Olympic Highlights 08/02/2021




On 4 February, to mark one year to go until the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the IOC put athletes at the heart of celebrations by featuring their preparation and commitment to getting to the Games during these unprecedented times.

IOC President Thomas Bach formally invited the NOCs of the world and their winter sports athletes to participate in next year’s Games. Given the current circumstances, this was done from Olympic House in Lausanne. The IOC President symbolically signed and sent invitations to eight NOCs, including the Chinese Olympic Committee. The other seven NOCs were the Hellenic Olympic Committee, where the Olympic Games originated; the NOCs from future Olympic Games host cities – the Japanese Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020;  the Comité National Olympique et Sportif Français for the Olympic Games Paris 2024; the Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano for the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, the successor of Beijing; and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 – as well as the Australian Olympic Committee and the Nigerian Olympic Committee, which sent the largest delegations from Oceania and Africa respectively to the last Olympic Winter Games. All eight NOCs accepted the invitation via a video message.

Click here to watch IOC President Thomas Bach inviting NOCs to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Speaking about this milestone, President Bach said: “One year from now, Beijing will write history as the first city ever to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games. These Games will connect the Chinese people with the world.”  He continued: “Having seen how China is overcoming the coronavirus crisis, we are very confident that our Chinese hosts will ensure safe and secure Olympic Games in full cooperation with the IOC. Every time that I have visited China, I am so impressed by the enthusiasm and support for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. This is why, we can say already now with great confidence: China is ready. Ready to welcome the world’s best winter sports athletes for unforgettable Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. We all are looking forward to this global celebration of sport.” Read the full press release here.

President Bach also delivered a message to the athletes to whom he said: “in exactly one year from now, we will meet on the occasion of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. And we can look forward to this moment with great anticipation, because our Chinese hosts have prepared already now everything. All the venues are ready for you. And they’re also taking care of a safe and secure Olympic Winter Games for every participant”. IOC President concluded his video with a reassuring message to the athletes, saying: “So be confident that, when you come to Beijing in 2022, you will enjoy a safe environment, and you can look forward to a fair competition for everybody. […] See you there!” (click here to watch the message)

This week, President Bach held a fruitful consultation call with the athletes’ representatives. It follows calls with IOC Members, NOCs and Summer and Winter International Olympic Sports Federations. The participants expressed their broad support for the commitment of the IOC and all the stakeholders to organise safe and secure Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The question at the heart of this consultation was not ‘whether’ the Games will go ahead in July, but ‘how’. The participants were also given a preview of the Playbook for Athletes, which will be published in the coming days.

During a video call with the President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), Ary Graça, the IOC President discussed the development and promotion of the sport (see also under “IFs”), while retaining full control of the governance and values of the sport. The preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were also discussed.  The President also delivered a video message to their virtual Congress, telling them,  “as you gather for this World Congress, I would like to congratulate FIVB for recognising the changing landscape of sport, adapting to it and innovating as a federation and as a sport.”

President Bach also took part in the weekly task force meeting for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which was fully concentrated on COVID countermeasures and the Playbooks that are being distributed to all stakeholders.

He also gave a video interview to the Director of the Tokyo Official Film, Naomi Kawase, discussing with her the progress of preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.


On 2 February, the IOC Executive Board (EB) rejected a complaint against the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) and its President, Gianni Infantino, who is also an IOC Member. The decision was made by postal vote after the EB reviewed the recommendations made by the IOC Ethics Commission. Read the full press release here.


Over 3,500 athletes from 185 NOCs and 41 Olympic sports shared their voice in response to the IOC Athletes’ Commission's survey on Rule 50. The Commission launched this survey in December 2020, in the context of a wider consultation around athlete expression at the Olympic Games. Find out more here.

Other Olympic news

On 3rd February, the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (Tokyo 2020) published the first Playbook, a resource which outlines the personal responsibilities key stakeholders must take to play their role in ensuring sage and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. The series of Playbooks provide a framework of basic principles that each key stakeholder group will follow before they travel to Japan, when entering Japan, during their time at the Games and when leaving the Games. They will provide direction and set parameters that will enable people and organisations to advance their planning at this stage. Read the full news release here.

Twenty-five young leaders (13 women and 12 men) have been selected by the IOC as part of a four-year programme supported by Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic. Coming from 25 countries and five continents, these future leaders will build sustainable, sport-focused social businesses from ideation to fruition, supported by weekly learning modules and leadership opportunities. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

The official draw for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic women's and men's basketball competitions took place on 2 February at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) headquarters, the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball. Twenty-four teams, 12 men’s and 12 women’s, will take part in the competition, starting on 25 July in Tokyo. See the results of the two draws here. In addition, the FIBA Descriptive Analytics Report 2020, produced by FIBA and the World Association of Basketball Coaches (WABC), has been published. The report looks into team and individual player analysis at the most recent FIBA events at international level. Through collaboration with the NBA, comparative analysis with WNBA and NBA analytics has also been included. More details here.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has produced a book entitled “Parc Olímpic del Segre” (Del Segre Olympic Park), which focuses on the canoe slalom venue at the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992. Written by Ramon Ganyet Solé, who was the venue manager during these Games, the book analyses the experience of 30 years of this Pyrenean facility as a model of a sustainable approach to developing and spreading white water canoeing. The ICF plans to publish the book digitally by mid-March 2021. More info in due course at www.canoeicf.com.

The Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) met by videoconference on 3 and 4 February. The Committee approved a plan to improve rider safety; adopted a new strategy for sustainable development; awarded the UCI Bike City label to new cities and regions; and selected the venues for several events. Full details here.

After the success of the FINA women's water polo Olympic Games qualification tournament in Trieste (Italy) in January, which was held in a COVID-safe bubble, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that the men's water polo Olympic Games qualification tournament will be held in Rotterdam (Netherlands) from 14 to 21 February 2021. Twelve teams will vie for the last three Olympic spots to join Serbia, Italy, Spain, the USA, Australia, Hungary, South Africa, Kazakhstan and hosts Japan this summer in Tokyo. More info at www.fina.org.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and CVC Capital Partners Fund VII have announced the launch of Volleyball World, a new partnership which will drive innovation, growth and investment in volleyball around the globe. Volleyball World will become the commercial entity for the sport around the world, initially for the FIVB and later looking to work alongside other leagues and federations, with the goal of increasing the profile and popularity of the sport, through fresh investment for the benefit of fans, players and national federations. Full details here. In addition, five athletes (three female and two male) had been chosen by more than 400 players from all over the world in the first-ever FIVB Athletes’ Commission elections. The five other Commission members will be nominated by the FIVB President and appointed by the FIVB Board of Administration during its first meeting after the FIVB World Congress. More details here.

national olympic committees


The President of the Algerian NOC (COA), Abderrahmane Hammad (left in photo), and the Director of the National School of Journalism and Information Sciences (ENSJSI), Abdesselam Benzaoui (right), signed a framework agreement between the two institutions on 28 January at the COA headquarters. The aim of the agreement is to support ENSJSI students with work placements at the COA and educational training in the field of sport and Olympism. The ENSJSI will give priority to the COA when it comes to participation in scientific events linked to its area of expertise. Full info here.

Colombian NOC

On 1 February, the Villa Deportiva Colombian sports venue was reopened in the presence of Sports Minister Ernesto Lucena, who handed over the keys to the rooms, which are named after Colombia’s most famous athletes. Colombian NOC President Baltazar Medina was also present, alongside Olympic medallists Óscar Figueroa and María Isabel Urrutia, and Paralympians Diego Dueñas and Sara Vargas. More details here.

On 27 January, the Moroccan NOC’s Digital Olympic Academy organised a videoconference on “How to bounce back with optimism during a crisis”. On the same day, the NOC took part in a webinar for the French-speaking African countries, organised in the framework of the series of the IOC-INTERPOL webinars on the prevention of the manipulation of competitions. The NOC also held a videoconference with the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency to discuss the planned energy audit of the NOC headquarters. More details on www.cnom.org.ma.

Spanish NOC

The Minister of Culture and Sport, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes (right of photo) and Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco (left) met recently at the ministry to discuss the future of Spanish sport. The new structure will be in place at the end of three stages: approval of the new Sports Act; approval of the new Organic Law on combating doping; and the creation of a special status for athletes. More details here.

Venezuelan NOC

The Executive Committee of the Venezuelan NOC gave the country’s national sports federations a progress update on the forthcoming events in the Olympic cycle, in a meeting held partly in person and partly remotely. The main topics discussed were the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Cali Valle 2021 Junior Pan-American Games and the Sucre 2021 Bolivarian Youth Games. NOC President Eduardo Álvarez (in the centre of the photo), Secretary General Élida Parraga (on the right) and the Chef de Mission of the Venezuelan team for the Asian Games, Arturo Castillo (on the left), provided information and explanations on these events. More details here.

Organising CommitteeS for the Olympic Games

Beijing 2022

On 4 February, the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 revealed its Olympic torch design (photo) during an event marking one year to go until the Games begin. The torch was presented during a ceremony held in the iconic Beijing 2008 Summer Games venue, the National Aquatics Centre, which has been transformed into the “Ice Cube” for next year’s Winter Games curling competition. The winning design, selected from 182 entries in a global competition launched back in April 2020, was commended by Beijing 2022’s judges for its combination of Chinese aesthetic values, traditional cultural connotations and advanced technology. Full news release here.

Paris 2024
Paris 2024

On 1 February, Olympic and Paralympic Week (SOP) 2021 was launched in almost 3,000 French schools. With the support of the Ministry of Education and the French sports movement, the SOP is a key element of the education programme of the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024. This year, the SOP is focused on encouraging 30 minutes of physical activity each day at school. For the organisers, despite the uncertainties and constraints caused by the current health situation, it is important to continue encouraging young people to get active, particularly when the situation risks aggravating the problem of physical inactivity still further. More details on www.paris2024.org.

Recognised organisations

During its meeting held by videoconference on 25 January, the Executive Committee of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) adopted the ANOCA 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. The aim of the Plan is to deploy all of ANOCA’s capacities to provide assistance to athletes for maximum performance in their participation in African and world sports events. More info here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published the following new and updated Laboratory Guidelines to support laboratories and Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) in their implementation of the 2021 International Standard for Laboratories (ISL), which came into force on 1 January 2021. Full details here.

In 2021, the Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs (FICTS) will develop an exciting programme of international activities, with the organisation - in person - of 20 festivals in the five continents ending with the World Final, the 39th edition of the Sports Movies & TV Milan International FICTS Festival, in Milan (Italy) from 26 to 30 November 2021. This programme was discussed during the FICTS Assembly held on 28 January. More details at www.sportmoviestv.com.

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