Olympic Highlights 07/12/2020

Olympic Flag

07 Dec 2020



During a plenary meeting of its General Assembly, the United Nations (UN) adopted – by consensus – a resolution reaffirming the role of sport as a global accelerator of peace and sustainable development for all, and in building global resilience to address COVID-19.

Importantly, the resolution recognises the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on all aspects of sport, and encourages UN “Member States to include sport and physical activity in recovery plans post COVID-19, to integrate sport and physical activity into national strategies for sustainable development, taking note of the contributions sport makes to health, to promote safe sport as a contributor to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities”.

The text also acknowledges the “importance of holistic approaches to health and well-being through regular physical activity, including sport and recreation, to prevent and control non-communicable diseases and promote healthy lifestyles, including through physical education”.

At the same time, the resolution acknowledges the Olympic Charter and the principle of non-discrimination, and “supports the independence and autonomy of sport as well as the mission of the International Olympic Committee in leading the Olympic Movement and of the International Paralympic Committee in leading the Paralympic Movement.”

The text also affirms “the invaluable contribution of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in establishing sport as a unique means for the promotion of peace and development, in particular through the ideal of the Olympic Truce, acknowledging the opportunities provided by past Olympic and Paralympic Games, including those held in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, in 2018, as well as the Youth Olympic Games held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2020”.

The resolution welcomes “with appreciation all upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, in particular those to be held in Tokyo in 2021, in Beijing in 2022, in Paris in 2024, in Milano-Cortina, Italy, in 2026 and in Los Angeles, United States of America, in 2028, as well as the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Dakar in 2026,” and calls upon “future hosts of such Games and other Member States to include sport, as appropriate, in conflict prevention activities and to ensure the effective implementation of the Olympic Truce during the Games.”

The IOC President, Thomas Bach, said: “The IOC welcomes this resolution and thanks all UN Member States for their support. This is another expression of the excellent partnership between the UN, its Member States and the IOC which fully respects the autonomy and the political neutrality of the IOC. We also appreciate the great recognition of the positive role of sport for the post COVID-19 recovery. The IOC is grateful that our call to include sport in the post COVID-19 recovery plans of the UN Member States has been heard.” Full news release here.

At Olympic House, President Bach met the International Cycling Union (UCI) President David Lappartient. The two leaders discussed the IOC Esports Liaison Group, which is chaired by the UCI President.

President Bach took part virtually in the opening of the International Golf Federation (IGF)’s Executive Committee meeting. He underlined that, thanks to the fruitful collaboration between the IOC, the Organising Committee, and all other partners and stakeholders, including the IFs, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be organised safely and will be a symbol of solidarity and unity.

The IOC President welcomed at Olympic House the Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Chen Xu. Together they addressed various topics of common interest, including among other things the recent UN resolution and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

President Bach also held meetings in Lausanne with IOC Members Juan Antonio Samaranch and Marisol Casado, with whom he discussed various Olympic matters.

In a phone call, the IOC President and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Bańka addressed a wide range of topics regarding the protection of clean athletes.

President Bach met the Mayor of Ouchy, Christophe Andreae, who paid a courtesy visit to the Olympic House.


On 1 December, the IOC Members were informed on behalf of IOC Ethics Commission Chair Ban Ki-Moon, by IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, that President Thomas Bach will be the only candidate for the presidential election, which will be held during the 137th IOC Session in Athens in March 2021. In a statement, President Bach said: "I will continue to serve the Olympic Movement to the best of my abilities and will try to be a President for all the IOC Members and the entire Olympic Movement." Full news release here.

Latvian NOC

IOC Executive Board member Ivo Ferriani (l. in photo), who is also President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), presented the Pierre de Coubertin Medal to the former President of the Latvian NOC, Aldons Vrublevskis (r. in photo). The ceremony took place on 28 November during the IBSF World Cup in Sigulda (Latvia).


IOC Member Marisol Casado was re-elected as President of World Triathlon during the XXXIII World Triathlon Congress held virtually on 29 November. She has been President since 2008. More info here. (See also the ‘IFs’ section).

