Olympic Highlights

16 Jul 2015



IOC President Thomas Bach travelled to Toronto in Canada for the 53rd General Assembly of the Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO) and the Opening Ceremony of the Pan Am Games. He also made a one-day trip to Montreal for the inauguration of the new headquarters of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), chaired by Marcel Aubut.

© IOC / Ian Jones

In Toronto, on 8 July, the IOC President addressed the 53rd General Assembly of the Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO) chaired by IOC Member Julio César Maglione. He gave a speech on the progress of the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020. He underlined the measures already taken with respect to the Olympic Games candidature process and the sports programme, transparency, good governance and compliance, as well as the Olympic Channel. The previous evening, at the Congress opening dinner, President Bach was presented with the PASO Order by its President, Julio César Maglione.

On 10 July in the evening, President Bach attended the Opening Ceremony of the Pan Am Games alongside PASO President Julio Maglione.

Accompanied by IOC Members Richard W. Pound and Julio César Maglione and COC President Marcel Aubut, the IOC President held a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

 © IOC / Ian Jones

On the first day of the 2015 Pan Am Games, President Bach took in a full day of sports competition. Accompanied by Julio César Maglione and Marcel Aubut, he started the day with rugby sevens, and moved onto squash where he met Paraguayan Nicolas Caballero, a 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Ambassador. After the men’s and women’s BMX finals, the President finished the day at diving at the men’s 3m springboard final. Accompanied by Claudia Bokel, Chair of IOC Athletes' Commission and IOC Executive Board Member, the President visited the athletes’ village, where he was taken around by members of the PASO Athletes’ Commission, which is chaired by Canadian Alexandra Orlando. He met dozens of athletes and visited the athletes' accommodation. The President described the athletes’ village as “excellent" and up to "Olympic standards."

© IOC / Ian Jones

 During his stay in Toronto, the President met City Mayor John Tory. They discussed the role of sport in society, the success of the recent Women’s Football World Cup in Canada as well as the organisation of the Pan Am Games in Toronto. The President was accompanied throughout his visit in Toronto by IOC Member Richard W. Pound and COC President Marcel Aubut.

He also held discussions with IOC EB Members Gunilla Lindberg and Anita L. DeFrantz, and IOC Members Iván Dibós, Olegario Vazquez Raña, Nicole Hoevertsz, Angela Ruggiero, José Perurena, and Gerardo Werthein.

President Bach also held meetings with the President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, IOC Honorary Member Carlos Arthur Nuzman; President of the Canadian Olympic Committee Marcel Aubut; President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Liu Peng; United States Olympic Committee (USOC) President and IOC Member Lawrence F. Probst, who was accompanied by USOC Secretary General Scott Blackmun.

On 9 July, the IOC President made an emotional return to Montreal on the occasion of the Canada Olympic Excellence Day. It was his first visit since winning a fencing Olympic gold medal in 1976. He was accompanied throughout the day by IOC Members Richard W. Pound and Julio César Maglione, and COC President, Marcel Aubut. (You can also relive this day through a video).

 © IOC / Ian Jones

At the City Hall, the President was made an honorary citizen of the city of Montreal by Mayor Denis Coderre and, as a symbol, received the key to the city during a ceremony held in the presence of almost 130 guests, among which Canadian Transport Minister Robert Poëti; COC President Marcel Aubut; President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and IOC Vice-President Sir Craig Reedie; and IOC Member Julio César Maglione.

President Bach then went to the WADA headquarters, where he was greeted by the agency’s President, Sir Craig Reedie, and its Director General, David Howman. A meeting with the WADA staff and a visit to its offices followed.

At a lunch attended by more than 2,000 people, including almost 200 Olympians, President Bach made a keynote speech about the reforms the IOC has undertaken with Olympic Agenda 2020 and praised the great contribution Canada has made to the Olympic Movement. The Chairman of NBC Sports Group, Mark Lazarus, and the Canadian Olympian sisters, Chloé, Justine and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, also made some remarks during this fundraising event, an initiative of COC President Marcel Aubut, which raised over CAD 1.6 million for Canadian athletes.

© IOC / Ian Jones

President Bach then visited the venue on the University of Montreal campus where he competed in fencing as a 22-year-old for what was then West Germany. In the hall, a fencing piste was placed where the President and his teammates had competed for gold.

