Pushing forward with the creation of an Independent Testing Authority (ITA), the IOC Executive Board today approved on principle the ITA business model. The ITA will be an independent non-for-profit Swiss Foundation that will provide doping control services to International Federations (IFs) and Major Event Organisations (MEOs) to help compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code in an autonomous and harmonised manner. The establishment of the ITA, one of the IOC’s 12 principles for a more robust and independent global Anti-Doping System to protect clean athletes, was called for by the Olympic Summit, and endorsed by WADA.
Ahead of next February’s Olympic Winter Games, and as outlined by IOC Medical and Scientific Director Dr Richard Budgett during the press briefing, the ITA will be responsible for doping control, with IOC experts available if extra support is required. However, as was already the case at the Games in Rio de Janeiro last year, sanctioning will be independent at PyeongChang 2018. The transfer of responsibilities are reflected in the Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Games. These were approved by the Board today along with the IOC Needle Policy and the IOC Policy regarding certain National Olympic Committee (NOC) Scientific and Medical Equipment for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Also agreed was the change of nationalities for five athletes who will compete in PyeongChang:
Ms Ekaterina Avvakumova (biathlon), from Russia to Korea;
Mr Florent Claude (biathlon), from France to Belgium;
Mr Tomaz Druml (skiing / Nordic Combined), from Austria to Slovenia;
Mr Timofei Lapshin (biathlon), from Russia to Korea; and
Mr Steven Theolier (skiing / alpine skiing), from France to the Netherlands.
In addition, the IOC Executive Board discussed the IOC’s commitment to help refugees around the globe.
For personal reasons, Honorary President Jacques Rogge has decided not to accept a prolongation of his mandate as special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Youth, Refugees and Sport, which ended on 30 June.
However, the work of the IOC and its support for refugees continues. Its efforts will in fact be strengthened in two ways. The IOC is discussing a potential Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020, and it is reinforcing its efforts with the United Nations, in particular with UNHCR in refugee camps around the world. The NOC of Qatar has today announced that it will support the IOC refugee programmes as will the NOC and government of Liechtenstein. Discussions with a number of others are underway.
In conclusion, the IOC Executive Board gave its consent to establish the IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards, as proposed by the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission. Acknowledging the exceptional role of coaches in an athletes’ life on and off the field of play, this annual Award will provide an opportunity to recognise one retired female coach and one retired male coach who have participated in at least one edition of the Olympic Games for their outstanding achievements and contribution to an athletes’ life of coaches to athletes’ life and the Olympic Movement.