Olympic Highlights

04 Nov 2014




Almost one year after IOC President Thomas Bach delivered a speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) calling for “sport to enjoy responsible autonomy” and that “politics must respect this sporting autonomy”, the 69th regular session of the UNGA in New York has adopted a historic resolution by consensus, recognising the autonomy of the IOC and sport. The document states that the General Assembly “supports the independence and autonomy of sport as well as the mission of the IOC in leading the Olympic Movement”. “We highly welcome this resolution as a historic milestone in the relations between sport and politics,” President Bach said. “We must form partnerships with political organisations based on this recognition of the autonomy of sport. The excellent relations between the UN and the IOC can in this respect serve as an example for relations on the national level between National Olympic Committees and national governments. This relationship with governments requires that sport always remains politically neutral.” The IOC, enjoying UN Observer Status since in 2009, was represented by IOC member and Permanent Observer of the IOC to the United Nations Mario Pescante. Full media release here.

The IOC has awarded to CBC/Radio-Canada the exclusive broadcast rights in Canada for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018 and the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo in 2020. President Bach said: “We are pleased that we will continue to work with the team at CBC/Radio-Canada who have demonstrated their support for the Olympic values over many years. In addition, the financial support that CBC/Radio-Canada has committed as part of this agreement will be redistributed by the IOC to support sport in Canada and around the world, as well as supporting future organisers of the Olympic Games.” Read the full media release here.

The IOC President welcomed the sports representatives of the members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) at the 15th EUROVISION Sports Assembly, held at the Olympic Museum. He was accompanied by IOC Executive Board member Juan Antonio Samaranch, who is leading the negotiations with the European broadcasters. President Bach informed the EBU members and rights holders of the Olympic Games about Olympic Agenda 2020, including the possible Olympic TV Channel project.

President Bach met the Secretary General of the Qatari NOC, Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. The two men discussed cooperation between their respective institutions and the work of the Qatari Olympic Academy, with which cooperation projects could be set up, in particular concerning the training of young leaders and NOC exchanges.

A meeting has also been held with the Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfrid Lemke, Their discussions focused on the collaboration between the two organisations and their various joint projects.

During a meeting with the President of the International Luge Federation, Josef Fendt, the two men discussed a range of topics including the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

President Bach and Gordon Tang at the Olympic Museum. © IOC / Christophe Moratal

A new stone has been unveiled on the Olympic Museum’s Donors’ Wall. The stone bears the name of Gordon Tang, businessman and President of the Singapore Windsurfing Association. The ceremony was attended by IOC President and Singaporean IOC member Ser Miang Ng. “Without the generosity of donors like Mr Tang, the Olympic Museum would not be what it is today.” said the IOC President.


Jacques Rogge with children from the Azraq camp.   © IOC / Richard Juilliart

Jacques Rogge has completed his first mission as Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General for Youth Refugees and Sport. He visited Syrian refugees currently living in the UN camp of Azraq, located in the desert 100km east of the Jordanian capital, Amman. He was accompanied by Prince Feisal Al Hussein, IOC member in Jordan and NOC President. The camp currently hosts 5,000 shelters housing some 18,000 refugees. During his visit, Jacques Rogge spent time with refugee families and young people. He also visited the site that will soon host a multi-sport pitch financed by the IOC. In addition to providing the facility, the IOC, together with local partners, will offer a full programme for children to play sports in addition to taking part in the recreational programme already under way in the camp. Girls will also be encouraged to join in. The sports programme should be operational in the course of 2015 and aims to benefit over 2,000 young refugees per year. “I am really honoured to have been appointed to this role and grateful to the UN Secretary-General for the trust he put in me. This first mission has been particularly moving and inspiring,” said Jacques Rogge. “Refugee populations are largely composed of young people and children and having talked to families today there is no doubt that leisure and physical activities can have a positive impact on their lives in disarray.” Read the full media release here.


Karin Sierralta, Fernando Aguerre, Barbara Kendall and Casper Steinfath. © ISA/Michael Tweddle

Barbara Kendall was elected Vice-President of the International Surfing Association (ISA) at the IF’s annual general meeting in Punta Rocas (Peru) which has also re-elected Fernando Aguerre as ISA President. Barbara Kendall and Casper Steinfath, also newly elected, join the other two Vice-Presidents, Karin Sierralta and Layne Beachley, on the ISA Executive Committee. Info at www.isasurf.org 


The IOC was saddened to learn of the death of IOC honorary member Sir Tennant Edward (Tay) Wilson, aged 89. He joined the IOC in 1988 and served on the New Sources of Financing Commission and Finance Commission. He became an IOC honorary member in 2006. During his long career in the Olympic Movement, he held numerous positions, including those of Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, member of the Association of National Olympic Committees Executive Commission, Chairman of the Oceania National Olympic Committees Finance Commission and Secretary General of the Oceania National Olympic Committees. He was also President of the New Zealand Pierre de Coubertin Committee. Read the full media release here.