Mongolian NOC

IOC Member Battushig Batbold, in cooperation with  his own ‘Battushig & Tselmuun Foundation’, established in 2018, has made significant donations to the ‘Gurvan Gal’ maternity house  to help purchase modern European technology for infant children, and to the ‘Songdo’ hospital  for a charity  initiative  to offer free heart surgery to children in need – both  crucial assistance during the pandemic period in Mongolia.  He has also organised a donation of sports wears to young promising Olympic winter athletes and coaches for their further advancement.


On 1 and 2 December, a joint delivery partners meeting, a Coordination Commission update and a joint steering forum, involving the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Paris 2024 and its local stakeholders, were organised remotely. This gave the Organising Committee the opportunity to provide updates on its preparations to deliver an iconic, new model for the Games – fit for a post-coronavirus world. Numerous topics were discussed as the Paris 2024 organisers outlined the development of their vision. Among the several topics covered, there were the positive impact of numerous Paris 2024 engagement activities, their plans for the next Olympic and Paralympic Week, and their legacy and sustainability plans. Full details here.

James Wolfensohn, the former President of the World Bank and an Olympic fencer, has died in New York at the age of 86. He was a member of the Australia’s Olympic fencing team at the Olympic Games Melbourne 1956. He was also a member of the International Olympic Truce Foundation. More info here.

Other Olympic News

Building on the work undertaken over the last few years to address human rights issues within the scope of its responsibility across its three spheres of influence, as well as recent recommendations made by experts, the IOC has made further progress on the development and implementation of its human rights approach. In its recent consultative meeting, the IOC Executive Board received an update on the ongoing work in this field. The IOC’s work has been informed by a series of “Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy”, produced by the independent experts Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rachel Davis, Vice President of Shift – a non-profit centre of expertise on business and human rights – commissioned by the IOC in 2019. The IOC has already taken a number of steps to deliver on its human rights responsibilities in its own operations. It has increased the alignment of its existing strategies on sustainability and gender equality and inclusion with human rights standards; and it is working on its own procurement processes and the creation of a human rights unit in the organisation. Engagement with human rights expert groups has also increased. Work has further progressed in relation to the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games, supporting organising committees in developing and implementing their human rights approaches. As part of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, human rights standards had already been reinforced in the “Operational Requirements” of the Host City Contract for the Olympic Games 2024 and beyond. Full news release here.

While attempting to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in 2021, many of the 51 Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders are balancing intense training schedules with efforts to give back to their host communities and support fellow refugees in navigating the additional challenges caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Discover here four inspirational projects that are showing other refugees what’s possible.

Olympic Channel

The Olympic Channel has been recognised for the “Best Use of Social Media” at the 2020 SportsPro OTT Awards. Most importantly, the award recognises the Olympic Day workout activation on 23 June. This world’s biggest 24-hour digital Olympic workout introduced half a billion people to #StayActive on Olympic Day. If you feel motivated to do the workout again, click here.

The transition towards sustainable sport is gaining pace as more and more NOCs and IFs, supported by the IOC, take action to address the environmental, economic and social challenges within their organisations and communities. A significant milestone was reached recently, with the publication of 22 Olympic Movement sustainability case studies, bringing their total to over 100. An IOC-led project launched in 2016, the case studies illustrate how IFs and NOCs are integrating sustainability into their operations and events. By profiling new ways of working, sustainable innovation and effective partnerships, they aim to inspire others to follow suit and accelerate the transition towards sustainable sport across the Olympic Movement. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs
Getty / Hulton

World Athletics has announced that Rafer Johnson (photo), the 1960 Olympic decathlon champion, died at the age of 86 on 2 December. Four years before his gold medal triumph, he won a silver medal at the Olympic Games Melbourne 1956, and he went undefeated in decathlon competitions between 1956 and 1960. Having been the US delegation flagbearer at the Games in Rome in 1960, Johnson went on to light the Olympic cauldron at Los Angeles 1984. He also co-founded the California Special Olympics in 1968 and, more recently, was involved in Los Angeles’ successful candidature to host the 2028 Olympic Games. More details here. In addition, the final World Athletics Council meeting of 2020 has made a range of far-reaching decisions to guide the sport into the near future. The Council received reports and updates on a variety of events and issues, and considered actions involving the global calendar, World Athletics Series events and the Russian Federation. Read all the decisions here


