Olympic Highlights 11/09/2020

11 Sep 2020



On 9 September, IOC President Thomas Bach chaired the fourth IOC Executive Board (EB) meeting to take place remotely via videoconference. The EB discussed the next editions of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, athletes’ safety and wellbeing, as well as several other institutional issues.

Speaking after the meeting, the IOC President commented: “The Executive Board has addressed the two forthcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022. With regard to Tokyo, we are very much satisfied about the full support from everyone involved – of course, the Organising Committee, but given the recent announcement of Prime Minister Abe’s resignation (read here the statement from President Bach released on 28 August), also from the Japanese Government and from the so-important Tokyo Metropolitan Government.”  He continued: “In the next coming weeks, you will see important and intensive discussions taking place with regard to the different scenarios concerning the COVID-19 countermeasures. We remain very focused on delivering a safe and successful Games next year. These discussions will also happen, like all the other discussions, in close cooperation with our Japanese partners and friends and our Coordination Commission and Task Force. Overall, we will, of course, continue to follow the principle that has driven all our decisions so far with regards to Tokyo, and that means to organise an Olympic Games in a safe environment for all people involved next summer.”

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates, in his report to the EB, provided an update on the key projects being undertaken over the coming months. An essential element in delivering safe and successful Games is the planning for COVID-19 countermeasures. Whilst this work will continue right up until the Games, the aim is to compile the interim summary by around the end of 2020. Chair Coates also provided an insight into the ongoing optimisation efforts, which included collecting feedback from stakeholder consultations that took place in June 2020 and organising Coordination Commission working group meetings in August 2020. The IOC and Tokyo 2020 have highlighted their continued commitment to analysing the feasibility and budget impact of each opportunity, with key elements expected to be discussed during the upcoming Coordination Commission meeting. 

With regard to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, Coordination Commission Chair Juan Antonio Samaranch also complimented the strong collaboration between the IOC, the local Organising Committee and key stakeholders, as preparations for the next Olympic Winter Games, in Beijing, continue. Beijing 2022 has been working closely with Beijing and Hebei authorities and the national government to mitigate any negative impact that COVID-19 could have on operations. Such planning will be implemented this coming winter at a number of official Test Events. Beijing 2022 has been in direct contact with the relevant IFs developing plans for different scenarios based on the latest COVID-19 situation. Full news release about Games’ updates here.

As part of its ongoing efforts to promote athletes’ safety and wellbeing, the EB approved the establishment of the “International Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate”. The course leading to certification is set to commence in September 2021. This is a first of its kind because there is currently no certificate or minimum standard of education or training for safeguarding officers in sport on an international level. Additionally, the IOC is planning a safe sport digital education and awareness campaign starting in the fourth quarter of 2020. This Athlete365 campaign will look to build global awareness around safe sport in the run-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Read the full news release here.

Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi reported that, following the decision to postpone the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2022 to 2026, the IOC remains committed to provide other opportunities to young athletes to evolve and grow. With a view to engaging this generation of young athletes, the EB approved a proposal to make the full content of the Athlete365 Education Programme of the Youth Olympic Games available to the entire Olympic family.

The EB received an update on the latest anti-doping activities, which included a report on the latest developments at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Testing Agency (ITA).

Updates were also given on the activities of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

The IOC EB also accepted two applications for change of nationality. Full details here.

Just before the EB, President Bach took part virtually in an information meeting for the new IOC Members, Tidjane Thiam, Erick Thohir, Maria de la Caridad Colón Ruenes, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Battushig Batbold and Sebastian Coe.

IOC / Greg Martin

This week, President Bach met the President of World Rowing, IOC member Jean-Christophe Rolland, at Olympic House. During their meeting, the two leaders discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and various Olympic matters.

IOC / Greg Martin

On September 2 at the Place de l'Europe in Lausanne, President Bach attended the Athletissima City Event, a part of the World Athletics Diamond League. This event brought together the world’s best male and female pole vaulters.

IOC / Greg Martin

To commemorate the anniversary of the death of the father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, the IOC President laid a wreath at Coubertin’s tomb at the Bois-de-Vaux cemetery in Lausanne on 2 September.

