Olympic Highlights 11/06/2021

11 Jun 2021



For the first time, a hybrid IOC Executive Board (EB) meeting was held from 8 to 10 June. The IOC President, Thomas Bach, and seven of his EB colleagues were present at Olympic House, while seven others took part virtually in the three-day meeting. On the EB agenda were the announcement of the composition of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020, preparations for the next editions of the Olympic Games, the Olympic motto, and several other institutional topics. 

IOC / Greg Martin

On the first day, the IOC EB approved the composition of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team (EOR) Tokyo 2020. Twenty-nine athletes competing across 12 sports and from 13 host NOCs will be part of the team. The athletes were selected from among the refugee athletes currently supported by the IOC through the Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes programme. They will send a powerful message of solidarity and hope to the world this summer, bringing further awareness to the plight of over 80 million displaced people worldwide. The 29 athletes met for the first time in a virtual ceremony during which IOC President Thomas Bach officially announced their participation in the Games in Tokyo this summer. UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi also congratulated the athletes. The team will compete under the Olympic flag. At the Opening Ceremony on 23 July, the athletes will enter the stadium in second position immediately after Greece, sending a strong message of inclusion, and showing the world the strength of the human spirit. Read the full news release here.

Concerning the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Organising Committee re-emphasised to the IOC EB its determination to safeguard the health of those involved in the Games, together with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Government of Japan. Based on the latest scientific expertise from across the world, and with input from the All Partners Task Force, Tokyo 2020 explained that the third and final edition of the Playbooks will be published within the next couple of weeks. The focus on health and safety was further emphasised in Tokyo 2020’s report, as it acknowledged the IOC’s offer to provide additional medical personnel from overseas to support efforts during the Games.  The progress being made towards vaccinations was also highlighted. The Organising Committee reported that staff are now beginning to move into Games-time venues, another indication of their readiness as they put into place their Games-time structure. Full details here.

The Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 reported that it was focused on delivering safe and secure Games, which was highlighted through the establishment of an international working group that focuses on COVID-19 prevention and control. They noted that all competition venues are now ready, and non-competition venues are due to be completed later this year. Full details here.

The EB members received an update on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, which summarised all the key discussions from the recent Coordination Commission meeting. This included Paris 2024’s sustainability efforts. The progress being made with commercial partners and the success of its ongoing engagement activities were also detailed. Full details here.

The EB decided to propose Brisbane 2032 to the upcoming IOC Session as host for the Games of the XXXV Olympiad. The decision followed a recommendation by the Future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad. The IOC Members will vote at the 138th Session in Tokyo on 21 July 2021. The EB’s decision was based on a report by the Future Host Commission, which has made a detailed analysis of the Brisbane 2032 project in recent months. Full news release here.

In line with discussions held two weeks ago at the 10th International Athletes’ Forum, the IOC EB decided to propose an amendment to the Olympic Charter to strengthen the role of athletes and boost their representation across the Olympic Movement. The proposal will be put forward to the IOC Session in Tokyo. Full details here.

On the topic of Olympic programme, the IOC EB took a number of decisions following the recommendations of the Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) regarding the composition of the sports and event programme of upcoming Olympic Games editions. Based on the recommendations of the OPC, which met on 31 May 2021, the EB finalised its decisions for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 and the Olympic Games LA28. Full news release here.

The EB also discussed the Olympic motto. After the support declared by the IOC EB in April and a consultation with the IOC Members, new wording for the Olympic motto will be proposed for approval by the IOC Session in Tokyo. “Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together” expresses the aspirations of the Olympic Movement. It is the adaptation of the original motto in Latin, which will translate as “Citius, Altius, Fortius - Communiter”.

The IOC EB decided that the IFs concerned may immediately reallocate any sports quota places obtained by athletes from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to other NOCs, in accordance with the IFs’ published qualification systems. This decision has been taken now in order to respect the interest of athletes who are next in line and cannot wait any longer.

The EB took the decision to reallocate medals, diplomas and medallist pins from the Olympic Games London 2012 and the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, based on decisions made by the IOC Disciplinary Commission and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Following the disqualification of certain athletes, the results have been adjusted accordingly by the Ifs involved. Full details here.

The EB also recognised the decisions of two IOC Members to resign for personal reasons. HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Athlete Representative Kikkan Randall, who has asked to remain a member of the Sustainability and Legacy Commission, had both written to IOC President Thomas Bach. Full details here.

