Olympic Highlights

22 Jul 2014



(l. to r.) Ban Ki-moon, Thomas Bach, Michel Martelly and Laurent Lamothe  © IOC/Hector Retamal

On the day after the final of the Football World Cup in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), IOC President Thomas Bach flew to Port-au-Prince in Haiti, where he officially opened a “Sport for Hope” Centre in the presence of the President of the Republic of Haiti, Michel Martelly; Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe; United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Moreno; International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) President Ary Graça, International Rugby Board (IRB) President Bernard Lapasset; the President of the Haitian NOC, Hans Larsen; and the President of the Dominican Republic NOC, Luis Mejia Oviedo.  The President was accompanied by IOC members Willi Kaltschmitt Luján and Gerardo Werthein.

Straight after the terrible earthquake that hit the country four years ago, the Olympic Movement, through the National Olympic Committee of Haiti, committed itself to providing aid to rebuild Haiti’s sporting infrastructure as part of the nation’s reconstruction process. President Bach thus declared: “The Sport for Hope Centre is open to all Haitians – from the young to the old, and from professional athletes to beginners. It offers open access to a variety of sports thanks to the generosity and commitment of a number of our stakeholders; but just as importantly, it offers access to cultural, educational and social development programmes and the Olympic values.”

Located on land donated by the Government of Haiti, the Centre features training facilities for 14 Olympic sports: football, rugby, athletics, volleyball, basketball, handball, tennis, judo, taekwondo, boxing, karate, badminton, table tennis and weightlifting. It also has three classrooms, offices, a fitness centre, a medical centre, changing rooms and a gazebo. A building for accommodation was constructed thanks to the financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The medical centre is being set up in cooperation with the Red Cross Movement on land set aside for the Sport for Hope Centre. The opening of the Centre would not have been possible without the generous support of the Government of Haiti, the International Federations and the wider Olympic Movement, which provided expertise, sports equipment and gear, and the playing surfaces.

President Bach with the artist Jordi Aluma in front of one of his paintings © IOC/Christophe Moratal

Upon his return to Lausanne, President Bach met:

-       IOC members Julio César Maglione and Ung Chang;

-       Czech NOC President Jiri Kejval, accompanied by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Roman Kumpost;

-       an Iranian NOC delegation composed of the President, Kiumars Hashemi, Secretary General Shahrokh Shahnazi and Adviser Abdulreza Khalili;

-       President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and IOC member, Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah with a delegation of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA);

-       Vice-President of ANOC for Asia Randhir Singh;

-       World Olympians Association President Joël Bouzou;

-       91-year-old Catalan artist, Jordi Aluma of which two paintings are displayed in the Executive Office of the President; and

-       former IOC director Fékrou Kidane.

President Bach with Liu Peng (l.) and Yu Zaiqing © IOC/Christophe Moratal

During a meeting with a Chinese NOC delegation led by NOC President Liu Peng and IOC Vice-President Yu Zaiqing, President Bach was updated on the last preparations for the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games which will be held from 16 to 28 August in the city of Nanjing.

On 18 July, the IOC President attended a meeting of the Council of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), whose President is Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. The participants discussed the progress on Olympic Agenda 2020.

The participants at the Olympic Summit © IOC/Arnaud Meylan

The following day upon the invitation of the IOC President, leading representatives of the Olympic Movement met in Lausanne with the Olympic Agenda 2020 process central to their discussion. The Summit welcomed the inclusive and transparent process that has also received contributions from civil society and the general public. Under the direction of the IOC, Olympic Agenda 2020 has addressed three major themes:  sustainability, credibility and youth. The Summit fully supported the direction of the reforms. Updates were also given on the subjects addressed at the previous Olympic Summits, and progress reports on three key issues were provided. These included the fight against doping; the sports calendar; autonomy and good governance; and the fight against match-fixing and related corruption.

Here is the list of participants: Thomas Bach,  IOC President; Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, ANOC President; Claudia Bokel, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission; John D. Coates, IOC Vice-President; Bruno Grandi, FIG President; Patrick Hickey, IOC EB Member; Gian-Franco Kasper, AIOWF President; Liu Peng, Chinese Olympic Committee President; Julio César Maglione, FINA President; Lawrence Probst III, United States Olympic Committee President; Craig Reedie, IOC Vice-President; Francesco Ricci Bitti, ASOIF President; Marius Vizer, SportAccord President; Ching-Kuo Wu, IOC EB Member; Alexander Zhukov, Russian Olympic Committee President; Yu  Zaiqing, IOC Vice-President. Read the press release on olympic.org.

