Olympic Highlights 16/04/2021

IOC / Greg Martin



On 14 April, IOC President Thomas Bach marked the 100-day countdown to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a group of riders from the International Cycling Union (UCI)’s World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. The athletes and the IOC President came together by the official Tokyo 2020 countdown clock in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne at the very moment that marked exactly 100 days to go to the Olympic Games. “Now the real countdown has started and, comparing it to an athlete, it is the final lap. So, we need to get ready for the final sprint – with regard to the organisation, but also with regard to the athletes. Now everybody has a clear vision of these Games,” said the IOC President. “The message to the athletes is ‘Here we go!’ It is just 100 days. These final days of preparations – I know from my own experience – are very, very important,” he explained. The group of 10 road cycling and mountain bike riders included athletes from four continents (Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe). With some still hoping to qualify for the Games this summer, including Olympic scholarship-holder Tumelo Makae from Lesotho, they heard words of encouragement and advice from President Bach, himself an Olympic champion in fencing at Montreal 1976. Read the full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Bach was in Doha on Monday 12 April to meet with the Emir of Qatar, IOC Member Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.  He also met NOC President Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al-Thani.   

In the meeting with the Emir, the two leaders discussed the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and preparations for the Qatari team and their participation in the postponed Games. They were also able to discuss the strong support that the NOC of Qatar is giving to the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refuge Foundation. The NOC is helping to assist with convening the team in Doha ahead of their departure for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

President Bach thanked the Emir for the strong support. “In helping the Refugee Olympic Team and also its support for the Olympic Refuge Foundation, Qatar is setting an example to the world and demonstrating the true Olympic spirit of solidarity and friendship.” 

They were later joined by the NOC President to discuss a wide range of Olympic matters.  Qatar’s strong interest in continuing to be a part of the Continuous Dialogue for hosting future Olympic Games was also a topic of discussion.

IOC / Greg Martin

On World Health Day, President Bach reiterated, in a recorded message, his call for governments to include sport and physical activity in their COVID-19 recovery programmes during an online webinar hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which also featured contributions from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Speaking at the event, which addressed the challenges and opportunities presented to sport and physical activity systems by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Bach invited national and international stakeholders to work with the Olympic Movement to use sport to help build a healthier society. “The Olympic Movement is ready to play its part to engage with all the governments and to engage with everybody to activate our population to be more active and, in this way, to contribute to a healthy society for everybody,” he said. “I invite you: join me in becoming active and join the Olympic Movement to include sport in your crisis recovery programmes, so that together we can show what we can do in solidarity for healthier societies and happier people.” Read full news release here.

President Bach spoke on the phone with International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer. Together, they discussed topics of mutual interest including the preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Bach had a meeting with Gary Zenkel, President NBC Olympics, one of the top Olympic broadcasters. They both underlined the excellent partnership between their two organisations and talked about the impact of COVID-19 on NBC’s production plans for the Games in Tokyo and beyond, and about how the pandemic has accelerated a host of exciting innovations, mainly for viewers.


IOC Executive Board member Nawal El Moutawakel reports that the Moroccan Sport and Development Association (AMSD), which she chairs, celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSP) on 10 April in the commune of Béni Helal, in collaboration with the province of Sidi Bennour. The programme included various sports activities, donations of equipment, material and food supplies, recycling sessions, tree-planting and the installation of solar panels.

Mongolian NOC

During a visit to Dundgobi province, IOC Member Battushig Batbold (r. of photo) made a financial contribution to the sports and medical service of the province, including the local hospital. He was accompanied by Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu (l. of photo), a boxing bronze medallist at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and a member of the Mongolian NOC as an athletes’ representative.

TOP Partners

Worldwide Olympic Partner Atos celebrated the IDSP with the launch of a new virtual challenge that is aimed at inspiring its employees to remain active, connected and #StrongerTogether during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Great Atos Global Expedition (GAGE) will also help build excitement ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as it challenges participants to virtually travel 2,021km across the host country of Japan. Full details here.

Other Olympic news

To mark the IDSDP on 6 April, the IOC underlined the paramount role that sport plays in supporting global recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Sport is ready to contribute to building a more human-centred and inclusive society,” the IOC President said. “This crisis has made it clearer than ever that sport is the low-cost, high-impact tool par excellence for all countries in their recovery efforts.” The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the importance of sport and physical activity in helping countries, communities and individuals navigate these challenging times by staying physically and mentally fit, and thus becoming more resilient. Full news release here.