Later, the President was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Rector of the University, Guy Breton, and the Chancellor of the University, Louise Roy, for the reforms undertaken with Olympic Agenda 2020, in particular with regard to transparency and good governance. 

© IOC / Ian Jones


In the evening, President Bach joined more than 100,000 people of Montreal to celebrate the placing of the Olympic rings on the new headquarters of the Canadian Olympic Committee. Montreal is the first Olympic city to take advantage of new proposals from Olympic Agenda 2020 which allow for the rings to be displayed prominently as a symbol of the legacy of the Olympic Games. Also at the celebration were dozens of Olympians, including Nadia Comaneci, Katarina Witt, Bart Conner (see photo), Johann Olav Koss, Mark Tewksbury, Steve Podborski and Greg Louganis.


© Giovanni Fabi 

 Mario Pescante was appointed by the IOC President as liaison person with the Vatican City State which enjoys status of Permanent Observer to the United Nations like the IOC. He had a working meeting with the Undersecretary, Mons. Melchor Sánchez De Toca y Alameda, in charge of the Department of Culture and Sport of the Vatican. The meeting was held on 6 July at the Pontifical Council for Culture. Working meetings between the IOC and the Vatican City State are going on in order to strengthen the close existing cooperation between the two Institutions that will materialise, among other things, with an International Forum on "Faith and Sport" to be held in Rome in 2016. The Forum will see keynote speeches by Pope Francis, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the IOC President. Participants will include international sports representatives, leaders and athletes representing different continents and religious beliefs.

© IOC / Giulio Locatelli

Reynaldo González López, IOC Member in Cuba, has died at the age of 66. He was elected as an IOC Member in 1995, and was a member of the Women and Sport Working Group, the Women and Sport Commission and the 2009 Olympic Congress Editorial Committee. He left his mark on sports in Cuba and throughout the Americas, first as Secretary General of the Cuban National Olympic Committee and later as Executive Secretary of PASO. He was also first Vice-President, and then President of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER). Among other positions, he was first Vice-President of the International Baseball Association (IBA); President of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Ethics Commission; President of the Cuban Amateur Baseball Federation; and Coordinator General of Pan-American Olympic Solidarity. Read the full press release here.


As the IOC this year celebrates 100 years since it moved to Lausanne, the organisation is reaffirming its attachment to the Olympic Capital for the next 100 years, as it moves ahead with its headquarters consolidation project. The IOC has now submitted the request for permission to extend its headquarters in the area adjacent to the Château de Vidy, and a public inquiry will be held from 30 June to 30 July 2015. Named “Olympic House” and designed by Danish architects 3XN, the new building will offer a place of welcome for the IOC Members, and will be a meeting place for the whole Olympic Movement. It will also allow for the entire administration to be grouped together in a single location, which will lead to significant long-term cost savings, greater efficiency and better use of energy. Info at http://www.olympic.org/olympic-house


© IOC / Christophe Moratal

From 6 July to 29 November 2015, The Olympic Museum is hosting a new exhibition called “Get Active!”, which offers a different type of museum visit, where moving is not only allowed, but even recommended! Inside an imaginary house, fun activities have been thought up in which the visitor uses physical, mental and social skills: strength, coordination, balance, flexibility, endurance, cooperation, etc.
Olympians Toni Wilhelm, windsurfer; Virginie Faivre, freestyle skier; and Anne-Sophie Thilo, sailor, inaugurated the exhibition (photo above). Through this exhibition, The Olympic Museum is seeking to make children, adolescents and their parents aware of the importance of physical activity for their health and wellbeing. More information on the exhibition here.



The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has announced that the 2015 “Thomas Keller” medal has been awarded to Slovenia’s Iztok Čop.  Čop spent more than two decades at the top of rowing, and in that time became Slovenia's most medalled rower. He participated in six consecutive editions of the Olympic Games (from 1992 to 2012) and won four medals, including a gold, at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 (double skulls). The “Thomas Keller” medal was presented to Čop by Dominik Keller, son of the former FISA President, Thomas Keller, at a dinner hosted alongside the finals of the World Cup in Lucerne (Switzerland) on 11 July. Info at www.worldrowing.com.