The official logo (photo) of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 was unveiled on 4 December as part of the launch of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA)’s new #DontMissABeat campaign. The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will be hosted from 25 August to 10 September in three cities of three countries, Manila (Philippines), Okinawa (Japan) and Jakarta (Indonesia). The unveiling of the logo goes hand-in-hand with the launch of the #Don't Miss a Beat campaign by FIBA, an effort to keep the basketball community united and active over the next few months. More info here

Meeting on 2 December for the fourth time by videoconference, the working group on rider safety created by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) examined a series of proposals aimed at improving safety conditions during road races. The aim was to determine the measures to be introduced as of the 2021 season. The measures in question will be presented to the Professional Cycling Council on 9 December then approved by the UCI Management Committee before their introduction. The first measures will come into force in January 2021, while the others will be gradually introduced throughout the year. More info here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) continues to regularly organise Aquatics Managers Webinars through the FINA Learning Platform. The latest one for the Americas was held on 28 and 29 November, while another will be hosted on 12 and 13 December. A total of 150 participants have registered. The objective of these webinars is to provide ongoing training and references to the FINA National Federations leaders, and develop NF administrators’ management skills in order to further implement good governance principles, use the strategic planning tools, and manage human resources and finances in an optimum way. More info at www.fina.org.


Prince Albert II of Monaco (l. on photo), IOC Member and Honorary President of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), officially opened the federation’s new headquarters at the Stade Louis II in the Fontvieille ward of Monaco, which has been the organisation’s base since 1997. UIPM President Klaus Schormann (r. on photo) and Vice-President Joël Bouzou OLY provided him with a tour of the new headquarters. During his visit, Prince Albert enjoyed a laser shooting experience before holding a conference with UIPM President Schormann and Secretary General Shiny Fang. More details here.

All 12 of the World Triathlon Committees and Commissions met virtually last week. The meetings, attended by dozens of NFs from all five continents, covered every aspect of World Triathlon governance and finance, while further Continental Confederation meetings also took place. There were also elections for all positions within the sport’s governing body during the XXXIII World Triathlon Congress held on 29 November, with 136 National Federations voting. Full info here.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced that, following the decision of the FIVB Board of Administration, the upcoming FIVB World Congress 2021 will be held virtually on 5, 6 and 7 February 2021.  It was also decided to host the next Board of Administration meeting after the FIVB World Congress at a later date in 2021. More info at www.fivb.com.


The first-ever specialised International Surfing Association) Women’s Judging Programme has been a success, with the participation of 127 women from 34 countries. Held from 1 to 3 December online, the course was created with the goals of developing the skills of female judges around the world, promoting gender equality in surfing, and including more qualified women on judging panels for ISA World Championships in the future. Full details here.

winter ifs

The World Curling Federation (WCF), in partnership with Curling Canada, has announced that the World Men’s Curling Championship 2021 will now take place at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary from 3 to 11 April 2021. The Championship will feature as one of several high-profile events held in Curling Canada’s planned hub city in order to ensure the health and safety of athletes, staff and officials. The competition will qualify six NOCs for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 men’s team competition. More details here.

national olympic committees

Mongolian NOC

The President of the Mongolian NOC, Naidan Tuvshinbayar (see photo), an Olympic judo champion at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, initiated an "Olympic Wave" challenge against COVID-19 in Mongolia, demonstrating, along with his four young children, the simple and effective exercises that can be done at home to help foster the Olympic spirit and maintain physical fitness during the pandemic period, and urging people of all ages to get active. This challenge has been well received throughout the country, and the winners will be awarded special prizes by the NOC. In addition, the NOC holds weekly webinars on various current sporting and Olympic themes, involving all 60 National Sports Federations and the 29 local and provincial Olympic Councils.

At the end of November, the Moroccan NOC’s technical team held a meeting to assess the monitoring of the federations and to organise a videoconference with the scholarship holders preparing for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The NOC also contributed to the work of the coordination meeting of the Regional Academy of Education and Training, before meeting representatives from the country’s sports authorities and discussing the national sports programme. In addition, the NOC teams began recording the “Words of Champions” programme with Moroccan athletes hoping to compete at Tokyo 2020. More info at www.cnom.org.ma.

