IOC President Thomas Bach was in Skopje, North Macedonia, for the 51st General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) last week. He was accompanied by IOC Member and President of the Ukrainian NOC Sergii Bubka. On the opening day, the IOC President addressed the General Assembly, which was chaired by EOC President and IOC Member Spyros Capralos. In his speech, President Bach underlined the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the world of sport and the Ukrainian Olympic community. He elaborated on the IOC’s actions since the outbreak of the war, which have included both protective measures for the integrity of competitions and sanctions against those responsible for the war.
"We had to take protective measure with regard to Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials participating in international competitions by recommending their non-participation. The time to lift these measures has not arrived," the IOC President said. He also stressed the importance of protecting the mission of the Olympic Movement: “because this mission is in your hearts, because this mission is why you started your careers in sports administration. This mission is to unite the world in peaceful competition. And this mission is even more important in our so fragmented world.” He then concluded: "Our mission is a humanitarian mission, and this humanitarian mission we can only accomplish if we stand above and beyond political difference and all differences, either political, cultural or sports.” Full speech here.
While in Skopje, the IOC President met the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski. The two leaders discussed the current international situation and the upcoming editions of Olympic Games.
Upon his arrival in Skopje, President Bach attended an Olympic Day event, where he joined thousands of children, and many athletes and coaches. One of the athletes present was Dejan Georgievski, who won the first silver medal for North Macedonia, in taekwondo, at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
He was then given a tour of the NOC headquarters by the NOC President, Daniel Dimevski, and had the opportunity to meet some top athletes. Also on the presidential agenda were an Olympic Solidarity course for coaches and athletes in sport climbing, and the opening of a sports laboratory.
The President attended the EOC Executive Committee meeting and met with the President and Executive Board of the NOC of North Macedonia. He also met with a number of NOC Presidents in bilateral meetings, where they discussed issues of mutual interest.
President Bach also attended the EOC gala dinner, during which the 7th winter edition of the Piotr Nurowski “Best Young European Athlete” Prize was awarded to Slovenian ski jumper Nika Prevc (see also under ‘Recognised Organisations’).
From Skopje, President Bach travelled to Tirana, Albania, where he attended the official inauguration of the Albanian NOC headquarters, in the presence of the NOC President, Fidel Yli; the Prime Minister, Edi Rama; the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj; and the NOC Executive Committee and staff.
Earlier, the President had a meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama, during which the two men discussed the current geopolitical situation. They also spoke about the situation of sport in the country, and the IOC’s support through Olympic Solidarity to promote sports development, particularly in schools. Earlier, he met the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj. He was accompanied throughout by the President of the Albanian NOC, Fidel Ylli.
At an Olympic Day event in Tirana, the IOC President met hundreds of schoolchildren taking part, and watched a number of sports demonstrations by local children. He also attended an exhibition of children’s paintings created during Olympic Days across the country.
During the visit, President Bach, accompanied by Sergii Bubka, also met a number of Ukrainian athletes who have now been staying in Albania for more than a month, and are continuing their training in the city of Elbasa. The IOC will provide the athletes with sports equipment and other support. At the event, the Ukrainian athletes received strong support from the local population.
Earlier in the week, the IOC President addressed the General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), which took place in Lausanne. In his speech, the President thanked the ASOIF members for their excellent cooperation in the run-up to and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He also reiterated the IOC’s position on the current situation in Ukraine. This position was fully supported by all the ASOIF members. (see also under ‘Recognised Organisations’)
At Olympic House, President Bach welcomed IOC Member David Haggerty, who is also President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). They discussed various current Olympic issues, including the preparations for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
With the President of the International Handball Federation (IHF), Hassan Moustafa, the IOC President discussed various current Olympic issues, including the preparations for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Also at Olympic House, President Bach met the President of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), Klaus Schormann, who was accompanied by Secretary General Shiny Fang.
President Bach spoke on the phone with IOC member, Octavian Morariu, who also chairs the Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games, to discuss a number of Olympic topics.
