Olympic Highlights

28 Jan 2015



IOC President Thomas Bach participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) last week. He spent two days at the Forum and attended the dinner for Heads of State and governments, and business and society leaders, which gave the IOC President the opportunity to meet and speak with many of them, including the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.


During a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, accompanied by the Italian NOC President, Giovanni Malagò (photo above), the President acknowledged the Prime Minister’s “passion and in-depth knowledge of the Olympic Games and of Olympic Agenda 2020, including the opportunities it offers for bidding cities."  The President also met Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who gave the opening address at the Annual Meeting.
The President spoke with Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company and Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of the Coca Cola Company, as well as the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Moreno.
In the “spirit of Davos”, the President met a range of leaders, including a delegation from the International Trade Union Movement, led by the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow.

As guest of honour at a meeting with the Global Shapers Community, a network of Hubs developed and led by young people representing the voice of youth at the Forum, President Bach discussed the role of sport in society and the future of the Olympic Movement. 

At the new headquarters of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in Lausanne, President Bach expressed his great appreciation to the ANOC Executive Committee and thanked its members for their support in the framework of Olympic Agenda 2020. President Bach informed the Executive Committee, chaired by IOC Member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, about the next steps for the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020, which is already under way. After congratulating ANOC for this new building, President Bach expressed his appreciation for the excellent relations between the two institutions (also see the “Recognised Organisations” section).

The IOC President met IOC Member and FINA President Julio César Maglione, as well as IOC Members Habu Gumel and Lydia Nsekera and IOC Honorary Member Richard Kevan Gosper. He spoke with the President of the Greek NOC, Spyros Capralos and also hosted a joint dinner for the ANOC and EOC Executive Committees.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

The President of World Rowing (FISA), Jean-Christophe Rolland (photo), was welcomed for a meeting with the IOC President, who thanked Rolland for the excellent cooperation and for the extent to which FISA, under his leadership, had embraced Olympic Agenda 2020. Furthermore, the IOC President welcomed the President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Michel Platini, for a courtesy visit.

© IOC / Christophe Moratal

A group from the Lausanne Tourist Guide Association met President Bach, who offered them a tour of Olympic House.


© IOC / Ian Jones

Jacques Rogge attended the opening ceremony of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, which was held on 25 January in Tschagguns (Austria).


© Colombian NOC

Andrés Botero Phillipsbourne represented the IOC President at a ceremony held as a tribute to IOC Honorary Member Fidel Mendoza Carrasquilla. This ceremony took place on 22 January at the headquarters of the Colombian NOC in Bogota, in the presence of numerous sports personalities among which the Colombian NOC President, Baltazar Medina,  and the IOC Honorary Member in Panama, Melitón Sánchez Rivas. Info at www.coc.org.co.



Robert Farley, a member of the Olympic Philately, Memorabilia and Numismatics Commission, died on 16 January. He had remarkable experience and knowledge of Olympic collections, in particular in the area of philately. He started collecting Olympic stamps in 1971. First a member and later Chairman (since 1997) of the Society of Olympic Collectors, based in the United Kingdom, he had also been the editor of the Society’s journal since 1994. Farley published numerous works on subjects including postcards and operations in the postal sector at the Olympic Games, most editions of which he attended from 1988 onward


(left to right) Mark Tatum, Patrick Baumann and Adam Silver. © FIBA

National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver was at the House of Basketball, the headquarters of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in Mies (Switzerland) last week. This was his first visit since succeeding David Stern on 1 February 2014. He was welcomed by FIBA Secretary General and IOC Member Patrick Baumann. The NBA is an integral part of FIBA, as the NBA Deputy Commissioner, Mark Tatum, is a member of the FIBA Central Bureau, representing the NBA. Info at www.fiba.com.


Sabrina Zeender has been appointed Secretary General of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) by the FEI Bureau, at the proposal of the IF’s President, Ingmar De Vos, which was accepted unanimously.  This is the first time that a woman had been appointed to this position. She has been ad interim Secretary General since the appointment of De Vos as President, on 14 December last. Zeender joined the FEI in 1991 and has held various positions. In 2011, she became Director of Governance and Executive Affairs. Before entering the FEI, she worked in several organisations, including the International Swimming Federation (FINA) in Lausanne. Info at  www.fei.org.

