IOC President Thomas Bach is to receive the Seoul Peace Prize 2020.
In their announcement, the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation said: “As a firm believer of the spirit of the Olympics, Thomas Bach has devoted himself to promoting peace through sport. He lit a torch of hope for refugees worldwide by introducing the Refugee Olympic Team in the Olympic Games Rio 2016, an unprecedented deed in the history of the Olympics, which has raised global awareness of refugee issues and promoted respect for refugee’s human rights. His efforts focused on friendship and harmony among developing countries through the revitalization of sports and this gave way to the participation of North Korea (DPRK) in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea (ROK), a notable outcome considering DPRK’s absence from the 1988 Summer Seoul Olympics. The 2018 Winter Olympics was held successfully, serving not only as an Olympic symbol of peace, but also as a stepping stone for peace in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia”.
For President Bach, “It is a great honour to receive this award, and I would like to thank the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation for its decision. This prize belongs to the entire IOC and the whole of the Olympic Movement, because without the support of so many, these achievements for peace through sport could never have been accomplished”. Full press release from the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation here.
The IOC Coordination Commission and the Tokyo Organising Committee agreed on a series of measures to make the Olympic Games Tokyo fit for a post-corona world. In his opening remarks to the meeting participants, IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged the outstanding progress being made by Tokyo 2020, reinforcing his belief that next year’s Olympic Games will be the best prepared ever. He also emphasised that the coming months will require flexibility and creativity from everyone involved as the Tokyo organisers deliver Games fit for a post-corona world. In doing so, the IOC President offered his gratitude to all stakeholders, who are fully aligned with the measures being envisaged. See also under ‘Commissions’.
President Thomas Bach was in Slovenia on 21 September, meeting athletes and Olympic hopefuls. At a canoe training facility in the capital, Ljubljana, he took part in a Q and A session with the athletes, who asked many questions about the COVID-19 crisis and preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The 40 athletes were from athletics, judo, taekwondo, canoe, sailing, handball and table tennis, including two medallists from the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Earlier, President Bach met Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša in Ljubljana. They discussed the importance of the European sports model and how sport is part of the solution to the COVID-19 crisis. The Minister of Education, Science and Sports Simona Kustec, the State Secretary for Education and Sport Marjan Dolinšek, the President of the Slovenian NOC Bogdan Gabrovec and the NOC Secretary General Blaz Perko, also attended the meeting.
The President was also in Slovenia to remember the life of former European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Janez Kocijančič. At a commemoration service in the capital, President Bach met his widow and daughter before later going to the graveside with members of the EOC Executive Committee and the Slovenian NOC. Bach said: “Janez was a great man of sport. His life was dedicated to sport and in particular the values of sport. He did not just speak about this, he was living these values every day.” (See also under ‘Recognised Organisations’)
During his visit, President Bach also attended the presentation of the 2019 IOC “Sport and Sustainable Architecture” Trophy to the President of the Management Board of Slovenian Steel Group (SIJ - an NOC sponsor), Andrey Zubitskiy, in recognition of their project of building outdoor steel gyms all across Slovenia.
The President also met the Toyota Regional President, Kensuke Tsuchiya. President Bach praised the strong Worldwide Partnership with Toyota and its focus on the mobility solutions.
The IOC President ended his visit by attending a fund-raising event for a sports foundation for underprivileged children, chaired by Miroslav Cerar, double Olympic champion in gymnastics (Tokyo 1964 and Mexico 1968).
During his short stay in Slovenia, President Bach also met with IOC Executive Board member Sergey Bubka.
On 22 September, IOC President sent another message to the Olympic Movement entitled “Olympism and Corona II”, to follow up on his first letter sent at the end of April. Read here the full message.
