Olympic Highlights 20/12/2021

IOC/Greg Martin



IOC President Thomas Bach addressed a video message to the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) from 13 to 17 December in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The message was featured during a debate on “Safeguarding sport from corruption. Together, everyone wins.”

In his address, President Bach stressed the importance of a collaborative approach to tackle the many challenges to the integrity of sport. “This approach is built on the understanding that it is only in partnership that we can effectively tackle criminal activities like corruption, which unfortunately affects all areas of society, including business, politics and sport,” he said. He illustrated this approach with the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS), which brings together all the key stakeholders in this field: governments, law enforcement authorities, intergovernmental organisations like the UNODC, and sports organisations. Recalling that safeguarding the integrity of sport is a team effort, President Bach concluded by highlighting the shared determination of UNODC and the IOC to fight corruption in sport, underpinned by the recently renewed Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.

The President took part in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH).

The IOC President met marketing consultant and former IOC Marketing Director Michael Payne.  

President Bach also met the Mayor of Ouchy, Christophe Andreae, who paid a courtesy visit to Olympic House. 


IOC Executive Board member Ivo Ferriani was unanimously elected President of SportAccord during a SportAccord Executive Committee meeting held virtually on 14 December. President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) since 2010, he has also been President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) since last year. Ferriani succeeds  Raffaele Chiulli as President of SportAccord, whom he also succeeded last month as the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) President. Full details here.


IOC Member Prince Albert II unveiled Et Purus No 1 – a bronze sculpture created to honour Professor Arne Ljungqvist and his lifelong crusade in favour of clean sport and a doping-free society. An IOC Honorary Member, Prof. Ljungqvist was the Chair of the IOC Medical Commission from 2003 to 2014. The world’s first Et Purus monument was unveiled at the Monaco marina on 2 December, in a ceremony attended by World Athletics President and IOC Member Sebastian Coe and the monument’s creator, American sculptor Sassona Norton. The sculpture is intended to be part of a series of 20 works for cities around the world.


IOC Member Andrew Parsons was re-elected for a second four-year term as President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) during the 20th IPC General Assembly, which was held virtually on 12 December. More details here. (See also under “Recognised organisations”.)

Other Olympic news

On 13 December, the IOC, the IPC and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Beijing 2022) published the second edition of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks. These guidelines will help athletes, team officials and all other participants finalise planning for their travel to and arrival in Beijing, their time at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and when departing from China. Full news release here.

Ahead of International Mountain Day, on 11 December, the IOC’s Mountain Summit group – in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – launched a simple, 10-step checklist for those who wish to help protect mountains for future generations. The checklist will be distributed widely across International Sports Federations (IFs), NOCs, mountain resorts, event organisers, tourist agencies and other organisations engaged in mountain sports. Full news release here.

Two years after its creation at the first-ever Global Refugee Forum (GRF), the Sport for Refugees Coalition gave an update on its activities at the High-Level Officials Meeting, an event co-hosted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Switzerland - which took place virtually on 14 and 15 December. Attended by senior government officials and representatives of relevant stakeholder groups, the meeting reviewed the progress made since the last GRF, with the aim of maintaining the momentum towards achieving the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018. Read the full news release here.

International federations

Summer ifs

The fourth edition of the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup will be staged in Lublin, Poland, in 2023. The announcement was made by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Polish Basketball Association during a press conference on 16 December. In 2023, the city of Lublin will be the European Youth Capital. More info here.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has announced it will join the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as part of its overall strategy to make a positive impact on the environment. The ICF Board voted unanimously to join the UNFCCC, voicing support for the global programme which aims to drive climate action across the sports community. The ICF has already joined the Paddle for the Planet initiative and the UN Environment Clean Seas Campaign, alongside the IOC. More info here.

The Extraordinary Congress of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) recently held in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) approved a series of key reforms. The Congress approved the recommendations put forward by the FINA Reform Committee at the FINA Bureau meeting in October, including the establishment of an independent Aquatics Integrity Unit. The Congress also approved changes to the FINA Constitution, FINA Rules on the Protection of Harassment and Abuse, and the FINA Code of Ethics. Full info here.