In a video message to the Bled Strategic Forum, President Bach underlined the important health, social and economic contribution of sport as countries begin the recovery process from the global coronavirus pandemic. Reiterating his call on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-coronavirus support programmes, he also emphasised that sport can make this contribution to society only if the specific solidarity-based model of sport is supported by the public authorities. In this context, the IOC President stressed the need to strengthen the European Sport Model and its robust solidarity funding mechanisms. The Bled Strategic Forum was attended by leaders and decision-makers from Central and South-Eastern Europe.



IOC Member and IOC Permanent Observer at the United Nations, Luis Alberto Moreno, is to receive the Distinguished International Leadership Award, presented by the Atlantic Council. The award is in recognition of his impressive leadership career, as Moreno is stepping down as President of the Inter-American Development Bank, and for his significant contribution to combatting the COVID crisis in Latin America.

Other Olympic news

The IOC was greatly saddened to hear the news of the death of the renowned South African human rights advocate and friend of the Olympic Movement, George Bizos. He was 92. An icon in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, he led the legal team that defended his friend and future President, Nelson Mandela. Greek by birth, Mr Bizos was also a life-long Olympic fan, and even ran with the Olympic torch ahead of the Olympic Games Athens 2004. During a visit to South Africa in 2013, he personally guided President Bach around the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, which documents in graphic detail the fight against the racist regime. “This was an experience I shall never forget,” said President Bach. “It was deeply moving and inspiring to hear first-hand from one of those engaged in the struggle. George was a man who fought for justice his whole life and was also a great friend of the Olympic Movement and the values for which it stands. His family and friends, South Africa and the world, have lost a truly great man, a man of personal courage and integrity.” During the visit to South Africa, President Bach also joined many South African Olympians at a birthday celebration for Mr Bizos, who was a long-term supporter of the Olympic Movement in the country.

With the 5th IF Gender Equality Forum cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of six online sessions opened on 7 September, with the first two intended to increase female representation in governing bodies and improve women’s representation in decision-making positions. The webinar series is hosted by the IOC in collaboration with the ASOIF and the AIOWF. The sessions cover the following topics: leadership (governance, coaches and technical officials), safeguarding, and removing gender bias from all aspects of portrayal. Some 200 participants from IFs attended virtually the first two sessions. Marisol Casado, IOC Member and Chair of the ASOIF Diversity and Gender Equality Group, opened the webinar. Full news release here.

As part of the process of additional analyses on the samples collected from the Olympic Games London 2012, the IOC announced on 27 August that one athlete had been disqualified from these Games. Erol Bilgin, 33, of Turkey, competing in the men’s 62kg weightlifting event, in which he ranked eighth, has been sanctioned. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has awarded the 2020 UCI Road World Championships to Imola. The Italian city and its region, Emilia-Romagna, will host the event from 24 to 27 September. The awarding of this event follows the cancellation on 12 August of the Aigle-Martigny 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Switzerland. The competition programme has been adapted in view of the current world health situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic: only the races (road race and time trial) in the elite categories will be contested this year. More info here.

United World Wrestling (UWW) has teamed up with global supplier Nike Wrestling for the “We Will Wrestle Again” campaign. The effort is focused on providing financial relief to wrestling organisations impacted by the global pandemic.

“We Will Wrestle Again” aims to maximise the reach of UWW and Nike to raise money via T-shirt sales and direct the relief to national federations, host cities and grassroots activities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced the full composition of its interim Athletes’ Commission, as the Federation continues to take steps towards enhancing the inclusion of athletes in the sport’s governance. The Commission will be chaired by Sarah Davies of Great Britain, and comprises five male and five female athletes (one man and one woman from each continent), with full voting rights. The members were selected by the IWF Executive Advisory Commission from a pool of athletes nominated by 30 different Member Federations, and were then approved by the Executive Board. Full details here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the FINA Swimming World 2021 calendar, which will be composed of six legs from September to October 2021 across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. All the stops of the 2021 World Cup will be competed in a 25m pool and are qualifying events for the postponed FINA World Swimming Championships 25m, which are now scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) from 13 to 18 December 2021. Full info here.

