For The Record

Issue 16 2015


Adam Pengilly, a Member of the IOC and IOC Athletes’ Commission, presented the Athletes’ Experience during the 7th IOC International Athletes’ Forum held in Lausanne from 8 to 11 October.

He is also a member of the Coordination Commission that monitors the organisation of the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games in 2018, and sat on the Evaluation Commission for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022. Read what he had to say on this exciting topic below!

Athletes' Perspective

The athlete perspective is vital! We know that athletes are at the heart of the Olympics. We come to the Games to represent our country at the highest level, aiming for personal victory, medals and to experience the magic of the greatest show on earth! Therefore, it’s essential that the athlete perspective is taken into full consideration during the planning, preparation and execution of the Games.

Olympic Agenda 2020

Olympic Agenda 2020 emphasises the need to place athletes at the heart of Olympic decision-making. Examples include Recommendation 2, providing a new criterion called “The Athletes’ Experience”, which is now part of the Candidature Questionnaire for bidding cities, and Recommendation 18, which is about strengthening support to athletes. Furthermore, I hope that, over time, athletes across the globe are going to reap the benefits of these and other recommendations to establish official athlete positions throughout the governance of the Olympic Movement.

2022 Evaluation Commission

I really enjoyed travelling to Beijing and Almaty as part of the Evaluation Commission 2022. As this Commission was already in place when Olympic Agenda 2020 was published, I created a list of themes with the help of the Athletes’ Commission to ensure the key elements were covered. These included Olympic Village needs, travel times, climate and air quality, ceremony concept, family and friends ticketing, pre-Games access to fields of play, atmosphere, sustainability and the environment, and rights issues.

2024 Olympic Games – Candidature Questionnaire

It’s great that the Candidature Questionnaire has been updated to give a stronger focus on the athletes’ experience, though the proof is in the pudding, so I look forward to Organising Committees Olympic Games (OCOGs) delivering the goods in a sustainable way! The Candidature Questionnaire also now includes a section on the roles of athletes’ commissions. It’s now mandatory for OCOGs to have an athletes’ commission, and Candidate Cities must explain how athletes are able to take part in the relevant decision-making process.

Place of Mourning and Moment of Remembrance

Two new initiatives that will be in place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are the Place of Mourning and Moment of Remembrance. The IOC recognised that athletes need a private place to reflect on certain experiences. The Place of Mourning will allow athletes to gather and pay tribute and respect to those who have passed away. During the Closing Ceremony, a Moment of Remembrance will also be devoted to remembering those who died in the context of the Games. Personally, this is a really positive and poignant move that I am very pleased about – I remember so clearly and painfully, the death of another sliding athlete in Vancouver, Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Athlete Responsibility

Finally, I want to stress that creating a great experience for athletes cannot be at any cost. We are working hard with the IOC and OCOGs to find solutions on issues of legacy, the environment and sustainability. I believe that all stakeholders have to play their part including athletes (IFs, NOCs, IOC Members, Sponsors, etc.). This will ensure a win-win for everybody involved, and ensure that the Games can grow even stronger and continue to inspire our world.

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