In a statement published on 19 July, the IOC President expressed his condolences following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17: “This sudden and senseless loss of life has come as a terrible shock to the entire world. During this period of mourning, I would like to reiterate my plea from the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.  I called on everyone implicated in confrontation to act on the Olympic message of dialogue and peace; to have the courage to enter into direct personal dialogue in the spirit of mutual respect, good will and peace.”


© CIO/Ian Jones

On 17 and 18 July in Geneva (Switzerland), Jacques Rogge represented the IOC President at a meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.


Denis Oswald (right) handing over the FISA keys to Jean-Christophe Rolland. © FISA

Denis Oswald officially handed over as President of the International Rowing Federation (FISA) to his successor, Jean-Christophe Rolland, at a dinner in Lucerne (Switzerland). In his speech, Rolland paid tribute to his predecessor, highlighting his remarkable contribution to both FISA and the Olympic Movement. See also the “IFs” section below.



Jean-Christophe Rolland has officially taken up his function as President of the International Rowing Federation. On 12 July, at a gala dinner held during the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, he received the symbolic key to the FISA headquarters in Lausanne from outgoing President Denis Oswald. Elected as FISA President-Elect in September 2013 at the FISA Congress, Rolland has spent the last nine months working with Oswald in transferring knowledge of the presidential role. The ceremony took place in the presence among others of IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge, IOC Vice-President John Coates, IOC Executive Board member Anita L. DeFrantz, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President and IOC member Philip Craven, former SportAccord President and IOC honorary member Hein Verbruggen, and several NOC presidents and other sports personalities. 

Also during the dinner, FISA presented the Thomas Keller Medal for an Outstanding Career in Rowing to Australia’s Drew Ginn. Two years after starting his international career at the age of 19, he won his first Olympic gold medal in Atlanta with Australia’s “Oarsome Foursome”, before adding two further gold medals (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) and a silver medal (London 2012). He also collected five World Championship titles during his 18-year career. He received the medal from Dominik Keller, son of the late Thomas Keller, FISA's former President. Details on www.worldrowing.com.

With 100 days to go until the official launch of its new competition programme, AIBA Pro Boxing (APB), the International Boxing Association (AIBA) launched the website for this new programme (aibaproboxing.com) on 16 July. The site will feature news updates, boxers’ profiles, a full schedule and an image and video gallery. The site will eventually be available in English, Spanish and Russian, and will integrate with APB’s social media platforms. Details on www.aiba.org.

For the 2014 Fencing World Championships, taking place between 15 and 23 July in Kazan (Russian Federation), the International Fencing Federation (FIE) reached several agreements with broadcasters to televise the event worldwide. In addition, the Championships, in which 803 athletes from 102 nations are taking part, are being live streamed from 18 to 23 July on the Fencing Channel on YouTube. Results, information and news can be found on www.fie.org.

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has set up a Paralympic Pentathlon (also known as Para-pentathlon) Working Group to engage the wider Paralympic sporting community and the international audience in taking up the sport of Modern Pentathlon. The aim is to make in particular para-pentathlon a key part of the UIPM Development Programme at both national and international level.. The Working Group is chaired by UIPM President Klaus Schormann. In addition, the UIPM has announced the final list of the 48 pentathletes (24 men and 24 women) taking part in the YOG in Nanjing. Details on www.pentathlon.org.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has appointed Ridzal Saat as Rugby Services Manager for Asia. His main role will be to oversee the development of rugby in conjunction with the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and its various member unions. Ridzal Saat has amassed more than 20 years’ experience developing and promoting sport in Asia. He was previously with the Football Association of Singapore and the Singapore Rugby Union. Details on www.irb.com.

The Secretary General of the International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF), Franz Schreiber, has announced that there will be live TV coverage for the 51st ISSF World Championship in all shooting events. The first Rio 2016 Games qualifier for shooting, this Championship will be held in Granada (Spain) from 6 to 20 September 2014. All the 15 Olympic events in rifle, pistol and shotgun will be filmed and distributed live via Eurovision. At the previous World Championship, held in Munich (Germany) in 2010 more than 2,000 athletes participated in 55 shooting events, including non-Olympic disciplines. A similar number is expected in Granada this year. Details on www.issf-sports.org.