The Executive Board of World Triathlon has awarded the 2022 Cross Triathlon and Duathlon World Championships to Targu Mures (Romania). They will take place from 6 to 12 June next year. The events have been part of the World Triathlon Multisport Festival in previous years, and were planned to be held in Townsville (Australia) this year, but the city was not able to organise the Festival due to current travel restrictions in the region. Full details here.

National Olympic Committees
Colombian NOC

The Colombian NOC honoured the outstanding athletes of the past year with its traditional Altius awards ceremony, held on 15 December. The Colombian sports gala event saw the best athletes of 2021 receive awards in two categories: one for Olympic sports, and the other for sports not on the Olympic programme. Anthony Zambrano (see photo), Mariana Pajón and Lorena Arenas, all silver medallists at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, were named best Olympic athletes of the year. More info here and the full list of winners here.

The Cuban NOC, whose President is Roberto Léon Richards, signed four sports cooperation agreements with the NOCs of Chile, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia during the first Junior Pan-American Games in Cali (Colombia) last month. IOC Member María Caridad Colón Ruenes was present for the signing of the agreements with the Chilean and Peruvian NOCs. Panam Sports President and IOC Member Neven Ilic Álvarez attended the signing of the agreement between the Cuban and Chilean NOCs.

NOC of Kazakhstan

On 12 December, the NOC of Kazakhstan held the Аltyn Samgay-2021 National Sports Awards. The event coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Republic of Kazakhstan’s independence. The ceremony was held in a hybrid format in three cities simultaneously, in the capital Nur-Sultan for the main ceremony, and in Almaty and Turkestan. The winners were voted for online on Olympic.kz by the general public over a period from 22 November to 6 December. The ceremony, which saw awards presented in several categories, was attended by athletes, coaches, sports federation leaders, politicians including the Prime Minister, Askar Mamin, and the NOC President, Timur Kulibayev. Full details here.

Kosovo Olympic Committee

On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of its recognition by the IOC, the Kosovo Olympic Committee hosted a ceremony to award prizes to the athletes who participated in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020; to distribute the series of Olympic pins; and to sign the Olympic Scholarships for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. For the success achieved at Tokyo 2020, the NOC awarded prizes to Olympic judo champions Nora Gjakova and Distria Krasniqi, their coach, Driton Kuka, and each of the participating athletes. Preparing the way for Paris 2024, stipend agreements for 22 athletes selected by the NOC Athletes’ Commission (photo), a list that may change depending on their performance, were signed. NOC President Ismet Krasniqi and the Sports Minister, Hajrullah Çeku, presented the prizes to the athletes while congratulating them for their performance. More info at www.noc-kosovo.org.

Vytautas Dranginis

From 2 to 9 December, the Sports Film Festival took place in Vilnius and Kaunas. Organised for the seventh year by the NOC of Lithuania (LNOC) and the Lithuanian Olympic Fund, the Festival was placed under the theme “Stories brighter than a medal”. Nine exclusive films, including six documentaries and three feature films, were presented to the public. The programme content was put together by Edvinas Pukšta, who is probably Lithuania’s most well-known film critic and reviewer. At the opening of the Festival, well-known athletes and Olympians were joined on the red carpet by the LNOC President and IOC Member, Daina Gudzinevičiūtė, and by celebrities from the world of culture and entertainment. Full details here.

NOC of Mongolia

On 13 December, the Mongolian NOC organised the traditional Burte Chono sports gala in Ulan Bator. Following a vote by Mongolian sports journalists, the Athlete of the Year award went to judoka Munkhbat Urantsetseg, bronze medallist in the -48kg event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Her fellow judoka Tsend-Ochir Tsogtbaatar, also a bronze medallist (in the -73kg) in Tokyo, was crowned best male athlete. Trophies were awarded in other categories such as best team, young athlete, Paralympic athlete, coach, referee and more. In addition, Tsagaanbaatar Byambaa, a NOC member, was elected as President of Mongolian Sports Press Union (MSPU). A professional sports journalist, Tsagaanbaatar started his career at "Tavan Tsagarig - Five Rings" newspaper in 1996, and has covered five editions of the Olympic Games and 10 Asian Games. He is also Secretary General of Mongolia Triathlon, Chair of the Technical Committee of Asian Triathlon and an international referee.