The first virtual international forum of its kind hosted by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) and organised by World Taekwondo (WT) in cooperation with the Saudi Taekwondo Federation and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, took place on 27 and 28 November. The event title was “Gender Equity and Women Leadership Forum”, and it attracted more than 120,000 views on SAOC social media outlets over both days. Opening speeches were delivered by SAOC President Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue and IOC President Thomas Bach. A number of athletes also took part in the Forum, which addressed themes such as gender equity vs equity in sport; Saudi female leadership; the IOC gender equality movement; and media portrayal. More info at www.olympic.sa and www.worldtaekwondo.org

Venezuelan NOC

The 10th session of the Venezuelan Olympic Academy was held on 2 December at the headquarters of the Venezuelan NOC. This session, which was held virtually, was attended by more than 20 technical directors of various NFs who were able to increase their knowledge of how the Olympic Movement functions and its structure. Two athletes who have already qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Yulimar Rojas (athletics) and Daniel Dhers (BMX), addressed the session participants before handing them their diplomas. More info here.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Paris 2024

On 26 November, almost 400 athletes took part in the all-digital 2020 Athletes’ Forum, jointly organised for the first time by the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, the French NOC and the French Paralympic Committee. For more than two hours, the athletes talked about their experiences and shared best practices on various topics of particular concern to them. The Forum offered an insight into the various services and forms of support provided to athletes by the French sports movement. It was also an opportunity to hear about the latest developments in the Paris 2024 project and how athletes can get more involved in a project of which they have been part right from the start. The athletes attending also discussed ways in which they can help French sport, by proposing concrete action to help clubs and support the return to sport. More details here. In addition, the National Sports Agency, Paris 2024, the NOC and the French Paralympic Committee have chosen the first 55 winners of the Impact 2024 project aimed at strengthening the social impact of sport. More than 1,000 projects have been chosen to be part of the Legacy 2024 programme. More details on www.paris2024.org.

Recognised organisations

On 20 and 21 November, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) organised the 37th Seminar for Secretaries General of African NOCs by videoconference, with the theme “The Emergence of the African Olympic and Sports Movement after COVID-19: obstacles, the safe return to competition, the preparation of African athletes for competitions, and the planning of future events”. This meeting aimed to harmonise management techniques to revive African sport in the post-COVID era and for the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Recommendations were issued at the end of the seminar, which was moderated by ANOCA Secretary General Ahmed Abu Elgasim Hashim and coordinated by ANOCA President Mustapha Berraf, who is also an IOC Member.

To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) signed a landmark Cooperation Agreement to collaborate on several initiatives that will further the rights of people with disabilities. As part of an agreement signed by IPC President Andrew Parsons and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the two organisations will work together with several other like-minded organisations to deliver a global communications campaign around next year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games aimed at changing global attitudes towards disability and furthering the human rights agenda. More info here. In addition, the IPC is to provide free-to-air coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of its efforts to raise awareness of Para sport and its athletes in the region. This broadcast initiative is a key element of the Para Sport Against Stigma project between the IPC, Loughborough University, and the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, which aims to support social change and overcome stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities in Africa. Twenty-four territories with an estimated reach of over 150 million have already confirmed that they will show the Games. Full details here

Finally, the IPC is to make EUR 1.8 million worth of grant funding available to its 200-plus member organisations during 2021 as part of efforts to provide additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full details here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed additional contributions totalling close to USD2.6 million from the Governments of China, Egypt, India and Saudi Arabia, which will be dedicated to the Agency’s scientific research and intelligence (I&I) and investigations activities. The contributions are additional to the Governments’ annual contributions to WADA’s regular budget, which are matched by the IOC on behalf of the Sports Movement, and are part of an initiative announced in November 2019 by IOC President Thomas Bach to further strengthen WADA’s scientific research and I&I programs. Under this initiative, additional contributions provided by Governments are matched by the IOC, which means that these contributions will yield almost USD5.2 million extra for the global anti-doping system. More info here.


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