On 9 April, the IOC joined the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the celebration of Play True Day, and encouraged the Olympic Movement to promote clean sport. The IOC joined WADA in encouraging athletes to take part in the #PlayTrueDay social media campaign and make their own Play True Pledge on their handles. Athletes, but also National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, sports federations, governments, Major Event Organisers and other anti-doping stakeholders from around the world were invited to answer the question: “What does Play True mean to you?”, which is this year’s theme of the Day. Full news here and also on the WADA website.

In recognition of the value of sport as an educational tool, the IOC has launched the “Sport Values in Every Classroom” toolkit together with five international partners. The toolkit is a free resource that is aimed at helping teach respect, equity and inclusion to children aged 8 to 12 around the world, while encouraging the development of healthy young people through movement-based classroom activities. Full news here.

international federations

summer ifs

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has announced the official launch of the FIBA Players' Mentorship Programme. Guided by its Players' Commission, FIBA wants to provide support for players not only on the court but also off it. The primary objective is to train at least one Players' Mentor per National Federation to help support all elite youth players in that country. FIBA wants all players to be able to compete at their highest level, enhance their health and well-being and receive meaningful educational opportunities. More info here.


On 9 April, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) paid tribute to its longest serving President, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (photo), who died at Windsor Castle in England at the age of 99. FEI President from 1964 to 1986, he was succeeded in this role by his daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, who is also an IOC Member, for the following eight years. Among his greatest sporting achievements, Prince Philip introduced Driving as a new discipline within the FEI and helped to develop this during his FEI presidency. He was also instrumental in the creation of the FEI World Equestrian Games™. More details here.


On the occasion of the IDSP, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) published a story on the work which has been carried out in each geographical area of the hockey community, and how this work has contributed to promoting personal development and inclusivity through the medium of hockey. Full details here.

On 9 April, after a very fruitful consultation process between the International Swimming Federation (FINA), the Japan Swimming Federation, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the  IOC, FINA announced the re-scheduling of the FINA Diving World Cup for the new dates of 1-6 May 2021. The competition will take place in Tokyo, as originally planned, and will serve as both a qualification and test event for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Full info here.


International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) President Klaus Schormann and Secretary General Shiny Fang met Prince Albert II on 12 April at the Palace of Monaco. The UIPM Honorary President since 1996 and also an IOC Member, Prince Albert II was briefed on recent UIPM activities, including innovation projects, preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, Executive Board events and forthcoming elections. Matters discussed included international sporting politics within the Olympic Movement, gender equality and environmental issues, the financial and social consequences of the pandemic, and the close partnership between the UIPM and the Principality of Monaco, home to the UIPM headquarters since 1997. More details here. Furthermore, the UIPM called for the creation of an anthem. The anthem will be used for UIPM events from 2022 onwards. Full info here.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced the results of a first-of-its-kind global research project examining sports gender equality across the media and social media, commissioned as part of the ITF’s Advantage All gender equality strategy. The findings reveal clear differences in the way male and female players are portrayed. Full details here. The publication of this research was discussed during the ITF’s global forum “Level the Playing Field”. World-class athletes joined senior business leaders to share their experiences, motivations and expertise for how to increase the number of women in leadership positions, grow the audience and engagement in women’s sport and influence the narrative around women’s sport and female athletes. More details here.


The 2021 edition of World Table Tennis Day was another success. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and its Foundation organise this event each year on 6 April, and it also marks the IDSDP. With FEMpowerment being the central message this year, the table tennis community worldwide celebrated gender equality and inclusiveness with inspiring events. Find out more here.


The International Surfing Association (ISA) mobilised surfers across the globe to celebrate the power of surfing on the IDSP. Surfers from countries such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Iran, the Maldives (photo), Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, the USA and Venezuela shared their stories of how surfing is creating a positive impact in their lives and communities. More info here.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has launched the first edition of “The Global Game”, a monthly WBSC podcast featuring insights and interviews with the biggest personalities in the world of international baseball/softball. The Global Game will be presented in English and Spanish, and is available on all major podcast platforms. More details here.

national olympic committees

Albanian NOC

Albania celebrated the IDSP under the direction of the Albanian NOC. Olympians, athletes, coaches, journalists, federation leaders and school students became part of the events by conveying awareness messages to encourage involvement in sport, and also giving examples of how sport has improved their lives. More info at www.nocalbania.org. In addition, following WADA guidelines, the NOC of Albania celebrated Play True Day on 9 April. Through its #PlayTrueDay digital campaign, the NOC attracted Olympians, young athletes, coaches and sports journalists, who provided messages through short videos to raise awareness about clean sport without doping. The NOC also organised a live session with the Albanian National Anti-Doping Organisation regarding anti-doping tests and educational projects or seminars in the country, attended virtually by a large number of followers from the sports community on the NOC’s social media platforms.