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has released the Federation’s first-ever Uniform Guidelines. This publication follows the unveiling of a dynamic new visual identify for the UIPM in 2018. The new standards will come into force in 2021. More details here.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has launched a new initiative to certify coaches through the ITF certification programme, with the aim of increasing the number of qualified tennis coaches at all levels of the game across the world. While the ITF has been delivering coach training and development programmes for more than 20 years, this will be the first time that the ITF itself will be certifying tennis coaches. More info here.


The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has announced that Princess Zeina Rashid of Jordan (photo) is joining as a board member of the ITTF Foundation. The former table tennis player, who competed at the Olympic Games Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, has continued to be strongly involved in sport, and she currently sits on the Jordan Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors. Full details here.

World Archery has officially joined the Global Esports Federation, the Singapore-based organisation whose vision is to organise a worldwide ecosystem around video game sporting events. Founded at the end of 2019, the Global Esports Federation includes more than 50 national esports federations among its members. More info here. In addition, World Archery has joined the United Nation’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative and signed the Climate Neutral Now pledge, formalising the Federation’s commitment to working towards a net-zero carbon footprint. More info here.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has launched the FIVB Development Projects Platform 2020, which provides all 222 of the FIVB’s national federations with the opportunity to request funding for projects designed to improve the level of national teams through the supply of coaching, volleyball equipment or high-level coach-the-coaches clinics.  Applications are invited until 30 September 2020. All approved projects will then be delivered the year after submission of applications, in 2021. More info here.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced the creation of a solidarity fund to support member national federations that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ISA’s 108 national federations have been encouraged to apply for financial support to fund projects that include distributing provisions of essential items such as food or medical supplies, supporting community uplift programmes, supplementing severe loss of income of an athlete or surfing community member, or waiving membership fees. The ISA will distribute the funds by the end of September. More info here.

Winter ifs

The World Curling Federation (WCF), in partnership with the World Academy of Sport, has announced a scholarship programme that will provide its member associations with greater opportunities to learn new skills to help them improve their professional careers and the curling community around them. The World Academy of Sport is a leader in developing specialist education programmes in the sports industry and the WCF’s official education partner. More details here.

national olympic committees

Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee

At the inaugural virtual meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Education Committee, its Chair, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, who is also President of the Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee (SAOC), explained the important role of education through sport. Since the start of the pandemic, the SAOC has used the power of Olympism to lead innovative digital education programmes and inspire tens of thousands of Saudis to stay active and engage with online learning initiatives – including in global unison on Olympic Day. Following the successful SAOC-led, #StayAtHome campaign, the SAOC President also proposed increasing the implementation of online learning opportunities throughout Asia. More info at www.olympic.sa.


The Belgian NOC has announced the death of Professor Xavier Sturbois (photo) on 22 August, at the age of 73. The head of sports medicine for the Institute of Physical Education and Rehabilitation of the Catholic University of Louvain, Xavier Sturbois joined the NOC in1976 at the invitation of its President, Raoul Mollet. He accompanied the Belgian team to six editions of the Olympic Games as Chief Medical Officer. He also devoted considerable time and effort nationally and internationally to the fight against doping. Among other things, he was a member of the IOC Medical Commission, President of the NOC’s Olympic Health Foundation and the Medical Commission of the International University Sport Federation and head of the NOC’s Medical Department (and effort laboratory). In 2002, he received the IOC “Sport and Well-being” Trophy. More details here.

The Cape Verdean Olympic Academy is conducting an online conference cycle called “Conversation between Women” – which it had been running throughout August – until mid-September to debate important issues related to the presence and participation of women in the sports sector. Among the personalities who have already taken part are the First Lady of Cape Verde, Ligia Fonseca; the President of the Institute for Gender Equality, Rosana Almeida; Olympic athletes Isménia Frederico and Wânia Monteiro; the only female president of a sports federation in Cape Verde, Lizandra Varela; and the President of the Cape Verdean Olympic Committee, IOC Member Filomena Fortes. The themes addressed intend to share the experiences of these women, as well as the policies and paths for gender equality and equity in sport. More details here.


