Having been cut down from over 50 entrants to a final shortlist of three, the competition went public, with fans invited to vote for their favourite via Facebook. In a race which went down to the wire, the lynx secured the victory by the slimmest of margins – just 30 votes.
We can’t wait to see what the lynx gets up to before and during the Winter YOG in Lillehammer, stay tuned for what’s next!
On arriving in Gaborone, Botswana, accompanied by IOC member Sam Ramsamy, President Bach visited the athletes’ village for the 2nd African Youth Games and several competition venues, before attending the closing ceremony of these Games.
President Bach also held a meeting with the Sudanese NOC and representatives of the South Sudan sports movement, which the IOC is currently helping to set up its own National Olympic Committee. The parties discussed ways to assist athletes on the ground as well as humanitarian issues, particularly in Sudan. The delegations reported that, since the IOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations, they had been able to contact local UN officials to work on programmes related to sport and development.
Also on the presidential programme were a reception hosted by Lassana Palenfo, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), attended by representatives of the 53 African NOCs present at the Games as well as representatives of the sports movement of South Sudan; a meeting with the IOC members in Africa to discuss various issues, such as the Olympic Agenda 2020 and the contribution that Africa can make to it; and laying the foundation stone of the future headquarters of the Botswana NOC.
Before flying to Kenya, President Bach met the President of Botswana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
In Kenya, visiting the Kip Keino High School, named after the Kenyan sports legend and IOC honorary member, President Bach inaugurated a new multi-use sports hall and met its students. He then visited a training centre for athletes managed by Keino, where he met Kenyan and other African athletes. The President was accompanied by Kip Keino and IOC members Paul Tergat, Dagmawit Girmay Berhane and Lassana Palenfo.
In Ethiopia, on the last leg of his African tour, President Bach met the President of Ethiopia, Mulatu Teshome. The two men discussed enhancing the collaboration between the Ethiopian government and the Olympic Movement, with the Ethiopian President underlining the positive contribution that Olympic sports had made in recent years in building the successful development of the nation. The IOC President recalled that: “the values of sport can be invaluable to a country in helping to bring people together and to forge social cohesion, and it is good to see Olympic Solidarity and Olympafrica helping to deliver this in Ethiopia.”
At a lunch organised by the NOC, the IOC President met the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and numerous Olympic athletes, including double Olympic marathon champion Haile Gebrsalassie. A visit to the NOC headquarters and Ethiopian Youth Sports Academy concluded this stopover. The President was accompanied by Dagmawit Girmay Berhane and Lassana Palenfo.
Returning to Lausanne, President Bach met the President of the International Air Sports Federation (FAI), John Grubbström, and Secretary General Suzanne Schödel, as well as the Director of ZDF Sport, Dieter Gruschwitz.
We have recently learnt of the death of Karl Lennartz (photo), a member of the Commission for Culture and Olympic Education for over 10 years. A sports historian, from 1989 to 2005 he was Director of the Carl and Liselott Diem archives of the Olympic Research Institute of the German Sports University in Cologne. A member of the International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH) from 1992, he was its President from 2004 to 2012 before becoming an honorary member. He was the founding President of the German Society of Sport Museums, Sport Archives and Sport Collectors. He was the author of over 40 books on the Olympic Movement, and had over 300 articles published in professional journals. Karl Lennartz also coached long-distance runners for several years and was himself a marathon runner. He was awarded the Olympic Order in 1997.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
The first World Junior Coaches Conference of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will be held at the University of Oregon in Eugene (USA) on 28 July. In attendance will be coaches of some 180 national teams gathering for the Junior World Championships, which will be held from 22 to 27 July in Hayward Field near the University. The Conference will be opened by IAAF President Lamine Diack. Info at www.iaaf.org.
The International Rowing Federation (FISA) has redesigned its database and web site to incorporate the latest digital technology and improved usability. The new site can be viewed on all types of digital device, including mobile phones and tablets. Info at www.worldrowing.com.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and FIBA Europe announced last week that they are going to make a (EUR 10,000) contribution to relief efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, after these countries were devastated by terrible flooding in May. Info at www.fiba.com.
