Olympic Highlights 16/11/2020

IOC / Greg Martin



During the week, President Bach continued to address the many IOC Commissions which have been meeting remotely over the past days.

On 11 November, the IOC Executive Board (EB) and the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC), chaired by IOC EB member Kirst Coventry, held a virtual joint meeting to discuss various topics, including the athlete experience and COVID-19 countermeasures at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. With the health and safety of athletes being one of the key principles in the delivery of the Olympic Games, the IOC EB and AC discussed the importance of delivering the Games while preserving the athlete experience. In September, a series of measures were agreed upon by the IOC Coordination Commission and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to make the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 fit for a post-corona world. In addition to the COVID-19 countermeasures, the actions that the IOC has taken this year to support athletes during the pandemic were highlighted, following the recommendations of the International Athletes’ Forum last year.

The EB was also given a presentation on the Rule 50 consultation that started earlier this summer with athletes around the world, exploring innovative additional ways for athletes to express views during the Olympic Games, while respecting the Olympic spirit. The AC also updated the EB on the continuous support provided to athletes in 2020 through the Athlete365 community, as well as on the Olympic medal reallocation ceremonies organised so far in 2020. Full news release here.

Following the joint meeting with the IOC AC, President Bach chaired a virtual EB meeting during which the continued progress being made towards all forthcoming Olympic Games was discussed.

The EB agreed to increase the budget of Olympic Solidarity for the period 2021-2024 by 16 per cent. The budget for 2021-2024 will now total USD 590 million.  The budget allocated to athlete support programmes has been increased by 25 per cent for the next quadrennial. Presented by EB Member and Chair of the Olympic Solidarity Commission Robin Mitchell, the 2021–2024 Olympic Solidarity plan is fit for purpose in the post-coronavirus world, meaning that all funding and programmes go as a priority to Olympic Solidarity’s direct beneficiaries: the athletes and the NOCs. Full news release here.

A report on Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 highlighted the regular communication with key stakeholder groups which is essential to the success of the delivery of Tokyo 2020. Recent briefings have been given through Chef de Mission Webinars, an IF Seminar, a Virtual World Broadcasters Briefing and a Press Operations Update. These provided important information relating to several areas, including COVID-19 countermeasure planning and the recent cost saving measures. It was also noted that a joint IOC-IPC Project Review will take place next week between 16 and 18 November, with President Bach set to visit Japan during this period (15 to 18 November 2020).

Concerning the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Organising Committee presented a report on the successful pre-homologation of the Sliding Centre in Yanqing and the comprehensive COVID-19 countermeasures implemented at this event. The successful delivery of the World Press Briefing conducted in October, the venue visits taking place this week with four IFs and construction work were also detailed to the EB.

In several written reports, the progress of some of the other Games’ Organising Committees was presented. For Paris 2024, this included the successful summer launches of the “Paris 2024 Club”, one of the Organising Committee’s active community participation programmes, as well as its “Impact 2024” programme for social development through sport.

There were also updates on Milano Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028 following their first Coordination Commissions meetings held end of September and end of October respectively, with the LA28 brand launch at the start of September a notable highlight for the Los Angeles Organising Committee.

With regard to the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026, an update was provided on the second Coordination Commission meeting that took place in October, which focused on the finalised Edition Plan, the identification of the new opportunities that have arisen from the postponement from 2022 to 2026 and adapting the planning to the new dates. Read here the full news release on the progress made by the Organising Committees.

Given the current circumstances, the IOC EB also decided to hold the EB retreat from Monday 7 December to Friday 11 December 2020, remotely. The Olympic Summit will also be held remotely on Saturday 12 December.

In a meeting held by videoconference, President Bach and Tony Estanguet, Chair of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, discussed the preparations for the Games, in particular the adaptation of the Games to the post-coronavirus world. Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for these Games, also attended the meeting.

Addressing the IF Forum 2020 held virtually, President Bach said that Tokyo is “the best prepared Olympic city” for the postponed Olympic Games thanks to fruitful collaborative work with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and all other partners and stakeholders, including the IFs. He also stressed that “the health and safety of all concerned have always been and remain our top priority. Because of the fast-changing situation, we may not yet have all of the answers to the operational questions that are at the top of the minds of all IFs, but please rest assured that we are developing a toolbox of COVID countermeasures for every possible scenario.” After adding that “these developments will greatly facilitate the safe organisation and give us additional countermeasure tools,” the IOC President concluded by saying: “In this way, we are prepared for safe Olympic Games, whatever conditions the world will be facing next summer.” (See also under “Recognised Organisations”.)

