Olympic Highlights 12/10/2020

IOC / Christophe Moratal

12 Oct 2020



On 7 October, the IOC Executive Board (EB) met for the fifth time remotely via videoconference. Chaired by IOC President Thomas Bach, the EB discussed the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and several other Olympic institutional issues.

Concerning the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the results of applying the measures developed to deliver Games fit for the post-corona world, will now allow Tokyo 2020 to estimate the total additional costs associated with the postponement, including the approximate costs for COVID-19 countermeasures. The Organising Committee will work through these topics in detail and present its updated budget by the end of this year. On the countermeasure planning, President Bach commented: "We also see that the work on COVID countermeasures is making good progress, and that more and more measures are being added, including the potential availability of vaccines and rapid testing – where we are very confident that they will be available. All these new methods will be added to the toolbox. Then we can decide which tools we can take out of this toolbox, and apply them for the safe organisation of these Olympic Games, about which both the Organising Committee and the IOC are very, very confident." The IOC EB also agreed on an addendum to the Host City Contract, which has now been approved by all the relevant parties.

Speaking after the meeting, the IOC President said: “We got another very encouraging, precise and excellent report from the Tokyo Organising Committee. There is really great progress being made to make these Olympic Games fit for the post-coronavirus world. Savings of about USD 280 million will be achieved in the operational budget by applying 50-plus measures, which had been agreed between the Organising Committee and the IOC Coordination Commission in the last meeting.” Full news release here.

The EB received an update on the situation of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). Since the EB meeting in June and the decisions taken at that time, the IWF has provided written reports on the latest measures that it has been implementing under the leadership of its Acting President, Ursula Garza Papandrea. The EB focused in particular on the measures regarding antidoping, governance and athletes’ representation within all the appropriate IWF commissions and committees. It was decided to communicate these areas of concern to the IWF and to inform the Federation that the IOC, while currently reviewing the event programme and athlete quotas for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, would reserve the right to take further measures depending on any future developments, including but not limited to a review of the place of weightlifting on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Full details here.

An update was given on the International Boxing Association (AIBA) by Nenad Lalovic, the Chair of the Special Monitoring Committee. The Monitoring Committee is very worried about the lack of progress with regard to the governance reforms of AIBA and will keep monitoring the situation before it delivers a new report to the IOC EB in November.

The situation of the NOC of the Republic of Belarus was also addressed by the IOC EB. The IOC has received various worrying reports through individual athlete letters and the media on the possible politically motivated interference by the NOC or its member federations. Therefore, based on the new information received, the EB decided to continue and strengthen the investigation to determine whether the NOC is fulfilling its obligations towards its athletes as per the Olympic Charter. As part of this procedure, the IOC will investigate whether the funds provided to the NOC by the IOC have been directed towards their approved and intended recipients, notably the Olympic scholarship-holders preparing for Tokyo and Beijing, without any discrimination. Full news release here.

The IOC EB determined that the 137th IOC Session will be held from 10 to 12 March next year in Athens, preceded by an EB meeting from 7 to 9 March, also in Athens. The 2021 election for the IOC EB will be held at the 138th IOC Session in July in Tokyo.

The EB also approved, in the absence of the current IOC President, Thomas Bach, the directives concerning the election of the IOC President that is due to be held during the 137th IOC Session. This part of the meeting was led by First IOC Vice-President Anita DeFrantz. Full details here.

Updates were 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).

With regard to the IOC administration, the EB members were informed that Ilario Corna will become the IOC Technology and Information Director on 1 November 2020. Mr Corna will join the IOC from Swisscom, where he is currently serving as Executive Vice-President for TV & Smart Products in Zurich.  He will succeed to Gerry Pennell who has decided – not without regret – to step down from the role. Nevertheless, he will facilitate a smooth transition on major ongoing business in the next few months and will continue to support the IOC afterwards.  More info here.

President Bach took part in the closing ceremony of the 2019-2020 IOC Young Leaders programme held remotely. The ceremony marked the end of the year-long initiative for the 55 Young Leaders who took part. During a Q&A session, IOC President praised their dedication and “enormous sense of community pulling together to support each other given such uncertain times”. He concluded by stating that he was “optimistic for the role you will continue to play as ambassadors of Olympism, worldwide”. Despite the current pandemic, the IOC Young Leaders have stayed committed to their mission to solve local problems around the world through grassroots sports initiatives and sustainable business models. Spanning 32 territories (21 Europe, 16 Americas, 10 Asia and 8 Africa), they have worked to redesign their original projects in order to adapt to the new restrictions, with 93% of them on course to deliver their projects by the end of 2020. Full news release here.


IOC Vice-President Anita L. DeFrantz has shared her recollections from the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing (People’s Republic of China) 25 years ago, which was a landmark moment for the global agenda for gender equality. This Conference also proved a significant turning point for women’s sport, with the ground-breaking Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action recognising the vital role that sport plays in the advancement and empowerment of women and girls. In a text published on olympic.org, Anita L. DeFrantz looks at the progress that has been made in the past quarter of a century.