From 13 to 23 May, the International Judo Federation (IJF) and the Chinese Judo Association organised the second edition of the “Judo Educational Journey Through China” programme, with the support of the Chinese NOC and the IOC. In the framework of promoting this summer’s Youth Olympic Games, the tour concluded in Nanjing, the host city, in front of hundreds of young judokas. In total, almost 5,800 participants took part in this programme in six Chinese cities. Info at www.ijf.org.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) has reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against illegal betting, match-fixing and corruption in sport by becoming the first Summer Olympic International Federation to sign up to the IOC’s Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS). As an intelligence-sharing digital platform, IBIS will enable the IRB and its Unions to access an extensive network of monitoring and data-sharing across sports, event owners and the major sports betting entities. The IRB signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the IOC, and implementation of the system has already taken place during some of the recently concluded HSBC Sevens World Series events as well as the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series Tournament. All matches were declared clear and incident-free from an integrity perspective. Info at www.irb.com.
Australian doubles legends Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde received the “Philippe Chatrier” award, the highest accolade of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) at the World Champions Dinner on 3 June in Paris (France). During their career, the Australian pair won 11 Grand Slam titles, 61 tournaments and the gold medal at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and silver in Sydney in 2000. Other champions were recognised for their performances in 2013: Novak Djokovic (Serbia) and Serena Williams (USA) in the singles; Bob and Mike Bryan (USA), and Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci (Italy) in the doubles; Alexander Zverev (Germany) and Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) in the juniors; and Shingo Kunieda (Japan) and Aniek van Koot (Netherlands) in wheelchair tennis. Heide Orth received the second ITF trophy for seniors. Aged 71, she is the most decorated senior woman player in history, with 10 senior and super-senior singles titles, and 10 team titles with Germany. Info at www.itftennis.com.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF)’s 51st World Championships have been presented to the press by the Spanish Federation. These Championships, which will see competitions in all shooting events, will be held from 6 to 20 September 2014 at the CEAR Juan Carlos I shooting range in Las Gabias, in the outskirts of Granada. Over 1,500 athletes are expected to compete in the 50 events on the programme, including the 15 Olympic rifle, pistol and shotgun events. The first qualification places for the Rio 2016 Games will be awarded at these Championships. The presentation was made by Organising Committee President Rodrigo De Mesa, in the presence of an ISSF delegation led by its Secretary General, Franz Schreiber. Info at www.issf-sports.org.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has opened bidding for the World Triathlon Series to all national federations and cities interested in hosting the premier triathlon circuit for the next three seasons. Info at www.triathlon.org.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has announced that 28 youngsters from 17 countries will receive financing as part of its Athlete Participation Programme (APP) for the 44th Youth Sailing World Championships, which will take place from 12 to 19 July 2014 in Tavira (Portugal). Over 350 athletes from 65 countries will take part. Since 2002, this APP funding has allowed over 200 young sailors to represent their countries at these Championships. Info at www.isaf.org.
The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) has honoured John Ellison, founder of “Climbers Against Cancer”, in recognition of his efforts to collect funds for cancer research from the global family of climbers and mountaineers. The UIAA has also honoured Josef Klenner, who was instrumental in the German Alpine Club (DAV) joining the UIAA in 2013. Klenner has also been a member of the UIAA Council. Info at www.theuiaa.org
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
The Algerian NOC has informed us that, as part of the solidarity between the NOCs, a Malian delegation for the 2nd African Youth Games travelled with the Algerian delegation on a flight chartered by the Algerian NOC. This initiative delighted the young athletes of the two countries, who were able to get to know each other during the flights. They all thanked the presidents of the two NOCs, Mustapha Berraf and Habib Sissoko. Info at www.comiteolympiquealgerien.com.
As part of the cooperation and assistance agreement signed between the “Entre Rios” province and the Argentine NOC, two days of training on the Olympic education programme were organised on 22 and 23 May. These days were for physical education students in the cities of Concordia and Paraná. Besides lectures, the programme included group projects on incorporating Olympic education into various areas. Info at www.coarg.org.ar.
The NOC of Bahrain has signed an agreement with the International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sports and Dance (ICHPER.SD) to host the 56th ICHPER.SD Anniversary World Congress from 30 November to 3 December 2014. The Congress theme will be “Towards building a new sports system”. NOC Secretary General Abdulrahman Askar, NOC Board member Khalid Al Alawi, and the President and Honorary President of the ICHPER-SD, Dong Yang and Adel Elnashar respectively, signed the agreement in the presence of NOC member Isa Abdulrahim.
As part of its Olympic Day celebrations, the Chilean NOC held its traditional horse race, “the Classic”, at the Hippodrome last week. Those in attendance included the members of the NOC’s Executive Board and Team Chile athletes such as wrestler Andres Ayub, beach volleyball players and cousins Esteban and Marco Grimalt, Paralympic fencer Angelo Vidal and skater Marisol Villarroel. Info at www.coch.cl.