The IOC President sent a message of support to the virtual General Assembly of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) and to the General Assembly of AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport).

In a video message to the Smart Cities & Sport Summit 2020 held virtually, President Bach praised its organiser, the World Union of Olympic Cities, which “by bringing together past and future Olympic host cities, has an essential role to amplify the important message about the contribution of sport to society. With this Summit, you are deepening the understanding of the role of sport in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in shaping the post-corona world.”


IOC EB member Ivo Ferriani, who is also President of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF), was elected as President of the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) during the General Assembly held virtually on 5 November. He succeeds Gian-Franco Kasper, the President of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and an IOC Honorary Member, who had been AIOWF President since 2014.

IOC / Greg Martin

Former IOC Member Francesco Ricci Bitti has been re-elected as President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) for a further four-year term, during the annual General Assembly held on 9 November virtually. Mr Ricci Bitti has been leading the organisation since 2013. His third and final term as ASOIF President will officially commence on 1 January 2021. (See also under “Recognised Organisations”.)

Other Olympic news

Twenty Olympic Movement organisations, namely 15 IFs and five NOCs, have received this year’s Carbon Action Awards, a global initiative by the IOC and Dow which is aimed at recognising and accelerating effective climate action in sport. The winners were announced on 6 November at the sixth IOC Sustainability Session, which took place virtually as part of the annual IF Forum. To be recognised, IFs and NOCs must be a part of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, which was launched by UN Climate Change and the IOC in 2018 with the aim of developing a climate agenda for sport. They are also expected to present detailed data on their carbon reduction plans, requiring them to better understand and measure their annual carbon footprint. Full news release and the list of organisations that have received awards here.

A new guide has been published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in collaboration with the IOC and the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI). This guide, entitled “Sports and urban biodiversity: a framework for achieving mutual benefits for nature and sports in cities”, explains how investing in urban biodiversity provides an opportunity for sports federations, venue owners and operators, local organising committees, city planners and investors to build a long-lasting and socially-positive legacy in cities. Full news release here.

Four organisations have been awarded the 2020 IOC Sport and Active Society (SAS) Development Grants. They are: Kabubu (France); Kids Play International (USA); Fondation Sport pour l'Espoir (Haiti); and Asociación Civil Activa en Educación y Soporte en Diabetes y ECNT (Argentina). The four organisations have developed inspiring projects encouraging the practice of regular physical activity and promoting the health and social benefits of sport. Selected from among 107 applications by a jury composed of four IOC SAS Commission members, each project will receive a grant worth CHF 20,000. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

On 6 November, the Central Board of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) met for the second time this year, via video conference. Among the key topics addressed were the competitions for 2021-2023, youth world events and 3x3 basketball. More details here. In addition, FIBA has announced an expanded field of 38 national teams taking part in the second edition of the FIBA Esports Open, set to take place over three weekends (from mid-November) with six regional conferences. More info here.

The 189th annual Congress of the International Cycling Union (UCI) was held on 5 November in an entirely virtual format for the first time in its history due to the current pandemic. Delegates from 115 national federations participated in the event. After a review of the 2020 cycling year, , UCI President David Lappartient made a point of presenting the numerous projects which continued to develop or were achieved in 2020, such as the first-ever UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, which will take place in December. Among other things, the Congress voted in favour of the affiliation of the National Federation of Palestine. This brings the number of UCI member national federations to 197. More details here.

The city of Kitakyushu in Japan will host both the 50th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships and the 38th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in October 2021. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Executive Committee has entrusted the Japan Gymnastics Association with the organisation of the two back-to-back World Championships. This dual allocation comes after the decision by the Danish Gymnastics Federation in July to withdraw from hosting the 2021 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Copenhagen (Denmark). More info here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) is launching the application process for the 2021 edition of Olympic Aquatics Support Programme (OASP), an initiative in place since 2018. Through the OASP, all National Member Federations have access to financial support (up to USD 25,000 per year) to help them carry out any project that they consider appropriate from one of the eight categories proposed by FINA: construction, refurbishment or maintenance of facilities; purchase or hire of sports material equipment; administration fees; technology resources; technical support; preparation and training of athletes, coaches and officials; staging and participation at national and continental competitions; and talent-identification programmes. National Member Federations have until 30 November to submit their application. More info at www.fina.org.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced the dates of the 2020 Regional Coaches Conferences. The Conference programme will include Q&A sessions with former professional players and/or their coaches, and cover topics including Participation, Physical Conditioning, Biomechanics, Psychology, the Female Game, the Transition from Junior to Professional Game and Developing Top Junior Players. Two hours of lectures will be delivered each day via the ITF Academy platform. The French-speaking Regional Conference will be held from 29 November to 1 December, the English one from 4 to 6 December and the Spanish one from 11 to 13 December. More info at www.itftennis.com.

