Olympic Highlights 15/02/2021

15 Feb 2021



Following the resignation of Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro, the IOC issued the following statement.

“The IOC takes note of President Mori’s decision to step down as President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The IOC fully respects President Mori’s decision to step down and understands his reasons for doing so. At the same time, we would like to thank him for his outstanding contribution to the organisation of the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 over the course of the past years. Among his many accomplishments, President Mori helped to make Tokyo the best-ever prepared Olympic city. The IOC will continue working hand-in-hand with his successor to deliver safe and secure Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in 2021.

John Coates, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission Tokyo 2020, said: “Throughout our eight years working together, President Mori was a strong and effective leader, who could always be trusted to find solutions even in the most difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cooperation with President Mori has been outstanding. I would like to thank him for all his support and dedication.”

The IOC remains as committed as ever to the safe and successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. We are strengthened in this by the unwavering commitment of the Japanese and Tokyo Metropolitan Governments, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the Organising Committee. The IOC is further encouraged by the fact that CEO Muto Toshiro will ensure continuity in the organisation and delivery of these Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The IOC has been informed and welcomes the fact that the Organising Committee will follow due process to determine the new President.” Read also here the full text of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) statement.”

President Bach was in close contact with the two IOC members in Japan, Watanabe Morinari and Yamashita Yasuhiro, during the entire week. He was finally informed of Mr Mori’s decision during a telephone call with Mr Mori in which IOC Vice-President and Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission Tokyo 2020, John Coates, and Tokyo 2020 CEO Muto Toshiro, also took part.

After the resignation, the IOC issued the following statement on the establishment and composition of a Candidate Review Committee for the appointment of the Tokyo 2020 President.

“The IOC welcomes the establishment and composition of a Candidate Review Committee for the appointment of the next President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. It applauds the decision to have equal gender representation on the Review Committee, including athletes’ representatives, and the commitment to transparency. This is a clear commitment to gender equality, which is fully in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap.

In addition, the IOC welcomes the desire to increase the number of female members of the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board and the plan to establish a gender equality promotion team within the Organising Committee.”

In other news, President Bach discussed a number of topical Olympic issues with IOC member Uğur Erdener, particularly related to the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission.

IOC President Thomas Bach gave a welcome address through a video at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Peace Forum 2021 held virtually from 7 to 9 February. In his remarks, he recalled “the incredible moment from three years ago at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018: the athletes from the NOCs of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea marching together into the Olympic stadium as one team behind one flag, the Korean Unification Flag. This moment endures as one of the most powerful illustrations of how the Olympic Games can promote a peaceful world through sport.” He also added: “The Olympic Games, unfortunately, cannot prevent wars and conflicts. Nor can they address all the political and social challenges in our world. But the Olympic Games can set an example for a world where everyone respects the same rules and one another. The Olympic Games build bridges leading to better understanding among people. In this way, Olympic Games open the door to peace. This is perhaps the most precious legacy of the Olympic Games.” Hosted by the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation which is chaired by IOC member Ryu Seung-min, the Forum 2021 was held under the title ‘Peace! Here and Now’.


IOC member Hong Zhang, who is also Chair of the IOC Coordination for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024, made a speech during the PyeongChang Peace Forum. She underlined the importance of carrying the legacy of PyeongChang 2018 into the future, and of keeping the Olympic spirit alive through Gangwon 2024.

Honorary Members

IOC honorary member Julio César Maglione has been re-elected as President of the Uruguayan NOC, a position he has occupied since 1987. He is also President of the International Swimming Federation (FINA). (See also the “NOCs” section below.)

Other Olympic news

On 9 February, the IOC has issued a statement on gender equality in the Olympic Movement following the recent comments of Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro which “were absolutely inappropriate and in contradiction to the IOC’s commitments and the reforms of its Olympic Agenda 2020. He apologised and made a number of subsequent comments. Besides Mr Mori’s apology, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee also considers his comment to be inappropriate and has reaffirmed its commitment to gender equality.” The IOC statement also underlines that “over the past 25 years, the IOC has played an important role in promoting women in and through sport, and it will continue to do so by setting ambitious targets. In the challenging context we live in, now more than ever, diversity is a fundamental value that we need to respect and draw strength from.” Read the full text of the statement here.

international federations

summer ifs

On 5 February, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Secretary General Andreas Zagklis (right of photo) welcomed the President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Aleksander Ceferin (left of photo), to the FIBA headquarters in Mies, Switzerland. Various topics concerning team sports, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, international club competitions and the European sports model were discussed by the two leaders. The meeting also highlighted the importance of sport's contribution to today's society, and allowed the two men to exchange ideas on how to develop and grow sport in Europe and beyond. More details here.

