Olympic Highlights 23/11/2020

23 Nov 2020



From 16 to 18 November, IOC President Thomas Bach was in Tokyo for his first visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout his visit, President Bach was accompanied by IOC Vice-President and Coordination Commission Chair John Coates, and by IOC Member Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita. Also present were IOC Member Morinari Watanabe, who is also President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG); IOC Honorary Member Chiharu Igaya; and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori and CEO Toshiro Muto.

IOC President Thomas Bach had his first meeting with the new Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, in Tokyo on Monday 16 November. With just nine months to go until the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the two leaders met at the Prime Minister’s official residence, the Kantei. During the meeting, both leaders announced their determination to stage safe and secure Olympic Games next year. Prime Minister Suga assured President Bach: "Our determination is to realise successful and secure Tokyo Games next summer as proof that humanity has defeated the virus." President Bach added: "We share the great commitment of the Prime Minister that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will happen next year. We are determined that safe Olympic Games will be a symbol of solidarity and unity." He continued: "We have a toolbox of measures against the COVID virus, and together with our Japanese friends and partners we will make sure that these Games will be a light at the end of the dark tunnel in which we find ourselves."

IOC / Greg Martin

Later, the IOC President met the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike. She told him: "We are strongly determined, together with the IOC, to stage safe and secure Olympic Games. We will not only achieve cost reductions but also leave a new model for future generations of how the Games can be organised."

IOC / Greg Martin

Before attending the Project Review at the headquarters of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, President Bach was at the Japan Olympic Museum, where he awarded the former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, the Olympic Order in Gold. President Bach praised the former Prime Minister for his dedication to the Olympic Movement. "With your unfaltering belief in the power of sport, it is no exaggeration to say that you have forged a special friendship with the Olympic community."

IOC / Greg Martin

On Tuesday 17, the IOC President’s visit to Tokyo started with a meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who was also in the Japanese capital. The Prime Minister and the IOC President discussed and agreed on the important role of sport, both during the coronavirus crisis and in the recovery from the crisis. They also discussed the unifying mission of the IOC and the Olympic Games, and agreed on the need for the political neutrality of the IOC and the Games. Prime Minister Morrison once again reiterated the full support of the Australian government for the candidature of Queensland for the 2032 Olympic Games.

IOC / Greg Martin

After the meeting, President Bach headed for the impressive water-side Olympic Village. President Bach has already described Tokyo as the best-ever prepared Olympic city. He met three-time Olympian and Japanese triathlon champion Ueda Ai, Paralympian badminton player Satomi Sarina and Chida Kenta, a fencer and the Japanese Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission Vice-Chair, and the group were able to see one of the apartments where athletes will stay during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Later, the three athletes accompanied the IOC President to the dining hall. Next stop was the magnificent Olympic Stadium, where the President had the opportunity to walk on the running track. The stadium was designed by Kengo Kuma, who was also on the jury for the construction of Olympic House in Lausanne.

IOC / Greg Martin

President Bach finished the day with a rendez-vous with the Olympic flame in the Japan Olympic Museum. He was joined by a number of athletes from Japan and some Olympic scholarship-holders from around the world. Ono Shohei, a judoka, and Kimura Keiichi, a Paralympian swimmer, who are both Japanese, were joined by scholarship-holders Elvismar Rodríguez from Venezuela, also a judoka, and Carlos Yulo, an artistic gymnast from the Philippines. Full news release here.

During his time in Tokyo, President Bach met Akio Toyoda, the President of Worldwide TOP Partner Toyota Motor Corporation; Masaaki Tsuya, the Chairman of Worldwide TOP Partner Bridgestone; Kazuhiro Tsuga, the CEO of Worldwide TOP Partner Panasonic Corporation; Naomi Kawase, the Director of the Tokyo 2020 Official Film; and the German ambassador to Japan, Ina Lepel.

Meetings with Kyodo News and broadcaster Japan Consortium, plus a dinner hosted by Tokyo 2020 President Mori, were also on the President’s agenda. He also met the Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Seiko Hashimoto, and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Koichi Hagiuda.

The important role that sport can play in helping the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the call for the governments of the world to include sport in their post-COVID-19 recovery plans, were emphasised by President Bach in his keynote address, via video, at a high-level European Commission conference entitled “The recovery of the sport sector after the COVID-19 crisis: the way ahead”. Following an opening address by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, in which she spoke of how sport can also contribute to Europe’s economic development and social inclusion, President Bach stressed the positive impact sport can have in these key areas. IOC Member Marisol Casado was also among those participating in the discussions and spoke about the direct support the IOC has offered to organisations, IFs and athletes within the Olympic Movement affected by the crisis. Full news release here.

