The World Olympians Association announces financial support to Olympian-led community initiatives

12 Jun 2020
IOC News olympic agenda

The World Olympians Association (WOA), the IOC-recognised organisation supporting 100,000 Olympians worldwide, has announced the Olympian-led projects that will receive funding through the annual WOA 2020 Grants Programme.


Awarded at a time when countries around the world are still suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WOA’s Grants Programme supports Olympians who seek to create a positive impact in their communities as role models and leaders. Olympians play a fundamental role, not only in showing how to #StayStrong, #StayActive and #StayHealthy in these difficult times, but also in being fully committed to offering concrete assistance to communities leveraging the Olympic values.

“We are delighted that we can support the inspirational work of Olympians across the world,” said the World Olympians Association President, Joël Bouzou OLY. “The challenges that many communities have already faced this year make the work that these projects will be carrying out even more essential. The WOA supports Olympian-led projects that make a real difference to people’s lives. We are pleased to be able to help bring these inspirational initiatives to life.”

The inspiring projects

Each project, aimed at serving Olympians or communities, has been developed in partnership with the local National Olympians Association, and will receive USD 5,000 from the WOA to support its delivery.

  • Zambia’s Refugee, Youth and Street Kids Sports Programme will train Olympians how to lead effective projects that engage refugees and street kids in sport.
  • Puerto Rico’s Education for Olympians will educate Olympians during their competitive careers to make them aware of opportunities and prepare them for retirement.
  • Singapore’s Website for Singapore’s Olympians will help create a live resource to tell the stories of Olympians to inspire future generations.
  • Angola’s Basketball for Street Boys will continue to engage street children in Luanda through sport, to give them a sense of home life and to spend time with Olympians to share their values.
  • Botswana’s Sports Day will place sport at the heart of the community providing opportunities for young people to get involved in sport, whilst promoting the benefits of education
  • Costa Rica’s Cycling to School aims to introduce cycling into communities for children that are often forced to walk long distances to go to school as a way of reducing the number of children that drop out of school.
  • USA’s Education through Sports will enrich the lives of girls in Guinea by providing opportunities to play competitive recreational activities against girls from other schools.
  • Greece’s Olympic Green Values will run a series of workshops to promote Olympic and sporting values and environmental protection to young people.
  • New Zealand’s Rotorua Athlete Development Trust will help mentor and develop potential Olympians to perform on the world stage and inspire future generations in the community.
Long-term positive legacies

First launched in 2016, the WOA’s Grants Programme has helped support more than 50 Olympian-led projects to leave long-term positive legacies within communities or to enable the ongoing development of Olympians, in line with the Olympic values.

The WOA Grants Programme has previously supported a diverse range of Olympian-led social, environmental and educational programmes, including; drowning-prevention programmes in India and Lithuania; bringing the community together to protect the environment in Moldova; sending Olympians back to school in Malaysia; and inspiring the next generation in Nigeria by engaging children in quality education and sport.

The IOC’s support to athletes and Olympians

The IOC financially supports the WOA, and the close relationship dates back to the WOA’s foundation, established by the former IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, in 1995. The collaboration ensures Olympians everywhere receive continuous support through the alignment of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, putting athletes and Olympians at the heart of the Olympic Movement.

The IOC is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to using the revenue generated from the Olympic Games to assist athletes and develop sport worldwide. As a result, every day the IOC distributes about USD 3.4 million around the world to help athletes and sporting organisations.

A substantial portion of the profits from the Games is allocated through the National Olympic Committees directly to helping athletes and coaches from countries with the greatest financial need, as part of the Olympic Solidarity programme, including the Refugee Olympic Team.

The latest Olympic Solidarity Plan – which runs from 2017 to 2020 – includes more than half a billion dollars for various global and continental programmes related to athlete development and coaches’ education to make the Olympic Games more accessible across the globe.

Due to the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Solidarity Athlete Programmes have been extended into 2021.

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