Olympic Highlights 16/10/2020

16 Oct 2020



IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed to Olympic House Erick Thohir, IOC Member in Indonesia, who is also State-Owned Enterprises Minister and the Executive Director of the government’s COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Committee. Together, they spoke about the situation and role of sport during the pandemic and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as Indonesia’s candidature to host the Olympic Games in 2032.

In a meeting held by video conference, President Bach and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons, who is also an IOC Member, discussed various Olympic matters, mainly the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

IOC / Christophe Moratal

The IOC President met International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) President Ary Graça, who was accompanied by Director General Fabio Azevedo and Elizabeta Bracht-Tishchenko, Head of Marketing and double Olympic silver medallist. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were at the centre of their discussions.

IOC / Christophe Moratal

President Bach also met Jay Y. Lee, Vice-Chairman of Samsung Electronics, a Worldwide Olympic Partner. Strategic collaboration in the digital field between the IOC and Samsung was the main item discussed.

The IOC President sent a video message to the Chefs de Mission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 during a webinar organised by the IOC and Tokyo 2020. In his message, President Bach underlined that “the health and safety of all concerned has always been and remains our top priority. Even in these ever-changing times, many of the operational details that are at the forefront of all Chefs de Missions’ minds are still being worked on,” before assuring them “that we are focused on developing a toolbox of COVID countermeasures for every possible scenario”. He concluded by thanking them for their dedication and commitment, which “are an essential factor to ensure the success of these Olympic Games and making the Olympic dreams of your athletes come true”. In total three webinars for the Chefs de Mission (one in English, one in Spanish and one in French) were held this week.


LTOK / V. Dranginis

IOC Member Daina Gudzinevičiūtė was re-elected as President of the NOC of Lithuania during the General Assembly of the NOC in Vilnius on 9 October. This will be her third four-year term in this position. An Olympic champion in shooting, Gudzinevičiūtė is also a member of the Executive Committee of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) (see also under “NOCs”).

Other Olympic news

On 14 October, the IOC issued a statement saying that it was worried to learn about the reported decision made by the Board of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to replace the Acting President, Ursula Garza Papandrea, the way the decision was taken and the chosen replacement. The IOC enjoyed excellent cooperation with her during her time in office, and is fully supportive of the reforms she has initiated in the IWF. Currently the IOC has not received all the information to fully assess the situation in its entirety. This incident and its consequences will, of course, be taken into consideration by the IOC Executive Board (EB) when it comes to take further decisions. Read the full statement here.

This week, the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) is celebrating the 4th anniversary of the launch of the Olympic World Library (OWL - https://olympic.org/library). The OWL went live on 16 October 2016, and since then has become the number one resource for Olympic knowledge, with close to 300,000 people from over 220 countries visiting the platform. Simultaneously a library catalogue, an information portal and a search engine, the Olympic World Library offers free access to the OSC’s unique library collection, which contains over 36,000 monographic titles, of which 10,500 documents are directly accessible in electronic format. It includes key collections such as all the Official Reports of the Olympic Games, all editions of the Olympic Charter, the Olympic Review, all candidature files, the OSC reference documents and ZOOM IN pages devoted to important topics of research.  It also contains Games-related publications from the NOCs, IFs and other Olympic Movement institutions, and a large collection of academic articles, journals and books. Around 2,000 new titles are added to the OWL every year. To make sure you don’t miss out, you can sign up to receive weekly alerts on new releases: https://olympic.org/library. Institutions interested in installing a search bar linked to the OWL on their website can contact studies.centre@olympic.org. The mission of the OSC, as part of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, is to make Olympic knowledge accessible to all, and to ensure that it is relevant and permanently enriched. To learn more about the Olympic Studies Centre’s services and programmes, visit www.olympic.org/studies.