IOC EB member and President of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) Robin E. Mitchell has been awarded the prestigious Organisation of Sports Federation of Oceania (OSFO) Merit Award in recognition of his distinguished services to sport in Oceania in 2020. The award was presented during the 2020 OSFO virtual Annual General Meeting on 17 September (see also under “Recognised Organisations”). More info here.

Other Olympic News

Representatives from United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC), the IOC and sports organisations from across the world came together last week for the first edition of the Sport Positive Summit – a global meeting place for sports creating a positive environmental impact. Created in collaboration with the IOC and UNFCCC, the virtual Summit brought together over 500 participants to discuss the role of sport in the global fight against climate change and post-COVID-19 recovery. Among the topics discussed at the event were ways to engage fans and athletes around climate change, diversity and inclusion in sport, and the importance of nature conservation for sustainable sport. Full news release here.

On 9 October, on the eve of World Mental Health Day, the IOC emphasises the need to support athletes through the difficult times the world is currently facing, and highlights the initiatives it has put in place over the past two years to drive the conversation on mental health and improve athletes’ well-being. In a recent survey launched by the IOC, 32 per cent of the 4,000 athletes and entourage members who responded said that mental health is the biggest challenge they are currently facing. The IOC has taken this feedback on board and subsequently developed a number of extra resources to support athletes. For example, a series of webinars for athletes has been organised to help them cope with this unprecedented situation. One of them was entirely devoted to mental health. Full details here.

international federations

summer ifs

Over 200 member associations have joined the International Association Football Federation (FIFA)’s first-ever Talent Development Programme. Launched in January 2020 by FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger, the programme aims to provide member associations with a thorough analysis of their high performance ecosystem in both men’s and women’s football, including all national teams, domestic leagues, scouting projects and academies, in order to ensure that every talented player gets a chance to reach their potential. Full details here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) organised its first ever virtual competition on 26 September. Swimmers from the FINA-approved development centre in Kazan (Russian Federation) and training centres Azura Florida (USA) and Thanyapura Phuket (Thailand) raced in their home pools, in various swimming events, and recorded their times before sharing them with their fellow scholarship-holders. The aim of this virtual competition was to offer an alternative for the athletes to continue training in the same conditions as before the pandemic and prepare for the upcoming season in the best possible way. More details here.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the modern pentathlon national federations have been adapting to the “new normal” as competitions resume. They have been carefully managing a return to sport in recent months. In its September edition newsletter, the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) reported on the organisation of a four-nation competition in Poland and a flurry of development activities in New Zealand, including opportunities for UIPM Para athletes. Read about the activities being developed by seven other national federations (Austria, Bangladesh, Guatemala, the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan) here.


The International Surfing Association (ISA) has continued to provide virtual educational opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic, recently running two successful judging (see photo) and officiating courses online. The courses, which were available in both English and Spanish, saw the involvement of 75 participants from 21 countries. Full details here.

On 1 October, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) officially took on its new identity as World Triathlon. The new identity has been developed to reinforce World Triathlon’s place at the centre of the global triathlon community. The three apex elements of the new World Triathlon logo represent the nine points of dynamic balance that all triathletes share: Swim-Bike-Run, Mind-Body-Soul, Earth-Air-Water, represented in a palette of Transition Blue, Lawn Green and Sky Blue, and with the planet in its soul. Full details here. World Triathlon has also announced the first dates of its 2021 season schedule, which were approved by the Executive Board during its meeting on 1 October. More details here.

Winter Ifs

The World Curling Federation (WCF), after extensive consultation with stakeholders, will expand the field for the World Women’s Curling Championship 2021 and the World Men’s Curling Championship 2021 from 13 to 14 teams. Full details here.

national olympic committees

Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee
The President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC), Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, and the President of the United Through Sports (UTS) Programme and the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport (AIMS), Stephan Fox, signed a two-year memorandum of understanding between the SAOC and UTS. The signing ceremony was conducted online. The MoU focuses on the development of humankind internationally, promoting and developing an active lifestyle, sport and the youth development movement around the world; information-sharing; and additional various events hosted by both parties. Both parties will jointly establish a working team to carry out the cooperation projects as defined under this MoU.

On 6 October, the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (COIB) launched a new platform designed to promote gender equality in sport. The purpose of this “Empowering Women in Sports” platform is to identify the barriers that continue to hinder women’s participation and visibility in sport; devise a strategy focused on promoting gender equality and based on established guidelines; and implement targeted action plans. While this initiative primarily relates to athletes, it also covers coaches, officials and administrators. Full details here.

Miriam Jeske/COB
Paulo Wanderley (right in photo) will serve as the President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) in the next quadrennial (2021-2024). The election took place on 7 October in Rio de Janeiro and saw significant participation by the Athletes’ Commission, which for the first time was entitled to 12 votes in the Assembly. The voting also included 34 representatives from the Brazilian Olympic Confederations and two IOC Members, totalling 48 voters. Since assuming the presidency of the COB on 11 October 2017, Wanderley has promoted a series of changes in the entity, such as reviewing contracts, cutting expenses and adapting the budget to the new reality of Brazilian Olympic sports after Rio 2016; presenting new statutes; and expanding the Athletes' Commission to 25 members, to name a few. Full details here.

