Olympic Highlights 21/02/2020

IOC / Greg Martin



Speaking at the Executive Board meeting of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), whose President is IOC Member Poul-Erik Høyer, the IOC President, Thomas Bach, welcomed the BWF’s initiatives regarding the integrity of sport and good governance, before discussing the upcoming Olympic Games editions, Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024. The meeting took place in Olympic House.

During a visit by IOC Member Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul to Olympic House, the IOC President discussed the development of sport in Thailand.

IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed representatives from the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), a number of International Federations and the European Olympic Committees to their Expert Group meeting at Olympic House. The group discussed the importance and the protection of the European Sports Model. In his remarks, President Bach highlighted the necessity for the sporting movement to take a unified position in its discussions with the government authorities. He pointed out that the European Sports Model is values-based and that any discussion about its future needs to focus on what instruments and structures are needed to protect this values-based approach to organised sport.   


President Bach visited the headquarters of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) on the University of Lausanne campus, where he was welcomed by FISU President Oleg Matytsin. Discussions focused on the excellent cooperation between the IOC and FISU. More details here on FISU website.

The IOC President met with IOC Member Samira Asghari, who is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Afghan NOC. She was accompanied by Nasir Ahmad Andisha, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations in Geneva (Switzerland). Together, they addressed various topics related to the situation of sport in Afghanistan, including among other things, the preparations of the Afghan athletes for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.     

With Virginie Faivre, the President of the Organising Committee for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020, the President spoke about the remarkable success of this edition of the YOG, which ended one month ago.

IOC / Greg Martin

The President welcomed Australian swimmer Michelle Ford, Olympic champion in the 800m freestyle and bronze medallist in the 200m butterfly at the Olympic Games Moscow 1980, who also sat on the IOC Athletes’ Commission at the same time as him. Together they discussed various topics related to the Olympic Games, and the importance of the role of the athletes and the place of women within the Olympic Movement. 

Meeting with IOC Executive Board member and President of United World Wrestling (UWW), Nenad Lalovic, President Bach discussed the challenges for the UWW Olympic qualifying tournament with regards to the coronavirus outbreak. In this respect, he congratulated Lalovic on having found a solution for the Chinese wrestlers who are being hosted in Serbia. They also discussed the latest developments in the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

honorary members

Office of Vitaly Smirnov

Vitaly Smirnov (right of photo), an IOC Honorary Member since 2016, received the Olympic Order from IOC Vice-President Uğur Erdener (left of photo) at a ceremony to celebrate Smirnov’s 85th birthday on 14 February in Moscow (Russian Federation). It was highlighted that as President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Moscow 1980, as President of the Russian NOC, as IOC Member from 1971 to 2015, and in many other functions, Smirnov has dedicated his life to sport and the Olympic Movement. At the IOC, he sat on numerous commissions and on the Executive Board and served three terms as IOC Vice-President. At the ceremony, Smirnov was also presented with the Jean Petitjean Medal, the highest honour that FISU can bestow, in recognition of his many years of service to sport. He was presented with this distinction by FISU President Oleg Matytsin (more info here).

other olympic news


On 18 February, the IOC and Mattel announced the launch of their first product collection across Mattel brands to celebrate the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The collection features a variety of unique products across Barbie®, Hot Wheels® and UNO®. Mattel collaborated with the IOC and the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to create licensed toy products, as part of a new licensing agreement and in line with the IOC Global Licensing Strategy. This international product line, which will be available in the spring, highlights inclusivity and innovation, with toys reflecting the five new sports added to the Olympic programme in Tokyo – baseball/softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing – all to inspire a new generation of athletes and fans around the world. Full press release here.

The Boxing Road to Tokyo 2020 kicks off in Dakar, Senegal, where the first of the five Boxing Qualifying Events for the Olympic Games will be held from 20 to 29 February. It will be live streamed on the Olympic Channel. The Olympic Channel will cover all five Boxing Qualifying Events, including live streaming of all women’s and men’s bouts across all weight categories from the first day of competition through to the finals for each event. Full press release here.