The NOC of Chinese Taipei has announced the death of its former President, Feng-Shu Chang (photo), on 1 June at the age of 87. Chang had a brilliant career as a politician and sports leader. He was also Minister of the Interior. During his presidency of the NOC from 1987 to 1998, he helped secure an agreement with the Chinese Olympic Committee to initiate sports exchanges between the two NOCs, and established a common protocol module for Chinese Taipei sports delegations to perform in the international sports arena. Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) from 1989 to 2011, Chang was Honorary Life Vice-President of the OCA, from which he received the Order of Merit in gold. Info at www.tpenoc.net.
The Colombian NOC has informed us that a technical course for archery coaches, organised by the World Archery Federation (WA) and the Pan-American Confederation, was held last week in Medellin. This course was part of the Olympic Solidarity programme to support the training and preparation of the coaches who aim to qualify their athletes for the next Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio. Info at www.coc.org.co.
Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco recently presented Olympic 2013 lapel pins to Spanish handball representatives in the presence of the President of the Spanish Federation, Francisco Vidal Blázquez. Those honoured were: Jesús Guerrero Beiztegui, former Director of the Federation; Enrique Corcuera Máximo, Director of the Federation; Jose Julio Espina Agulló, President of the Coaches’ Association, and Claudio Gómez Navarro, Director of the Players’ Association. At its General Assembly, the NOC will posthumously honour Alfonso Martínez Martínez, former Chairman of the Federation’s Judges Technical Committee. Info at www.coe.es.
The Hungarian NOC has announced the death of legendary fencer Imre Gedovari (photo), on 22 May at the age of 62. Gedovari took part in three editions of the Olympic Games and won a gold medal in the team sabre event at the Seoul 1988 Games, as well as two bronze medals (individual and team) at the Moscow 1980 Games. He was also team world champion in 1978, 1981 and 1982. Info at www.olympic-hun.org.
The Peruvian NOC has just launched the 24th edition of its children’s drawing and painting contest, to be held on 15 June. Organised by the Peruvian Olympic Academy, this contest is for children aged 6 to 16, and aims not only to discover new talent, but also to promote the Olympic values among young people. Info at www.coperu.org.
The Scientific Methods Committee and the Union of Professional Coaches of the Czech NOC recently organised in Prague the Bridges 2014 conference. With the theme “The connection between theory and practice”, this conference saw talks from two famous coaches: Britain’s Bill Beswick, who is also a sports psychologist, and who officiates in football, basketball, rugby and swimming; and Ivan Lendl (photo), a legendary tennis player-turned-coach. The 200 participants included big names in Czech sport such as national football team coach Pavel Vrba, ice hockey coach Slavomír Lener, and winner of the UEFA Champions League in 1999 Vladimír Šmicer. Info at www.olympic.cz.
On 28 May, Venezuelan NOC President Eduardo Álvarez invited the leaders of national federations, qualified athletes, their families, coaches and media representatives to attend the virtual arrival of the flame for the Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing at the NOC headquarters. The participants were able to see the YOG sports facilities and learn about the Culture and Education Programme for these Games.
The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo (Tokyo 2020), the Japanese sports community and around 40,000 sports fans said “Sayonara” to the Tokyo National Stadium, which is preparing to be completely renovated before hosting the 2020 Games. During the farewell ceremony, Koji Murofushi, a double Olympic hammer-throw medallist, joined hundreds of school children to form “Tokyo 2020” on the field of play. The stadium’s demolition will begin in June, and construction of the new stadium will start in October 2015, before it plays host to the Rugby World Cup matches in 2019 followed by the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the athletics, football and rugby competitions for the 2020 Games. Info at https://tokyo2020.jp/en/.
The annual European Olympic Committees (EOC) seminar was held on 23 and 24 May in Nicosia (Cyprus), bringing together 170 participants from 49 European NOCs and other guest delegations. It was in the presence of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that EOC President Patrick Hickey and Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi opened the work of the seminar, which this year again was jointly run with the IOC Olympic Solidarity Forum for Europe. This Forum addressed the theme of autonomy and good governance in sport. Besides the important matter of the first European Games, Baku 2015, the seminar also addressed future editions of the European Youth Olympic Festival, the Rio 2016 Games and the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014 and Lillehammer in 2016. The 2015 edition of this seminar will take place on 15 and 16 May in Turkey on the coast of Antalya, at the invitation of the Turkish NOC. Info at www.eurolympic.org.
