Olympic Highlights

16 Jun 2014



It was a busy week for the IOC President, with several meetings with members of the Olympic Movement and heads of state and government, which took him to Rome, Lausanne, Helsinki, Tokyo and then The Hague from where he will travel to Athens.

Celebration of CONI’s 100th anniversary  © CONI

On 9 June, IOC President Thomas Bach was in Rome for the celebrations to mark the centenary of the Italian NOC (CONI). The celebrations were also attended by the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano; Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino; President of the Italian Senate Pietro Grasso; CONI President Giovanni Malago; IOC members Peter Tallberg, Franco Carraro, Iván Dibós, Pál Schmitt, Lambis V. Nikolaou, Mario Pescante,  Valeriy Borzov, Olegario Vázquez Raña, Patrick Joseph Hickey, Irena Szewinska, Melitón Sánchez Rivas, Ugur Erdener, Marisol Casado, José Perurena, Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant and Octavian Morariu; IOC honorary member Manuela Di Centa; and some of the great names in Italian sport, such as Alpine skier Alberto Tomba and high jumper Sara Simeoni. Speaking on this occasion, President Bach praised the work of the NOC over the last 100 years: “CONI has become the benchmark for many NOCs and sporting organisations around the world. We have learnt a lot from Italian sports organisation, and for this we are grateful.” The IOC President earlier held private talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

Back in Lausanne on 10 June, President Bach met Swatch Group CEO Nicholas Hayek Jr; German NOC President Alfons Hörmann and Secretary General Michael Vesper; and IOC members Juan Antonio Samaranch and Gerardo Werthein.

On 11 June, still in Lausanne, President  Bach met the President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), Brian Cookson, and UCI Director General Martin Gibbs, and received updates on a range of efforts being made by the UCI and its stakeholders to protect the clean athletes and the integrity of the sport of cycling. Speaking afterwards, the IOC President said: “It was great to see all the stakeholders equally committed to the fight for clean athletes. We also discussed the UCI’s contributions to Olympic Agenda 2020, which will be looked at in even greater detail by Working Groups beginning next week.” The President had earlier met the Professional Cycling Council. 

Meeting between President Bach and President Niinistö © Finnish President’s Office

The following day the IOC President travelled to Helsinki (Finland), for the 6th World Conference of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport. The event is officially supported by the IOC and held under the motto “Lead the Change, Be the Change”. On this occasion, President Bach met the Finnish President, Sauli Niinistö, at Mäntyniemi, the official Presidential residence. The Finnish President praised the IOC for its good governance and highlighted the many benefits that the Olympic Games can bring in terms of health and social cohesion. He underlined the huge benefits the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki had brought to Finland. For his part, President Bach compared the experience with Munich ’72 and Barcelona ’92, noting how one could talk of “Olympic cities before and after staging the Games”. The two men also talked the Olympic Agenda 2020, which will lay out a new strategic course for the future of the Olympic Movement. Also present at the meeting were IOC Executive Board member Anita DeFrantz, IOC member Peter Tallberg, IWG Co-Chair Raija Mattila and Finnish Sports Confederation (Valo) President Risto Nieminen.

The IOC President then met the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou. 

After these two meetings, President Bach spoke at the IWG World Conference opening ceremony. In his speech, he highlighted the leading role sport can play in advancing gender equality. He told the audience about the progress that the IOC has made in terms of women’s participation in sport. “Sport has been, and continues to be, a vital tool to show that another world is possible, and that role continues to this day,” President said. “Our central belief written into our Charter is that sport should be available to all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or any other form of discrimination, including sexual orientation. As a sports organisation we cannot force countries to change their legislation but what we can do is give a shining example to the world of how a society based on these core beliefs should operate.” President Bach also praised the progress accomplished over the years in increasing girls’ and women’s participation on the field of play, but urged to increase the efforts of getting more women into decision-making positions: “We must do more to bring women into sports leadership. We have seen what women can do on the field of play. We need their intellect, energy and creativity in the administration and management of sport as well.” Also speaking at the opening ceremony were the first female head of state in Finland, Tarja Halonen, who is Patron-in-Chief and Chair of the Honorary Committee of the Conference; Raija Mattila, IWG Co-Chair; Pia Viitanen, Finnish Minister of Culture and Housing; Risto Nieminen; and IOC members Peter Tallberg and Philip Craven. IOC Executive Board members Anita DeFrantz and Claudia Bokel spoke on of “Leading the Change in Sports Policy” and “Sport without Fear”, respectively.