In a video message to the Conference of the National Olympic Committees of the G20 Countries held virtually in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), President Bach said "As countries around the world are starting the long journey of recovery from the pandemic, this Conference is also sending another important message: the world of sport is ready to contribute to rebuild the post-coronavirus world." The Conference was entitled "The Olympic Movement During and After the Coronavirus Pandemic". (See also under ‘NOCs’).


IOC Member Narinder Dhruv Batra, who is also President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), was awarded the Capital Foundation National Award 2020 at the Capital Foundation Annual Lecture & Awards 2020 held virtually on 15 November. Batra has been recognised for his unparalleled and selfless contribution across four decades in the field of sport. Info here.


For the first time since February 2020, the IOC’s Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair, John Coates, returned to Japan with the IOC President for the joint IOC, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Tokyo 2020 Project Review. The meetings, held between 16 and 18 November, reaffirmed the full commitment of all partners to deliver Olympic and Paralympic Games fit for a post-corona world next year. All parties agreed on the importance of clear and timely communications over the coming months, with a project to develop a series of playbooks outlined during meetings. Created by the IOC, IPC and Tokyo 2020, these will be designed as guidelines for each stakeholder group and will include important information about the measures that will be in place and what it will mean for their Games experience. A key element within these playbooks will be details of COVID-19 countermeasures. Full news release here.

The IOC, IPC and Beijing 2022 Organising Committee concluded a virtual Joint Project Review, during which achievements, future milestones and COVID-19 countermeasures were discussed. The meetings took place on 19 and 20 November, with the IOC’s Beijing 2022 Coordination Commission Chair Juan Antonio Samaranch in attendance. One of the key steps taken during these meetings was the agreement, by all Games delivery partners, on the formation of a COVID-19 countermeasures working group. As far as competition venues go, Beijing 2022 reported that these all remain on track to be completed by the end of this year. The importance of regular communication was also highlighted during the Project Review. In addition, the adapted sports testing programme was discussed following the recent joint decision by Beijing 2022, the Winter Olympic International Federations, the IOC and the IPC. In this respect, great collaboration was acknowledged, as this move is fully in line with the spirit of Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm. Full news release here.

TOP Partners

Marking one year since the start of their major global Olympic partnership, the IOC and Airbnb have been honoured with a prestigious Sport Industry Award. The Deal of the Year Award recognises the innovative nature of the partnership, which has already seen the launch of hundreds of Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences on Airbnb’s platform, as well as a five-day virtual festival in July that helped share the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games with fans around the world, following the postponement of Tokyo 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full news release here.

Other Olympic news

During its meeting on 16 November, the Steering Committee of the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS) endorsed its Governance Guidelines setting out the principles and procedures of the partnership. In accordance with the Guidelines, the government of Canada was appointed as the new Chair, and the IOC as the Vice-Chair for a two-year term. In addition, a number of organisations and institutions were confirmed as Bureau members. The Steering Committee was also updated on the activities of the four IPACS Task Forces, which have continued to meet virtually in order to accomplish their 2020 work plan; and it agreed on the road map for the next two years. Read more here.

The IOC Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) has launched the 2021/2022 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 16 priority fields of research have been identified, dealing with key IOC activity areas. Find the full list of topics and more details here. The Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme is one of the two research programmes run by the OSC, whose main mission is to enable research and stimulate dialogue between the IOC and the academic community. Discover the OSC collections through the Olympic World Library (OWL), the OSC’s library catalogue entirely dedicated to Olympic knowledge.

international federations

summer ifs

The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) have published the ninth edition of the International Basketball Migration Report, a seasonal insight into the migratory trends and tendencies of the sport across the globe. This edition reveals a record number of transfers, with a total of 8,900 transfers recorded for the 2019-2020 season, involving 7,371 players. Full info here.

In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on football, the Bureau of the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) Council has taken a number of decisions related to FIFA competitions, including the FIFA Club World Cup 2020 and the women’s youth tournaments planned for 2020. Read the decisions here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has finalised the preparation of the Certification Programme for Artistic Swimming Coaches, which aims to provide progressive learning opportunities for anyone interested in this area. The programme is composed of an online part (theory) and face-to-face sessions, and is divided into three levels.
This programme has been developed together with the Institute of Swimming (GBR), the FINA Artistic Swimming Coaches Committee and the Spanish, Canadian, US and South African Federations. This course and an array of other certification programmes are regularly updated by aquatics professionals, and they are all available on the FINA Learning platform. More info at www.fina.org.

