Olympic Highlights 19/11/2021

IOC / Greg Martin



IOC President Thomas Bach was in the Polish capital Warsaw this week. After a visit to the headquarters of the Polish Olympic Committee, President Bach met school children from all over Poland at the Olympic Centre. The students gave presentations about the Olympic Movement in Poland before exchanging with the President about sport, Olympism and education. The President also had the opportunity to meet some Polish Olympians attending the meeting. More info here on the Polish Olympic Committee website.

IOC / Greg Martin

IOC President Thomas Bach was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, during his visit to Warsaw. The medal is Poland's highest civilian award granted to foreigners or to Poles resident abroad. In the ceremony at the presidential palace, Polish President Andrzej Duda thanked the IOC and President Bach for “developing sport all around the world, not only for sports organisations and events, but especially for the athletes”. He continued: “Thank you for your cooperation with the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals, and for bringing sport closer to everyone and allowing everyone the chance to compete on a level playing field.” Read the full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin

While in Poland, President Bach presented the Olympic Order to Marian Dymalski, who has been committed to sport, and in particular university sport, for almost 50 years. A Board member of the Polish Olympic Committee, he is also Vice-President for international relations of the Polish University Sports Association and Vice-President of the International University Sport Federation (FISU). Among the personalities present at the ceremony were the Minister of Sport, Kamil Bortniczuk; Member of the European Parliament Tomasz Poręba; and the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Witold Bańka. More details here on the Polish Olympic Committee website.

Also on the presidential agenda were a visit to the Royal Lazienki Museum and a dinner hosted by the Polish Olympic Committee.

Throughout his stay in Warsaw, the IOC President was accompanied by the President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Andrzej Kraśnicki.

During a conference call, President Bach and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, discussed the situation in Afghanistan and their collaboration to ensure the safety of members of the Afghan Olympic community. An IOC delegation also met an Afghan delegation, this week (see under ‘other Olympic news’). They also talked about the ongoing programmes of the Olympic Refuge Foundation, of which the UNHCR is a trusted partner.

At Olympic House, President Bach met IOC Executive Board member Ivo Ferriani whom he congratulated on his recent election as President of the  Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), as representative of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF). They also spoke about the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

President Bach spoke with IOC Member Watanabe Morinari. He congratulated him for his recent re-election as President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). The two men also addressed various Olympic topics, including the IOC Boxing Task Force, which is chaired by Mr Watanabe.

President Bach had a meeting with the Chair of the International Testing Agency (ITA), Valérie Fourneyron. They discussed the preparations for the anti-doping programme for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The IOC President was accompanied by IOC Member and Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission Uğur Erdener. Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Sports Federations (ASOIF) also attended the meeting.

President Bach met Olympian and former IOC Member Stefan Holm, who was also a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Together they spoke about several Olympic topics, mainly concerning the athletes. 

The IOC President also welcomed Michelle Ford-Eriksson, Australian swimmer and Olympic gold medallist. Mrs Ford was a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission at the same time as the IOC President.  

IOC / Greg Martin

The President welcomed the team from the Tennis Club Morges, a town close to the Olympic Capital, who recently won the Swiss Under-18 title for 2021.


The IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games LA28, chaired by IOC Vice-President Nicole Hoevertsz, met virtually on 17 November. During the meeting, legacy, collaboration and commercial success were highlighted as being key to the successful progress of preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games LA28.The LA28 Organising Committee team presented a summary of their achievements and developments since the last meeting in October 2020, whilst also outlining their priorities for the coming months. The IOC President made some opening remarks to the Commission. Read the full news release here.

IOC / Christophe Moratal

The IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) met last week for the first time in person since Tokyo 2020. Led by the new AC Chair, Emma Terho, who is also a member of the IOC Executive Board, the meeting was an opportunity for the Commission to reflect on the success of this summer’s Games, but also to look ahead at the role of the IOC AC in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and beyond. The IOC AC also held its traditional joint meeting with the IOC Executive Board.  Following the release of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks detailing the comprehensive COVID-19 guidelines for the Games, the IOC AC held a call last week with athletes’ commissions worldwide to brief athletes on the specificities of the Playbooks, answer their questions, receive feedback and give them the latest updates on Games preparations.  The Commission also held an initial discussion on its future priorities and the need to update its current strategy, developed in 2017. Read the full news release here.

