Olympic Highlights 30/11/2020

Olympic Highlights 30/11/2020
© IOC / Greg Martin



On 25 November, the IOC Executive Board (EB) held a virtual consultative meeting to prepare future meetings. Chaired by IOC President Thomas Bach, the EB also discussed several Olympic institutional issues.

In view of the growing number of worrying reports concerning athletes, officials and sports in Belarus, the IOC EB has decided to initiate a formal procedure with a view to considering appropriate measures or sanctions against the NOC of the Republic of Belarus. This follows the decision of the IOC EB on 7 October to strengthen its investigation into the NOC’s compliance with the Olympic Charter, and further discussions during the last EB meetings on 23 October and 11 November. On these occasions, the IOC had expressed its serious concerns with regard to the overall situation of the sporting community in Belarus. Full details here.

The EB members also received an update on the situation of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).  The approval of the new constitution and the election of the President will be the two main points on the agenda of the AIBA Ordinary Congress, which will be held virtually on 12 and 13 December 2020. The IOC EB took note that the IOC recommendation to put the AIBA reforms and their implementation first has not been respected to date. For this reason, the IOC will consider the position of AIBA only after seeing that the reforms are being adopted and implemented. On this occasion, the IOC will also have to take into consideration the concerns which have been raised against some of the candidates for the AIBA presidency and their potential impact on recognition. News release here.

Concerning the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the EB in October expressed its concerns about the replacement of the Acting President and stressed the critical importance of continuing reforms within the IWF. (news release here). Since then, there have been some more concerning developments and further media reports indicating that the former President of the IWF, Tamás Aján, intervened to delay the results management process of adverse analytical findings involving weightlifters from Azerbaijan. These detailed allegations follow similar ones made by Professor McLaren in his report published in June 2020, which are being followed up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The IOC EB was also informed about a number of anti-doping rule violations by Vietnamese athletes. These could jeopardise the participation of weightlifters from Vietnam at Tokyo 2020. Full details here.

The EB took the decision to reallocate medals, diplomas and medallist pins from the Olympic Games London 2012 based on decisions made by the IOC Disciplinary Commission. Following the disqualification of athletes in the sports of cycling and weightlifting, the results have been adjusted accordingly by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) respectively. All the details of the disqualifications and new rankings can be found here. Full news release here.

The EB received a report from the IOC Ethics Commission with regard to a complaint filed on behalf of the five members of the World Triathlon Tribunal against Marisol Casado, World Triathlon (WT) President and IOC Member; Antonio Arimany and Bernard St-Jean, respectively WT Secretary General and Chair of the WT Legal and Constitution Committee. The IOC Ethics Commission noted that both parts of the complaint were not related to the IOC, and recalled that the Commission has jurisdiction to look into IF officials’ activities regarding ethical principles only when such activities take place as part of the IF’s relations with the IOC (as per Rule 25 of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics’ scope of application vis-à-vis the IFs and their officials). Based on the recommendations of the IOC Ethics Commission, the IOC EB decided to reject the complaint against World Triathlon, which is outside the scope of application of the IOC Ethics Commission and the IOC; and to reject the complaint against Mrs Marisol Casado, IOC Member, as no breach of the IOC’s ethical principles has been demonstrated. Following this decision the IOC President met with her on Friday. Full news release here.

IOC / Greg Martin
© IOC / Greg Martin

The world’s leaders assembled at the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, expressed their strong support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

IOC President Thomas Bach joined the virtual Summit for an address to the leaders, at the invitation of the Saudi G20 presidency. “Sport can save lives. During this coronavirus crisis, we all have seen how important sport is for physical and mental health,” the IOC President said in his speech (full address here). “The World Health Organisation has acknowledged this by signing a cooperation agreement with the IOC. Following this agreement, the UN, the WHO and the IOC launched a co-branded campaign called ‘Healthy Together’, rolling out projects internationally. Furthermore, we are preparing to contribute to a worldwide pro-vaccination campaign.”

President Bach also stressed the importance of solidarity in the post-coronavirus world: “We have learned one important lesson from this crisis: we need more solidarity. More solidarity within societies and more solidarity among societies. We will soon celebrate this demonstration of solidarity at the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.” The IOC President asked the G20 participants to support the political neutrality of the Olympic Games and the IOC. Full news release here.