The progress of preparations for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 was the main subject of a discussion between the IOC President and the Paris 2024 Organising Committee President, Tony Estanguet, and CEO Etienne Thobois.
The IOC President took part in a meeting of the Board of the International Olympic Truce Centre (IOTC). Vice-Chairs George Papandreou and Fanny Palli Petralia attended by video conference. The IOTC activity report and reports on the Olympic Truce preparations by the organisers of the upcoming Olympic Games were presented.
The President also took part in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH).
The IOC President met Eric Monnin, a lecturer at the University of Franche-Comté (UPFR Sports) in Besançon (France) and author of several works on the Olympic Games and the Olympic values.
IOC Member Gunilla Lindberg was awarded the EOC Order of Merit during the EOC GA in Skopje. She is also an EOC Executive Committee member and Secretary General of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). EOC President Spyros Capralos presented her with the award. More details here.
Other Olympic news
On the occasion of World Environment Day, celebrated on 5 June, the IOC published a new guide entitled “How to be a sustainable champion”, which includes a series of practical ideas to help athletes and sports fans live a “planet-friendlier and healthier life”. Featuring the voices of athletes from around the world, the guide was produced as part of the IOC’s Athlete365 community, with support from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). See the full news release here.
The mascot for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup has been unveiled. It was created based on the shared vision of three young fans, Caloy from the Philippines, Kota from Japan and Dewi from Indonesia, who all met online and decided to create something unique that would unite basketball fans around the world and represent their three nations. A naming competition is open on the official mascot page of the 2023 World Cup website until June 30. The World Cup, which will start on 25 August next year, will be hosted for the first time in its history across three countries: the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Full details here on the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) website.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) recently announced that the Women's Road Championships of Afghanistan can take place in 2022. They will be held on 23 October in Aigle (Switzerland). It had become impossible to stage the event due to the consequences of events in Afghanistan in August 2021 for part of the population, in particular women. The organisation of the Championships is part of the continuing efforts by the UCI and its partners to support and assist the Afghan Cycling Federation. Detailed info here.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has introduced a new Code of Conduct aimed at promoting a positive culture based on the fundamental principles of integrity, respect, honesty and fairness in the sport of gymnastics. The Code lists general principles of integrity and respect to which everybody who takes part in gymnastics must commit, and also specific principles for athletes, coaches, judges, officials and the managers of gymnastics federations. The Code comes into force immediately. Full details here.
To mark the United Nations World Oceans Day on 8 June, World Sailing issued a rallying call to the global sailing community to increase efforts to protect the natural environment and revitalise the oceans. World Sailing is thus calling on “sailors, sailing clubs, Member National Authorities, event organisers and its commercial partners to do all they can to make a positive contribution to the sport and our planet, for now and for the future”. More info here.
Home Plate, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) headquarters in Pully (Switzerland), took home the prestigious Critics Award at the Porcelanosa International Project Awards, an international architecture competition. The awards ceremony took place in May in Milan (Italy) to celebrate innovative architecture projects with designs inspired by and integrated into the environment. Home Plate was selected by a jury composed of renowned architects for one of the top awards thanks to its perfect blend of baseball-softball history with contemporary interiors. Full details here.
National Olympic Committees
For one week, a workshop on “Effective communication and teamwork” organised by the National Institute of Professional Technical Training (INFOTEP) brought together 59 athletes at the headquarters of the NOC of the Dominican Republic and the national volleyball federation. The participants recently received their diplomas at a ceremony held at the NOC headquarters in the presence of NOC President Antonio Acosta and Secretary General Gilberto García and INFOTEP training advisor Aracelis González. This workshop was part of a plan that INFOTEP will offer the national sports movement in various fields. The course brought together athletes from various sports: judo, taekwondo, triathlon, volleyball, fencing and karate. More details here.