Ahead of the International Day of Peace, celebrated around the world on 21 September, the IOC President emphasised the unifying power of sport in a video message. “Sport contributes to peace by unifying people,” he said. “The Olympic Games today are the only event in our world which manages to really bring the entire world together. Athletes come to the Olympic Games respecting the same rules, all being equal, without any discrimination.” “Shaping Peace Together” is the theme chosen to celebrate the International Day of Peace this year. The day also marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN).“The partnership between the UN and the IOC is based on the shared goal of contributing to peace,” Bach continued. “UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres once said: ‘If there is a true symbol of peace in the world, it is the Olympic spirit.’” Read the full news release here.
President Bach welcomed in Lausanne IOC Member Uğur Erdener with whom he discussed various Olympic matters.
The IOC and Tokyo 2020 have agreed on measures to deliver Games fit for a post-corona world. Developed in response to the postponement of this year’s Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 50 measures have been designed to maximise cost savings and increase efficiencies in Games delivery. The meeting on 25 September between the IOC Coordination Commission, chaired by John Coates, and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee provided the Coordination Commission with the opportunity to review the current list of measures, with more opportunities to be identified in the lead-up to the Games. These have been split into four main categories: stakeholders; infrastructure; promotion; and other areas of interest. Full news release here.
Other Olympic news
On 23 September, the IOC held its final two gender equality webinars for International Federations, focusing on the importance of gender-balanced portrayal in sport, as well as the development and implementation of safeguarding policies. Overall, more than 200 people joined each session of the gender equality webinars, held as part of the IOC’s 5th IF Gender Equality Forum, which was originally scheduled to take place in April 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full news release here.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has announced the holding of an e-conference on 26 and 27 October aimed at “finding solutions for a respectful culture and safe training environment in gymnastics”. This conference is part of global initiatives undertaken by the FIG in cooperation with the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to encourage and reinforce the safeguarding of everyone involved in gymnastics. More info here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has announced that the FINA Men and Women's Water Polo World League 2020 will resume in January 2021, after being interrupted in March 2020. The Men's European tournament will resume on 12 January, and will be completed on 9 March and 13 April in various European cites, while the non-European teams will qualify for the Super Final of the World League in Indianapolis (USA) from 26 April to 2 May. The remaining Women's Game Days will be on 9 February, 16 March and 20 April for the European teams and in Indianapolis also for the other teams, from Africa, America, Asia and Oceania. The full calendar is available on the FINA website here. In addition, the UIPM has become a member of the Global Esports Federation (GEF). This new partnership reflects the growing convergence of sport, esports and virtual sports. Thus, after a vote of approval by the Executive Board, the UIPM joins World Karate and the International Canoe Federation in bringing the GEF’s IF membership to eight. More details here.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced a partnership with the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) to offer educational and personal development opportunities for junior players. Each of the ITF’s 210 member nations will be able to apply for up to 100 players to undertake the WAoS’ Athlete Certificate course at no cost. The online course, for athletes aged 15 to 18, aims to provide tools for young people beginning their journey as professionals. The WAoS is also the platform partner of the ITF Academy, which provides a wealth of resources for coaches, parents, teachers, players and others interested in tennis or sport in general. More details at www.itftennis.com.
national olympic committees
Abderrahmane Hammad (photo) was elected as President of the Algerian NOC at the elective General Assembly held on 12 September at the NOC headquarters in Algiers. Eighty out of 90 members who make up the General Assembly were present. The new NOC President has been African high jump champion several times and won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000. He succeeds Mustapha Berraf, who stepped down in May. More details here. The investiture ceremony took place on 17 September in the presence of the Youth and Sports Minister, Sid-Ali Khaldi, and the Secretary of State for Elite Sport, Salima Souakri. More info here. In addition, the Algerian NOC celebrated Word Cleanup Day on 19 September by organising an operation to collect rubbish at Talaghilef, in the province of Tizi Ouzou. The operation was run in partnership with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and in collaboration with the Youth and Sports Department, the Tizi Ouzou Environment Department, the Djurdjura Natural Park, the People’s Municipal Assembly of Boghni, and various clubs and village committees. More details here.