In his welcome address at the 49th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), President Bach underlined the important role of sport in the current crisis which has been widely acknowledged by the United Nations, the European Union and more recently by the G20 Leaders, before stressing the importance of solidarity and that sport should be part of the solution in the recovery process. President Bach went on to urge the EOC to continue to work for transparency and good governance. He concluded by emphasising that, by staying united, by seizing the opportunity of this crisis, “we can all look forward together with great confidence to the next Olympic Games, we can look forward to a really strong and widely acknowledged and recognised role of the Olympic Movement as a force for good, as a real contribution to make this world a better place through sport.” (see also under “Recognised Organisations”).

President Bach held a virtual meeting with the Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, and IOC Member Uğur Erdener. They spoke about the situation and role of sport during the pandemic as well as a potential candidature for the Olympic Games.

The IOC President also sent a video message to the 18th General Assembly of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC). In his remarks, he praised “such reliable partners like your (Caribbean) NOCs on our side as we face the many challenges of this crisis”. The General Assembly was hosted virtually by the St Lucia Olympic Committee.

President Thomas Bach joined tributes to Shmuel Lalkin, an iconic figure in Israeli sport and a courageous Israeli Chef de Mission at the Olympic Games Munich 1972. The President said: “The Olympic community will always honour him for his unwavering belief in the unifying power of sport, despite witnessing one of the darkest moments in our history during the deadly attacks on the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games Munich 1972. I will remember him for his moving speech at the remembrance ceremony in 2017.” Immediately following the terrorist attacks, Shmuel Lalkin gave a speech that resonated around the world in which he stated that, despite the attack, Israel would continue to participate in the Olympic Games. News release here.

The IOC President had also a meeting with Michael Payne, a marketing consultant and former IOC Marketing Director.


© Kyonggi University

IOC Member Ryu Seung-min has been re-elected as President of the Korea Table Tennis Association (KTTA). On this occasion, Ryu was praised for his ongoing work to enhance the voice of the athletes at all levels and his efforts to promote the Olympic values through innovative sports education programmes at the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation, of which he is also President. Ryu is Vice-Chairman of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 Organising Committee (GYOGOC), which opened its offices on 3 November and established a new task force, to begin discussions to push forward preparations and Olympic engagement promotions through continuous communication with the IOC.

Other Olympic news

Exactly 128 years ago, on 25 November 1892, Baron Pierre de Coubertin first presented his visionary idea to revive the Olympic Games in the modern world on the fifth anniversary of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA), the organisation he had co-founded to unify and promote the growth of amateur sports in France. The 14-page manuscript that contains his speech was donated to The Olympic Museum on 10 February by Alisher Usmanov, who is also President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE).  The document will eventually be put on permanent display at The Olympic Museum.

On 25 November, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the IOC is raising awareness of the problem and showcasing how sport can be a solution by providing safe spaces for women and giving them tools for empowerment. The IOC is thus highlighting the work of refugee wrestler Amir Al-Awad, who is striving to make it to the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020. In addition to his training, Amir has started a movement in his host community of Alexandria (Egypt) to support women by teaching them self-defence skills that they can use if confronted with harassment or violence. Discover more about his mission by clicking here.

As part of the process of additional analyses on the samples collected from the Olympic Games London 2012, the IOC announced on 25 November that three athletes had been disqualified from these Games. The athletes who have been sanctioned are: Razvan Martin, 28, of Romania, competing in the men’s 69kg weightlifting event, in which he ranked third; Roxana Cocos, 31, of Romania, competing in the women’s 69kg weightlifting event, in which she ranked second; and Gabriel Sincraian, 31, of Romania, competing in the men’s 85kg weightlifting event, in which he did not finish. Full news release here.

The IOC welcomes the new Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour published by the World Health Organization (WHO), which outline recommendations for the amount of physical activity required to provide significant health benefits and mitigate health risks. President Bach has highlighted on many occasions that sport can play a positive social role, but also an economic one, in helping the world to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Full news release here.

international federations

summer ifs

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the International Association Football Federation (FIFA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Commission and the European Parliament Sports Group have joined forces to raise awareness about the risk of domestic violence and call for an end to violence against women and children. Following the joint campaigns earlier this year, the renewed #SafeHome campaign is a joint response launched on this International Day on 25 November. The video awareness campaign features 19 past and present footballers who have stressed their support in addressing this critical issue. Full details  here.