Algerian NOC

On 8 April, the Algerian NOC celebrated WADA’s Play True Day. This year, the NOC chose the ADAMS athlete whereabouts system as its theme. Bringing together national technical directors, national coaches and athletes (photo), the event provided information on registration and monitoring in the system, and the potential sanctions for athletes in the event of non-compliance. More details can be found here. The NOC also celebrated the IDSP on 6 April. More details can be found here. In addition, in a press conference led by Hassiba Boulmerka, the NOC’s Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, details were given of how the Algerian delegation is preparing for these Games. More details here.

NOC of Azerbaijan

Actively engaged in capacity-building through social media, the NOC of Azerbaijan held recently an online meeting with Digital Communication and Media Seminar participants. These seminars are run by the NOC in cooperation with Olympic Solidarity. Around 27 participants from 15 NOCs of European and Asian countries, including Azerbaijan, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Russia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia and Albania, thus took part in the seminars. The first regional seminar was held in Baku (Azerbaijan), and the second in Madrid (Spain), in cooperation with Olympic Channel at its headquarters. During the online meeting, alongside an overview of the work done in 2020, successful projects that were developed were discussed, including online Olympic Day celebrations and other social media activations. More details at www.noc-aze.org.

Bangladesh Olympic Committee

The Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) successfully organised the Bangabandhu 9th Bangladesh Games 2020, the largest sporting extravaganza in the country, from 1 to 10 April. The event was part of the yearlong celebrations of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the celebration of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence. Following strong COVID-19 protocols, around 8,000 athletes and officials from 31 sports disciplines took part in the Games held in 29 venues, including all the divisional cities and the capital, Dhaka. Planned last year, the event was postponed due to the pandemic. More details at www.nocban.org.

Barbados Olympic Association

The Barbados Olympic Association Inc. celebrated the IDSP with a Zumba event broadcast live on 10 April. The Barbadians were asked to do the stay-at-home Zumba, while messages promoting sport and peace were conveyed throughout the programme. Full info here.

Julio Cesar Guimarães/ COB

On the night of 14 April, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) illuminated the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which was also dressed in Team Brazil colours, to mark 100 days until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. With open arms over Rio de Janeiro, host city of the previous Olympic Games, the greatest symbol in the country reminded everyone of how sport can inspire in the fight against COVID-19.  On the same day, the BOC’s streaming platform offered a special programme straight from the Team Brazil Training Centre, with the presence of a number of Olympians. The BOC is also planning to donate 1,000 packs of essential food and household items to the Rio de Janeiro Archdiocese, which supports almost 60 charity projects in the city. More details here.


The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) and the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) jointly organised the 23rd Sport Exchange Symposium, during which the Bilateral Committee reviewed the activities carried out last year and confirmed the 10 activities expected to be organised this year. Held online at the end of March, the Symposium was co-chaired by CTOC President Lin Hong-Dow and COC President Gou Zhong-Wen. The establishment of the exchange visits and sports exchanges between the cross-strait NOCs was initiated in 1997. Full details here.

Georgian NOC

Despite pandemic challenges and restrictions, the Georgian NOC disseminated the spirit of the IDSP on 6 April among Olympic champions and NOC Athletes’ Commission members. The NOC Executive Board members also joined the campaign (photo), which was widely covered by the Georgian media. Info at www.geonoc.org.ge.

NOC of Guatemala

On 14 April, the NOC of Guatemala launched the countdown to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at a ceremony held at the Palacio de los Deportes in Guatemala City. With 100 days to go before the opening of the Games, 16 Guatemalan athletes were already qualified, including Adriana Ruano (shooting), Yulissa López and Jennieffer Zúñiga (rowing), who were representing these athletes at the ceremony (photo). More details here.  