other olympic news

On 18 November, the IOC met with the recently appointed representatives of the Afghan General Directorate of Physical Education & Sports. The talks were about the future of sport in Afghanistan and the representation of the country in international competitions. During the meeting, the Afghan representatives stated that they were strongly committed to following and observing the Olympic Charter. Both parties reiterated the fundamental right to access and practise sport safely for all individuals without discrimination. The IOC emphasised its existing channels of support for athletes and the Olympic community in Afghanistan. There was also an exchange of information on the structure and functioning of the Olympic Movement, and particularly its autonomy. In this respect, it was highlighted that the IOC continues to recognise the existing NOC of Afghanistan and its elected officials, with the NOC President and Secretary General present at the meeting. Both sides consider the discussions to have been constructive and agreed to continue the dialogue. The meeting was held in Doha and facilitated by the state of Qatar, with the support of the Qatar Olympic Committee.  Read the full news release here.

Following a two-year consultation process with more than 250 athletes and concerned stakeholders, the IOC has released its new “IOC Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations”. The document is issued as part of the IOC’s commitment to respecting human rights (as expressed in Olympic Agenda 2020+5), and as part of the action taken to foster gender equality and inclusion. In issuing this Framework, the IOC recognises that it must be within the remit of each sport and its governing body to determine how an athlete may be at a disproportionate advantage compared with their peers, taking into consideration the nature of each sport. The IOC is therefore not in a position to issue regulations that define eligibility criteria for every sport, discipline or event across the very different national jurisdictions and sport systems. The Framework was approved by the IOC Executive Board during its meeting on 12 November. Read the full news release here.

The IOC has announced that Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE will donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to participants in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. This follows a Memorandum of Understanding which was reached in May for the companies to donate vaccines to participants in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, that has been extended to cover the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Read the full news release here.

Inviting the world to celebrate the power that believing in each other has to unite, the IOC has released a short film narrated by US skier and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn, which shines a spotlight on the jaw-dropping sports that take place on snow and ice. This evolution of the IOC’s Stronger Together campaign amplifies the IOC’s belief in solidarity by demonstrating that, however different we are, if we believe in each other we will be Stronger Together. It also illustrates the power of sport and the Olympic Games to unite people, communities and nations across the globe. Read the full news release here.

International Federations

Summer Ifs

The 53rd Congress of World Athletics concluded on 18 November following the adoption of a series of important initiatives designed to accelerate the growth of the sport through the next decade. The Congress approved the World Plan 2022-2030, which builds on the four-year strategic plan and the four pillars of “more participation, more people, more fans and more partners”. It also includes a renewed Kids’ Athletics development programme, which will be rolled out around the world over the coming months. The Congress also received the first report of the Human Rights Working Group, which includes six recommendations for World Athletics to follow to ensure that human rights are protected and respected in the sport. More details here.


Thomas Konietzko (photo) was elected as the new President of the International Canoe Federation (ICF) by the ICF Congress held on 6 November in Rome, Italy. He replaces Jose Perurena, who is standing down after 13 years as ICF President and who has been appointed as Honorary ICF President. The results of the elections for the ICF Board of Directors can be found here. The 2022 ICF Congress will be held in Pattaya, Thailand. More details here.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has published the ITF World Tennis Tour calendar for the first quarter of 2022, and is set to provide over 1,000 events over the course of next year. The first quarter calendar in 2022 will offer 204 tournaments, 102 events each for the men’s and the women’s tours. This represents a 50 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2021, and a seven per cent increase compared to 2019. More details here

World Triathlon

Hungarian athlete Támas Tóth has been elected Chair of the World Triathlon Athletes’ Committee, while American paratriathlete Allysa Seely has been elected Vice-Chair in the vote by their fellow Committee members. Both will now also have a seat on the World Triathlon Executive Board. The newly elected Athletes’ Committee met for the first time on 15 November. Full info here. In addition, the first non-virtual meeting of the World Triathlon Working Group for the Strategic Plan was held in Madrid, Spain, to prepare the document that will guide the principles of the organisation during the coming years. The Working Group is composed of  representatives from the Executive Board, Continental Confederations, Elite and Para Elite athletes, National Federations, Committees, stakeholders and staff members. More info here.