Thirty years ago in 1992 the “Peace Torch” monument created by sculptor Giorgi Shkhatsabaia was erected in Olympia (Greece), a significant event in the cultural relationship between Greece and Georgia. On 7 June 2022, the Georgian NOC organised a festive gathering at the NOC headquarters to celebrate this anniversary. The ceremony was attended by the sculptor, the NOC authorities, the Deputy Head of the Mission of the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic in Georgia, the First Deputy Minister of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia and other important figures from Georgian sport. A photo exhibition and video presentation were also organised. Info at www.geonoc.org.ge.
More than 300 children played sports and celebrated Children's Day in the Courtyard of the Lithuanian President's Office. The event was organised by the First Lady of Lithuania, Diana Nausėdienė, and the Lithuanian NOC (LNOC). The President of the Republic of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda, the First Lady, LNOC President and IOC Member Daina Gudzinevičiūtė and Olympic silver medallist rower Mindaugas Griškonis greeted the participants and joined them in 13 different entertainment and sports activities (see photo). The activities included a special exercise prepared by a physiotherapist, as well as activities to promote healthy eating and lifestyles. Symbolic awards were handed out to culminate the festivities, where all participants were declared winners and received medals. More info at www.ltok.lt.
On 1 June, on International Children’s Day, almost 1,500 children from kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools from the Banská Bystrica region and other parts of Slovakia gathered in the SNP Monument Park and celebrated Olympic Day. The celebration was organised by the Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee (SOSC) in cooperation with the Organising Committee of the XVI Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), Banská Bystrica 2022. During the official opening, IOC Member Danka Barteková, accompanied by volleyball player Alexandra Fričová and volunteers representative Tomáš Kubica, brought the Flame of Peace that had been lit at Ara Pacis in Rome, Italy, on 31 May for the EYOF 2022. In addition, 400 children took part in the Olympic Day run, and the winners were given their prizes by Olympic champions. During May and June, almost 500 Olympic Day events were organised across Slovakia, with the motto “Move, Learn, Discover, Together, for a better world” and the main theme of “peace”. This year, Olympic Day was also supported by the schools participating in the Olympic Culture and Education Programme (OCEP). OCEP is a joint SOSC-EYOF 2022 project, based on a cultural exchange between Slovak school children and their peers from European countries. More info at www.olympic.sk.
On 12 June, the 51st European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly concluded in Skopje, North Macedonia. On this occasion, EOC President Spyros Capralos called for the European sports family to be a unifying force, following reports on the European Youth Olympic Festivals (EYOFs), the EOC Strategic Agenda 2030, and the promotion of the European Sport Model. A series of key reports on work from the past year was also presented during the two-day General Assembly. The 52nd EOC General Assembly will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2023. Meanwhile, the 43rd EOC Seminar will take place in Olympia, Greece, from 30 September to 1 October 2022. More details here. In addition, ski jumper Slovenia Nika Prevc has won the 7th Winter Edition of the Piotr Nurowski Prize for the Best European Young Athlete. The announcement was made at the gala dinner hosted by the NOC of North Macedonia to mark its 30th anniversary. Full details here.
The 46th General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) was held in a hybrid format on 8 June in Lausanne. The situation of the Ukrainian sports community, the preparations for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and amendments to the ASOIF Statutes dominated the agenda. The delegates were also updated on the fourth review of IF governance, led by ASOIF’s Governance Task Force. Full details here. In recognition of his outstanding services to sport, ASOIF Executive Director Andrew Ryan was awarded an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday Honours List of June 2022. Full news here.
On 8 June, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that registration is now open for its 2022 Global Education Conference (GEC). This edition will be held in partnership with Sport Integrity Australia on 20 and 21 September 2022 at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Sydney (Australia). The registration deadline is 5 September. More details here. In addition, WADA has won a European Union grant to develop a project aimed at expanding the intelligence and investigative capabilities of anti-doping organisations across the continent. The project will involve innovative and expert-led education programmes delivered by a team built around WADA’s independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department. Full info here.