World Sailing

Quanhai Li (see photo) from China has been elected World Sailing President, at World Sailing's virtual General Assembly. He succeeds Kim Andersen, who has presided over the IF for four years. The Vice-President of World Sailing since 2013, Li was Secretary General of the Chinese Yachting Association from 1997 to 2005 before becoming its Vice-President until 2017. A new World Sailing Board of Directors has also been elected and will serve a four-year term up until the 2024 General Assembly. More info here. Jo Aleh from New Zealand, a London 2012 gold and Rio 2016 silver medallist in the Women's 470, has been elected as Chair of World Sailing's Athletes' Commission. Aleh replaces Yann Rocherieux from France following his resignation as Chair after he was elected as a World Sailing Vice-President at the Federation’s 2020 General Assembly on 1 November. Full details here. In addition, World Sailing has launched a Guide to Sustainable Sailing Clubs, an online self-assessment tool supported by a suite of resources aimed at sailing and yacht clubs to help them become more sustainable and reduce their environmental impact. Click here for more info.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced that the WBSC Academy, a global development initiative, officially began courses on 2 November. The WBSC Academy will help athletes, coaches, officials and national federations to conduct efficient self-learning in various topics related to baseball, softball and baseball5. Courses will initially be open to WBSC-registered affiliates, who will have access to all content, learning courses and sessions available on the WBSC Academy platform. More info here.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced the launch of a specialised Women’s Judging Programme, with the overall goal of developing more female judges worldwide. The programme aims to train and develop female judges around the globe, promote gender equality in the profession, and include more qualified women on judging panels for ISA World Championships. The programme will be held online from 1 to 3 December. Full info here. In addition, the 2021 Surf City El Salvador World Surfing Games will take place from 29 May to 6 June at two locations in El Salvador, La Bocana and El Sunzal. This 2021 edition is the last remaining piece of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 qualification process. There are five remaining slots for men and seven for women, which will go to the highest-ranking eligible athletes in the event. More details here.

winter ifs

Following the virtual World Curling General Assembly held at the beginning of September, the member associations of the World Curling Federation (WCF) grew from 64 to 66. The WCF Board approved the conditional membership of the Bolivian Curling Federation and the Curling Federation of Turkmenistan. Full info here.

national olympic committees

Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

With the support of funds from Olympic Solidarity, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) and the CTOC Athletes’ Commission held a “Sports Agent Forum” on 29 October after a successful experience last month in the National Sports Training Centre. The CTOC has always focused on building an interactive platform for collaboration between industries and athletes and, in addition to TOP and official partners, potential sponsors and participants in different areas were invited to the Forum. Olympian archer Lei Chien-ying and boxer Lin Yu-ting delivered their viewpoints on sports agents. This forum was jointly supported by sports associations and enterprises. Full details here. In addition, the CTOC has announced that on 22 October, the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) decided to award the 2025 edition of the World Masters Games to Taipei City and New Taipei City. More info here and also here on the IMGA website. 

The NOC of Iceland has launched a social media campaign called #verumhraust, which can be translated as #StayHealthy. The aim of the campaign is to motivate people to exercise regularly, stay healthy and take care of their health. Public authorities in Iceland have stressed that, during the COVID-19 period, it is important to pursue regular physical activity. From 31 October to 17 November, all organised sport is banned both indoors and outdoors in Iceland. When organised sport becomes an option again, the NOC will add to the campaign messages that will encourage people to try any of the more than 50 recognised sports and disciplines practised in Iceland within any of the 33 national federations.  More info at www.olympic.is.

The Moroccan NOC organised several activities in early November. On 3 November, the NOC’s operational team met to assess support for the federations and the progress of the JIL 24 / 28 project (which aims to help Moroccan athletes prepare and participate in major international events up to 2028). The following day, the NOC took part in the work of the coordination meeting of the Regional Academy of Education and Training. The same day, the NOC Chef de Mission held a videoconference with the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More info at www.cnom.org.ma.