National Olympic Committees

Barbados Olympic Association

The Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) has announced that Jamal Grosvenor (photo), a coach with the Athletics Association of Barbados and a Physical Education teacher at the Lodge School, has been awarded an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship to pursue a high-level coaching course offered by the International Support Programme to African and Caribbean Sport (PAISAC). PAISAC provides training in Applied Sports Sciences, with the goal of helping participants understand the various aspects of sports practice.  The two-phase programme takes a hybrid approach. Phase 1, which is online, takes place from 1 November to 11 December 2021, while phase 2 will be face-to-face, and is scheduled to run from 2 to 30 May 2022  in Montreal, Canada. More info at www.olympic.org.bb.  

HOC/Ferenc Vasvári

A joint meeting was held in Budapest on 12 November between the Hungarian NOC (HOC) and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA). HOC President Krisztián Kulcsár and Secretary General Bálint Vékássy and ANOCA President and IOC member Mustapha Berraf and Secretary General Ahmed Abou Elgasim, met to finalise the launch of a three-week diplomatic training course in Hungary for African NOC leaders. The first cycle is intended to start in April 2022. Two courses are to be held annually, one in English and one in French. Info at www.olimpia.hu.

From 5 to 9 November, the Moroccan NOC took part remotely in the 17th International Session for National Olympic Academies organised by the International Olympic Academy (IOA). More details on www.cnom.org.ma.

Spanish NOC

Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco has been awarded the Ourensanía Award 2021 in recognition of “a whole vital and professional career dedicated to the world of sport, with special mention of his outstanding role at the helm of the Olympic entity and its condition of firm defender of the Olympic Movement”. He was presented with the award by the President of the Regional Government of Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijoo, and the president of the Provincial Council of Ourense, Manuel Baltar, at a ceremony held at the Main Theatre in Ourense, where Blanco was born. More details here.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

paris 2024

Paris 2024

A delegation from the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, led by its CEO, Etienne Thobois, has been in French Polynesia for an update on preparations for the surfing competitions at Teahupo’o in Tahiti. The main purpose of the visit was to enable Paris 2024 and the Polynesian government to meet the local people involved in the preparations and assess various options for the surfing events with the local authorities. On this occasion, the
“Terre de Jeux 2024” agreement was signed between French Polynesia and Paris 2024. In addition, in the framework of the Paris 2024 Flag Tour, as a host overseas collectivity Tahiti held a ceremony organised by the inhabitants of Taiarapu Ouest. Full details here.

Recognised organisations

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced its Independent Observer (IO) programme teams for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.  The IO teams provide an independent review of all aspects of the anti-doping programmes delivered at major events, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Full details here. In addition, the WADA has launched a new education course on its Anti-Doping Education and Learning (ADEL) platform, specifically designed for athletes (including their guides) and coaches aiming to attend the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. This latest course, entitled ADEL for Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, was developed by WADA in collaboration with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Full details here.


Jitske Visser (photo) is the new Chairperson of the Athletes’ Council of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the next three years. She has been elected by her fellow Athletes’ Council members. The 29-year-old, four-time Dutch Paralympian and gold medallist in Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, succeeds outgoing Chairperson Chelsey Gotell. As Chairperson, Visser will be an ex officio member of the IPC Governing Board with voting rights. More details here.

The 39th edition of the Sport Movies & TV Milan International FICTS Festival was held from 9 to 14 November in Milan, Italy. The event included 120 projections (selected from among 974 works from 55 countries in 47 sports disciplines), four meetings, two workshops and four exhibitions. Organised by the  Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs (FICTS), chaired by Franco Ascani, the Festival was held in person – 110 international guests were present - and online for free. A video message from the IOC President opened the Festival, which celebrated the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with the participation of eight gold medallists. There was also an exhibition of posters for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Full details on www.sportmoviestv.com.


The European Olympic Academies   (EOA),   a member organisation of the IOA, has announced that the online exhibition “Golden Memories - an Online Gallery on the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964” is about to close. A joint project between the EOA and the Czech Olympic Academy, the exhibition has brought to life unforgettable memories of Tokyo 1964 through unpublished images of athletes, sports facilities and certificates retrieved from archives across Europe. Twelve EOA members actively contributed to the project. The photographs were released in 11 themed collections this summer on a dedicated website and across EOA social media channels. In total, the virtual exhibition has attracted visitors from 50 countries across the globe. More info at www.eurolympic-academies.org.

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