TOP partners

Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic has supported the IOC’s Young Leaders Programme since 2017, giving young people around the world the chance to make a positive impact in their communities.  Through seed funding of up to CHF 5,000, the Programme gives participants the opportunity to create positive change in their communities through grassroots projects that leverage the power of sport. Panasonic has provided additional funding to be used as project grants, as well as audiovisual equipment to capture the progress of the diverse range of projects. Panasonic’s backing has also made it possible to develop and expand the programme, with the latest cycle seeing more than 50 new and ongoing initiatives receiving support. In addition, and for the first time, as part of its youth empowerment approach Panasonic will offer one of the Young Leaders the opportunity to do an internship at the company later this year. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) announced the organisation of a Friendship and Solidarity Competition in Tokyo on 8 November, with the participation of some of the world’s best athletes. This artistic gymnastics competition will see two teams compete, Team Friendship and Team Solidarity. The teams’ composition is balanced in gender (eight women and eight men) and national representation. The event will also offer a new opportunity to show the huge potential of artificial intelligence to reinforce the fairness of judging in gymnastics. Full info here. In addition, the FIG Education Commission is launching a second series of online seminars, which will run between 16 October and 11 December 2020 and offer fresh insights into a broad range of areas of coach education. There will be seven seminars in all, each of them broadcast on a Friday on the FIG Education YouTube channel across a nine-week period. More info here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the new dates of the postponed FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championship, which will now be held from 22 to 24 August 2021 in the Seychelles. The competition, held every two years, is open to long-distance swimmers aged between 14 and 19. More info at www.fina.org.

World Archery has announced that the Indoor Archery World Series is going virtual for the 2021 season. This international mass-participation circuit running from November to February, will combine both online and smaller live events in a change from the usual format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More details here.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the establishment of the WBSC Integrity Unit, a centralised hub for promoting and ensuring integrity within the organisation. The mission of the WBSC Integrity Unit is to enhance fair play and transparency, protect athletes’ rights and promote inclusiveness, and further enhance governance. The Unit will be chaired by WBSC Secretary General Beng Choo Low. Full details here.

winter IFs

The World Curling Federation (WCF) has appointed Christopher Hamilton as its new Head of Media. Hamilton – who has been with the Federation since 2014 and focussed on developing its digital media offering – had been carrying out the role of Acting Head of Media since April 2020, following the departure of the previous Head of Media, Cameron MacAllister. Full news release here.

national olympic committees

NOC of Albania
On 4 October, the NOC of Albania organised a dedicated event on World Walking Day to promote sport for all through walking, but also to convey messages of peace and hope through sport. Around 100 people of different ages took part at the event venue, but also on social networks by joining the social media campaign with the hashtag #worldwalkingday. Many athletes and Olympians joined the collective march while encouraging people, and young people in particular, to practise physical activity by donating T-shirts. They also highlighted the importance of the Olympic values and gender equality in every sport. The event consisted of a 2km walk, stopping for nine different sports activities. A report was broadcast on national TV channel RTSH Sport Albania. More info at www.nocalbania.org. In addition, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the NOC of Albania, in collaboration with the Department of Sports at the European University of Tirana, held a “Mental Health in Sport” Forum. Thirty elite athletes, coaches and some young athletes took part in a discussion with three Doctors of Science in psychology. The discussion aimed, among other things, to help the athletes improve their self-confidence, cope with stress and control before and after competition, and learn how to improve their performance in sport through a healthy mind.


The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) received the Outstanding Contribution Award (category Sport and Culture) granted to NGOs based in the country. The award represents recognition of the NOC’s efforts in promoting and implementing Olympic education and the Olympic values, gender equality in sport, charity campaigns, and international sports exchanges over the past few decades. Frances Lee, the CTOC Secretary General, received the award during the 20th anniversary celebration of the Department of NGO International Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (photo above). More info here about the other winners.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced the Games-time leadership team for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Paul Ford is named as Deputy Chef de Mission. Louise Laing has been appointed Head of Operations and Elaine Skilton, Lewis Coggins and Jenny Cripps will lead the delivery in each of the three locations in which the Games will be staged. Heading up Performance Services is Greg Retter with Derick Macleod named as Chief Medical Officer and Sian Knott as Chief Physiotherapy Officer. Full details here.

Guinea Bissau NOC

The Guinea-Bissau NOC made a significant donation of equipment to the Mansoa Olympafrica Centre to fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The donation, made at the beginning of September, consisted of masks, disinfectants and first-aid kits. This initiative by the NOC was carried out with financial assistance from the Olympafrica International Foundation.