Cape Verdean Olympic Committee

The Cape Verdean Olympic Committee joined the global World Cleanup Day campaign, held on 19 September, at the invitation of the Association of African National Olympic Committees (ANOCA). The NOC carried out a range of activities, including an online campaign, with the aim of encouraging all Cape Verdeans, athletes or otherwise, to join this global cleaning campaign. The main activity took place on one of the beaches in the country's capital, in partnership with the Kebra Kanela Beach Association and the Environmental Defence Association, with the participation of about 50 volunteers. Several local associations and Olympic clubs also organised other cleaning activities. More info here.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Assembly was held virtually from 7 to 9 October, with more than 350 representatives participating. Four sessions were held prior to the Assembly: Global Engagement: US National Governing Body International Federation Representation; Race, Sport and Social Change; Athlete Mental Health; and Youth Sports and America's Games: How to Turn Crisis Into Opportunity by 2028. The President of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), Susanne Lyons, and Secretary General Sarah Hirshland delivered a leadership address on the state of the USOPC. IOC President Thomas Bach and IPC President Andrew Parsons gave an address during the Assembly's Inspirational and Awards Evening. Award recipients included the 1980 US Olympic team and two-time Olympian Maya Moore, who has deferred her professional athletic career since 2019 to pursue criminal justice reform. More info at www.TeamUSA.org/Assembly.

Romanian NOC

The Romanian NOC held its elections outdoors, on the field of play at the NOC’s Olympic Training Centre in Izvorani by Bucharest – a facility named “Sydney 2000” – due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. During the NOC General Assembly held on 24 September, Mihai Covaliu (Olympic champion in fencing, photo) was re-elected as President, and three new Vice-Presidents were elected. They are: Camelia Potec (Olympic champion in swimming), Elisabeta Lipa (Olympic champion in rowing) and Alexandru Dedu (President of the Romanian Handball Federation). Octavian Morariu retained his place in the Executive Committee, as the IOC Member in Romania. More info at www.cosr.ro.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) appointed Olympic artistic swimmer and Japanese Olympic Committee Executive Board Member Kotani Mikako (photo) as its new Sports Director from 1 October 2020. She won two bronze medals (one in duet and one in solo) in synchronised swimming at the Olympic Games Seoul 1988. More info here.

Paris 2024

The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 (Paris 2024) has chosen its Games Preparation Centres (CPJ). A total of 620 sports centres and facilities have been designated as CPJs and can thus host sports delegations from other countries as they prepare for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024. Some 415 communities with the “Terre de Jeux 2024” label will have a CPJ. All of the French regions and departments that applied (95 out of 101) are represented in this selection. Full details here.

Recognised Organisations

The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019 with a social media campaign that will re-live some of the unforgettable moments from the event. On each day that the Games took place (12-16 October), ANOC will post videos and photos across its social media channels and website that showcase the spectacular sports highlights of the Games. ANOC has also encouraged its NOCs to share and post their own highlights. Full info here.

Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) President Robin E. Mitchell and Executive Committee member Helen Brownlee were awarded the prestigious Organisation of Sports Federation of Oceania (OSFO) Merit Award in recognition of their distinguished services to sport in Oceania in 2020. The awards were announced by OSFO President Richard Kevan Gosper, who is an IOC Honorary Member, and presented during the 2020 OSFO virtual Annual General Meeting on 17 September. Mitchell, who is also an IOC EB member, is currently Acting ANOC President and a member of the Executive Board of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee. Vice-President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Brownlee is, among other roles, Chair of the ONOC Equity Commission. The other two recipients were Bob Claxton and Michael Brown, for their distinguished contributions to hockey and table tennis, respectively, in Oceania. More details here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched its Social Science Research Strategy (SSR Strategy) for 2020-2024, which was approved by WADA’s Executive Committee during its meeting on 14 and 15 September. The SSR Strategy establishes a broader remit than past years for social science research within the global anti-doing system and aims to enable the programme to expand beyond the Social Science Research Grant Programme, which has been restructured and will be launched later this month. More info here. In addition, WADA published its 2019 Annual Report, outlining its various activities last year and explaining how the global anti-doping system has been strengthened as a result. Entitled “Towards a World of Clean Sport”, this special 20th anniversary edition also highlights some of the organisation’s achievements and some of the challenges it has faced since it was founded in 1999. More info here.

The United Through Sports (UTS) host the first-ever Virtual Youth Festival, which will be held and broadcast online, bringing Olympic and non-Olympic sports together. The Festival is under the patronage of the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee, Special Olympics, SportAccord and the Global Association of International Sports Federations. Over 60 organisations have joined forces to unite on the digital platform where qualification events are taking place between August and the end of October. The finals will be hosted in Thailand from 20 to 22 November 2020 in celebration of the United Nations’ World Children’s Day. The Festival will include young people of all abilities and backgrounds, including those from migrant and refugee backgrounds, from the indigenous community and from vulnerable backgrounds, who are often marginalised by society. Full details here.

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