Olympic Highlights 14/12/2020

14 Dec 2020



A busy week for IOC President Thomas Bach, with three days of meetings for the Executive Board (EB), which among other things assessed the results of Olympic Agenda 2020 and discussed a future roadmap, and the 9th Olympic Summit.

The 9th Olympic Summit was held remotely by videoconference on 12 December. The Olympic Summit brings together leading representatives of the Olympic Movement. It forms part of the ongoing dialogue and consultation on important issues and subjects of significance for the future of the Olympic Movement. Discussions focused on several topics of interest and concern to the Olympic Movement, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the fight against doping, Olympic Agenda 2020, and virtual sports and gaming. Complete declaration here.

The IOC EB met remotely via videoconference on 7 December. Chaired by IOC President Thomas Bach, the EB discussed the next editions of the Olympic Games as well as several Olympic institutional issues.

Yoshiro Mori, President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Toshiro Muto, CEO of Tokyo 2020, and John Coates, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, gave their respective updates on the latest activities in the preparations for the Games. These updates focused specifically on COVID-19 countermeasures as the organisers prepare to deliver Games fit for a post-coronavirus world. In his presentation, CEO Muto shared the latest budget updates with the IOC EB. This follows a meeting with representatives of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan at which the allocation of the additional costs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was agreed.

Speaking after the meeting, IOC President said: “As part of the COVID countermeasures, the IOC together with Tokyo 2020 and all stakeholders, including the Athletes’ Commission, has elaborated joint guidelines. These will serve all the 206 NOCs and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team as a framework for the period of their stay at the Games. We think that this is absolutely necessary to reduce and minimise the number of residents in the Olympic Village and to minimise the risk of COVID exposure. At the same time, we wanted to maintain the athletes’ experience. We wanted to be balanced with the considerations about athletic performance and also with attendance at the Opening Ceremony.” Full news release here.

Han Zirong, Vice-President and Secretary General of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, presented their respective reports on the latest activities. It was noted that the recent IOC-IPC Project Review meetings had highlighted the excellent progress being made by Beijing 2022.

The EB approved the event programme and athlete quotas for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, which are centred on gender equality and youth. In accordance with the recommendations of the Olympic Programme Commission, the main features of Paris 2024’s Olympic programme include: exactly 50 per cent male and female participation; growth of mixed gender events, from 18 to 22; and skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and breaking confirmed as additional sports based on the proposal by Paris 2024. Breaking will thus make its Olympic debut. There will also be a reduction in the overall athlete quota (including all new sports) to exactly 10,500; and a reduction in the overall number of events, with a final programme of 329 events. The full programme for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 is available here.

“With this programme, we are making the Olympic Games Paris 2024 fit for the post-coronavirus world. We are further reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Games. While we will achieve gender equality already at the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we will see for the first time in Olympic history the participation of the exact same number of female athletes as male athletes. There is also a strong focus on youth,” said President Bach. Read the full news release here.

Written reports were presented by the IOC Coordination Commissions on the respective activities of Milano Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028.

Concerning the Youth Olympic Games, the Chairs of the IOC Coordination Commissions, Hong Zhang and Kirsty Coventry, presented written reports on activities of Gangwon 2024 and Dakar 2026, respectively.

Adapting to the new circumstances, the EB approved the decision to expand the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Athlete 365 Education Programme beyond the YOG themselves, which will help inspire the next generation of Olympians participating in youth sports events around the world. This world-wide Programme aims to support these young elite athletes along their development pathway journey by providing guidance to youth sports event owners and organisers. It will be offered to Summer Sports IFs and Continental Associations of NOCs organising Youth Championships or Games, starting in the summer of 2021 until at least the next Summer YOG in 2026. Full details here.

Further to the IOC EB decision of 25 November to start a formal procedure vis-à-vis the NOC of Belarus, and taking into consideration all the allegations and elements received by the IOC and the responses provided by the NOC, the IOC has come to the conclusion that it appears that the current NOC leadership has not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member sports federations or the sports movement. This is contrary to the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter, and therefore seriously affects the reputation of the Olympic Movement. The IOC EB adopted a number of provisional measures which are applicable until further notice or until such time as a new NOC Executive Board is elected in February 2021 by the NOC General Assembly. The full decision can be found here.

