02 Jul 2018
It is with deepest sorrow that the IOC has been informed of the death of Irena Szewinska, IOC Member in Poland, at the age of 72. The most illustrious Polish athlete ever, Irena Szewinska participated in track and field events at five Olympic Games, winning three gold medals, two silver and two bronze. IOC President Thomas Bach said: “I am shocked and saddened about the loss of our dear Olympic friend Irena Szewinska. The entire Olympic family is in deep mourning. Irena will be remembered forever as an outstanding personality as an athlete and IOC Member. With her gentleness and modesty, she was a real role model, dedicating her whole life to sport. As such, she inspired athletes and women around the world. I personally experienced this over many years and I will always have fond memories of the time we spent together.”
Irena Szewinska was Vice-President of the Poland NOC and Honorary President of the Polish Athletic Association after serving as President. She was also Vice-President of the Polish Olympian Association and Board member of the International Olympic Truce Foundation following her positions as Vice-President then Executive Board Member of the World Olympians Association. She has been also a member of the Women’s Committee of the International Association of Athletics Federations. Szewinska had been an IOC Member since 1998 and contributed to the organisation of the Olympic Games Athens 2004, London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 through her participation in the respective Coordination Commissions. In addition, she was an active member of the Women in Sport and the Sport and Active Society Commissions. Read the press release here.
The President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset, was guest of honour at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne on Friday 29 June. IOC President Thomas Bach gave the Swiss Head of State a personal guided tour of the exhibitions at The Museum, including a special exhibit devoted to Swiss athletes who participated in the recent Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. The pair also looked at an exhibition about the IOC in Lausanne and the construction of the new IOC headquarters, "Olympic House", which will be inaugurated on Olympic Day in 2019. The two leaders had the opportunity to discuss a number of topics of mutual interest, including the fundamental reforms undertaken by the IOC with Olympic Agenda 2020, particularly with regard to sustainability, good governance and respect for human rights. The sizeable economic impact of the IOC’s presence in Switzerland was also discussed. During the visit, President Bach was accompanied by IOC Member in Switzerland and Executive Board member, Denis Oswald. Joining the Swiss President were Philippe Leuba, Councillor of State of the Canton of Vaud, and Gregoire Junod, the Mayor of Lausanne. Read the press release here.
President Bach celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at a special meeting at the United Nations in Geneva on 25 June. To mark the historic milestone, the High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, invited President Bach to the UN headquarters for a public debate. Together the two leaders spoke about how sport can build and defend human rights. President Bach said that sport was all about respect: “Respect for others, respect for rules, respect for yourself and respect for your colleagues.” For the High Commissioner, sport was “one of the key pillars of education as you grow up. It is a central building block of one’s personality and character to operate in a system of rules.” The two leaders talked together for more than an hour in front of an invited audience, and later took questions from an audience of government, NGO and UN representatives. Read the press release here.
In Geneva, President Bach met George Papandreou, the former Greek Prime Minister and Vice-President of the International Olympic Truce Foundation. The IOC President also met Sylvia Schenk from Transparency International.
With the President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), Alisher Usmanov, President Bach discussed the preparations for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
With the Ethiopian NOC President, Ashebir Woldegiorgis Gayo, and Secretary General, Tamrat Bekele Beyene, the IOC President discussed the various Olympic Solidarity programmes and the athletes’ preparations ahead of their participation in the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games.
Meetings were held with IOC Members Franco Carraro, Sam Ramsamy, Guy Drut, Barry Maister, Octavian Morariu and Sarah Walker. Various topical Olympic matters were discussed.
The President addressed a wide range of subjects relating to the protection of clean athletes with IOC Member and President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Sir Craig Reedie.
The President welcomed Nigerian athlete Simidele Adeagbo, whom he had met when she was taking part in the skeleton competition at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
The IOC President addressed the members of the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS) at their meeting in Lausanne. The participants included representatives of governments and intergovernmental organisations, such as the OECD-G20, UNODC and Council of Europe, who together thanked the IOC for its commitment and leadership in the continuing fight against corruption.