The NOC of Romania, in partnership with the Aspen Institute Romania, the Romanian Commercial Bank, the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Youth and Sport, has launched the national online platform “Playing into Sports”. Inspired by the Aspen Institute’s “Project Play” programme, “Playing into Sports” is a national programme designed to promote mass sport and physical participation among children. The idea is to let the kids have fun with a wide range of specific educational sports exercises and to inspire parents to encourage their children to do sport while spending quality time together. A number of Romanian Olympic champions, local sports icons and celebrities joined the initiative as Ambassadors, offering their advice and promoting the platform on various media channels. More info at www.cosr.ro

NOC of São Tomé and Príncipe

The new headquarters of the NOC of São Tomé and Príncipe was inaugurated on 3 November by the country’s Prime Minister, Jorge Bom Jesus. Also in attendance were the Ministers for Youth and Sport, Tourism, Culture and Labour, representatives of the United Nations Development Programme and UNICEF, and the Mayor of the Água Grande district. The refurbishment work was funded by the government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the NOC. The new building will be called the Palacio da Juventude e Desporto (literally Youth and Sports Palace) and will house the NOC, the Directorate General for Sport and the Youth Institute. A designated room fully equipped with computers with internet access was also inaugurated and will be made available to national federations that do not yet have their own headquarters. More info at www.comiteolimpicostp.com

Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee

The Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee (SAOC) announced that its Director of International Communications, Razan Baker (photo), has been appointed as Chairperson of the International Bowling Federation (IBF)’s Women in Sport Committee by IBF President Sheikh Talal Mohammed Al-Sabah. Dr Baker currently serves on the Saudi Bowling Federation Board whilst also working as a sports columnist for Arab News. She will lead a Committee whose objectives will include setting strategies that advocate increased participation of women athletes in bowling and leadership positions in the IBF and its member federations.

The “For a Spain with Values” (“Por Una España Con Valores”) campaign has reached more than 8 million people on social media. The campaign was launched in the summer by the Spanish NOC and the San Antonio de Murcia Catholic University, and shined a spotlight on a number of high-level Spanish athletes. The goal of the campaign was to relay athletes’ values to wider society through a video and showcase how these values can help people overcome the difficult social, health and economic situation caused by the pandemic. More info at www.coe.es

The NOC of Sri Lanka has embarked on a campaign to create awareness of sexual harassment and abuse prevention with the tagline “Harassment is No Game”, which was initially created as part of the IOC's Safe Sport campaign. The campaign organisers are looking to address all forms of harassment – from mental, physical, verbal and sexual abuse to bullying – which take place in the sports community in the country. The NOC has also set up a special team to investigate reports of harassment and pursue appropriate action immediately. More details here.

Turkish Olympic Committee

The Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC) and the Turkish Triathlon Federation held a technical course for triathlon coaches from 25 to 29 October in Ankara. The five-day course, which was supported by Olympic Solidarity, was led by the International Triathlon Union (ITU)-appointed coaches Alexander Kochetkov and Vicent Beltran Alcala. Participants took part in theory-based and practical sessions, which were then reinforced through evaluation meetings where individual feedback was provided. More details here.

The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has announced that the LA84 Foundation recently awarded USD 1.3 million in grants to help youth sports organisations (details here). The LA84 Foundation was created with a share of the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984 surplus and began operations in 1985 as a grant-making and educational foundation. The Foundation has supported thousands of Southern California youth sports organisations through grant-making, while also training coaches, commissioning research, convening conferences and acting as a national thought leader on important youth sports issues. For more information about the LA84 Foundation, click here.

NOC of Uruguay

The 2020 edition of the sports administration course organised by the NOC of Uruguay was successfully completed on 6 November. Under the auspices of Olympic Solidarity, this course was mainly designed to educate and train sports leaders in order to update their knowledge of the work carried out by the Olympic Movement, and optimise the management of the national sports organisations to which they belong. The course took place on 29 and 30 October and 5 and 6 November at the NOC headquarters, and brought together a total of 21 participants, including 12 women. More info here.

NOC of Uzbekistan

The NOC of Uzbekistan, the Uzbek State University of Physical Culture and Sports and the Olympic Academy of Uzbekistan organised a Scientific-Practical Online Conference devoted to “Modern Science in Olympic Sports”. Leading sports scientists and specialists from Russia, Ukraine, the USA, Kazakhstan and Iran attended the event. The conference participants delivered reports on the topics of their choice. During the presentations, scientists shared valuable information on Olympic education and refereeing at competitions. More details here.