On IOC membership, the EB has decided to submit to the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo, the proposal to elect two Honorary Members, re-elect five Members, change the status of one Member and elect one Member. Full news release here.

The EB also decided to propose to the 138th IOC Session the re-election of the Chair and one member of the IOC Ethics Commission, as well as the election of a new member. Full details here.

In addition, the EB proposed for approval by the IOC Session six provisionally recognised IFs for full IOC recognition, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. Find more about the IFs concerned here.

The IOC EB accepted three applications for changes of nationality, granting the requested exemption to the three-year waiting period following the approval by the respective IFs and NOCs. More details here.

During the EB, President Bach took the opportunity to hold meetings in person with IOC Vice President Anita L. DeFrantz as well as with IOC EB members, Nicole Hoevertsz, Denis Oswald, and Prince Feisal Al Hussein.

President Bach spoke on the phone with IOC Honorary Member Gian Franco Kasper, who has stepped down from the presidency of the International Ski Federation (FIS) after 23 years.

The IOC President also spoke with the President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco, about the provision of the Pfizer vaccine to the Spanish delegation planning to take part in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. (See also ‘NOCs’)

The President met with Sven Spannekrebs, former coach of Yusra Mardini, one of the members of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020.

IOC / Greg Martin

This week President Bach took part in a ceremony during which an olive tree was planted in the garden of Olympic House. The ceremony was held to mark the kind donation from the government of Greece and Amitiés Greco-Suisses. The Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod, Consul of Greece in Geneva Orestis Kafopoulos and the President of the Amitiés Greco-Suisses Association, Alexandre Antipas, were also present. Full news release here.

President Thomas Bach addressed the online 2021 EU Sport Forum organised by the European Commission. This year, the theme of the two-day annual forum is “Towards a healthier, resilient and sustainable European sport”, and the event has brought together hundreds of high-level participants from EU Member States and sports organisations, as well as academics and athletes. President Bach stressed in his video message the contribution of sport beyond physical and mental health, in particular in this unprecedented period where the world is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.  He also emphasised how the IOC is committed to addressing the climate change crisis by minimising its ecological footprint, protecting the environment and raising awareness about its importance. After highlighting the role of sport in building a more inclusive society and in fostering gender equality, the IOC President recalled that solidarity is at the heart of the European Sport Model and that it is necessary to strengthen this model, its values and its robust solidarity funding mechanisms so that it “can make a significant contribution to the post-crisis recovery by mobilising volunteers and by promoting more solidarity within communities and among countries”. Full text of the IOC President’s address here. Read also news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Thomas Bach was saddened by the death of Russian fencing great David Dushman, on 5 June at the age of 98. Dushman was a legendary fencing coach and the last living liberator of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The IOC President and Dushman knew each other from 1970 on, when Thomas Bach was a junior fencer and David Dushman one of the world’s greatest fencing coaches. In 2015 and 2019, Bach invited Dushman to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. “My biggest dream and hope for future generations is to live in a world where there is no war,” Dushman said during his first visit. “I urge Thomas Bach and the IOC do everything they can to use sport as a way to spread peace and reconciliation around the world. War is something that should never happen again.” Full news release here.


IOC EB member Nenad Lalović, President of United World Wrestling (UWW), and IOC Members Uğur Erdener and Sebastian Coe, presidents of World Archery and World Athletics respectively, have been re-elected as Council members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) for a further four-year term of office. Their re-election took place during the virtual ASOIF General Assembly. (See also under ‘Recognised Organisations’).


IOC Member Sypros Capralos has been elected as President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) at the association’s 50th General Assembly which took place in person in Athens (Greece). He will serve until 2025. During the same Assembly, his IOC colleague Daina Gudzinevičiūtė was elected as EOC Vice President. More info here. (see also under ‘Recognised Organisations’).

Honorary members

After 21 years as President of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), IOC Honorary Member Julio César Maglione was appointed FINA Honorary Life President by the FINA Congress, which took place on 5 June in Doha (Qatar). He was also distinguished with the FINA Prize at the end of the Congress. During the same Congress, IOC Honorary Member Sam Ramsamy has been elected first Vice President of FINA.  (See also under ‘IFs’).

International Federations

Summer IFs

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has published a comprehensive Women in Basketball Survey that provides critical insight into the current state of the women’s game. The baseline survey, presented to FIBA’s 213 National Federation members, has enabled FIBA to measure and evaluate the global landscape of women’s basketball, with a view to tailoring strategic implementation plans for FIBA. Discover the key findings of the survey here.


