USD 700,000 made available to NOC Athletes’ Commissions around the world in 2021 to strengthen athlete voice and representation

07 Jan 2022
IOC News Athletes

A total of 70 National Olympic Committee (NOC) Athletes’ Commissions (ACs) from all continents applied for financial support through the Olympic Solidarity NOC AC Activity Grants in 2021, for an available total amount of USD 700,000. 

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Each AC was allocated up to USD 10,000 of annual funding to be used for activities focused on supporting athletes. For NOCs which do not already have one, this grant can be used to create their own Athletes’ Commission.

“This grant is a result of a recommendation from the International Athletes’ Forum held in 2019, set to further strengthen the athlete voice in the Olympic Movement, which was accepted and implemented by the IOC,” said Emma Terho, Chair of the IOC AC. “I am positively impressed by the number of NOC ACs that applied for this funding, in its second year, and by the various activities put in place for athletes in every corner of the world. I encourage everyone to make the most of this opportunity, and I am looking forward to seeing what projects the grants will fund in 2022.”

From funding vital workshops on key topics such as anti-doping, mental health and safe sport to organising development projects within local communities, the NOC AC Activity Grants continued to create new opportunities and experiences for athletes around the world.

A few examples show how in each continent this funding benefited athlete representation and development both on and off the field of play.

Africa

The Malian NOC AC focused its efforts on empowering the athlete representatives in the country. It held a forum in 2021 for the chairs of all National Federation (NF) ACs focused on public speaking, how to write an activity report, and advice on managing social networks, in addition to a series of workshops devoted to career transition.

The Guinean NOC AC, meanwhile, held its first ever Athletes’ Forum, which featured a wide variety of topics, such as life beyond competitive sport, building a CV and preventing harassment and abuse in sport. The Forum also included discussions about how Guinean athletes can better embody the Olympic Movement and promote the Olympic values.

Americas

The Chilean NOC AC funded 15 scholarships for athletes competing in Tokyo and Beijing to take online English-language courses for two months, and also held its first national Athletes’ Forum, organised virtually in September 2021.

Asia

The Bhutan NOC AC also held an Athletes’ Forum to discuss athlete-related opportunities, issues and challenges. One issue identified as a priority was physiotherapy and the enhancement of athlete performance through injury prevention.

The NOC’s AC also introduced a safe sport initiative. In an effort to empower and safeguard athletes, the AC – with the support of many other stakeholders in the country – helped develop a set of clear protocols for athletes to report harassment and abuse in sport.

Europe

The Poland NOC AC focused on the transition into the workplace. Following up on the activities organised in 2020, in 2021 the AC delivered a more tailored approach to athletes interested in taking a new career path, including individual workshops, a focus on personal development and talks from industry specialists.

Oceania

The Solomon Islands NOC used its Activity Grant to create a new Youth Athlete Development project. Representatives from the AC visited schools across the country, raising awareness of the Olympic values and providing information on anti-doping. With the funding, the AC will now also hold quarterly meetings.

Applications for 2022 NOC AC Activity Grants are already open. More information about the project can be found here.

Support to ACs and athletes

Through the Athlete365 community, ACs have access to a number of tools and guides that offer support on a number of issues, such as the establishment of an effective AC, and how to hold AC elections and an Athletes’ Forum, in addition to practical documents on preparing and coordinating meetings.

Additionally, dedicated workshops for NOC and IF AC chairs are regularly delivered throughout the year, to upskill the athlete representatives on various topics such as leadership, and to facilitate networking between the ACs.

Various resources are also available directly for athletes on several subjects, including Games-time information, well-being and mental health, performance, finance, integrity and career.

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