Venezuelan NOC

Ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Venezuelan NOC, through the Chef de Mission of the Venezuelan Games delegation, has resumed its virtual meetings with the various national sports federations. Planning, the road to qualification and the work of athletes who have already qualified were among the topics discussed at these meetings. More details here

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020

The Ariake Gymnastics Centre (see photo), due to be used as a venue during the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, has been recognised with a Minister of the Environment Award as a structure that makes good use of wood as a renewable and aesthetically rich resource. The award, conducted annually since 1993, recognises facilities that contribute to the use of Japanese wood. This year’s award is an important recognition of Tokyo 2020’s ongoing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy. Full info here.

Recognised organisations

The annual General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) has unanimously re-elected Francesco Ricci Bitti as its President for a further four-year term. The annual meeting of ASOIF’s membership was held on 9 November virtually for the first time in its history due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The General Assembly also approved several amendments to the ASOIF Statutes and received reports from the IOC, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Organising Committees and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). More details here.

On 10 November, the first-ever virtual General Assembly of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) took place to reflect on sport’s united front in the face of this past year’s challenges. ARISF President Raffaele Chiulli provided an overview of his meetings with the IOC to further strengthen the constructive dialogue and cooperation between the two organisations. There were discussions on both the impact of COVID-19 on ARISF member federations and future work on projects such as the overall strategic review, identity, good governance, sustainability, social inclusion and how to strengthen services to members. Updates were also presented on the topic of doping and the financial situation. The General Assembly also elected Claude Azéma, who is President of the World Confederation of Boules Sports, as a Council member for the period 2020-2021. More details here.

On 10 November, at its virtual General Assembly, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) welcomed the International Federation of Teqball (FITEQ) as a full member, while the Association of Paralympic Sports Organisations (APSO) and the World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) were both approved as associated members. More details here. During the same Assembly, World Sailing won the inaugural GAISF Sustainability Award, which aims to showcase the innovative sustainability projects of the IFs. World Rugby, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) all placed within the top five. The award was launched in 2019 to encourage IFs to use their global platforms to combat climate change and educate their communities about the importance of sustainability. Full details here and also here on the World Sailing website.

The first-ever virtual annual General Assembly of the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport (AIMS) was held on 10 November. AIMS President Stephan Fox welcomed all AIMS members, observers, former AIMS members and former AIMS presidents before thanking the IOC, GAISF and SportAccord for all their support, especially during these challenging times of the pandemic. The General Assembly approved important statutory changes, making the GAISF observers also observers in AIMS, and approved the financial reports and the budget. More info here.

“How Sport and Society Can Emerge Stronger from a Global Crisis” was the theme of the 2020 IF Forum held virtually under the auspices of Sport Accord. More than 200 leaders from over 125 IFs took part in the Forum. Close to 30 speakers debated various challenges and responses in relation to the ongoing pandemic, with topics including crisis management, scenario planning and risk mitigation strategies that can be applied in the months and years to come. Among the speakers, there were IOC President Thomas Bach, SportAccord and GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli, and World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who underlined how collaboration can help sport to play a key role in the global recovery from COVID-19. More details here.


 The President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), IOC Member Mustapha Berraf (right in photo), met the Ethiopian Ambassador to Algeria, Nabiat Getachew Assegid (left), at the ANOCA office in Algiers (Algeria). Their discussions focused on the next steps with regard to cooperation and exchanges, in particular the ANOCA Extraordinary General Assembly and the African Youth Games, which will take place in Addis Ababa in December 2020 and in 2022, respectively.


The International Committee of Mediterranean Games (CIJM) has announced that its Secretary General, Iakovos Filippousis (right in photo), met the Greek Under-Secretary of State for Culture and Sport, Lefteris Avgenakis (left). Their discussions addressed the possible organisation of the 2030 Mediterranean Games in Iraklion, Crete, as well as the possibility of reorganising the Mediterranean Beach Games in Greece, this time in Crete. The city of Iraklion was one of the Olympic host sites during the Olympic Games Athens 2004, organising the Olympic football tournaments. Greece hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1991 in Athens and the Mediterranean Beach Games in 2019 in Patras. More info here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced that São Tomé and Príncipe has become the 190th state party to ratify the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport (UNESCO Convention). This leaves just five countries worldwide that have yet to complete their ratification of the UNESCO Convention. Full details here. On 9 November, WADA published a Guide for the Operational Independence of National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) that will support them in strengthening and reinforcing their operational independence as required by the revised World Anti-Doping Code that was approved in November 2019 and comes into force on 1 January 2021. More info here.

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