The EB also approved three changes of nationality. Full details here.

During a consultative meeting, the EB assessed the results of Olympic Agenda 2020. Eighty-five per cent of its recommendations have been achieved. Olympic Agenda 2020 has resulted in profound change and progress across the entire Olympic Movement and has laid solid foundations for the future. “Olympic Agenda 2020 has changed the Olympic Games, the IOC and the Olympic Movement. Having achieved 85 per cent of the recommendations is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together. But it is our conviction that the success of today only gives us the opportunity to drive the change for tomorrow,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. He continued: “Carrying forth the unity which Olympic Agenda 2020 created within the Olympic Movement and building on its success, we can contribute to shaping the post-coronavirus world. From this position of strength and stability, we have every reason to be confident about our future, as we continue to pursue our mission to make the world a better place through sport.” Following this week’s discussions, the Closing Report on Olympic Agenda 2020 will be finalised in the new year and presented to the IOC Session in March 2021. Read the key highlights of the Olympic Agenda 2020 results here.

President Bach welcomed in Lausanne IOC Member Uğur Erdener with whom he discussed various Olympic matters.


IOC Member Octavian Morariu has been re-elected for a third term as President of Rugby Europe. He will serve until 2024. The election took place during the Rugby Europe General Assembly held by videoconference on 4 December. Details here.

Other Olympic news

On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, on 9 December, the IOC stressed the importance of integrity and combating corruption in sport in the recovery process from the current pandemic. This year’s theme, “Recover with Integrity”, highlights the fact that an inclusive recovery can be achieved only with integrity, and sport is no exception. IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli joined a webinar entitled “How to safeguard sport from corruption? A multi-stakeholder discussion on challenges and opportunities”, organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Parliament’s Sports Group. With the goal of enhancing cooperation among law enforcement agencies, criminal justice and anti-corruption authorities, sports organisations and other relevant stakeholders, the webinar was an opportunity to discuss the threats posed by corruption to sport in the European context, and how to effectively tackle the problem. In addition, on 9 and 10 December, the IOC held a virtual workshop for Western-Central African countries, focused on sharing knowledge and fostering cooperation on how to tackle the manipulation of sports competitions. This workshop is part of a series of six regional webinars organised in 2020 and co-hosted by the IOC and INTERPOL, under the auspices of the IOC and INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Capacity Building and Training Programme. More than 800 participants from 67 countries have taken part over the course of the year. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs
World Athletics

World record-breakers Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela (see photo above) were named the male and female World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2020, a ceremony held virtually on 5 December. Duplantis broke the world record in the pole vault twice and finished the year undefeated in 16 competitions. Duplantis, who celebrated his 21st birthday last month, is the youngest athlete ever to be named World Athlete of the Year. Yulimar Rojas broke the South American indoor triple jump record in her first competition of the year. In her next competition, she broke the world indoor record. Full list of award recipients here. In addition, World Athletics has announced the postponement of the World Athletics Indoor Championships – originally scheduled to take place in Nanjing (People’s Republic of China) from 19 to 21 March 2021 – to March 2023. More details here.

Meeting by videoconference, the Professional Cycling Council approved the key principles for a series of measures aiming to improve safety conditions during road races. These measures will be submitted to the Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for approval with a view to their implementation. The majority of these measures will come into force for men’s and women’s professional cycling, with an initial focus on UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour events, from the beginning of 2021. Full info here. In addition, the UCI published a new sports-related concussion (SRC) protocol that will apply to all cycling disciplines on the UCI International Calendar from the 2021 season. Full details here.

On the occasion of International Volunteer Day on 5 December, the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) launched a new global volunteer programme, known as FIFA Volunteer. This programme will for the first time provide a single, dedicated platform for people aged 18 and over interested in volunteering at FIFA tournaments and events, as well as serving as a registration and application portal in the future. More details here. In addition, on 9 December, International Anti-Corruption Day, FIFA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) joined forces for a new campaign encouraging football to speak out against match-fixing and to raise awareness about FIFA’s confidential reporting platforms. Full details here.