On 11 February, two years to the day of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations, African Union (AU) Chairperson Félix Tshisekedi and the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) President, Gianni Infantino, who is also an IOC member, discussed an action plan that will accelerate several aspects of the agreement aimed at contributing for the benefit of African society, and, in particular, younger generations.  Speaking by videoconference, the two leaders mainly discussed a range of initiatives stemming from the role that football through education can play in developing life skills for children, be that following rules and showing respect to match officials, or by encouraging teamwork and cooperation in order to succeed. Full details here.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has announced the cancellation of the All-Around World Cup Series in Artistic Gymnastics, which was part of the Olympic qualification system for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The series was made up of four events – in Milwaukee (USA), Stuttgart (Germany), Birmingham (Great Britain) and Tokyo (Japan) – originally intended to take place between March and April 2020. While the first event took place last year in Milwaukee, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the three other events until 2021. The World Cup in Tokyo on 4 May, which serves as a test event for the Games in artistic gymnastics, remains unaffected for the moment. Full details here.

The city of Fukuoka, Japan, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Swimming Federation (FINA) have confirmed that the Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier 2021 will be held on 29 and 30 May at the Seaside Momochi Beach Park. The two races (men’s and women’s) will be staged in a defined COVID-safe bubble respecting a strict protocol that will ensure the safety not just of the athletes but also all the people involved in the organisation. After the qualification of 10 men and 10 women during the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju (Republic of Korea), the Fukuoka rendezvous will determine the remaining 15 swimmers in the men’s and women’s events. After the qualifier in Fukuoka, the Tokyo 2020 marathon swimming line-up will be completed, with 25 men and 25 women taking part in the Olympic race. More info at www.fina.org.

In a meeting held on 4 February via teleconference, the World Triathlon Executive Board decided that the Olympic and Paralympic qualification process will not restart before 1 May, and the final decision on this will be made on 18 March. The Board took this decision after consultation with the Athletes, Coaches, Medical and Technical Committees. The meeting agenda also included the planned calendar for the 2021 season, the Athlete’s Agreement that will be in place for the 2021 season and the situation of winter triathlon. Find out more details here.

national olympic committees

Algerian NOC

On 11 February, in the framework of its environmental activities and in collaboration with the Directorate General of Forests, the Algerian NOC organised a tree-planting operation at the headquarters of the Ben Aknoun Olympic institution. The operation took place under the theme “Planting trees for the planet”. NOC President Abderrahmane Hammad, Executive Committee members, national sports federations representatives and NOC staff took part in this environmental initiative. More info at www.coa.dz.

NOC of Cape Verde

The NOC of Cape Verde, whose President is IOC member Filomena Maria Fortes, welcomed at its headquarters its ambassadors for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka (photo). As a reminder, the Japanese couple spent their honeymoon in Cape Verde, then became stranded in the archipelago because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and today they are still in the country promoting the destination of Cape Verde abroad. Since their appointment by the NOC as ambassadors, the Kataokas have attracted considerable media attention. Furthermore, under the coordination of the NOC of Cape Verde, the Olympic Committees of African Portuguese Speaking Countries were involved for four months (October 2020 to January 2021) in a cycle of online talks aimed at debating Olympism in Africa and in the Lusophone countries. Specialists from Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Brazil and Portugal took part in the talk. More info at www.coc.cv

Colombian NOC

On 8 February, the first session of the international seminar on neurosciences in athletics was held remotely by the Colombian Athletics Federation, with the support of the Sports Ministry and the Colombian NOC. The opening ceremony was attended by Federation President Ramiro Varela, World Athletics Vice-President and Olympic medallist Ximena Restrepo, and NOC Secretary General Ciro Solano. Over 100 people followed the first day of the seminar, and the second part is scheduled for next week. Full details here. In addition, the first regional forum on the socialisation of the new sports law project was held recently, with the participation of over 600 people, including Sports Minister Ernesto Lucena Barrero, Deputy Minister Lina Barrera, and NOC and Paralympic Committee presidents Baltazar Medina and Julio César Ávila respectively. This virtual forum addressed building a better country through sport, creating a system that regulates sports practice at national level, and implementing a public policy on the use of free time. More details here.

Hellenic Olympic Committee

The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC)’s Athletes’ Commission and Gender Equality Commission recently organised the third consecutive webinar, entitled “Athlete-safeguarding policies”. The keynote speaker was Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou, who recently revealed the sexual harassment and abuse she suffered from a senior sports official before the Olympic Games Sydney 2000. Ani Chroni, a professor of sports psychology, and Konstantina Kostakou, a police officer and psychologist, were also speakers, together with the chairs of the two Commissions, Vasiliki Millousi and Xenia Argeitaki.
HOC President and IOC member Spyros Capralos welcomed the participants, athletes and coaches from all over Greece. More info at www.hoc.gr.

Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Christopher Samuda has paid tribute to Olympian Leslie Alphonso Laing, who died on 7 February at the age of 95. Laing was a member of Jamaica’s gold medal-winning 4x400m relay team at the Olympic Games Helsinki 1952. In his tribute, Samuda wrote: “Leslie Alphonso Laing's feats as an Olympian are well documented and we salute him with grateful hands. But more importantly, it is the spirit of the gentleman which has inspirited generations of athletes and earned the abiding respect of a nation.” He then underlined the important legacy Laing had left on Jamaican athletics: “More info at www.joa.org.jm

Moroccan NOC

On 4 February, Moroccan NOC (CNOM) President Faïçal Laraichi (right of photo) met International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) President Vladimir Lisin (left of photo), accompanied by the acting President of the Royal Moroccan Shooting Sport Federation, Abdeladim Lhafi, at the CNOM headquarters. During the meeting, they discussed future cooperation between the two parties to develop sport shooting both nationally and internationally, following the success of the fourth edition of the ISSF Moroccan Sport Shooting Grand Prix held in Rabat between 28 January and 6 February. The CNOM has also held a meeting on preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with the Sports Department of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, and another on coordinating the fight against doping in 2021 with the Moroccan Anti-Doping Agency and the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation. More details on www.cnom.org.ma.


Following the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC)’s virtual General Council Meeting on 6 February, Lovie Santana (photo) has been appointed as Team TTO’s Chef de Mission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She has been the TTOC’s Senior Administrative Officer for the past 11 years. Ms Santana was also the Chef de Mission for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla (Colombia) and Assistant Chef de Mission for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016 and for the 2019 Panamerican Games in Lima (Peru). More details here.

The Uruguayan NOC last year elected a new Management Board. Julio César Maglione and Washington Beltrán were re-elected as President and Secretary General respectively, and Julio Pérez Alfaro was elected as First Vice-President. The other Management Board members and the members of the Fiscal Commission and the Honour and Discipline Tribunal were also elected. More details on www.cou.org.uy.

Venezuelan NOC

On 9 February, meetings were held remotely at the Venezuelan NOC headquarters to discuss the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. A virtual meeting was held between the Venezuelan Chef de Mission for these Games, Arturo Castillo, and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, to discuss the publication of the new Playbooks by the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee and Tokyo 2020. National sports federation representatives also met remotely with the NOC leadership to talk about their current situation ahead of the Games; the athletes already qualified and those yet to qualify; the probability of winning medals and diplomas; training facilities; and COVID-19 vaccination. More details here.

Organising Committee for the Olympic Games

Paris 2024

After promoting 30 minutes of physical activity per day in schools during Olympic and Paralympic Week, Club Paris 2024 is launching a new challenge to encourage French people to do more sport and exercise more on a daily basis. For 20 days, from 9 to 28 February, Club Paris 2024 is encouraging its members to each do 30 minutes of exercise, to rack up points and try to win an extraordinary adventure trip with “Comme les Autres” association, founded by wheelchair tennis champion Michaël Jeremiasz. Full details on www.paris2024.org, the website of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee.

organising committees for the Youth Olympic Games

Dakar 2026

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Dakar 2026 received some more publicity during the Global Sports Week Paris (France) last week. A dedicated session named “Senegal: Gateway to sports’ global future?”, aired live from Dakar, provided for an exciting demonstration of Senegal’s sporting passion, talent and emergence in front of a knowledgeable, international audience following online. Ibrahima Wade, General Coordinator for Dakar 2026, was joined on the panel by other sports industry leaders from the country and presented how the YOG will serve as a catalyst to promote youth empowerment, gender equality and sports development in the region. He highlighted the finalised YOG Edition Plan, a comprehensive document, which defines all key elements necessary for the delivery of the first YOG to be held on the African continent in 2026. This plan was a first in the sense that it was co-created by the hosts, the IOC and other national and international key stakeholders, inspired by the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 and New Norm. Read the full news release here.

Recognised organisations

With just under seven months to go until the start of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched a new education course on its Anti-Doping Education and Learning platform (ADEL), specifically designed for athletes and coaches aiming to attend these Games. The new course, entitled “ADEL for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, was developed by WADA in collaboration with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The course has been designed to ensure that athletes and coaches can be informed in advance about the anti-doping programme in place at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and how it will cater to the specific needs of Paralympic athletes. More info here.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has signed a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC). Under the terms of the agreement, the two organisations will partner on several initiatives that will further the rights of persons with disabilities. The IPC will support the delivery of UNAOC’s One Humanity initiative, which calls for solidarity, compassion and unity in the face of discrimination and divisiveness. Meanwhile, UNAOC will join a growing roster of international organisations to partner with the IPC to deliver a global communications campaign around the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games that aims to change global attitudes towards disability. Full news release here.

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