The 3rd African Youth Games will take place in Algiers (Algeria). The contract to host the Games was signed on 29 May in Gaborone by the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), Lassana Palenfo, and NOC President Mustapha Berraf. The second edition of these Games, organised from 22 to 29 May in Gaborone brought together some 2,500 athletes from 54 African countries, competing in 21 sports. Info at www.africaolympic.org.
The President of the International Sports Movies & TV Federation (FICTS), Franco Ascani, has received the “Honour of the Army” award at the celebration of the 153rd anniversary of the constitution of the Italian Army in Milan (Italy), attended by over 1,400 people. Info at www.ficts.com.
In the last edition of the Olympic Highlights, under Recognised Organisations, there was an error in the FICTS text. The city of Baku is in Azerbaijan and not Uzbekistan. Similarly, it should read Azeri NOC and not Uzbek NOC.
As Olympic Day – celebrated on 23 June – approaches, the IOC is calling out for as many people as possible to get active. It is also an occasion to highlight Sport for All projects and community-based sport and recreation programmes, which encourage participation in sport across the globe, regardless of age, background or abilities.
“Designed to Move” is one such initiative which, founded by official IOC supplier NIKE, recognises the need for organisations and stakeholders to work together and reverse the trend of physical inactivity. Championing this project are over 70 expert companies and organisations from across the world, including the International Council of Sport Science & Physical Education and The American College of Sports Medicine, to name but two.
According to “Designed to Move’s: A Physical Activity Action Agenda”: “vehicles, machines and technology now do our moving for us”. Should no action be taken, half of the American and Chinese population will be leading inactive lives by 2030, along with a third of British populations.
Through this Agenda, “Designed to Move” seeks to ignite a discussion on physical inactivity and asks “change-makers” – people, companies, institutions and governments – to break the cycles of “inactivity where they already exist, or prevent them before they start” by integrating physical activity “into daily life through the design of our cities, communities and built environments”.
In collaboration with other organisations and existing programmes, and with a focus on youth, the project also strongly supports initiatives that ensure positive experiences for children from an early age, in order to establish healthy habits.
Partnerships are key to getting the most positive impact of sport, particular outside the field of play. The Olympic Movement and the sporting community at large recognise the importance of collaboration between sport and various development organisations as well as with governments.
The cultivation of partnerships was therefore one of three themes during last year’s Sport for All Conference, in Lima, Peru, as inter-sectoral cooperation and collaboration between public and private sectors are deemed essential to increase the level of participation in regular physical activity across the world.
“Designed to Move” is one example out of many whereby their core motivation of ensuring physical, social and economic well-being through sport aligns with the IOC’s and Sport for All mission. It therefore enables us to unite and take action to fight physical inactivity.
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 Olympic Games from a variety of perspectives.
Members include Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who competed in shooting in the 1976 Olympic Games and Sydney 2000 Olympic marathon gold medallist Naoko Takahashi. Other notable members include the governors of the three prefectures most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The Advisory Meeting is composed of a Chairperson, three Supreme Advisors, eight Special Advisors and a number of official Advisors of which 20% are female.
These appointments complete the key components of Tokyo 2020, and the Advisory Meeting is scheduled to hold its first session this autumn. . (A full list of the 170 members of the Advisory Meeting is available at tokyo2020.jp/en)
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 Executive Board members to 35.
Another key announcement will see Tokyo 2020 establish partnership arrangements with universities and colleges across Japan, with 545 academic institutions already expressing an interest in being involved. The initiatives will further promote Olympic education and build momentum in local communities. University campuses will host a wide range of events and serve as sporting and Olympic educational hubs for the local communities.
The eagerly anticipated Transcarioca Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) expressway features dedicated lanes for buses and connects Rio’s international airport with Barra da Tijuca, the main Games competition zone.
It is estimated that the new expressway will reduce previous journey times by around 60%, with approximately 320,000 people set to travel along the 39-kilometre route each day.
More than 120 articulated buses, each capable of carrying 180 passengers, will operate on the BRT, which passes through 47 bus stations in 27 of the city’s neighbourhoods.
The expressway – which features 10 viaducts, nine bridges and three underpasses – began operating on Monday 2 June, ahead of the FIFA World Cup, which is being held in Brazil from 12 June until 13 July.
Meanwhile, Rio has also announced the result of the tender for the construction and renovation of Olympic facilities in the Northern Region of the Deodoro Sports Complex.
The consortium Complexo Deodoro will now assume responsibility for building the venues for canoe slalom, hockey, modern pentathlon swimming, mountain biking and BMX cycling, as well as the National Shooting Centre, the rugby and modern pentathlon arena, and the Deodoro Arena where modern pentathlon fencing and basketball qualification games will be held.