The International Boxing Association (AIBA) officially launched its new AIBA Pro Boxing competition (APB) with a pre-ranking phase held in Novosibirsk (Russian Federation) on 24 October. AIBA President and IOC Executive Board member Ching-Kuo Wu said: “The launch of APB represents one more step in AIBA’s long-term plan to improve its care and support for boxers throughout their careers”. The Rio Games in 2016 will see professional boxers competing in the Olympic Games for the very first time. Info at www.aibaproboxing.com

The 80th Congress of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) was held in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) on 29 and 30 October. Around 250 delegates from 78 national federations attended. The numerous decisions taken included the definitive admission of the following ten new federations as affiliated or associated members: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Cayman Islands, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Kosovo. The federation of Botswana was excluded. The city of Tokyo (Japan) has been chosen to host the 81st Congress in 2016.
Info at www.fig-gymnastics.com

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced that Welsh rugby coach and administrator Ray Williams is the winner of the 2014 Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service. In 1967, Williams became the first full-time Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) coaching organiser, demonstrating an innovative and scientific approach to rugby coaching. He served as WRU secretary from 1980 to 1988 and represented the WRU on the IRB Council between 1993 and 1997. He was also Tournament Director of the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Info at www.irb.com

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced the dates of the test events ahead of the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. The qualification events will be held on 1 and 2 August 2015. Info at www.triathlon.org


The World Curling Federation (WCF) has formally accepted the Hong Kong Curling Association and the Qatar Curling Federation as conditional member associations. This follows a statutory period of consultation with the WCF members since the annual World Curling Congress held in Reno (USA) in September 2014. Info at www.worldcurling.org


At its Council meeting in Ibiza (Spain) on 25 October, the International Power Boating Union (UIM) appointed Thomas Kurth as its new Secretary General. Kurth joined UIM as Special Commissioner after the departure of the previous Secretary General in July 2014 and has since been in charge of staff and operations at the UIM headquarters in Monaco. He was also head of competitions at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for ten years. Info at www.uimpowerboating.com


Austrian NOC staff reach the summit of Mount Olympus. © Austrian NOC

Karl Stoss, President of the Austrian NOC, and Secretary General Peter Mennel are experienced climbers. They therefore decided to take the NOC staff to the top of the highest and best known mountain in Greece, Mount Olympus. The highest summit, Mytikas, at 2,918m, was their final destination. Of the 14 NOC staff members, 12 participated in this excursion, accompanied by three guides. When they reached the top, they took out the Austrian and Olympic flags for a souvenir photo. Info at www.olympia.at

The NOC of Bahrain recently held a meeting with representatives of all the national sports associations in the city of Riffa. The main purpose of the meeting was to update the associations on their amended statutes and the related consolidated financial bylaw.

The President of the Republic of Burundi laying the first stone at the NOC headquarters. © NOC of Burundi

Construction work on the new headquarters of the NOC of Burundi began in Kanyosha, a district of the capital Bujumbura, on 25 October. The Kanyosha site also houses the Olympafrica Centre. The start of the work was marked in a ceremony in which the President of the Republic, Pierre Nkurunziza, laid the first stone of the new headquarters. The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Sport, IOC member Lydia Nsekera, the Chinese ambassador in Burundi, members of the NOC Executive Committee and several national federation representatives. The IOC has given special assistance to the NOC for this construction project, which is expected to last six months.

Alejandro Blanco and Hamad Kalkaba Malboum. © Spanish NOC

The President of the Spanish NOC, Alejandro Blanco, and the President of the Cameroonian NOC, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, have signed a cooperation agreement concerning the implementation of joint projects linked to the promotion of Olympism in the two countries. The agreement was signed at the Spanish NOC’s headquarters in the presence of its Secretary General, Víctor Sánchez, and representatives of the various institutions that will be collaborating under the terms of the agreement. Info at www.coe.es

 The Guatemalan delegation for the Games © Guatemalan NOC

On 28 October, in the Mateo Flores national stadium, the Guatemalan delegation that will participate in the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz (Mexico) swore an oath in front of the representatives of the Guatemalan NOC, chaired by Gerardo Aguirre, and more than 3,000 spectators. Representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, and presidents of the sports federations and associations were also present. 383 Guatemalan athletes will compete in 33 sports at these Games, to be held from 14 to 30 November. Info at www.cog.org.gt