Also on the occasion of International Volunteer Day, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognised the huge efforts and commitment shown by the hockey community across the globe. Hockey relies on a vast army of volunteers to ensure the smooth running of events, clubs and associations. Discover the work of volunteers on every continent by clicking here. In addition, the Special Olympics has announced that Hockey for those with Intellectual Disabilities, which is known as either ParaHockey ID or Hockey ID, will be included in the 2023 Special Olympics World Games in Berlin as a demonstration sport. During these Games, 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will compete in 24 sports. Full info here.


To close a complicated and difficult year, the International Judo Federation (IJF) has planned a day-long online judo festival – JUDOFEST 2020. The festival, set to air on 27 December, will feature top athletes, coaches, highlights programmes and panel discussions on a variety of judo-related topics. The first annual Judo Awards will also be held, with special awards voted on by the public to recognise top athletes, ippons, initiatives, etc. More details here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that the FINA Aquatics World Magazine, launched in 2010, is transitioning from paper to a digital version in line with today's best practice and technology in an effort to reduce the footprint of paper printing, but also to reach a wider and younger audience. The digital Magazine, which from now on will appear on a monthly basis (compared to the bi-monthly printed version), will continue to feature exclusive interviews from the world of aquatics' stars, behind-the-scenes stories and event highlights from FINA's six disciplines. The last edition of the printed Magazine can be read here.

World Triathlon

World Triathlon President Marisol Casado, also IOC Member, has appointed Debbie Alexander (left in photo) as the First Vice-President of the organisation. Alexander has been serving on the Board for eight years, and is also Vice-President of Triathlon Africa, and a member of the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board. Casado also appointed Shin Otsuka (right) as the Financial & Marketing Vice-President. Otsuka has been a member of the World Triathlon Executive Board since 2004, and was elected Vice-President in November. More info here.


United World Wrestling (UWW) Technical Courses for Coaches (Levels 1 and 2) were recently held in Kiev (Ukraine). The courses were attended by 31 national coaches and referees, including 5 female participants. There were held in the Koncha-Zaspa Olympic training centre. The courses, initiated by the Ukrainian Wrestling Association and supported by the NOC of Ukraine and Olympic Solidarity, were centred on “Coaching and Safety”, “Practice and Planning”, “Developing a Coaching Philosophy” and a review of the UWW Code of Ethics. An UWW “Introduction to Refereeing” module was also delivered, and an “Athlete Career Transition” session was held. More details here.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Executive Board (EB) has approved the inclusion of esports as a discipline of baseball and softball, setting the stage for future official e-baseball and e-softball international competitions and world cups/championships. Following the esports’ integration into the WBSC Statutes, which will be put forward for approval at the WBSC Congress in 2022, the world governing body will establish the rules and regulations for the governance of e-baseball and e-softball competitions, in addition to preparing for the launch of the WBSC’s first e-game next year. Full info here.

national olympic committees


The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) held its 2020 year-end reception on 10 December. The event highlighted the results of the NOC’s year-long efforts to improvise and implement various projects throughout 2020, a difficult year for sport and the Olympic Movement. Full details here about the various activities and achievements of the CTOC in 2020

Hellenic Olympic Committee

Following a proposal by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) that was accepted by the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the "Olympic Education – Olympic Week in schools" educational programme will take place in Greek schools. The implementing body of the programme will be the Hellenic Olympic Academy, and the operational details were discussed during a meeting held by HOC President and IOC Member Spyros Capralos with the President of the Academy, George Alikakos, with HOC General Secretary Emmanouil Kolymbadis also in attendance (photo). This programme will be conducted with the assistance of Olympic and world champions, over the course of a week in April and May, in elementary and high schools, and includes a set of activities that highlight the educational and training values of the Olympic Games. More info at www.hoc.gr.