The First IWF Online Youth World Cup successfully concluded on 18 November after eight days of competition. Hosted by the Peruvian Weightlifting Federation, together with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and the Peruvian Institute for Sport, the competition brought together 400 athletes from 60 IWF member federations. A total of 60 medals were shared by athletes from 26 member federations. The IWF Online Youth World Cup closely replicated in-person competitions, with weightlifters around the world competing in real time against each other. More details here.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the dates of its Technical Congresses in 2022, as well as the milestones for the 2022 elections of its Athletes' Committee and the appointment of its other numerous committees. The Technical Congresses will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, on 11, 12 and 20 May, with the occasion of the 19th FINA World Championships taking place in the same city from 13 to 29 May 2022. Due to the postponement of the FINA World Championships, the 2017-2021 Technical Committees and specialised committees (except for the Audit Committee and the Ethics Panel,  which are elected by the FINA General Congress, in June 2021) will see the duration of their office extended until the conclusion of the event in Fukuoka. More info at www.fina.org

The global sports community of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has taken part in a series of video conferences aimed at increasing awareness of the new modern pentathlon format proposed for introduction at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Sessions were held online with athletes (11 November), coaches (18 November) and National Federations (24 November), giving stakeholders a chance to ask questions and provide feedback on the changes to the sport submitted to the IOC. More info here.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced that 80 players worldwide have been assisted by the FIVB Athletes’ Relief Support Fund. The fund was launched at the end of May 2020 to provide short-term assistance to professional volleyball and beach volleyball players impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent postponement and cancellation of FIVB events. During the online application process, a total of 358 applications were completed by 272 volleyball players and 86 beach volleyball players for basic needs support. Additionally, 45 applications for short-term beach volleyball team support were submitted to assist with coaching, training and participation in competitions, and these will be analysed at a later stage when the international beach volleyball calendar is clarified. More info here.

On 10 November, United World Wrestling (UWW) decided to organise an “Individual World Cup” in lieu of the 2020 World Championships. National Federations had been given until 5 November to confirm their interest in participating in the 2020 World Championships. UWW had set a benchmark requiring at least 8 of 10 of the top nations from the 2019 World Championships, and 70 per cent of the total number of athletes to participate in 2020. With many nations reinstating travel restrictions in response to COVID-19, the participation hurdles were not met. The “Individual World Cup” will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, with dates to be confirmed later. More details here.

national olympic committees

Argentinean NOC
© Argentinean NOC

From 18 to 20 November, 47 people followed the seventh edition of the Advanced Sports Management (MOSO) course organised by the Argentinean NOC with the support of Olympic Solidarity. The NOC runs this course each year, to enable volunteers and the staff of national sports organisations to improve their management skills. More details here.

Belgium NOC
© Belgium NOC

With eight months to go before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Belgian high-level athletes got together for the annual Team Belgium camp, this time held remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Virtual Training Camp (VTC)” or the #TeamBubbelgium Virtual Camp thus took place between 14 and 20 November, with the aim of fostering team spirit and boosting the whole team’s morale by providing as much information as possible to the athletes and coaches. Various team-building activities were organised. In addition, King Philippe sent the athletes a message of encouragement entitled “Go Team Belgium”, while sports ministers Valérie Glatigny for the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Ben Weyts for the Flemish community reminded the athletes of the special measures taken to enable them to continue training. More details here on the Belgian NOC website.


The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC) and the Sports Administration, Ministry of Education recently signed The Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on Women and Sport, during a ceremony held on 23 November in Taipei. The ceremony was co-hosted by the Director General of the Sports Administration, Minister of Education Shao-Hsi Chang, and the CTOC President, Hong-Dow Lin. IWG Global Executive - Asia Representative Etsuko Ogasawara and IMGA CEO Jens V. Holm joined them via video conference, and the IWG Co-Chair, Raewyn Lovett, sent a video message. The Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on Women and Sport was issued on the 20th anniversary of the Brighton Declaration, which was also the occasion of the 6th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport, during which  a more complete declaration was developed, extending the goal of equality in sport and physical activity from women to society, schools and youth. A total of 28 sports organisations joined this signing ceremony. More info here.

Colombian NOC
© Colombian NOC

The third edition of the sports administration diploma got under way in Barranquilla on 25 November. Representatives of the organisations that put this online edition together took part in the opening ceremony. These included the Colombian NOC President, Baltazar Medina; the Director of Indeportes Atlántico, Armando Segovia; and the Secretary General of La Costa University, Benjamín Lizarazo. The NOC President introduced the topic for this opening session, “the structure of the Olympic Movement and Olympic Agenda 2020”, which was attended by around 50 sports leaders. More details here.