To echo the IOC’s “Stronger Together” campaign, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) has actively cooperated with a local organisation to promote various sports activities. The CTOC worked with the Kinmen city government to host “The 2020 Kinmen Sea Swimming Event – Beach Snatching”. More than 700 swimmers took part and completed the first of this year's open water swimming events in Kinmen. An estimated 1,500 people were on hand to cheer for the swimmers in this annual sea swimming competition. More info here. In addition, the 2020 International Sports Affairs Training Course closed on 30 August with group presentations covering topics on “sustainability”. This year, the CTOC enrolled nearly 140 domestic participants out of 400 applicants, and an additional 125 international participants from 19 NOCs were invited to join the course as well. Full info here.

The Colombian NOC’s Environmental Legacy Commission held a virtual meeting with representatives of the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to work on the country’s official participation in the Sports for Climate Action strategy. Recognising the importance of consolidating and implementing social responsibility approaches through tangible action, mainly in the area of sustainability, and building on the initiatives implemented by the IOC, with the support of the UN, the NOC will participate in the Sports for Climate Action strategy. The aim is to unite everyone’s efforts to jointly develop the agenda of climate action in sport. More details here.

Côte d’Ivoire NOC

The Côte d’Ivoire NOC celebrated Olympic Day 2020 at the Akouédo-village school centre, at the end of July. The NOC donated 250 handwashing kits, including buckets with taps, and 750 containers of hand sanitiser to the Pre-school and Primary Education Department in Cocody-Akouédo, in Abidjan. All the pupils taking part and their carers received Olympic Day 2020 masks and T-shirts. NOC Vice-President Lucien Kouakou explained that this donation was part of the solidarity efforts in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was also attended by several athletes, including Olympians Marie-Josée Ta Lou (athletics) and Koné Roméo (judo), and Paralympic gold medallist Koné Oumar.

Dominican Republic NOC

The Sports Minister of the Dominican Republic, Francisco Camacho, recently visited the NOC headquarters, where he was received by NOC President and IOC Member Luis Mejía Oviedo, and the members of the Management Board. On this occasion, the Minister promised that his ministry would cover the debts of the national sports federations upon receipt of the corresponding financial documentation. More details here.

Karli Saul / Estonian Olympic committee

The Estonian Olympic Committee celebrated the 100th anniversary of Estonia’s first Olympic victory. It was at the Olympic Games Antwerp 1920 that Estonian athletes won the country’s first Olympic medals. They were weightlifter Alfred Neuland, the country’s first Olympic champion; marathon athlete Jüri Lossmann, silver medallist; and weightlifter Alfred Schmidt, silver medallist. The NOC organised a commemorative event in the Tallinn Botanic Garden during which a congratulatory message from the IOC President was read. To celebrate this historical event, the Post Office of Estonia issued a themed silver stamp, and the “VII Olympic Games. Antwerp 1920” book was presented by its author Tiit Lääne. Full info here.

Magyarock / Péter Szalmás

The Hungarian Olympic Committee recently launched Magyarock, an athlete and fan lifestyle brand. Magyarock, referring to Hungarians (“magyarok”) in Hungarian, was launched with a press conference in the presence of NOC President Krisztián Kulcsár and NOC Secretary General Bálint Vékássy (photo). Magyarock features new Instagram and Facebook accounts, a YouTube channel, and a website that promotes the Instagram posts of Hungarian athletes and Olympics, the official IOC Instagram page. Full info here.

Japanese Olympic Committee

The Sport for Tomorrow (SFT) programme, organised with consortium members, including the Japanese Olympic Committee, across the public and private sectors in Japan, has now reached 12 million people in 204 countries. The SFT programme started in 2014 after a promise made by Japan, in September 2013 in Buenos Aires, as the host country of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020. Japan promised to bring the joy of sport to more than 10 million people in over 100 countries throughout the world. The SFT programme has been led by the Government of Japan in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan Sports Agency. As of 31 March 2020, 6,804 programmes have been implemented. More info here.

