Olympic Highlights 2019/11/25

25 Nov 2019



The New Leaders Forum held in Helsinki, Finland, was a “best practice in action”, IOC President Thomas Bach said when attending the Forum on 19 November. He praised this initiative by the Finnish NOC, supported by the IOC and the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in his opening speech (full speech here): “Here we have 30 young leaders in sport from across all of Europe, who are committed to leading the change toward gender equality. This is exactly the kind of practical action that we need.” Bach pointed out the achievements of the IOC on and off the field of play in its aim to achieve gender equality. The IOC is also giving the young generation a voice: a growing number of IOC Young Leaders, a group of inspiring young people from around the world who are using sport for positive change in their communities, have been appointed to the IOC Commissions to bridge the generation gap in the leadership. The IOC President also thanked the many NOCs and IFs which have been working on this topic and implementing the IOC Gender Equality Recommendations. Full news release here. (see also under ‘Other Olympic News’).

IOC / Greg Martin
During his stay in Finland, the IOC President was welcomed by the Finnish Prime Minister, Antti Rinne. In their meeting, President Bach thanked the Prime Minister for his government’s leadership in the European Council conclusion on “combatting corruption in sport” and on “safeguarding children in sport”. Both leaders also discussed the European sports model, which is under threat. It is based on the two important pillars of values-driven organisations and volunteers. The Prime Minister expressed his support for the values-based model. The IOC President was accompanied by the two IOC Members in Finland, Sari Essayah and Emma Terho, as well as Finnish NOC President Timo Ritakallio and Secretary General Mikko Salonen.

IOC / Greg Martin
The IOC and Airbnb have announced a significant agreement to support the Olympic Movement through to 2028. The nine-year, five-Games partnership is designed to create a new standard for hosting that will be a win for host cities, a win for spectators and fans, and a win for athletes. The agreement was signed by IOC President Thomas Bach and Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia at an event in London (Great Britain). For the IOC President, “This innovative partnership underpins our strategy to ensure that the efficient staging of the Olympic Games is sustainable and leaves a legacy for the host community. With Airbnb’s support, we will also develop new opportunities for athletes around the world to develop their own direct revenue streams through the promotion of physical activity and the Olympic values.” For his part, Gebbia was of the view that: “Airbnb and the IOC have a strong track record in creating and accommodating the world’s greatest events. Our Olympic partnership will ensure that the Games are the most inclusive, accessible and sustainable yet, and leave a lasting positive legacy for athletes and host communities.” Full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin
In Lausanne, the IOC President welcomed the Council members of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), whose President is IOC Member René Fasel, for their meeting at Olympic House. Preparations for the ice hockey tournaments at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 were among the topics discussed. President Thomas Bach also presented the OLY certificate to three IIHF Board members – Petr Briza, Franz Xaver Reindl an Vladislav Tretyak, who then signed the Olympians Wall in the IOC Sports Department.

President Bach visited the headquarters of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Nyon (Switzerland), where he met UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin and Secretary General Theodore Theodoridis.

President Bach also had a meeting with Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the Chair of the IOC’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights.

Speaking to the members of the Future Host Commission for the Winter Games, which is chaired by IOC Member Octavian Morariu, the IOC President recalled the key principles behind the creation of the Commission. He said that the priority now is to begin discussions on the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2024 and Olympic Winter Games in 2030 with the various cities, regions and countries that have expressed an interest in staging these events.

The President also greeted the members of the ESports and Gaming Liaison Group, who were meeting in Lausanne.

President Bach welcomed Naomi Kawase, who is directing the Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

A delegation from the Chinese city of Chengdu, led by its Deputy Mayor, Wang Pingjiang, paid a courtesy visit to the IOC President.

There were also meetings with IOC EB member Ser Miang Ng, IOC Member Octavian Morariu and IOC Honorary Member Vitaly Smirnov, during which several Olympic topics were discussed.


On 18 November, the IOC announced the composition of the Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026. Olympian and IOC Member Sari Essayah, from Finland, will chair the Commission, leading a gender-balanced group composed of other IOC Members who are not on the IOC EB, as well as representatives of the athletes, IFs, NOCs and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The first visit by the Commission to Northern Italy is scheduled for the second half of 2020. Meanwhile, the IOC will hold a kick-off meeting with the Milano Cortina 2026 organisers on 10 and 11 December this year. This will prepare the ground for the close collaboration between the IOC and the Organising Committee over the next seven years. Full news release here.

Following consultation with athletes, the IOC Boxing Task Force chaired by IOC Member Morinari Watanabe, confirmed on 20 November that the Technical & Competition Rules to be applied at the Olympic Boxing Qualifying Events and the boxing tournament at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will include the end-of-round display of scoring and other measures aimed at increasing clarity, transparency and integrity. In line with the primary mandate of delivering the Olympic Boxing Qualifying Events and the boxing tournament for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and considering the importance of focusing on the athletes, the IOC Boxing Task Force has complemented existing International Boxing Association (AIBA) regulations with specific amendments to deliver its commitment to transparency while minimising the impact on boxers. Full news release here.

Other Olympic news

IOC / Greg Martin
Lead the change and be the change: this is what the participants at the New Leaders Forum, which took place in Helsinki from 18 to 20 November, were asked to commit to. A legacy project by Birgitta Kervinen, the 2017 IOC Women and Sport World Trophy Winner, the Forum was organised by the NOC of Finland, in collaboration with the IOC and EOC. Over 200 participants came together: Game-Changers and sports leaders from European NOCs and abroad. Amongst them were IOC Executive Board member Prince Feisal Al Hussein and IOC Members Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, Lydia Nsekera, Marisol Casado, Sari Essayah and Emma Terho. Through panel and working sessions, the two-day Forum allowed participants to deliberate extensively on a number of topics and challenges still present in the sporting movement. Participants exchanged views on the topics of governance and how to entrench gender equality in statutes; equal portrayal and unconscious biases; and how to create inclusive organisations. Full news release here.