Leandro Negre and Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  © MBRA

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) won the International Creative Organisation Award at the sixth edition of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). The trophy was presented to FIH President Leandro Negre, in the presence of FIH Director General Kelly Fairweather, by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the President of the Awards. The FIH received this distinction following the successful organisation of the 2014 World Cup in The Hague (Netherlands), during which the men’s and women’s tournaments took place simultaneously. Veteran, junior and beach tournaments were also held. This competition was the most followed and successful in the FIH’s history. Info at www.fih.ch.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced the full schedule of competitions for the 2015 Swimming World Cup, which will be held from August to November. Starting two days after the 16th World Championships in Kazan (Russian Federation), the competition will take place in eight countries. The first stage will be held in Moscow (Russian Federation) on 11 and 12 August; three days later in Paris and Chartres (France); and, towards the end of September, Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China), Beijing (People’s Republic of China) and Singapore (Singapore). At the end of October, the World Cup will move to Tokyo (Japan) and Doha (Qatar), and will end at the start of November in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). Full schedule on

World Archery (WA) will present a new trophy at its Congress in Copenhagen (Denmark) on 24 and 25 July 2015. Called “The World Archery Best Project Award”, this trophy will honour the work performed by national federations to spread the practice of archery, and their important contribution on a national and/or international level. Info at www.worldarchery.org.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has opened bidding for cities wishing to host the first ITU Multisport World Championship Festival, to be held in 2017. This inaugural championship event will see duathlon, aquathlon, cross triathlon and long-distance triathlon World Championship races contested over 10 days. Cities wishing to submit their candidature must do so before 27 March 2015. The host city will be announced on 15 May 2015. Info at www.triathlon.org.


The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced that the first World Mixed Curling Championships will be held in Bern (Switzerland) from 12 to 19 September 2015. Info at www.worldcurling.org.

 Learning to ski on World Snow Day. © FIS

On 18 January, the fourth edition of the International Ski Federation (FIS)’s World Snow Day was again a great success. Some 645 events in 45 countries on all five continents attracted almost 600,000 participants from Peru to Norway, from the United States to South Africa, and from the People’s Republic of China to Argentina and Canada. Organised in the framework of the FIS “Bring Children to the Snow” campaign, this Day is an annual celebration of snow, featuring various activities for children and families. The main objective is to encourage all participants, especially youngsters between four and 14, to explore, experience and enjoy snow, not only to promote skiing and snowboard as leisure activities, but also to learn more about the environment. Info and photos at www.world-snow-day.com.

Future athletics coaches. © Albanian NOC

From 3 to 12 January, a level 1 technical course brought together 24 future athletics coaches. Organised by the Albanian NOC, as a support to the national athletics federation, this course is one of the development programmes aimed at training and qualifying sports professionals. Olympic Solidarity provided financial support and the IAAD technical support. The national athletics federation now has 24 qualified coaches ready to work to develop this sport in their country, especially among young people. Info at www.nocalbania.org.al.

© Getty Images

The Australian NOC has announced the death of Olympic historian, journalist and writer Harry Gordon, at the age of 89. While he was a war correspondent in Korea, Gordon was sent to Helsinki in 1952 to cover his first Olympic Games. This was the beginning of a long love story with the Olympic Movement. The doyen of Australian Olympic journalists, recognised throughout the world, he wrote a total of 15 books, the last of which, From Athens With Pride, was published last year. After his publishing career ended, Gordon returned to his Olympic passion and covered the
Games from 1988 to 2012. In 1992, he became the Australian NOC’s official historian. Decorated with the NOC’s Order of Merit in 1999, he also received the Olympic Order in 2001. Info at www.olympics.com.au.

© Brazilian NOC

The Brazilian NOC, whose President is IOC honorary member Carlos Arthur Nuzman, has just inaugurated the Brazilian artistic gymnastics team training centre (photo above). The centre is situated in the warm-up zone of Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Arena. As well as modern and technological equipment, the NOC will provide the women’s and men’s teams with study and physiotherapy rooms, a cafeteria and medical rooms, among other things. Info at www.cob.org.br.

The Colombian NOC has announced the death, at the age of 79, of Ignacio Posada, a member of the fencing team that participated in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964. His achievements include several national titles in sabre and foil. He also participated in the Central American and South American Games. Info at www.coc.org.co.

The Spanish NOC will be organising the first expert sports mediation course on 5 March 2015, in cooperation with the Madrid Lawyers’ College and the Rey Juan Carlos University’s Institute of Public Law. The objective of this course is to facilitate the training specified in law 5/12 on civil and commercial mediation, and to facilitate harmonisation and specialisation in the conflicts that can arise in the area of sport. Info at www.coe.es.

