launched the “International Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate” and is now accepting applications for its first cohort, to begin in September 2021. Approved by the IOC Executive Board in September 2020, this eight-month course, hosted on Sportsoracle, has been developed by the IOC in partnership with an Academic Advisory Board of international experts that is overseen by three Programme Directors. The course will be delivered by a wide range of experts and practitioners from around the world who specialise in safeguarding and child protection in sport. Full news release here.
With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month having started on 1 June, the IOC has once again emphasised the importance of inclusion and non-discrimination in sport and in society. The IOC’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion was also underlined in the recent approval of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 which recognises that gender equality, inclusion and diversity are integral components of fulfilling the IOC’s vision of building a peaceful and better world through sport. The IOC has also moved to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause of the Host City Contract for the Olympic Games, requiring all host cities to respect the Fundamental Principles and values of Olympism, in particular the prohibition of any form of discrimination, throughout their entire Games project. This approach will be visible during the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as the Organising Committee has embraced “Unity in Diversity” as one of its core concepts. Full news release here.
The IOC and nWay, a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, announced the upcoming launch of a new Olympic-themed digital entertainment experience consisting of non-fungible token (NFT) Olympic pins and cross-play multiplayer video games developed by nWay as part of a new licensing agreement with the IOC. The NFT Olympic Pins are digital versions of collectible and tradeable Olympic pins, which will first be distributed and sold on nWayPlay.com starting on 17 June 2021. Full news release here.
The Olympic Studies Centre has launched a new page on the Olympic World Library that provides instant and easy access to all the Official Reports of the modern Olympic Games – from the first Games held in Athens in 1896 onwards – at the click of a button. These documents are available in English and French and digitised for easy and direct access. Full news release here.
The Mid-Term Congress of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) took place virtually on 3 June, a first for FIBA, from the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball in Mies (Switzerland). Delegates from 161 National Federations attended and followed, among other things, speeches from FIBA President Hamane Niang and FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, as well as a video message from the IOC President. The Congress voted to adopt a new version of the FIBA General Statutes with key amendments aiming to further gender guidelines in line with FIBA's Women in Basketball Strategy, clarify the possibility of holding official meetings by videoconference, and confirm that electronic forms of basketball, in particular esports, falls within FIBA's scope. More details here.
The Management Committee of the International Cycling Union (UCI) met on 2 and 3 June at Olympic House, the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, with some members physically present and others joining by videoconference. On this occasion, in the framework of its sustainability strategy, the UCI approved two key elements of its sustainability strategy, sustainability guidelines and sustainability targets. In addition, the UCI will commit to better promotion of women in its governance. More details here. Wanting to prevent and sanction all forms of abuse (notably sexual harassment) in cycling more effectively, the UCI has adopted a series of measures to promote integrity, not only when it comes to its regulations and processes, but also with new education initiatives. The UCI has also decided to strengthen its arsenal in the fight against technological fraud. Read all the UCI’s decisions here.
During its 2021 Congress, the International Judo Federation (IJF) re-elected Marius Vizer (photo) as its President. He has held this position since 2007. More info here. The Congress was preceded by the first post-COVID IJF Executive Committee meeting, during which the appointment of Vlad Marinescu to the role of IJF Director General was ratified. Full details here.
World Rugby has announced the appointment of international development agency ChildFund as the principal charity partner for the women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, being held in 2022 in New Zealand. Rugby fans will have the opportunity to engage with and support the work of ChildFund Rugby, ChildFund’s dedicated rugby for development unit, via an opt-in mechanism to donate when purchasing match-day tickets. Funds raised during the tournament will allow ChildFund Rugby to expand its contribution to rugby for development programmes for children and young people in Oceania, support female leadership initiatives, and promote the creation of strong women’s rugby networks around the globe. Full details here.
To support its athletes on the road to Tokyo 2020, World Triathlon has approved a support fund of USD 100,000 to provide financial assistance to those athletes from National Federations with the greatest needs, in order to help them compete at continental and world level over the Olympic and Paralympic qualification period. A total of 23 athletes and para athletes from 11 different countries (Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, the Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine) will receive this financial assistance. Full details here.
national olympic committees
The ordinary General Assembly of the Algerian NOC (COA) was held on 29 May in Algiers, chaired by NOC President Abderrahmane Hammad, in the presence of 69 members, including 25 Olympic Federations. The 2020 activity and financial reports were approved unanimously, as were the 2021 action plan and budget forecast. Two women were co-opted as full members of the General Assembly: Sakina Boutamine (athletics) and Fériel Nadhira Salhi (fencing). The NOC’s elective General Assembly will be held on 8 June. More details here.
On 2 June, the Moroccan NOC’s Digital Olympic Academy organised a video conference on the theme “The role and usefulness of insurance in sports practice”. This video conference was attended by representatives of Worldwide Olympic Partner Allianz. In addition, NOC Vice-President Hamid Lahlou-Kamal was elected 3rd Vice-President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) at the ANOCA General Assembly held in May in Cairo (Egypt). More info here.
The Spanish NOC has presented its Olympic delegation uniforms for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Organised at the NOC headquarters in Madrid, the event was presented by Olympic champion Ruth Beitia, and led by NOC President Alejandro Blanco. For the first time, the uniforms have been designed using sustainable materials. Full details here.
On 27 May, at a press conference, the Venezuelan NOC gave an update on its delegation for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The subjects addressed covered a sticker album featuring the qualified athletes, the upcoming selection of male and female flagbearers for the Tokyo Opening Ceremony, and the latest information on the Paralympic Games and the Pan-American Youth Games in Cali. More info here.
Organising committees for the olympic games
On 3 June, with just 50 days to go before the Games Opening Ceremony, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee celebrated athletes and sustainability by revealing Victory Ceremony elements: the podiums, the music and the medal bearers’ uniforms, as well as the medal trays they will carry to award the Olympic and Paralympic medallists. The unveiling ceremony took place at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo and was attended by Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko and Japanese Olympians and Paralympians. It was followed online by athletes and spectators around the world. Full news release here.
ANOCA President and IOC member Mustafa Berraf had an audience with the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, at the presidential headquarters (photo). He was accompanied by the Egyptian NOC President and Minister for Youth and Sport. On behalf of ANOCA, the Olympic and Sports Order of Merit in gold for heads of state was presented to the Egyptian President in recognition of his efforts to develop sport and Olympism in Egypt and Africa. More info at www.africaolympic.com.
The Council of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) held a video conference on 31 May to discuss key items for the upcoming 45th ASOIF General Assembly, which will be held virtually on 8 June 2021. On the Assembly’s agenda are the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the election of three Council members and esport. More details here. In addition, ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti has been bestowed with the President’s Award 2020 by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in recognition of his “immense contribution and dedication to sport worldwide”. The announcement was made during the recent FIH Congress, held virtually. More details here.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced on 2 June the cancellation of its postponed 2021 Annual Symposium that was initially to be held in March 2021 at the SwissTech Convention Centre in Lausanne, and had been postponed to become an in-person or hybrid (in-person/virtual) event on 19 and 20 October 2021. WADA took this decision in order to focus on the 2022 edition of the Symposium, which the Agency will hold at the same venue in Lausanne on 23 and 24 March 2022. Full details here.
The World Olympians Association (WOA), which supports 100,000 Olympians worldwide, has announced the awardees of its WOA 2021 Service to Society and Service to Olympians Grants Programme. Ten inspiring Olympian-led initiatives will receive USD 5,000 each to spread the Olympic values through projects that create new opportunities in local communities or offer support to Olympians at every stage of their careers. Discover here the awardees.