The IOC Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) has launched the 2020/2021 edition of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme. The main objective of this programme is to promote advanced research with a humanities or social sciences perspective by established researchers on topics identified annually by the IOC. For the new edition, a total of 11 priority fields of research has been identified dealing with key IOC activity areas. Find the full list of topics and more details here. Discover also the Olympic World Library (OWL), a library catalogue, entirely dedicated to Olympic knowledge, giving access to over 35.000 official and academic titles, of which over 9.000 are accessible in digital format.

International federations

summer ifs

World Athletics

World pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie and four-time world shot put champion Valerie Adams became the first active athletes to join the World Athletics Council as full voting members, following the governance reforms introduced in 2016. The newly elected Athletes’ Commission selected Lavillenie as the new chairperson and Adams as the deputy chairperson, and they will become the two athlete representatives on the Council for the next four years. More details here.


On 20 November, the International Judo Federation (IJF) and the IJF Academy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Physical Education of Budapest, Hungary, covering future cooperation in various projects and at various levels. The MoU was signed at the Rector’s Office at the University by IJF President Marius Vizer, Rector Lajos Mocsai, Ferenc Genzwein, the Chancellor for Financial Affairs, and Envic Galea, Chairman of the IJF Academy. Full details here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the hosts of the 10 legs of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series, taking place between February and September 2020. The circuit, comprising only Olympic-10km races, will kick off on 8 February in Rosario (Argentina) and conclude in Nantou (Chinese Taipei) on 19 September. In between, the swimmers will compete in Doha (Qatar), Victoria (Seychelles), Setubal (Portugal), Budapest (Hungary), Lac St-Jean and Lac Megantic (Canada), Ohrid (Northern Macedonia) and Chun’An (People’s Republic of China). More details on www.fina.org.

World Sailing has teamed up with the International Military Sports Council (CISM) for the next four years. This partnership will see the two organisations work towards encouraging the development of training and competition in sailing by all military athletes. There will be joint educational initiatives to protect sailing against the dangers of doping, and shared World Sailing and CISM goals will be identified. More details here.

The World Baseball SoftballConfederation (WBSC) held its 3rd World Congress in Sakai, Japan. On this occasion, seven new member federations were unanimously voted in by the Congress, bringing the total number of WBSC member federations to 200, plus 13 associate members. A total of 330 delegates representing 138 member organisations (including associate members) from 97 countries and regions attended the 2019 WBSC Congress. More details here. Ahead of its Congress, the WBSC announced that the hosting rights of the U-18 Women's Softball World Cup 2020 have been awarded to Peru. The first-ever edition of the U-18 Women's Softball World Cup will be held in Lima, from 21 to 30 August 2020, with the world's best players from 16 countries taking part. More details on www.wbsc.org/news.

NationaL Olympic committees

Spanish NOC

On 19 November in Madrid, the Spanish NOC and the Iberdrola company signed a cooperation agreement aimed at promoting equality in sport, by encouraging athletes to become a source of inspiration for women and for society in general. This agreement is in line with the commitment by both organisations vis-à-vis United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality). Iberdrola has also launched a digital programme entitled “Ellas valen oro” (worth their weight in gold), aimed at improving the public attention given to female athletes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More details here.

Venezuelan NOC

The number of female leaders is increasing within the Venezuelan sports movement. This was highlighted by Venezuelan NOC President Eduardo Alvarez during a meeting of the Precursor Group of the NOC’s Women in Sport Commission. The agenda also included the Commission’s draft regulations and details of the resources it will receive to undertake its work. The Commission will be composed of two bodies, the delegates’ assembly (which will include a female representative of each sports organisation and one from the athletes’ commission) and the Executive Committee. More details here.


Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020

On 21 November, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). The Memorandum is designed to encourage the use of French, an official IOC language, during the Tokyo 2020 Games, for example through the establishment of an official Tokyo 2020 website in French and the promotion of French culture. La Francophonie promoter (Grand Témoin) Thierry Marx (l. in photo) attended the signing ceremony on behalf of OIF Secretary General Louise Mushikiwabo. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto was also present. The MoU will be in effect until 31 December 2020. More info at www.tokyo2020.org.

Paris 2024

The EDF Group has become a Premium Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, joining the national partnership programme for Paris 2024 for a period of five years. The partnership was formalised on 19 November by Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024, and Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO of the EDF Group. EDF has been committed to the world of sport for some 30 years and involved in the energy transition on a daily basis, so its involvement with Paris 2024 fits perfectly with the Group’s values and strategy. Read the full press release here.

In addition, Paris 2024 has announced the list of the first 500 communes to be granted the Terre de Jeux 2024 label. The announcement was made by Tony Estanguet, the President of Paris 2024, and François Baroin, the President of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF), at the AMF Congress on 20 November. Launched by Paris 2024 in June 2019, the Terre de Jeux 2024 label is available to all French local authorities and sports organisations. Designed in close cooperation with local stakeholders, the label offers everyone in the country the opportunity to contribute, at their own level, to three overarching objectives: celebration, to allow everyone to experience the emotional power of the Games; legacy, to change the everyday lives of French people through sport; and engagement, so that the Games project benefits as many people as possible. Full press release here.

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