President Bach and Masaaki Tsuya   © Bridgestone

After Helsinki, the IOC President flew to Tokyo (Japan). On 13 June, in the city hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, President Bach took part in a press conference announcing that The Bridgestone Corporation (Bridgestone) has joined The Olympic Partner (TOP) programme. He was accompanied by Masaaki Tsuya, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bridgestone, as well Tsunekazu Takeda, the IOC’s Marketing Commission Chairman, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and Vice-President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. As a Worldwide TOP Partner, Bridgestone will partner with the IOC and all 204 NOCs and their Olympic teams, in addition to the organisers of future Olympic Games, including the Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as well as the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. Speaking at the press conference, the IOC President observed: “Bridgestone is a global leader in its field, and we are delighted to welcome the company to the TOP programme and are excited about the long-term commitment they have shown to the Olympic Movement.”

Meeting between President Bach and Prime Minister Abe.  © Yo Nagaya

On 13 June, President Bach also met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo to discuss preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games. The Prime Minister confirmed the absolute commitment of the Federal Government to ensuring successful Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as well as underlining the support of the Japanese people.

Later in the day, the IOC President met Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe.

At both meetings, the President was accompanied by John Coates, Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2020 Games, and by Tsunekazu Takeda. 

From Tokyo, the President travelled to The Hague (Netherlands) to attend the final of the 2014 Women's Hockey World Cup on 14 June.  

From The Hague, the President will fly to Athens (Greece) for the opening ceremony of the 54th Session of the International Olympic Academy for young participants. Read all the details in the next issue of the ‘Olympic Highlights’.


Anita L. DeFrantz, who is also President of the LA84 Foundation,  was presented with the Alliance of Women Coaches’ “Bigger Picture of Being a Champion Award” at the Alliance’s Annual Conference on 4 June. The Award recognises her for being a champion and making a difference in sport.

Gian-Franco Kasper was re-elected as President of the International Ski Federation (FIS) at the recent FIS Congress in Barcelona (Spain). This will be his seventh term as FIS President. (See also the “Winter IFs” section below).


This week in Lausanne, the Board of Olympic Broadcasting Services SA (OBS) met for the first time under the chairmanship of Richard W. Pound, in the presence of Juan Antonio Samaranch and Gerardo Werthein.


On 11 June in New York (USA), world and Olympic champions, including Jamaica’s Yohan Blake and American Maurice Greene, took part in a demonstration of the IAAF/Kids’ Athletics programme for local school children. The 70-minute competition featured seven events (2 x jump; 2 x run; 2 x throw; and 1 x endurance). This project is the flagship development project of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)’s School/Youth programme, and has already been activated in more than 130 of the IAAF’s 212 national member federations. Details on www.iaaf.org.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and World Archery (WA) have reasserted  their 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 FIBA and the WA, and their members/national federations, to access an extensive network of monitoring and data-sharing across sports, event owners and the major sports betting entities.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has just unveiled the logo (pictured left) for the upcoming Women’s World Boxing Championships, which will be taking place from 13 to 25 November this year in Jeju (Republic of Korea).  Boxers aged between 19 and 40 will compete in 10 weight categories. The first Women’s Championships were held in 2001 in Scranton (USA), and women’s boxing was included in the Olympic Games for the first time in 2012, in London. AIBA has also informed us of the death of Polish boxer Zbignyw Pietrzykowski. During his career, he won a silver medal at the 1960 Games in Rome, and two bronze medals, in Melbourne in 1956 and Tokyo in 1964, as well as four European championship titles. Details on www.aiba.org.