NOC of Kosovo

On 24 November, the NOC of Kosovo and the nongovernmental organisation “Let’s Clean Kosovo” (LCK) launched a national campaign entitled “Let’s colour the country.” This campaign envisages that, within 10 years, 1.8 million trees will be planted throughout Kosovo, as many as the inhabitants that live in the country, based on the latest statistics. NOC President Besim Hasani and LCK Executive Director Luan Hasanaj appointed Rio 2016 Olympic champion in judo Majlinda Kelmendi as the campaign’s Ambassador. Its launch event was held at the University of Pristina Campus Olympic Corner. Find out more here.

Lithuanian NOC

Through its Olympic Education Programme, the Lithuanian NOC is conducting two successful projects. For three years, the Dreams & Teams project has enabled over 1,700 students from different schools in the Klaipėda region to develop their leadership, teamwork and cooperation skills via sport. This ongoing project is organised by the British Council in Lithuania together with the NOC. Every year, the participants have the opportunity to meet and talk with an Olympian. This spring, they remotely met Olympic champion, NOC President and IOC Member Daina Gudzinevičiūtė, and during the final stage of the project they talked about leadership with the cyclist Gediminas Bagdonas (see photo). The second project, The Olympic Month, is organised by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the Ministry of Health and the NOC. It is a unique project, now in its third edition, and is aimed at primary school students with a view to promoting children’s physical activity, introducing them to the principles of a healthy lifestyle, and helping them learn to recognise their emotions and have quality rest. This year, the project has attracted 62 per cent more schools (1,374) than last year. In total, 26,267 children from 447 educational institutions were engaged in activities while also meeting with Olympians, who shared experiences and tips with them. More info at www.ltok.lt.

Mongolian NOC

A special delegation from the Mongolian NOC, including representatives from the Mongolian Border Defence Authority, the Embassy of Japan and the Athens Olympic Council, and headed by NOC EB member Tsendsuren Sandui, has now reached Orvog Gashuun Ovoo, the southernmost point on the Mongolian border, situated in the South Gobi Desert province. The torch dedicated to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was carried by female runner D. Urandelger, and the national flag was raised at the top of the sacred border hill, symbolising good luck for Team Mongolia. The relay's next destination is Mongol Shariin Davaa, the northernmost point of the 8,252 km-long Mongolian border, located in Huvsgul province.

On 4 December, the Moroccan NOC held a videoconference with the national technical directors of federations and the Olympic scholarship-holders for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The aim of this videoconference was to present the access conditions and allocation procedures of the various Olympic scholarships granted by the NOC, thanks to the support of Olympic Solidarity, the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA). More info here.

Venezuelan NOC

Venezuelan NOC President Eduardo Álvarez (see photo) was named “Sports Leader of the Year 2020” during the virtual awards ceremony of the Círculo de Periodistas Deportivos de Venezuela. He shares this award with Katiuska Santaella, the President of the Venezuelan Judo Federation. The NOC was recognised in the “Institution of the Year” category alongside the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Having already won the World Athletics equivalent award at world level, Yulimar Rojas also won the title of “Athlete of the Year 2020” in Venezuela. The NOC and its President were rewarded for having managed to continue their activities during the global pandemic. More details, including the other winners, here.

Recognised organisations

The Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has appointed Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni and Patricia Sangenis as two additional independent members of the Executive Committee. Originally from Italy, Battaini-Dragoni is the current Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe and will retire from this position in the coming weeks. She currently represents the Council on the WADA Board, and will relinquish this seat due to her appointment to the ExCo. A reputed sports physician from Argentina, Sangenis helped, for more than 20 years, to deliver medical services and doping control for various sporting events, including at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and she is a former member of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission. Their terms will commence on 1 March 2021. Full details here. WADA, together with its host partner, the Korean Anti-Doping Agency, has announced that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is postponing its Therapeutic Use Exemption Symposium, which was to be held on 22 and 23 April 2021, to 21 and 22 April 2022 in Incheon (Korea). More info here.


A special edition of the “Olympic Highlights” will be published at the beginning of 2021. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all an enjoyable festive period.

IOC News Olympic Highlights
back to top