LTOK/ V. Dranginis

During its General Assembly Election Session held in Vilnius on 9 October, the NOC of Lithuania (LNOC) re-elected Olympic champion and IOC Member Daina Gudzinevičiūtė as its President. Lilija Vanagienė, President of the Lithuanian Skating Federation, Saulius Galadauskas, President of the Lithuanian Sports Masters Association, and Naglis Nasvytis, President of the Lithuanian Yachting Union, were elected as LNOC Vice-Presidents. The LNOC Secretary General and Treasurer, respectively, are Valentinas Paketūras and Darius Čerka, President of the Lithuanian Volleyball Federation. More info at www.ltok.lt.

At the beginning of September, the Sport-Environment Commission, at the instigation of the President of the NOC of Mali, Habib Sissoko, held a workshop on the implementation of the NOC’s Agenda 2, together with sports officials and the Ministry of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development. During this workshop, groups were formed to provide answers to issues regarding the theme “Role of sportsmen and women in environmental protection” in order to develop the Malian Olympian School Booklet.

NOC of Mauritania

The NOC of Mauritania recently provided 11 national sports federations with offices equipped with computers and office automation equipment at the Olympic Complex Office in Nouakchott. A martial arts room, fully equipped by the NOC, was also made available to athletes, and the NOC will bear the rental costs for a year. This is in line with the NOC’s action plan to support the federations in identifying talent. The key-handing ceremony took place on 6 October, with attendees including the Minister for Employment, Youth and Sport, Taleb Ould Sid’Ahmed, the NOC President, Abderrahmane Ethmane, and all the presidents and other representatives of the sports federations.

The Digital Olympic Academy of the Moroccan NOC organised a videoconference on the theme “The journey of a high-level athlete” on 13 October. Through this initiative, the NOC is making available to the sports movement an online platform for strategic thinking at the service of sport and the promotion of the Olympic values. In addition, after the videoconferences organised with the technical management of national sports federations, the NOC has finalised new support and preparation agreements for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More details here. Lastly, the NOC launched a project related to an energy audit of its headquarters on 7 October in the presence of representatives of the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency.


On 18 September, the Senegalese NOC, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP) signed a funding agreement to the tune of EUR 1.2 million in Paris (France). Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye, the NOC President and an IOC Member, Rémy Rioux, the AFD Chief Executive Officer, and Abdelghani Yalouz, the Director General of INSEP, formally established this partnership in the context of preparations for the first Youth Olympic Games to be held in Africa, Dakar 2026 (photo above). The AFD and INSEP are joining forces to support the Senegalese NOC in its mission to structure the Senegalese sports movement. To this end, the agreement will, among other things, help to provide training to young Senegalese athletes who will be taking part in the YOG Dakar 2026. This funding agreement follows on from an initial cooperation agreement, signed between the AFD and the NOC in September 2019, to finance refurbishment work for sporting infrastructure that will be used at the YOG Dakar 2026. Full details here on the AFD website.


During the autumn, UN Women Sweden is setting up a series of HeForShe-Runs, with a grand finale on Orange Day, 25 November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The aim is to contribute to a better world through sport; this is why the Swedish Olympic Committee and partners dressed up in orange with UN Women Sweden and arranged a HeForShe-Run at the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm. More info at www.sok.se.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council announced it would lead a USOPC College Sports Sustainability Think Tank to examine sustainable, broad-based college sports programming initiatives. The think tank will focus on vulnerabilities facing varsity-level Olympic and Paralympic sports, and devise remedies to ensure lasting opportunities for such sports participation in the future. In the 2018-19 school year, nearly half a million athletes competed in the US-based National Collegiate Athletic Association – including more than 300 Team USA athletes and 20,000 international athletes. At the Olympic Games Rio 2016, nearly 80 per cent of American athletes – and 83 per cent of US medalists – had collegiate ties. This think tank looks to support this valuable talent pipeline for Olympic sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the resulting financial shortfalls and beyond. More details here.

Venezuelan NOC

On 12 October, the first meeting about the Venezuelan delegation for the first Junior Pan-American Games, scheduled from 9 to 19 September in Calu next year, was held at the Venezuelan NOC headquarters. Venezuelan Hockey Federation President Zuleika Seijas will be the Chef de Mission for these Games, a position she held for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. Venezuelan NOC Secretary General Elida Párraga also attended the meeting. More info here.

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