Lithuanian NOC
© Lithuanian NOC

The NOC of Lithuania has shared its fifth and final story for the HeForShe Lithuania campaign. This one is about the Jansonas family (photo) which includes three sports – handball with Tadas, the father; volleyball with Astas, the mother; and football with Romualsa, the son. In this video, we learn that the “Formula of Happiness in the Family of Sports Coaches is Equal Distribution of Work and Mutual Support.” More info at www.ltok.lt

Spanish NOC
© Spanish NOC

On 23 November, the Miguel Guillén Prim municipal sports centre in the Villa de Vallecas area of Madrid hosted a ceremony to honour the female athletes from Madrid who have won Olympic medals. The ceremony was led by journalist Paloma del Río, and attended by the Deputy Mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís; the City Council Delegate for Sport, Sofía Miranda; Villa de Vallecas Council Chair and Member Concha Chapa; and **Spanish NOC **President Alejandro Blanco. During the ceremony, an exhibition of portraits painted in oil entitled “Madrileñas de Oro, Plata y Bronce” was opened. This features the 18 athletes in a collective work created by the Alharu Art Colectivo association. More details here.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced that Panam Sports has upgraded boxer Naomi Graham and karate athlete Kamran Madani to gold medals, and open water swimmer Taylor Abbott to the silver medal, for their performances at the Pan-American Games Lima 2019. The medal reallocations are a result of three athletes receiving disqualification rulings for doping offences and having their medal wins revoked. The medals were presented to the athletes during a virtual medal ceremony on 18 November hosted by USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland, USOPC President Susanne Lyons and Panam Sports President Neven Ilic, with national governing body representatives, coaches, teammates, family members and friends. Full details here.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020

On 27 November, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced its revised test event calendar, following changes made in the wake of the postponement of the Games earlier this year. The revised test event calendar covers test events for 18 disciplines taking place between March and May 2021. They will test three essential elements: the field of play (competition area) for each event; the use of technology; and workforce – with a particular focus on technical aspects, including COVID-19 countermeasures. Full news release here.

Paris 2024

The new venue masterplan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 was presented to the Organising Committee’s Executive Board on 25 November. The result of a collective effort begun six months ago, this optimised concept consolidates its initial strong points, by having a number of shared venues and making budget savings whilst maintaining the spectacular dimension, environmental responsibility and territorial anchoring of these Games, particularly in the Seine-Saint-Denis district. On the basis of these proposals presented to the Executive Board, discussions will now continue with the IFs, the IOC and the IPC, and the plans will then be submitted to the Paris 2024 Board of Directors on 17 December. Full press release here.

Recognised organisations

The 49th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) took place virtually on 27 November. The delegates voted on a number of suggested amendments to the EOC Articles of Association. They also heard updates on the preparations for the third edition of the European Games in Kraków-Małopolska and a report from Olympic Solidarity. The Assembly also confirmed the host cities of the 2025 EYOF editions: Borjomi and Bakuriani (Georgia) and Brno (Czech Republic) for the winter and summer editions respectively. Finally, the 5th Winter Piotr Nurowski “Best European Young Athlete” Prize was awarded to the biathlete Linda Zingerle from Italy. More info at www.eurolympic.org.


The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) have signed a new cooperation agreement that will strengthen Para sport at the Commonwealth Games and across the Commonwealth.  As part of the agreement, every edition following Birmingham 2022 in England will feature only those sports whose international federations are recognised by the IPC. The agreement also enables the two entities to cooperate in strategic areas, including branding, campaigns, classification and development programmes.  Further collaboration in non-sporting events, such as advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and advocating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will be explored. Full info here.

As a follow-up to its initial COVID-19 testing guidance for Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) published on 6 May, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has provided an updated document, which has been renamed “Guidance for Testing during COVID-19 Pandemic”. This new Guidance was revised after a thorough review by WADA’s Strategic Testing Expert Group, with input from the World Health Organisation and a group of National Anti-Doping Organisations. Full info here. WADA has announced that Lebanon has become the 191st State Party to ratify the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport. This leaves just four countries worldwide that have yet to complete their ratification of the UNESCO Convention. Full details here.