The Executive Committee of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), whose President is IOC EB Member Ching-Kuo Wu (photo), met from 7 to 9 July in Doha (Qatar). The Committee discussed its confederations’ strategic development, and the AIBA commissions (Women, Athletes & Youth, Medical, Coaches, and Referees & Judges), and heard the report by the Organising Committee for the next edition of the World Championships, which will be held in Doha from 8 to 17 October 2015. Info at www.aiba.org.

The 2015 World Fencing Championships will take place from 13 to 19 July in the Olympic Stadium sports complex in Moscow (Russian Federation). A total of 912 athletes from 108 countries will compete to win the world title and qualify for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. These Championships will be organised, under the aegis of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), by the City of Moscow’s Department of Physical Education and Sport, in cooperation with the Russian Fencing Federation. Info at  www.fie.ch.

The International Handball Federation (IHF) has reasserted its commitment to fighting illegal betting, match-fixing and corruption in sport by signing up to the IOC's Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS). As an intelligence-sharing digital platform, IBIS will enable the IHF and its members/national federations to access an extensive network of monitoring and data-sharing across sports, event owners and the major sports betting entities. The IHF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the IOC, and implementation of the system is to come into effect for all future Women’s and Men’s World Championships, Olympic qualification tournaments and Olympic Games, starting at the 2015 Women’s World Championships in Denmark.  Info at www.ihf.info.

With a fortnight to go before the opening of the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (Russian Federation), the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that more than 2,500 athletes from 186 countries will compete in the six FINA disciplines – swimming, synchronised swimming, diving, high diving, water polo and open water swimming. For the first time in FINA’s history, the World Masters Championships will be integrated into the World Championships to create a global aquatic festival for three weeks. New mixed events in swimming, synchronised swimming and diving will also be hosted for the first time at this level of competition. FINA will hold an Extraordinary Congress on 23 July, which will be attended by its 208 national member federations. Info at www.fina.org.

The 2015 International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) Senior World Championships in Berlin (Germany) recently showcased the sport to new audiences across the globe. In total, almost two hours of live Modern Pentathlon were broadcast by ARD, together with 12 hours of live streaming on the UIPM’s YouTube channel, which attracted 12,000 viewers. The Championships - which offered three male and female qualifying places for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016 - also created a big stir on social media where the UIPM’s regular updates attracted 590,000 page impressions on Facebook and 78,000 on Twitter. Info at www.pentathlon.org.

World Rugby has just announced an additional 27 per cent increase in anti-doping education, testing and research funding over the next four years. Also linked to the fight against doping, World Rugby has recently appointed a Science and Intelligence Officer within the organisation. Info at www.irb.com and www.keeprugbyclean.worldrugby.org.

The ITU Edmonton 2014 Grand Final Organising Committee, in cooperation with the International Triathlon Union (ITU), recently awarded an eight-week coaching mentorship to a female coach from a developing National Federation. This first scholarship was awarded to Paraguay’s Carolina Rodriguez.
For two months, Rodriguez lived in Edmonton, Canada, where she worked with coach Kevin Clark from the Edmonton Triathlon Academy, acquiring valuable advice and knowledge on coaching elite athletes. This scholarship was made possible thanks to a collection of funds by the ITU Women’s Committee during a lunch at the Edmonton Grand Final. Info at www.triathlon.org.

Held in Kingston (Canada) from 2 to 8 July, the 2015 Laser World Championships were the second opportunity for competitors in the men's one-person dinghy to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic sailing competition. Of the 46 places available on the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Laser start line, nine were up for grabs at the 2015 Worlds. Discover here on the website of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) the nine nations qualified for Rio de Janeiro 2016. The first qualification regatta, the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships, saw 24 nations secure a spot in Rio de Janeiro. Info at www.sailing.org.


The International Skiing Federation (FIS) has announced the death of its Honorary Member, Norway’s Odd Seim-Haugen. During his long career serving skiing, he undertook many significant roles in Norway.  He was also a member of the FIS Council from 1983 to 2002, including a period as the IF’s Vice-President, after serving as a member of the Eligibility and Legal Committees.  On a national level, he served as President of the Norwegian Ski Association and as Honorary Member of the Norwegian Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee. He was also an arbitrator within the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Furthermore, the FIS has been honoured with the Best International Sport Federation Award, presented by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) gathered on 2 July for the second FISU Gala, in Gwangju (Republic of Korea) on the eve of the 28th Summer Universiade.  Info at www.fis-ski.com.