Lithuanian NOC

In March, the Lithuanian NOC launched its “New Miracle” project while discussions on promoting women's leadership and gender equality in sport were encouraged by the IOC that same month. This leadership-driven project will create and implement a free training programme for young or novice sports managers and an exclusive mentoring platform where the project participants will have the opportunity to consult with experienced colleagues. On this occasion, the NOC magazine “Olympic Panorama” talked about the road towards equality with Olympic champion, IOC Member and NOC President Daina Gudzinevičiūtė (photo). More info at www.ltok.lt.

Moroccan NOC

To mark the IDSP, the Moroccan NOC organised two Olympic visits to the Imam Ali and Al Massira schools on 2 and 6 April.
On both occasions, the NOC reminded the schoolchildren of the Olympic values and their contribution to breaking down barriers and promoting peace within and between nations. More details here. In addition, the NOC recently held two videoconferences on the themes of “sports nutrition during Ramadan” and “How to adapt your training during Ramadan”. More details on www.cnom.org.ma.

NOC of Portugal

To mark the 100-day countdown to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the NOC of Portugal and Repsol launched the Equipa Portugal app, which will allow all Portuguese people to follow the activities of Team Portugal athletes preparing for the Games. The Equipa Portugal app provides information on competitions, results, the agenda and the biographies of the athletes who have qualified and are preparing for the Olympic Games. The app was presented during an online event (see photo) attended by the NOC President, José Manuel Constantino, and the Managing Director of Repsol Portugal, Armando Oliveira. More info here.

On 9 April, Venezuelan NOC President Eduardo Álvarez, accompanied by the NOC’s Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Arturo Castillo, and team Technical Director Víctor Vargas, held a virtual meeting with the 24 sports federations with athletes already qualified or in the process of qualifying for the Games.

Organising committees for the Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020

To mark 100 days to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 begin, the Organising Committee unveiled on 14 April a giant set of Olympic rings (see photo) on top of Mount Takao, which is located in Tokyo, and statues of the Olympic and Paralympic mascots at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters. For Tokyo, the best-prepared Olympic city in history, the priority over the coming weeks will remain COVID-19 countermeasure planning. A key component of this will be the publication of the second edition of the stakeholder playbooks later this month, which will further detail the guidelines to be followed at Games time. Full news release here.

Paris 2024

The Paris 2024 Organising Committee has selected Cisco to provide networking infrastructure, cybersecurity and video conferencing solutions to power the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024. Cisco supported the Olympic and Paralympic Games London 2012 and Rio 2016, and will support Tokyo 2020 as the official network equipment partner. For Paris 2024, Cisco will continue to provide the network infrastructure and is expanding its role to also provide cybersecurity infrastructure and conferencing software. These technologies will help to create inclusive and sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 by bringing new levels of connectivity and interactivity to athletes, coaches, volunteers, tourists and spectators around the world. Info at www.paris2024.org

Recognised organisations

On 6 April, the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) joined NOCs in celebrating the IDSDP and how sport can support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Full details here. In addition, the ANOC Athletes’ Commission, chaired by Karo Lelai, met recently virtually to discuss a number of important athlete issues, including the latest developments for Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, and an update on progress across the Continental Athletes’ Commissions. More info here.

On the occasion of the IDSP, the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and IOC Member Mustafa Berraf published a message entitled “In peace, we will certainly make it!” Read the full text here.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and sportanddev have signed a partnership agreement to promote sustainable development initiatives by IFs and the global sports community. Launched as part of GAISF’s IDSP activities, the content-sharing partnership will see sportanddev publish sustainability.sport content on its platforms and vice-versa. Full info here.


During a meeting at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, the President of the International Olympic Academy (IOA), Isidoros Kouvelos (l. of photo), invited the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou (r. of photo), to inaugurate the new IOA premises in Ancient Olympia on 17 October, alongside the IOC President. The IOA is currently being renovated with the financial support of the IOC. The Greek President congratulated Isidoros Kouvelos, highlighting the IOA’s significance in spreading the Olympic values and developing Olympic education. Dionyssis Gangas, Advisor to the IOA President and the IOA’s Development Projects Consultant, also attended the meeting. Read more here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced the release of the “Sport Values in Every Classroom” toolkit in French and Spanish. The toolkit, which was first launched in English in October 2019, is a free, cross-curricular resource targeted at teachers of students aged 8-12 years old, and is aimed at helping teachers to instil some of the core values synonymous with sport: respect, equity and inclusion. More info here.

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