Husain Al Musallam (photo) was elected President of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) during the FINA General Congress, held in Doha (Qatar), succeeding Julio César Maglione. After representing Kuwait as an international swimmer in his youth, Al Musallam became an airline pilot and was elected to the FINA Bureau in 1996. He was FINA’s First Vice-President prior to being elected President.

New appointments to the FINA Bureau, FINA Panels and other decisions approved during the Congress are available here. For the first time in FINA’s history, the Congress was held in a hybrid format: 119 National Federations represented by 189 delegates attended the Congress in person, while another 102 National Federations (202 delegates) followed the programme via livestream. A video message from President Bach was broadcasted during the Congress. More info here.

winter ifs

The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced three new inductees into the World Curling Hall of Fame for 2021.They are: in the category ‘athlete’, Sweden’s Team Anette Norberg, with members Anette Norberg, Eva Lund, Cathrine Lindahl and Anna Maria Svard (Le Moine), who won two consecutive Olympic Gold medals (Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010); also in the category ‘athlete’, Canada’s Bernard “Bernie” Leslie Sparkes (a three-time World champion); and in the category ‘builder’, Johannes Arthur Jensen of Denmark (one of the founding members of the Tårnby Curling Club, which has hosted 16 WCF events). Full details here.


At the 52nd International Ski Congress held virtually on 4 June, Johan Eliasch (photo) of Great Britain has been elected as the new International Ski Federation (FIS) President, succeeding outgoing President Gian Franco Kasper.  He will serve his term through the next International Ski Congress, which will take place in late spring 2022. The Congress also adopted the Mainau Manifesto, which will serve as the guiding sustainability document for FIS in the coming years. Additionally, five new nations were approved as Associate Members: Cape Verde, Panama, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu. More info here.

national olympic committees

Albanian NOC

In the context of establishing bilateral relations between countries in the region, the NOC of Albania is to sign a memorandum of cooperation with the Olympic Committees of neighbouring countries including Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro. NOC President Fidel Ylli, together with administrative staff, paid a two-day visit to Pristina and Skopje, where they were welcomed by Ismet Krasniqi, President of the Kosovo Olympic Committee (photo) and Daniel Dimevski, President of the Olympic Committee of North Macedonia. A meeting in Podgorica with the Montenegrin Olympic Committee is also planned. All these meetings are centred on ramping up bilateral relations, with joint projects in the pipeline for sports development activities, training camps and exchanges of experiences in managing various projects. During his visit to Skopje, Fidel Ylli also met the UWW President and IOC EB member Nenad Lalović. More info at www.nocalbania.org.al

Brazil Olympic Committee

The Brazil Olympic Committee (COB) informed us that Team Brazil’s uniforms for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were unveiled on 3 June, marking 50 days to go to the Games’ Opening Ceremony. Canal Olímpico Brasil presented the parade. The rehearsal, which took place at the Time Brasil Training Centre in Rio de Janeiro, was conducted by ten Olympic athletes, without an audience and following all the safety protocols established by the COB’s medical team. More details here.

Bulgarian Olympic Committee

Boran Hadzhiev, Mayor of Chepelare Municipality in Bulgaria and coach of the country’s National Women’s Biathlon Team, has been awarded the 2019 IOC ‘Sport and Sustainable Architecture’ Trophy. The trophy was presented by Nenad Lalović, IOC EB member and President of United World Wrestling (UWW), and Stefka Kostadinova, President of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee. The ceremony was held at the National Sports Academy in Sofia, before the NOC General Assembly, in the presence of representatives of all the Olympic sports federations, NOC members, athletes and media. More info at www.bgolympic.org

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has written to the President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to provide assurances that the athletes and staff of Team GB are “doing everything possible to minimise any risk to the people of Japan” ahead of the Olympic Games. In a letter to President Hashimoto Seiko, the BOA’s Chair, Hugh Robertson, outlined additional testing measures for the delegation members prior to departure, over and above the requirements of the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks. Read the full statement here.

Hellenic Olympic Committee

The “Kids Love Sports” programme has kicked off at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. This programme, run by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) with co-funding from European Union, focuses on refugee children in the wider Attica region. Fifty children from the refugee reception centre at Ritsona were present in the stadium, where they practised different sports activities under the guidance of Olympic champions and experienced coaches. They were also given a tour of the stadium, and had the opportunity to learn about this great monument and the significant role of Greece in Olympic history. In addition, HOC President and IOC Member Spyros Capralos congratulated the programme’s stakeholder, and stated that the HOC will continue to support the refugee population by implementing the values of the Olympism in their lives. More details here.