World Archery has announced that more than 2,800 archers from 79 countries have registered to compete in the first-ever online stage of the Indoor Archery World Series on 21 and 22 November 2020. The next stages will be held on 19 and 20 December 2020, 16 and 17 January 2021, and 13 and 14 February 2021, with the finals on 27 and 28 February 2021. Full info here.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has announced the launch of an Adaptive Surf Instructor Certification Programme that will create a global standard, guidelines and best practices to instruct adaptive surfers. The programme will be officially launched via a virtual delivery from  7 to 11 December 2020, and will be available to those who have prior experience in instructing adaptive surfing and involvement with an adaptive surfing or surf therapy programme. More details here.

On 20 November, on the occasion of the start of the United Through Sports (UTS) Virtual Youth Festival 2020, which coincided with United Nations World Children’s Day, World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari underlined, in a message, the importance and responsibility of the global baseball-softball community in increasing young people’s access to sport while promoting the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect. Read the full message here.

national olympic committees

Algerian NOC

At a meeting on 14 November in Algiers, the members of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Algerian NOC unanimously approved the financial and activity reports for 2019, and elected two new members to the Executive Committee. They also approved the action plan and budget projection for 2020 and admitted the Algerian Triathlon Federation as an ex officio member of the NOC Assembly. Fifty-four of the Assembly’s 89 members attended the meeting. More details here.

The 25 members of the Brazilian Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission for the Paris 2024 cycle have been elected. The election broke voting records, with a total participation of 374 athletes who competed in the Olympic Games London 2012, Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and/or PyeongChang 2018. This participation corresponds to 66 per cent of the total number of athletes able to vote. The number is more than double the participation registered in 2016, when 170 athletes voted (just over 27 per cent of the total). Full details here. In addition, the COB is launching an official streaming channel, the Brazilian Olympic Channel, scheduled for December. In partnership with TV NSports, the COB will offer the Brazilian Olympic Confederations, free of charge, the live broadcast of at least one annual event on their calendar, as well as the possibility of acquiring international competition rights. In addition, the Channel will feature special reports and videos about the sports and their athletes. Full details here.

Colombian NOC

The third edition of the International Forum on Gender Equality and Diversity was held successfully from 11 to 13 November, with nearly 20,000 people following the event remotely. The Forum was organised by the Colombian NOC’s Gender Equality and Diversity in Sport Commission, with support from Panam Sports, Olympic Solidarity and the NOC’s Academic Department. The aim of the Forum, which was entitled “Let’s Speak About Our Reality” (Hablemos de nuestra realidad), was to show, from different angles, the realities of gender equality and diversity in sport. More info here.

Olympic Committee of Israel

The Olympic Committee of Israel has launched a strategic plan and gender standardisation as a compass for instilling gender equality. In the plan’s introductory message, Igal Carmi, the President of the Olympic Committee of Israel, and Gilad Lustig, its CEO, wrote: “The Olympic Committee of Israel has joined the call by IOC President Thomas Bach to reduce gender gaps in sport and to strive for equality between genders through commitment and responsibility, by having an influence and serving as an example to sports organisations in Israel.” Indeed, between 2018 and 2020, the Olympic Committee of Israel has implemented 10 out of the 25 recommendations issued by the IOC via diverse projects and plans and a budget allocation for their execution. Click here for the 2020-2024 strategic plan in English. Info at www.olympicsil.co.il.

On 12 November, the Moroccan NOC took part in the coordination meeting of the Regional Academy of Education and Training. Several days earlier, the NOC’s operations team had met to assess the support being provided to federations and the monitoring of Moroccan athletes preparing for the Olympic Games. In addition, in the context of the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NOC organised a new testing session on 9 November for all its staff. More info at www.cnom.org.ma.

NOC of São Tomé and Príncipe

The NOC of São Tomé and Príncipe has been working in close collaboration with the National Surfing Federation and the country’s Surfing Academy to give girls between the ages of 6 and 18 the opportunity to practise the sport. The primary goal of the project is to introduce the sport to underprivileged girls as a way for them to spend their free time, and to make them more autonomous. The NOC will take care of both the transport to take them to training and internet access to facilitate contact with parents, and will also cover the costs related to coaches. The project, called SOMA (Surfers Proud of Africa’s Women), aims to use surfing to develop girls’ self-esteem and resilience and help them step out of their comfort zones. More info at www.comiteolimpicostp.com.  

Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee

The President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC), Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chaired the Conference of the National Olympic Committees of the G20 Countries, which was organised in partnership with the Saudi Secretariat of the G20 and was held virtually on 17 November in Riyadh. The Conference was entitled "The Olympic Movement During and After the Coronavirus Pandemic", and is part of the programme of international conferences being held on the sidelines of the Saudi presidency of the G20 this year. The participants discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the Olympic and sports sector at global level after the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to shedding light on the important role that the Olympic Movement is playing in helping the international community to recover from the pandemic socially, economically and from a health standpoint. Among the participants were the IOC President; IOC Member Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud; member of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Olympic Committee Momii Keiko; IOC Member and President of the Italian National Olympic Committee Giovanni Malagò; IOC EB member and Acting President of the Association of National Olympic Committees Robin Mitchell; World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Bańka. The Conference was attended by representatives of all the NOCs of the G20 countries, in addition to representatives of the countries that were invited to attend the G20 Summit, namely the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Spain, Rwanda, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam. Also in attendance were representatives of WHO, IFs and Continental Associations.