Ceremony of the flame for the 2015 Winter EYOF. © Greek NOC

The flame of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOF), “Vorarlberg& Liechtenstein 2015” was lit at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 18 January. Greek NOC President Spyros Capralos presented the flame to the President of the EYOF Organising Committee, Austrian NOC Secretary General Peter Menner, and to the President of the NOC of Liechtenstein, Leo Kranz. At a ceremony organised by the Greek NOC, the Olympic Anthem was sung by soprano Anastasia Zanni, while skiing champion Panagiotis Papapanagiotou was the first to carry the flame, as Katerina Lehou performed as the high priestess. Info at www.hoc.gr.

© 1984 IOPP Pickhof Dave

The first two-time Olympic judo champion, Japan’s Hitoshi Saito, has died at the age of 54. He won Olympic gold at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and in Seoul in 1988 (over 95kg category), as well as the world title in 1983 in Moscow. After his competition career, Saito led the Japanese national team at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Games. 

© Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee has informed us that, at the invitation of the national triathlon association, the Vice-President of the Asian Triathlon Confederation (ASTC) and Philippines NOC President, Tom T. Carrasco; and ASTC Secretary General Datuk Balwant Singh Kler performed an inspection visit ahead of the Asian Triathlon Championships, which will take place on 13 and 14 June 2015 in Chinese Taipei. These Championships are one of the qualification events for the Games in Rio. Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee Secretary General Kevin Chen received the delegation on behalf of the NOC President, Hong-Dow Lin (photo above). Info at www.tpenoc.net.

© Venezuelan NOC

From 21 to 23 January, the Venezuelan NOC, sports federations and Ministry of Youth and Sports held technical meetings at the NOC headquarters in Caracas (photo above). The objective was to perform a detailed review of the Venezuelan athletes’ preparations for their participation in the Pan-American Games, which will be held from 10 to 26 July 2015 in Toronto (Canada). 


RIO 2016

A new web portal that allows spectators to obtain tickets for the Olympic Games in 2016 has been launched by the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio (Rio2016). The main objective of the Olympic Games ticketing programme is to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of obtaining a place at the Games, which is underlined in the open-to-all Rio 2016 Games concept. Info at www.rio2016.com/tickets.



The ANOC Executive Council has met for the first time in its new headquarters in Lausanne (photo above). Agenda items included the preparation of the upcoming Beach Games; the date of the next General Assembly; and the creation of four programmes for the 2014-2018 period, including two devoted to helping athletes during and after their career. Furthermore, ANOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Division of Global Sport Management Talent Development at Seoul National University (GSM-SNU) as ANOC continues to identify ways to improve the service it offers its NOCs. ANOC has also launched its athletes’ commissions’ toolkit, a key component in the Athletes’ Commission action plan, which aims to intensify communications with the NOCs and provide more detailed guidelines on the creation, governance and structure of an athletes’ commission. Info at www.acnolympic.org


The first European Olympic Committees (EOC) Executive Committee meeting of the year was also held at the ANOC headquarters in Lausanne on 20 January (photo above). Chaired by Patrick Joseph Hickey, the Committee addressed several subjects, such as the winter EYOF in Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein, and the summer edition in Tbilisi (Georgia); the first European Games in Baku in June; and the Games of the Small States of Europe in Iceland this summer. The next meeting will take place in Belek (Turkey) on 13 May 2015, on the eve of the EOC’s annual seminar. Info at www.eurolympic.org

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has just opened the nominations process for the 2015 Paralympic Scientific Award. This prize will be presented at the next VISTA conference, which will be held from 7 to 10 October in Girona (Spain) on the theme “Securing the future for young para-athletes”. This prize recognises the work of one academic researcher for their contribution to research in the field of sports for people with an impairment. The deadline for candidatures is 28 February 2015. Info at www.paralympic.org and www.vista2015.com.

Meeting in Lausanne on 22 January, the Executive Committee of the International World Games Association (IWGA), whose President is José Perurena, named Birmingham, Alambama (USA) as the host city of the 11th World Games, to be held in 2021. The contract with the host city will be signed just after the IWGA General Assembly in April 2015. The 10th edition of the World Games will be held in Wroclaw (Poland) in 2017. Info at www.theworldgames.org.


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