NOC of Kazakhstan

The NOC of Kazakhstan has reported that, on 6 August, Kazakhstan Olympic swimmer Vitaliy Khudyakov swam 56 kilometres across the world’s second largest alpine lake, Issyk-Kul (Kyrgyzstan). The athlete made a record-breaking swim across in 13 hours. His achievement was timed to coincide with the start of the open-water marathon in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as to support all health workers who are on the frontline against COVID-19. Vitaliy Khudyakov is a Tokyo 2020 open-water qualifier, a four-time Asian Championships winner and a 2014 and 2016 Beach Games winner. Full info here.

Turkish Olympic Committee

The 32nd Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race featured 1,765 swimmers from 34 countries. The race is organised annually by the Turkish Olympic Committee, and it is the only swimming contest in the world which sees competitors swim from Asia to Europe. This year’s race took place without spectators due to the strict COVID-19 measures put in the place by the event organisers. From start to finish, every stage of the race respected social distancing rules and other public health measures aimed at protecting the health and wellbeing of all those taking part. Full details here.

Organising Committees for the olympic games

Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020

The Olympic flame will be on public display at the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo, as of 1 September. The lantern was delivered during a special ceremony prepared by the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. It will remain there until 1 November. Following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games, the Olympic flame will be spending a record amount of time in the host country. Full news release here.

Paris 2024

In a historic first, the main stakeholders of French sport, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, the National Sports Agency, the NOC and the National Paralympic Committee, have launched “Impact 2024”, a unique programme to support sports clubs,  associations and local communities proposing innovative projects that use sport for social change. In the first year, EUR 1.5 million will be used to fund and support the selected projects. The deadline for submitting online applications is 15 October. More details on www.paris2024.org.

Los Angeles 2028

Launching the official journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028, the Local Organising Committee unveiled on 1 September its Games emblem with stories that celebrate sport, art and the city's unique community. Recognising that no one illustration could express all that Los Angeles and the Games represent, athletes, artists and advocates collaborated as LA28 creators in the development of the LA28 emblem, bringing their personal stories and dreams to life through their individual interpretations of LA. A strong and bold L, 2 and 8 serve as the foundation for the Olympic and Paralympic emblems, with individual stories expressed through a dynamic and ever-changing “A”. They are inspired by the infinite possibilities Los Angeles represents, honouring creativity, diversity, self-expression and inclusion. Full news release here.

Organising Committees for the youth olympic games

Gangwon 2024

Gangwon 2024

On 3 September, the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 Organising Committee (GYOGOC) held its inaugural meeting in Seoul to continue with the preparations for the next Winter Youth Olympic Games. Among the key decisions taken were the election of Shin Chang-Jae, Chairman and CEO of Kyobo Life, as GYOGOC President who has been committed for many years to the development of youth sport and culture in Korea. Other elected executives include IOC Member Ryu Seung Min as Vice-Chairman, and representatives of young athletes and leaders, including the former champions in figure skating, Yuna Kim, and short-track speed skating, Ko Gi-Hyun, and the Music in PyeongChang Festival Director, Son Yeol-Eum. Full news release here.

Recognised organisations

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and The Sustainability Report have signed a partnership agreement to promote the environmental, social and economic sustainability projects of International Sports Federations and wider sports industry initiatives. The partnership follows the successful launch of sustainability.sport, a web portal created by GAISF in collaboration with the IOC. Sustainability.sport aims to help further sport’s environmental goals by providing a free tool where sustainability resources from the entire sports community are collated onto one dedicated platform. More details here.

The Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO) has announced the formation of 11 work commissions, each of which will be chaired by a member of the Executive Board. The information was given by CASCO President and IOC Member Luis Mejia Oviedo, during the Extraordinary General Assembly held virtually on 15 August.

The International Committee of the Mediterranean Games (ICMG) has announced that, thanks to an IOC decision, the 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games “Oran 2022” will be organised with IOC patronage. More info here.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has welcomed the addition of The Coca-Cola Company to its roster of Worldwide Paralympic Partners. Coca-Cola Japan was an existing Gold Partner of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The agreement encompasses worldwide marketing rights to the IPC and Paralympic Games until 2032. This new partnership is a direct consequence of the IOC-IPC long-term collaboration agreement signed in 2018, and will help communicate the transformational impact of the Paralympic Movement to a whole new audience. More info here.

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