The Moroccan NOC's Digital Olympic Academy is organising a videoconference on 22 December on the theme of mental training and sports performance. In addition, on 15 December, the NOC’s communications operations team took part in the webinar organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) concerning the Beijing 2022 photography programme. More info at www.cnom.org.ma.

Spanish NOC

The Spanish NOC and the Ministry for Integration, Social Security and Migrations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote sport within the international reception system. The MoU was signed by the Minister, José Luis Escrivá, and the NOC President, Alejandro Blanco. In this way, the NOC is enhancing its support for refugees and its commitment to integration through sport, which it already demonstrated in June this year with the opening of the Alejandro Blanco Sports Centre in Getafe, the world’s first sports centre for refugees. Full details here. On 15 December, the 16th Spanish NOC gala paid tribute to the country’s medallists at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The ceremony was held in the Goyeneche Auditorium at the NOC headquarters in Madrid, in the presence of the King and Queen of Spain. You can find the list of athletes here.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Paris 2024
Paris 2024

On 13 December, the Board of Directors of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 approved the unprecedented location and concept for the Opening Ceremony of the Games: for the first time, the Ceremony will take place not in a stadium, but right in the heart of Paris, with a 6km procession along the River Seine. This bold choice means that the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony will be more open than any other in the entire history of the Games. At least 600,000 people will be able to experience it in the flesh – ten times more than could attend a ceremony in a stadium. Other matters on the Board’s agenda included an updated map of the competition venues, and the strategic guidelines for 2022. Detailed info here.

Recognised Organisations


On 4 December, the Flame of Peace for the Vuokatti 2022 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) was lit in Rome (Italy), in the presence of representatives from the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and the local organising committee for the EYOF. Some 2,000 athletes and officials from 47 European NOCs will descend on the Finnish city, with competition scheduled for nine sports over five days: ice hockey, figure skating, short track, cross country skiing, biathlon, snowboarding, Alpine skiing, ski jumping and Nordic combined. With the exception of the boys’ ice-hockey tournament, which takes place from 13 to 17 December, the event will be held from 20 to 25 March 2022. Full details here.


On 15 December, Raffaele Chiulli was re-elected President of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) for another four-year term by the ARISF General Assembly. Chiulli, President of the International Powerboating Federation (UIM), will begin his third term at the helm of ARISF. Held virtually, the General Assembly also voted on the election of the UIM Council for the period 2021-2025. More details here.

On 11 December, the IPC General Assembly, held virtually, approved a new constitution that ensures the governance structures of the Paralympic Movement’s global governing body are up-to-date, world-leading and robust enough to thrive in the ever-changing sporting landscape. Four new members were also approved: NPC Costa Rica, NPC Eritrea, NPC Eswatini and the Americas Paralympic Committee. Full info here. In addition the IPC has announced the recipients of the Paralympic Order as well as the winners of the 2021 Paralympic Sports Awards.

On 14 December, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published its updated “Guidance for Testing during COVID-19 Pandemic” for Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs). This updated Guidance is a revision of the previous document issued by WADA to ADOs on 25 November 2020, and the result of a thorough review by WADA’s Strategic Testing Expert Group, with additional input from a group of National Anti-Doping Organisations. Full details here.

The European Olympic Academies (EOA), a member organisation of the International Olympic Academy (IOA), launched a new logo and corporate identity on 6 December. A newly unveiled logo reminiscent of the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens will now represent the institution, while there will also be a website domain name change, and an update of the entire visual identity will be rolled out across EOA social media channels. More info here.


A special edition of the “Olympic Highlights” will be published at the end of 2021. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all an enjoyable festive period.

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