Olympic Highlights 18/09/2020

18 Sep 2020



Following Suga Yoshihide’s election as Prime Minister of Japan, IOC President Thomas Bach made the following statement: “I congratulate Suga Yoshihide on becoming Prime Minister of Japan. I wish him all the very best, for him personally and for the Japanese people. At the same time, I would like to thank the Prime Minister very much for the commitment he has already expressed for safe and successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, next year. I am sure that, with this continued personal support of the Prime Minister, the Olympic Games will be the light at the end of the dark tunnel in which humankind currently finds itself. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will send a powerful signal of hope and resilience to the world – and the IOC will stand alongside Japan every step of the way.”

IOC President Thomas Bach participated in a video call with the Group of Friends of Sport at the United Nations. He had been invited by the two Co-Chairs, Ambassador Isabelle Picco from Monaco and Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani from Qatar. The IOC President thanked the Group of Friends for their vital support for the “Joint Statement on the impact of COVID-19 on sport, physical activity and well-being and its effects on social development”. It was supported by 118 UN Member States and called on all States to include sport and physical activity in their recovery plans post-COVID-19 and to integrate sport and physical activity in national strategies for sustainable development. In his address, the IOC President reported on the role of sport during the current COVID-19 pandemic with regard to the economy, social cohesion and health. Sport is a “low cost, high impact tool and needs to be considered as part of the solution”, he said. At the same time, he called for more solidarity in the post-coronavirus world in and amongst societies, while stressing that governments need to support the political neutrality of the IOC and the Olympic Games. “We ask to accept that the Olympic Games must be beyond any political disputes governments might have with other countries”, President Bach said.

The IOC President met IOC Executive Board member and United World Wrestling (UWW) President Nenad Lalovic with whom he discussed the case of the Iranian athlete Navid Afkari trying to facilitate a solution.

Later after learning of the execution of the wrestler in Iran, the IOC published the following statement on 12 September. “The execution of wrestler Navid Afkari in Iran is very sad news. The IOC is shocked by this announcement today. In letters, Thomas Bach, the IOC President, had made direct personal appeals to the Supreme Leader and to the President of Iran this week and asked for mercy for Navid Afkari, while respecting the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC, together with the NOC of Iran, United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, did not achieve our goal. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari”. Read here the UWW statement.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on sport and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were at the heart of discussions between President Bach and International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President and IOC Member Morinari Watanabe.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Bach met Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) President Francesco Ricci Bitti. Together, they discussed preparations for Tokyo 2020 and the situation of IFs in the current crisis.

IOC / Greg Martin

The IOC President received International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer, with whom he addressed the preparations for Tokyo 2020 amongst other things.

Other Olympic news

Sessions three and four of the IOC’s gender equality webinar series – hosted live on 14 September and now available online – highlighted some of the great work IFs are doing to develop their pool of female coaches and technical officials, and provided concrete guidelines and tools for others to use. The latest in a series of six online sessions was devoted to sharing concrete examples of programmes that sports federations can implement in order to ensure a higher percentage of female coaches and technical officials in the future. This online session was opened by Lydia Nsekera, Chair of the IOC Women in Sport Commission. Full news release here.

A new IOC guide will help to make sports organisations and their events more sustainable, addressing issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss, economic inequality and social injustice. The guidelines – called “Sustainability Management in Sports” – will help NOCs and IFs integrate sustainability into their operations and events. The Guide is part of the IOC’s “Sustainability Essentials” series. Full news release here.


Thomas Rosandich (photo), Founding President of the United States Sports Academy (USSA), died on 29 August aged 88. Rosandich served as the Academy’s President and CEO for 43 years until 2015. During a 20-year career serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, he coached numerous world record and Olympic track and field athletes. He also served as a member of the IOC Culture and Olympic Education Commission (2000-2001 and 2003-2013). Rosandich was awarded the Olympic Order in 1997 in recognition of his work for the Olympic Movement. More details here.

international federations

summer ifs

On 10 September, World Athletics published its Annual Report for 2019. As part of the 2019 Constitution, World Athletics stated that it would produce publicly available financial statements as part of its ongoing efforts to deliver greater transparency. Full details here.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) will make close to CHF 3 million available in development funding through FEI Solidarity, including just over CHF 1 million through the newly created FEI COVID-19 Relief Fund for National Federations that have been severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic. Approved by the FEI Board at its online meeting on 10 September, a total of 105 of the 137 National Federations have been identified as eligible for support. The FEI Solidarity Committee also agreed to make available emergency funding for Lebanon to assist the country’s recovery from the devastating explosion in Beirut at the beginning of August. The Committee also awarded the first FEI Gender Equality Grant to the National Federation of Costa Rica to support the organisation of courses promoting female participation and development at all levels of the sport in Latin America. More detailed info here.