Spanish NOC

On 17 November, a virtual meeting of the Standing Committee and Executive Committee of the Spanish NOC, chaired by Alejandro Blanco, was held. The 26 members in attendance discussed the NOC’s various activities, the status of the Association of Olympic Sports (ADO) programme and the meetings of national federations, and agreed to grant 359 NOC scholarships. The distribution of 110,000 COVID-19 tests to sports federations was also on the agenda. More details here

Turkish Olympic Committee

The Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC) has launched the “TOC Academy”, a new digital platform which will act as a support tool for athletes, national teams, coaches and technical staff in areas such as performance, nutrition, injury prevention, handling stress, social media and communications. In addition to helping boost performances on the field of play, the content is also designed to help athletes develop their careers off the field of play. The existing content will be regularly updated by the TOC, and new modules will be added throughout the year. More details here.

On 17 November, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) shared details of the new Team USA Athlete Marketing Platform (AMP) pilot programme, a first-of-its-kind digital marketplace that expands athlete sponsorship and marketing opportunities. Created in cooperation with the Athletes’ Advisory Council and National Governing Bodies Council, AMP is an opt-in programme that connects Team USA sponsors and licensees directly with athletes, providing incremental revenue opportunities and marketing exposure for Team USA athletes. Read more about the programme here and read Olympic silver medallist Chris Mazdzer’s reaction here.

Venezuelan NOC

On 13 and 14 November, a virtual seminar on technical rules in boxing was held for referees and judges from 21 states in Venezuela. The aim was to keep the participants abreast of the technical rules of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). The seminar was organised with the support of the Venezuelan NOC, AIBA and the Venezuelan Boxing Federation. Detailed info here.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Beijing 2020

The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, Winter Olympic IFs, IOC and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have jointly decided to develop an adapted sports testing programme in preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The adapted programme will replace the organisation of a series of international test events originally planned for the first quarter of 2021. The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting many parts of the world means that travel restrictions are currently in place, and the travel situation is likely to remain complex for the coming months in which the Beijing 2022 test events were scheduled. It was necessary to take an immediate joint decision on a tailored programme based on the needs of each individual IF. Full news release here.

Paris 2024

In signing an agreement with the Agefiph association, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 has reaffirmed its commitment to inclusion in employment for people with disabilities. Prepared under the auspices of Sophie Cluzel, the Secretary of State for People with Disabilities, the agreement aims to enhance the Organising Committee’s work in removing any obstacles to hiring people related to disability. The agreement will help to promote inclusion via four focus areas: sourcing and recruitment; job retention and support over four years; awareness-raising and training for employees and managers; and post-Games support as part of a long-term policy. Full news release on www.paris2024.org.

Recognised organisations


As part of both organisations’ efforts to transform the lives of persons with disabilities, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and The Valuable 500 have signed a co-operation agreement to collaborate on mutually beneficial initiatives. Under the terms of the agreement, the IPC and The Valuable 500 will partner to deliver a global communications campaign around the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in collaboration with several other organisations. The two parties will collaborate on major events, explore shared interests around strategy, policy, development and the promotion of persons with disabilities. Full info here.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its “live” webinar schedule for December, for athletes and for Anti-Doping Organisations. With these last two stakeholder webinars, WADA will have held 51 in 2020 – the majority focused on preparing stakeholders for the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards that take effect on 1 January 2021. Info and schedule here. In addition, the WADA has published the membership of WADA’s five Standing Committees for 2021, which was approved by the Agency’s Executive Committee at its 11 November 2020 meeting. Full details here.


The International Sports Cinema and Television Federation (FICTS), chaired by Franco Ascani, organised an online live streaming of the 38th edition of the Sport Movies & TV Milan International FICTS Festival from 7 to 11 November. The event included 140 films and 17,787 sports-themed audiovisual features, obtaining a total of 467,663 views. A video message from the IOC President opened the Festival, with the President praising the organisers for having staged the Festival despite the difficulties due to the current pandemic. Taking Refuge, produced by the Olympic Channel, about Niccolò Campriani’s project to support three refugees in their efforts to qualify for Tokyo 2020, was presented with the Bruno Beneck Critics’ Award, while The Olympic Dreams in a Rural Primary School, produced by Beijing 2022, was awarded the “Guirlande d’Honneur”. More details here.

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