international federations

summer ifs

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced the launch, in partnership with the World E-Bike Series (WES) Management, of the first UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup. Comprising five rounds, the new competition will kick off from 6 to 7 March 2020 in Monaco and finish seven months later in Barcelona (Spain) from 2 to 3 October. The launch of this World Cup is an important step in the development of the discipline, not least in terms of technical advances and the promotion of this activity. Full info here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) recently held the draw for the two water polo Olympic qualification tournaments, taking place from 22 to 29 March in Rotterdam (Netherlands) for the men and from 8 to 15 March in Trieste (Italy) for the women. In the Netherlands, Group A will include Georgia, Canada, Brazil, Montenegro, Greece and one Asian team, while Group B will comprise Croatia, Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Argentina and a second Asian squad. In Italy, for the women’s tournament, Group A has Netherlands, France, Italy, Slovakia and one Asian team, while Group B consists of Greece, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand and a second squad for Asia. More info at www.fina.org.

national olympic committees

Cuban NOC

The President of the Cuban NOC, Robertin León Richard, received his counterpart from the Algerian NOC, Mustapha Berraf, who is also the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and an IOC Member. The two presidents signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen ties between their respective NOCs at the Cuban NOC headquarters (see photo), with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Algeria to Cuba, Kamel Boughaba, among those in attendance. During his trip to Cuba, Berraf visited, among other things, the Giraldo Córdova Cardín High-Level Athlete Training School, the national boxing and volleyball schools, the Havana anti-doping laboratory and the offices of the Cubadeportes company. He was also received by the President of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), Osvaldo Vento Montiller, the Deputy Prime Minister of Cuba, Roberto Morales Ojeda, and the Minister for Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca. Berraf was accompanied during his trip by João Manuel Da Costa Alegre Afonso, the First Vice-President of ANOCA and President of the NOC of Sao Tome and Principe; Kamal Lahlou, an ANOCA Executive Committee member and President of the Moroccan NOC; and Mustapha Lemouchi, an Algerian NOC member.

COE / Nacho Casares

The President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco, the Director General of the INCYDE Foundation, Javier Collado, and the Director General of the Generation Spain Foundation, Mercedes Valcárcel, presented the participants of the Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Branding Programmes with their diplomas. These programmes were set up by the three institutions and are focused on entrepreneurship and employment. Out of the 40 students who took the course, 28 are already in the job market. More info at www.coe.es.

Hellenic Olympic Committee

The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) made the historic decision to approve a tripartite agreement between the HOC, the International Olympic Academy (IOA) and the IOC to renovate the IOA premises in Ancient Olympia in order to make the Academy a global centre of Olympic education. The renovation work will begin right after the Flame-Lighting Ceremony for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the inauguration of the renovated IOA is scheduled for June 2021, to coincide with the IOC Session in Athens. The renovation costs of USD 12.5 million will be covered exclusively by the IOC. Full details here.

NOC of Kazakhstan

The NOC of Kazakhstan has announced that a working meeting of secretaries general of Central Asian NOCs was held in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan). The meeting was attended by the Vice-President of the NOC of Kazakhstan, Andrey Kryukov, and representatives from the NOCs of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The main topics on the agenda were the cooperation between NOCs in the region and the resumption of the Central Asian Games. The setting-up of joint training camps with other countries was also discussed. The meeting concluded with the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the NOCs of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan regarding joint training camps and cooperation in anti-doping activities. Full info here.

organising committees for the olympic games

Tokyo 2020

The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has revealed the official Games motto: “United by Emotion”. The motto emphasises the power of sport to bring together people from diverse backgrounds of every kind and allow them to connect and celebrate in a way that reaches beyond their differences. The motto encapsulates the Games vision, capturing the essence of the ideas and concepts that the host city wishes to share with the world. “United by Emotion” expresses the hope that the spectators, volunteers and athletes from over 200 NOCs and the Refugee Olympic Team gathering in Tokyo this summer, as well as the billions watching on television and online across the globe, will come together and understand that there is more that unites than divides them. Full news release here.

Recognised organisations

The Italian city of Pesaro will host the 3rd Mediterranean Beach Games in September 2023. The decision was taken by the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (ICGM) after the conclusion of electronic voting, which began on 27 January and ended on 9 February. Pesaro was chosen as the host city by unanimous decision by the NOC members of the ICMG and the IOC Members from Mediterranean countries. Over the coming days, ICMG President Amar Addadi, accompanied by an ICMG delegation, will travel to Pesaro to meet the local authorities and representatives from the Italian NOC for the signing of the Host City Contract and the handover of the ICMG flag. More info here.

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