The International Fencing Federation (FIE) celebrated World Fencing Day on 12 September. The 2020 theme of “Fencing, a Passion, a Family” brought together fencers, referees, coaches, officials, federations, clubs, communities and fans across the globe virtually. Across the social media accounts, there were over 1.4 million unique interactions with inspiring content, with the result that World Fencing Day 2020 made the fencing community even closer and stronger. World Fencing Day takes place annually, on the second Saturday of September. More details at www.fie.org.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to step up their joint cooperation to address threats posed by crime to sport. The MoU was signed at UNODC’s headquarters in Vienna (Austria) by UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly and FIFA President Gianni Infantino during the “Tackling Corruption and Crime in and through Sport” event. The MoU also pledges to consider ways in which football can be used as a vehicle to strengthen youth resilience to crime and substance use through the provision of life skills training. More details here.

The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF) has published its 2019 annual report, which summarises the key activities of its first full year of operation. The GEF was established in early 2019 as an independent body to ensure that violations of the International Gymnastics Federation’s rules, policies and procedures, including ethical breaches, are handled in an unbiased way. One of the Foundation’s main missions is to strengthen the safeguarding of athletes and other participants in gymnastics from harassment and abuse. More info here.


In July, 40 Cuban wrestling coaches took part in a theoretical course held at the auditorium of the University of Medicine of Oriente. United World Wrestling (UWW) educator Juan Maren Delis, from Cuba, conducted the course, which was organised thanks to the initiative of the National and Regional Olympic Wrestling Federations of Cuba. The course was only theoretical due to the current health restrictions and covered several theoretical areas such as coaches’ behavior, educational and training values of Olympic wrestling, coaches’ role with young people and much more. More details here.

national olympic committees

The 2nd National Athletes’ Forum, organised virtually on social networks by the Colombian NOC, was a great success. From 9 to 11 September, around 90,000 people followed the talks by 17 speakers, including many athletes. The Forum theme was “Athletes adapting to a new social and sporting environment”. The Forum closed with the participation of Sports Minister Ernesto Lucena and NOC President Baltazar Medina. More details here.

On 15 September, a virtual meeting of the Standing Committee and Executive Committee of the Spanish NOC was held, attended by 26 members. The topics discussed by the Executive Committee included the NOC activity report, the operating procedure for the competitions of Spanish national federations, the situation regarding global competitions, the Association of Olympic Sports (ADO) and the NOC’s annual gala. More details here.

COC/Barbora Reichová

Olympic bronze medallist and world slalom champion, Alpine skier Šárka Strachová (photo), is the new Chair of the Czech Fair Play Club. She succeeded three-time Olympic cross-country skiing medallist Květa Pecková-Jeriová. The Club is part of the Czech Olympic Committee and each year recognises acts of fair play through awards. This year, the main award for life-long contribution to fair play went to ice hockey forward Vladimír Martinec, three-time world champion and double Olympic medallist in the 1970s, and also a successful coach. The main award for fair play in action went to racing driver Martin Prokop. More details here.

Russian Olympic Committee

As part of an agreement between Olympic Solidarity and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), for the very first time in Russia, training courses are being implemented under the auspices of the IOC. The Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) was chosen by the ROC as the platform for implementing this cycle of training courses for sports administrators. From 8 to 10 September, the first participants of the Olympic Solidarity National Training Courses for Sports Administrators successfully underwent training at the Moscow branch of the RIOU. The participants, representatives of national sports federations and Olympic councils, have all received certificates from the IOC and the RIOU. By the end of 2020, four courses are planned to be implemented by the ROC. More details here.

Recognised organisations

In view of the celebration of the World Clean-up Day on 19 September, the Association of African National Olympic Committees (ANOCA) is bracing to celebrate this event in a special way, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the international organisation “LET’S DO IT WORLD”, a partnership strongly based on IOC guidelines within the framework of sport and environment missions. To encourage the NOCs in their quest for a sustainable environment, a committee has been set up to evaluate the activities of each NOC.

On 13 September, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) marked the one-year anniversary of the inaugural World Urban Games 2019, held in Budapest (Hungary). An event that blended competitive urban sport and a festival of youth music, art and culture, the Games welcomed over 50,000 spectators to the Urban Games Park to witness some of the best urban athletes in the world. The World Urban Games also promoted gender equality as there was an equal number of athletes from each gender, along with equal prize money across all sports.  More details here.


The former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Honourable John Fahey AC (photo), has died in Australia at the age of 75. Fahey was the second WADA President from 2008 to 2013. A lawyer by profession, he was elected as a member of Parliament in New South Wales in 1984 and rose to become the State Premier in 1992. A lifelong sports lover, Fahey chaired the committee responsible for the preparation, submission and presentation of the successful Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid. Full news release here.

In addition, WADA has established a 10-person Strategic Testing Expert Group which is, among other activities, collecting and assessing feedback from Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) on their testing programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Group is made up of anti-doping professionals with a broad range of scientific, medical, legal and other relevant expertise, including an athlete representative. News release here. WADA also announced the publication of new Guidelines for Education to support ADOs in their implementation of the new International Standard for Education (ISE), which comes into force on 1 January 2021. Full info here.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) are to sign a historic Cooperation Agreement to advance the rights of persons with disabilities and jointly commit to using Para sport as a vehicle to drive the human rights agenda forward. As part of the agreement, the two organisations will work together to develop and implement mutually beneficial strategic inclusive communications campaigns. They also hope to collaborate on major events such as the IPC Inclusion Summit and Global Disability Summit, and to explore areas of shared interest around strategy, policy development, research and communication. Full details here.

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