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) has announced that, to help increase the number of women involved in the sport, its advanced coaching courses will for the first time be open to male and female freestyle wrestling coaches. The first such course will be held at the FILA wrestling centre in Rio de Janeiro, from 21 to 23 November this year, under the leadership of the Brazilian federation. Details on www.fila-wrestling.com.

An International Swimming Federation (FINA) delegation, led by its Executive Director Cornel Marculescu, was in Guadalajara (Mexico) recently to meet the local authorities and organisers of the 2017 FINA World Championships. The 17th edition of FINA’s major event will take place from 15 to 30 July 2017, and will be immediately followed by the FINA World Masters Championships. Details on www.fina.org.

The 500 players, coaches and match officials participating in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand have been given concussion education. The IRB has placed education at the centre of its commitment to protecting players at all levels of the game. Details on www.irb.com.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) and British Triathlon have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create a global Coach Education system designed to standardise and improve coaching education around the world, and in particular for emerging national federations. The system will be formally launched at the 2014 ITU World Championships Grand Final in Edmonton (Canada). Details on www.triathlon.org.


Held in Barcelona (Spain) from 1 to 6 June, the 49th Congress of the International Ski Federation (FIS) was attended by more than 1,000 participants. A new FIS Council was elected for the 2014-2016 period. The Congress affiliated Dominica, Guyana, Malaysia, Paraguay, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste as associate members of the FIS, which now has 122 member federations. Details on www.fis-ski.com.


Fourteen of the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC)’s national federations (Belgium, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, France, Lithuania, Ghana, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Togo and Tunisia) have joined together to found the Francophone Association of Baseball Softball (AFBS). Launched during the WBSC Congress in Hammamet (Tunisia) last month, the primary objective of the AFBS will be to promote and develop baseball and softball in French-speaking countries. The French federation President, Didier Seminet, has been chosen as the first AFBS President. Details on www.playball2020.com.


The German NOC (DOSB) is rebuilding its headquarters, the House of German Sport, in Frankfurt-am-Main. As of 23 June, and for two years, the 160 staff will be in premises in Neu-Isenburg, six kilometres away. This project is part of the strategic plan of the NOC’s Executive Committee, under the leadership of Alfons Hörmann. Parts of the old DOSB headquarters will be completely demolished and rebuilt, while others will be renovated. Around 90 employees from other sports federations which rent premises in the House of German Sport will also be moving. However, the NOC’s email address and telephone numbers will remain the same during this two-year period. Details on www.dosb.de.

The Bahrain Olympic Committee’s Media and Archive Directorate recently issued a documentary booklet on Bahrain’s sports achievements in 2013 as well as its annual report (pictured left). The booklet lists the achievements of the 21 sports federations last year, as well as participations in national and regional competitions and seminars.

Brazilian NOC staff with their President, Carlos Arthur Nuzman © Brazilian NOC

On 8 June, the Brazilian NOC, the first NOC to be created in South America, celebrated its 100th anniversary. Its first Olympic participation was at the 1920 Games in Antwerp. At the 2012 Games in London, the Brazilian team won a record 17 medals. Today, the NOC is facing a major new challenge: preparing the Brazilian team for the 2016 Games in Rio, where the NOC is hoping to see Brazil rank as one of the top 10 nations. To this end, the NOC has produced a strategic plan to improve and develop each sport, discipline or athlete with the potential to achieve good results. Details on www.cob.org.br.

The Colombian NOC informs us that an International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) beach volleyball seminar was held from 4 to 8 June at the High-level Centre in Bogotá. Responding to the invitation from the Colombian Volleyball Federation, 22 technicians, physical education teachers and players attended this seminar, which combined both theory and practice. In addition, the Executive Committee of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (ODECABE) has chosen the Colombian city of Barranquilla to host the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018. Details on www.coc.org.co

Training seminar in Ecuador © NOC

The Ecuadorian NOC recently held a sports administration training seminar for women. With the support of Olympic Solidarity, the seminar brought together athletes, sports federation presidents and sports institution representatives. Details on www.coe.org.ec.