© Indonesian NOC 
On 23 and 24 October, the Indonesian NOC, in collaboration with the Indonesian Sports Medicine Association, organised a regional sports medicine course in Jakarta. Around 200 people from the South East Asian region took part. In her opening speech, NOC President and IOC member Rita Subowo (see photo above) encouraged the participants to share their knowledge and experience in an effort to improve the level of sport medicine practice in the region. The course was funded by Olympic Solidarity. Info at

The participants in the ceremony held in memory of the Munich Games victims. © Israeli NOC

In Tel Aviv, the Israeli NOC held the 42nd ceremony in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes who died in the terrorist attack during the 1972 Games in Munich. The ceremony was attended by the NOC leaders, including President Igal Carmi, representatives of the Israeli government and municipality of Tel Aviv, Munich Games athletes and their families, the victims’ families, athletes and members of the Rio 2016 delegation. The athletes, Yael Arad (judo, also a member of the NOC Executive Committee), Yardan Gerbi (judo) and Guy Barnea (swimming), laid a wreath in front of the monument on behalf of the Olympic athletes. Info at www.olympic.one.co.il

Futsal seminar. © Peruvian NOC

A large number of participants attended the seminar on futsal coaching techniques organised by the Peruvian NOC through the Peruvian Olympic Academy. The topics covered included the rules of the game, footballers’ training, fitness training, training management and systems of play. This was the penultimate event of the year run by the NOC as part of its annual training programme. In November, a sports training management seminar will bring the 2014 programme to a close. Info at www.coperu.org

Ser Miang Ng and Michael Hwang. © NOC of Singapore

On behalf of the IOC President, IOC member Ser Miang Ng presented the Pierre de Coubertin medal to Michael Hwang for his exceptional services to the Olympic Movement at a ceremony held at the Singapore Sports Museum. Michael Hwang has been involved with the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) since 2006 and has actively contributed to the development of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for eight years. He also chaired the CAS ad hoc division at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010. Info on the website of the NOC of Singapore www.singaporeolympics.com

Irina Peternelj, Matjaž Berger and Janez Kocijančič. © Slovenian NOC

The Slovenian NOC celebrated its 23rd anniversary on 15 October, with participants including the first President of Slovenia, the Minister of Education, Science and Sport, the President of the National Council and the NOC President, Janez Kocijančič. At the event, the 2014 IOC Sport and Culture Trophy was presented to theatre director Matjaž Berger for his numerous artistic achievements on the theme of Olympism. Matjaž Berger directed the celebrations of the 95th and 100th birthdays of Olympian Leon Štukelj, projects he entitled ‘Pariz – Amsterdam – Berlin – Novo mesto’ (in 1993) and ‘Ave, triumphator’ (in 1998). Info at www.olympic.si

Ceremony in honour of the Asian Games athletes. © Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee

The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee held a ceremony in honour of its athletes that participated in the Asian Games in Incheon and their excellent performances (winning 51 medals). Prime Minister Jiang Yi-huah was the guest of honour at the ceremony and presented awards to the medal-winning athletes. The most outstanding performances in Incheon included three world records broken by two female weightlifters: Hsu Shu-ching in the 53kg category and Lin Tzu-chi in the 60kg category (clean and jerk). Meanwhile, the city of Taichung was chosen to host the first East Asian Youth Games in 2019 at the meeting of the East Asian Games Association council in Beijing (People’s Republic of China) on 24 October. Info at www.tpenoc.net

© Karel Novak

The Czech NOC has announced the death of Olympic champion Miloslava Rezková (photo), aged 64. At the Mexico Games in 1968, she won the Olympic high jump gold medal with a leap of 1.82m. She was also crowned European champion in 1969. After retiring in 1977, Rezková held various roles in the world of athletics. Info at www.olympic.cz


The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced the extension of its agreement with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the Worldwide Paralympic Partner in the wireless communications equipment category. As a result, Samsung will remain one of the Official Worldwide Paralympic Partners for the next six years (until the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020) and will expand its sponsorship category to include computing equipment after 2016.
Meanwhile, the IPC recently published the 2015 edition of its Anti-Doping Code, which will apply to all member organisations, the Paralympic Games and IPC-recognised International Federations from 1 January 2015. Info at

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Civic Initiatives Support Programme has joined forces with ‘Generations For Peace’ to expand its Jordan Schools Programme from 2014 to 2016. The programme aims to reduce violence and improve educational performance in schools in Jordanian communities hosting Syrian refugees. This new partnership builds on the success of a pilot programme which tested the initiative for over a year in girls’ and boys’ schools in Amman and Zarqa. The programme uses sport- and art-based activities, integrating educational messages linked to conflict resolution. The next phase of the programme will involve schools in Irbid. Info at www.generationsforpeace.org


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