NOC of Morocco

Staff from the NOC of Morocco took part in a webinar on 3 June organised by Olympic Solidarity, on the topic of financial guidelines, reporting and auditing. With respect to the ongoing preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the NOC continues to hold individual meetings with its sports federations. More info at www.cnom.org.ma.

The Spanish NOC, through its President, Alejandro Blanco, has reached an agreement with the IOC and pharmaceutical company Pfizer to provide 3880 doses of its vaccine for the purposes of immunising 1940 Spanish Olympic and Paralympic athletes and their families. This means the Spanish government can take back the doses set aside for vaccinating the Olympic delegation to Tokyo 2020, ensuring that the national vaccination programme will be unaffected. More details here. Elsewhere, Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco and the President of the NOC of North Macedonia, Daniel Dimevski, signed a cooperation agreement between their two NOCs during the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC). More info here.

Venezuelan NOC

The President of the Venezuelan NOC, Eduardo Álvarez, and Secretary General Elida Párraga attended an online meeting with Olympic Solidarity to discuss projects in the pipeline for the next Olympic cycle.  Topics on the agenda included Olympic values, sports development, training, Olympic grants and support for athletes and coaches. The NOC representatives highlighted the invaluable support provided by Olympic Solidarity in implementing these plans. More info here.

Organising committees for the olympic games

paris 2024
Paris 2024

The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 recently announced that the Place de la Concorde has been chosen as the venue for the urban sports on the Olympic Games programme: 3x3 basketball, BMX freestyle, breaking, skateboarding street and skateboarding park. This will be the first time in Olympic Games history that a single venue will host urban sporting events alongside public events such as concerts, cultural exhibitions and sports demonstrations. The temporary venue in the Place de la Concorde will bring together the facilities needed for all four sports on one site, with guaranteed public transport access. More details here.

On 8 June, Paris 2024 conducted a large-scale test at the Eiffel Tower as part of preparations for festivities linked to the Handover Ceremony with Tokyo 2020 during the Games Closing Ceremony on 8 August. Paris 2024 and the City of Paris will organise the ‘Live des Jeux’ in Paris – a space offering screenings, sports and festive activities in the Trocadero Gardens throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Full details here.

recognised organisations

Held in Athens (Greece) on 10 and 11 June, the 50th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) elected its 2021-2025 Executive Committee. Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos has been named 9th EOC President - succeeding to Niels Nygaard, EOC Acting President -, with Daina Gudzinevičiūtė becoming Vice President, Raffaele Pagnozzi re-electing Secretary General and Peter Mennel taking over as EOC Treasurer. Representatives of the 50 NOCs (46 of which were present in Athens) received updates on EOC activities, on the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and for the upcoming European Youth Festivals, on the European Sport Model as well as reports from the Chairs of the EOC Commissions. In addition, Skopje (North Macedonia), Istanbul or Antalya (Turkey) and Brasov (Romania) were named as hosts of the next three EOC General Assemblies in 2022, 2023 and 2024, respectively. More details here. In addition, biathlete Lena Repinc of Slovenia was awarded the Piotr Nurowski Best European Young Athlete prize, after a vote by the EOC General Assembly. Full details here.

During its annual meeting, held virtually on 8 June, the General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), chaired by Francesco Ricci Bitti, reiterated its commitment to supporting the safe and successful delivery of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. ASOIF’s member federations approved amendments to the ASOIF Statutes aimed at improving gender balance within the IF delegations to the General Assembly. Other topics on the agenda included e-sports, the timeline and process for the Fourth Review of IF Governance, and the importance of protecting the European Model of Sport. More details here

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, will stage the 20th IPC General Assembly on 11 and 12 December 2021. The IPC Conference will take place ahead of the General Assembly on 9 and 10 December, at the same venue, and will include the 2021 Paralympic Awards. The 2021 General Assembly will feature elections for the IPC President, a new IPC Governing Board and a vote on the new IPC constitution. Full details here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Central European Anti-Doping Organisation (CEADO) to collaborate on specific anti-doping programme development activities, beginning with a project involving the Eastern Europe Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (EERADO). CEADO is a partnership of eight National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) from Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia that work together with the main goal of supporting and strengthening the anti-doping system in the region. Full news release here.

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