© Getty

On 14 July, US Olympic champion, Alice Coachman Davis died at the age of 90 in the state of Georgia. At the 1948 Games in London, she won a gold medal in the high jump, setting a new Olympic and national record by clearing 1.68m. In the process, she became the first African-American female Olympic champion and the only US female athletics medallist at these Games. She also won 10 consecutive US outdoor high jump titles from 1939 to 1948 and several sprint titles. For USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, “Alice literally set the bar with her accomplishments at the 1948 Games, but Olympic champion is only part of the incredible legacy she leaves behind. Alice Coachman Davis has inspired generations of athletes to be their best.” She went on to become a coach and schoolteacher, and was inducted into both the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame and the US Olympic Hall of Fame. Details on www.teamusa.org.

On 17 July, the Guatemalan NOC took part in a “French Week” by organising various workshops and demonstrations. The sports programme included judo, fencing and cycling. In addition, 20 young Guatemalan athletes will be taking part in the Summer YOG in Nanjing next month. Details on www.cog.org.gt.

Participants in the Peruvian NOC seminar. © Peruvian NOC

The Peruvian NOC is currently running its 2nd Advanced Sports Management course, under the auspices of Olympic Solidarity. After a successful first module on Olympic sports administration management, the second one, devoted to strategic management, got under way on 12 July. Through this programme, the NOC is involved in the training of sports management professionals from the Peruvian Sports Institute, the NOC, national sports federations and other sports organisations. Details on www.coperu.org.

Presentation of an honorary doctorate to the Portuguese NOC. © Portuguese NOC

The Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro University (UTAD) awarded an honorary doctorate to the Portuguese NOC at a ceremony held in the framework of the Olympic Day celebrations. The doctorate was awarded in recognition of the NOC’s “services to Portuguese sport, disseminating the Olympic values within Portuguese society and the performances of all the country’s Olympic athletes, with a special mention to Olympic medallists Carlos Lopes (Los Angeles 1984), Rosa Mota (Seoul 1988), Fernanda Ribeiro (Atlanta 1996) and Nelson Evora (Beijing 2008)”. NOC President Jose Manuel Constantino was presented with the doctorate by the Rector of the UTAD, António Fernandes Fontainhas. Details on www.comiteolimpicoportugal.pt.

On 8 July, with 39 days to go before the opening of the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, the virtual torch for these Games arrived in Taipei. On this occasion, the Chinese Taipei NOC organised an event at the National Sports Training Centre in Kaohsiung. Deputy NOC Secretary General I-Ting Shen (left of photo) and YOG Young Ambassador Emily A. Yeh (right) addressed the NOC’s 48 young athletes who will be competing in the YOG in August.  Details on www.tpenoc.net.


Tokyo 2020

Children with Koji Murofushi © Tokyo2020/Shugo Takemi

The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 (Tokyo 2020) has launched a new project to get young people involved in the preparations and delivery of these Games. The “Creating Tomorrow Together” initiative will invite Japan’s younger generation to offer their ideas and opinions on how the Games should be run, with a view to further refining the existing Tokyo 2020 vision, which was developed during the candidature phase under the tagline “Discover Tomorrow”. Olympic hammer-throw champion and now Tokyo 2020 Sports Director, Koji Murofushi, visited a Tokyo elementary school to tell the pupils about the Olympic values and invite them to prepare for the Games in 2020. Tokyo 2020 has also launched vision.tokyo2020.jp, a web site on which everyone in Japan is invited to give their views on what kind of Olympic Games they would like to see in 2020. Details on www.tokyo2020.org


IOA seminar in Olympia. © IOA

As part of its educational activities at its centre in Olympia (Greece), the International Olympic Academy (IOA) has been hosting several seminars by a number of well-known universities. From 29 June to 8 July, the IOA hosted the two annual seminars of Georgetown University (USA) entitled the “Olympism for Humanity Summit” and the “Olympism for Humanity Praxis Summer Programme”. Then, from 8 to 12 July, the IOA and the Centre of Hellenic Studies of the University of Harvard (USA) ran the third annual “Sport, Society and Culture” Symposium. Lastly, from 12 to 23 July, the Navarino Network in cooperation with the Universities of Yale (USA) and St Andrews (Great Britain) will be running the third annual Olympia Summer Academy on the theme of “Conflicts and Political Violence”. Details on www.ioa.org.gr.


Please note that, in last week’s Olympic Highlights, in the section on the IOC President’s activities, we omitted to mention the meeting between President Bach and Roberto Irineu Marinho, CEO and President of Globo, in Rio de Janeiro. In addition, the copyright mention for the second photo published is in fact “IOC/Christophe Moratal” and not “IOC/Ian Jones”. 

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