The meeting of the Executive Committee of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage was attended by President Bach and the IOC Honorary President, Jacques Rogge.
President Bach attended the inauguration of Lausanne’s new sports complex the Centre Sportif de La Tuilière. The Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod, and Oscar Tosato, City Councillor for Sport and Social Cohesion, were also in attendance.
Barry Maister received the International Olympic Academy (IOA)’s honorary “Delphi” award at the opening ceremony of the IOA’s 58th International Session for Young Participants in Athens (Greece). The award was presented by the IOA President, Isidoros Kouvelos.
Ivo Ferriani was re-elected as President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) at the IF’s Congress in Rome (Italy). This is his third term.
The Chair of the Olympic Solidarity Commission, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, met with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Kirsty Coventry and Danka Bartekova respectively, and the Chairs of the Athletes’ Commissions of the five Continental Associations to discuss the ongoing Olympic Solidarity programmes of support towards the organisation of Continental Athlete Forums, in particular, and support to athletes in general. The group reviewed the outcomes of athlete forums that have been organised by the IOC and Olympic Solidarity during this quadrennial; notably the 8th International Athletes’ Forum, the 5th European Athletes’ Forum and the Oceania Athletes’ Forum, which together united more than 220 athlete representatives from 65 NOCs and 34 International Federations. Read the press release here.
OTHER OLYMPIC NEWS
Roland Baar, a former IOC Member and member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, has died at the age of 53. Five-time world champion, he won two Olympic medals in the coxed eights event: bronze at Barcelona 1992 and silver at Atlanta 1996. From 1996 to 2004, Baar was a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and became an IOC Member in 1999 until 2004. He then represented athletes as a member of the Board of the German NOC. For the IOC President, “Roland Baar was a great athlete and continued to make a real contribution to the Olympic Movement. He will be remembered by his fellow athletes for having been among the first Athletes' Commission members to be elected by his peers.”
The IOC and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) have announced that the organisations will host an “Esports Forum” on 21 July at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The aim of the Forum is to explore synergies, build joint understanding and set a platform for future engagement between the esports and gaming industries and the Olympic Movement. Read the press release here.
The IOC and C40 Cities have committed to partner on climate transition by working for sustainable Olympic Games. This unique global partnership was announced by Prince Albert II of Monaco, Chair of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, alongside Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair, at the first edition of the Transition Forum. C40 and the IOC plan to work with interested cities, candidate cities and host cities of the Olympic Games to help them achieve their sustainability objectives, which will further contribute to their regions’ broader climate initiatives. Read the press release here.
As part of the Dialogue Stage of the Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2026, the IOC has invited the cities and their NOCs to take part in a second series of individual interactive workshops. This week, the IOC welcomed a delegation from Erzurum and the Turkish NOC to discuss its project.
In the framework of the 2018/2019 edition of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme, the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC), with the support of its Grant Selection Committee and the IOC administration, has selected seven research projects, underlining their academic quality and relevance for the IOC’s strategic or operational activities. These grants will allow the researchers to carry out their research projects, benefit from exchanges with the IOC and, if relevant, consult the OSC’s collections in Lausanne. The results of their research will be published at the end of 2019. More information on the programme’s objectives at www.olympic.org/studies
Following approval from its Foundation Board, the International Testing Agency (ITA) has unveiled its logo and slogan, “Keeping Sport Real”, which together will form the cornerstone of its brand identity. The ITA Foundation Board also approved the organisation’s vision, which would see the organisation serving in the medium term as the world leader in delivering anti-doping programmes for sport.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), Morinari Watanabe, visited the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva on 19 June. Accompanied by Michel Leglise, FIG Honorary Vice-President and President of the Anti-Doping, Medical and Scientific Commission, and Deputy Secretary General Nicolas Buompane, the FIG President was received by WHO senior officer Fiona Bull. Following this initial contact, the two organisations have agreed to convene again to envisage collaboration and possible joint action to encourage physical activity throughout the world. More info here.