Presentation of the sports assistance office by the Spanish NOC  © NOC

 On 6 June, the Spanish NOC headquarters was the setting for the presentation of a new athlete assistance office by the NOC President, Alejandro Blanco, and the Rector of the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM), Jose Luis Mendoza. Aware of the difficulties athletes face before and after their sports career, the NOC President wanted to support them by creating this office, which will be divided into four sections: psychology, legal-commercial, teaching and medicine. Details on www.coe.es.

For the first time since it was created in 2009, the French NOC’s “Sentez-Vous Sport” (Feel Sport) was presented at the House of French Sport in Paris, at the beginning of June. This year’s edition was unveiled in the presence of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Minister for Women’s Rights, Cities, Youth and Sport, Benoît Hamon, the Minister for National Education, Higher Education and Research, and a group of personalities from the worlds of sport, industry and the media. Started by NOC President Denis Masseglia (pictured above), this national operation to promote sport for all is aimed at all generations and all stages of life, as well as industry. Details on www.franceolympique.com.


Peruvian NOC seminar participants © NOC

The Peruvian NOC recently hosted a sports medicine seminar which addressed the importance of psychological observation in sport for detecting emotional problems which can affect an athlete’s performance, thus facilitating the task of psychologists in monitoring training. The head of the NOC’s Psychology Department, Christian Ungaro Gutierrez, presented the basic concepts of psychology applied to sport. Details on www.coperu.org.


Olympic Day Run in Chinese Taipei © NOC

For the 27th consecutive year, the Chinese Taipei NOC celebrated Olympic Day, on 8 June. The programme included a run in which a record 11,200 amateurs and professionals took part, plus a fundraising campaign for various charity groups. NOC President Hong-Dow Lin started the race at 5.30 a.m. alongside the Mayor of New Taipei City, Li-lun Chu, and the Director General of the Sports Administration within the Education Ministry, Jwo-Fei Ho. More than 1,000 adults and children formed the five Olympic rings, before practising tai-chi for six minutes. The NOC also donated TWD 1 million to the charity fund set up by New Taipei Government for the needy in the municipality. Details on www.tpenoc.net.


TOKYO 2020

The Executive Board of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee has announced the establishment of the Tokyo 2020 Advisory Meeting, which comprises a total of 170 leading figures from major domestic stakeholders. The Advisory Meeting, which is chaired by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is made up of representatives from a broad cross-section of Japanese society, and will assist the Organising Committee in its preparations and operations for the 2020 Games from a variety of perspectives. The Executive Board – which remains the highest decision-making body of Tokyo 2020 – also welcomed its newest member, Haruyuki Takahashi, Chairman of Commons, bringing the total number of Board members to 35. In another development, Tokyo 2020 is to establish partnership arrangements with universities and colleges across Japan. Details on https://tokyo2020.jp/en/.


The mascot for the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer will be a lynx, based on the voting results revealed last week. Over 50 entries were received, and the designs of the three finalists chosen were put to a public vote on Facebook.  Details on www.lillehammer2016.no.


On 5 June, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Agitos Foundation, launched the second edition of a highly successful and popular programme to strengthen National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) around the world. The Organisational Capacity Programme, originally launched in February 2014, aims to give NPCs the knowledge, support and tools to develop athletes as well as increase their activities in other important areas such as Games preparation and fundraising. Details on www.paralympic.org.

The President of SportAccord, Marius L. Vizer, has signed agreements that will share dividends from the annual SportAccord Convention with the umbrella organisations of SportAccord member sports federations. The Association of IOC-Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF) and the Alliance of Independent Members of SportAccord (AIMS) have been recognised as Official Partners of the SportAccord Convention, and will receive a dividend percentage from SportAccord. Details on www.sportaccord.com.


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