Team Brazil will parade at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with shoes signed by Havaianas. The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) has just signed a contract with the brand, which, in addition to supporting the Brazilian delegation, will become part of the COB sponsor board as an official supporter until the end of 2021. The brand will also launch a licensed COB collection that will be sold during the Games. More details here.
On 28 August, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), Athletes’ Advisory Council, National Governing Bodies and the US Olympians and Paralympians Association convened the 44 members comprising the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice. The athlete-led council, formed to address the rules and systems in the US Olympic and Paralympic movements that create barriers to progress, is committed to working collaboratively to provide solutions and recommendations with the aim of eradicating social injustice and cultivating change through strengthened athlete voices. Full details here. In addition, the USOPC has announced the commitment of the first Mental Health Ambassadors to provide philanthropic funding to the organisation in order to advance its support of mental health programming for Team USA athletes. The ambassadors, Yucca and Gary Rieschel, have pledged to support the mental well-being of US Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls with a gift of USD 1.5 million to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, the USOPC’s non-profit arm. The gift also establishes a new Mental Health Fund, which will supplement important funding for USOPC mental health offerings. Full details here.
For the second year in a row, the NOC of Ukraine has been the coordinator of the European Sports Week (EWS) in Ukraine which this year started on 23 September. As part of a wide range of EWS events and activities taking place throughout the country, in order to promote vivid stories and successful role models, the NOC has created a series of five short motivational videos about the formula for success from famous athletes and showbusiness personalities. The videos are aimed at spreading the Olympic values, and promoting a healthy lifestyle and physical activity. In one of these videos, the Ambassador of the EWS in Ukraine, UNESCO Champion for Sport, Olympic champion, NOC President and IOC EB member, Sergey Bubka (photo), speaks about his sports career, the importance of motivation in life and the secrets of success. More info here.
Organising Committees for the Olympic Games
On 21 September, a series of events were held in Beijing and the surrounding area to mark 500 days to go until the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The highlight was a ceremony at the Badaling Great Wall, with musical performances and an Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 paper-cutting art exhibition. Earlier this month, an aircraft named “Winter Olympic Ice and Snow” was given Olympic-themed branding at Beijing Capital International Airport. In addition, Beijing 2022 and the IOC have published a Chinese language version of the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP). From 20 September to mid-October, Beijing 2022 will organise a lecture tour, visiting a number of government agencies and Beijing 2022 sponsors both to showcase the progress being made with the Games and to spread further knowledge about the Winter Games. More details here.
The Executive Committee (ExCo) of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) held its seventh meeting of 2020 on 21 September in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The meeting was conducted by EOC Acting President Niels Nygaard. Due to travel restrictions and other measures aimed at limiting the transmission of the coronavirus, a number of ExCo members joined the meeting remotely. The topics on the agenda included an update on the preparations for the third edition of the European Games; an overview of the activities of the EOC staff in Rome and the EOC Office in Brussels; and the 49th EOC General Assembly, which will take place in Rome on 27 November. Full details here.
In addition, the EOC ExCo commemorated and celebrated the life of EOC President Janez Kocijančič, who died on 1 June, with a ceremony held in the presence of Kocijančič’s wife Andreja and daughter Nike. Kocijančič was posthumously awarded the EOC Order of Merit in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the cause of European sport and his faithfulness to the Olympic ideals. EOC ExCo member Zlatko Matesa presented the Order to Kocijančič’s wife and daughter together with President Bach, the EOC Acting President, EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi, EOC Acting Treasurer Peter Mennel, Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec and the President of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia Association of Sports Federations, Bogdan Gabrovec. More details here.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will host six additional live webinars in October. These are being offered as part of the following previously announced series, one that is part of WADA’s 2021 Code Implementation Support Programme (CISP), and one that is athlete-led for athletes. Info and schedule here.