The International Basque Pelota Federation (FIPV) has announced that 12 countries have registered for the 9th Under-22s World Championships (30m court). Some 100 athletes will thus compete in Palencia (Spain) from 7 to 12 September 2015. Info at www.fipv.net.

For the ninth consecutive year, the International Surfing Association (ISA) Individual Scholarship Programme is officially open to qualified surfers around the globe, aged under 18 on 31 December 2015. This programme seeks to assist young surfers who are currently enrolled in school, recognised by their National Surfing Federation and demonstrate a financial need. Scholarship funds are designed for three general purposes including: materials for education, surfing equipment as well as general fees as they relate to surf competition and training. Info at www.isasurf.org.


© NOC of Cameroon

The NOC of Cameroon has informed us that the Regional Olympic and Sports Committee (CROS) of the west region organised Olympic Week from 19 to 21 June with the theme “educate and move”. On the programme were a discussion on refereeing and disputes in sport, and a walk which brought together hundreds of people in the city of Bafoussam. The CROS also organised several sports activities for young people (aged 5 to 18) at the Yaoundé multisport centre (photo above).
Furthermore, the NOC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Olympic Association (BOA) on sporting exchanges between the two organisations. Cameroon NOC President Hamad Kalkaba Malboum and BOA Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe signed this MoA when Coe visited Yaoundé. 

© Spanish NOC

Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco (centre of photo) has participated in a conference on the theme of “Sports journalism: new objectives, new challenges” in the framework of San Lorenzo de El Escorial University’s summer school. He spoke about the current situation of Spanish sport and the future of the Spanish athletes at the next Olympic competitions. Sports journalists also spoke at this conference. Info at www.coe.es.

The NOC of Guatemala has informed us of a national seminar on the theme of “psychological basics of refereeing”, coordinated by the Guatemala Autonomous Sports Confederation (CDAG)’s technical sub-committee. Experts addressed subjects such as psychological techniques for improving concentration in refereeing, nutrition and self-control in refereeing. A diploma was awarded to each seminar participant. Info at www.cog.org.gt.

© Venezuelan NOC

The building housing the State of Anzoátegui’s Foundation for Sciences applied to Sport (FUNDACADEANZ) in Venezuela has been inaugurated by Minister for Youth and Sport Pedro Infante (photo above). This building is located in the “Libertador Simón Bolívar” multisport complex at the axis of the cities of Barcelona and Puerto La Cruz. The Foundation will offer, particularly to athletes, services in the areas of general medicine, odontology, gynaecology, nutrition and traumatology. Present at the inauguration were the Governor of the State of Anzoátegui, Aristóbulo Istúriz; the President of the Venezuelan NOC and President of the Sports and Physical Activity Institute (IDANZ), Eduardo Alvarez; and Olympic taekwondo medallist Adriana Carmona (bronze, Olympic Games Sydney 2000).



© Rio2016

The Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016 has presented the torch which will carry the Olympic flame through Brazil next year. The innovative design, which is inspired by the warmth of the Brazilian people, features movable segments that expand vertically to reveal the colours of Brazil when the Olympic flame is passed from one torchbearer to another. The triangular shape of the torch, meanwhile, alludes to the three Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, while the floating effect of its different segments represents the efforts of the athletes. The design chosen is that of the São Paulo-based creative studio Chelles & Hayashi. The torch will be carried by some 12,000 torchbearers in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Torch Relay organised by Coca-Cola, Nissan and Bradesco, and which will stop over in 300 towns and villages throughout Brazil before the Olympic Games next year. The Organising Committee has also presented the first 83 towns which will host the Torch Relay. Read the full press release here.


The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the 2016 International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS) will be held in Santos (Brazil) from 31 August to 4 September, a few days before the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This Convention is aimed at the scientific, educational and medical communities linked to sport. Taking place every four years in the host city of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the ICSEMIS often brings together more than 2,000 participants. Info at www.paralympic.org.

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