Seventeen triathletes from Mauritius, Tunisia, Namibia, Egypt, Niger, Morocco, Zimbabwe and Benin, along with eight coaches from those countries, have been selected to participate in a development camp in Brive (France) organised by the Francophone Association of Triathlon and supported by the French Triathlon Federation, the African Triathlon Union and the International Triathlon Union (ITU). The main objective of the camp is to identify the best young athletes from Africa and initiate a mentorship programme with them, in the hope that some will go on to compete in the Olympic Games Paris 2024. ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado was present for the first two days of the camp. More info here.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
On Olympic Day, the NOC of Afghanistan organised a series of activities in Kabul with the participation of many athletes, coaches and officials from different sports. On this occasion, NOC President Hafizullah Wali Rahimi told the media that sport in Afghanistan could grow and bring peace to people. The two-time and first-ever Olympic bronze medallist for Afghanistan, Rohullah Nikpaa, carried the national flag on a horse. The event was organised with the cooperation of the country’s physical education and sports authority.
Educational, cultural and sports activities brought the Olympic Day celebrations in Bogotá to a close on 24 June. The various activities, organised through the Education Department of the Colombian NOC, brought together hundreds of people in the National Park. Since 13 June, the NOC has been organising a series of events to promote physical activity and the Olympic values. More info here.
On 23 June, at the initiative of the Georgian NOC, all generations of Georgian Olympians gathered at the Rustaveli Theatre in Tblisi. In addition to the Olympians and their families, the NOC invited representatives from the European Olympic Committees (EOC), the World Olympians Association (WOA), the International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH) and other NOCs. The Mayor of Tblisi, Kakha Kaladze, the Minister for Sport and Culture, Mikheil Giorgadze, and Members of Parliament were in attendance, along with the NOC President, Leri Khabelov. A video message from the IOC President was shown at the event. To mark Olympic Day, a run was organised in Tblisi and in other big cities throughout the country. Over 3,000 people took part in the run and in the other Olympic Day activities. More info here.
More than 5,000 people of all ages took part in the Olympic Day Run organised by the NOC of Guatemala at the “Ciudad de los Deportes” complex on 24 June, in different distance categories of 4, 8 and 12km. More info here.
Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee
The Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee held two events to commemorate 2018 Olympic Day. On 22 June, a sports demonstration event for school pupils included several sports and information stations about the Olympic values and Sustainable Development Goals. The following day, the "Relay of Unity" saw individuals from various organisations representing various sectors of society take part in a joint relay event symbolising the power of sport to unite in a non-competitive way to achieve a common goal. All the participants also tried the” Olympic Day Dance” choreographed by the creator of the viral “flossin” dance move.
On 21 June in Pangai, the members of the Tongan NOC Executive Board and administration joined more than 700 students from primary and secondary schools, as well as teachers and parents, to celebrate Olympic Day together. The programme included a “Walk for Health”, various sports demonstrations and poem competitions. The welcome address was given by NOC Vice-President Amanaki Fakakovikaetau, and Secretary General Takitoa Taumoepeau read out a message from the IOC President. More info here.
More than 60 people took part in the “Spreading Baseball” (Sembrando beisbol) programme supported by the Venezuelan NOC, the Venezuelan Baseball Federation, the Ministry of Sport and Olympic Solidarity. The programme began in Maracay, in the state of Aragua, and continued in the cities of Caracas and Barquisimeto. More info on www.puntoolimpico.com.ve.
The President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, officially opened the International Olympic Academy (IOA)’s 58th International Session for Young Participants at a ceremony in Athens. The main subject of the Session was “The athlete as a role model”, and the special subject was “Challenges an Olympic athlete faces as a role model”. It was held in Ancient Olympia and brought together 187 young people from 90 countries. A number of IOA honorary awards were presented at the opening ceremony by IOA President Isidoros Kouvelos (see photo). More info on www.ioa.org.gr.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes’ Council held its first joint session with the IPC Governing Board, during its meeting in Bonn (Germany) from 20 to 22 June. The group discussed recommendations on how to increase Athletes’ Council awareness and engagement during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Discussions also took place around the location and agenda for the 2019 Athlete Forum. More details here.