For The Record

Issue 16 2015


The 7th IOC International Athletes’ Forum came to a close in Lausanne on Saturday 10 October 2015 with a set of recommendations aimed at empowering Athletes’ Commissions at all levels.

The Forum warmly welcomed Olympic Agenda 2020, particularly the athlete-related recommendations. The Athletes’ Forum recommendations included:

Empowering athletes through better communication and provision of information. Fully integrating all athletes’ communications into the Olympic Channel.

To make all International Federations establish athletes’ commissions in accordance with the relevant IOC guidelines.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport to develop and educate athlete arbitrators.

IOC President Thomas Bach, himself an Olympic fencing champion, also joined the Athletes’ Forum, taking part in Q&A sessions with the athletes on Friday and Saturday. In his closing remarks, he praised those present for their hard work and welcomed their recommendations.

“These are a great set of recommendations that underline the commitment of the IOC to put athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement,” he said.

Many of the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 were proposed by the IOC Athletes’ Commission (IOC AC), and will further strengthen their role. As one of the founding members of the IOC AC in 1981 it is great for me to see the progress made from those first steps until today, where the athletes play a fundamental role in decision-making.”

The full set of recommendations resulting from these discussions will be presented to the IOC Executive Board in December.

IOC AC member Pedro Yang said “this is the 5th Forum I have attended and I can see the advances the IOC AC has achieved to create programmes for athletes. These programmes help athletes balance sport and their career, and provide them with skills to prepare for the transition after sports. The presence of the IOC President in many of our activities as well as the two Q&A sessions with him are a clear sign that the athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement.

“This is my last Forum as a member of the IOC AC and I feel proud and privileged to have served the movement along excellent role models that are an inspiration to me and the Athletes around the world!”

Michael Green, Chairman of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Athletes’ Committee, provided feedback on the International Athletes’ Forum, saying:

“This unique opportunity was very important for hockey to be part of and learn from other Federations. It was particularly interesting to discuss with colleagues from different sports some common opportunities and challenges across different topics addressed during the Forum, in particular how the athlete-related recommendations will have an impact on team sports.

Already, the FIH has a very productive Athletes’ Committee, with our first elections having taken place during the Radobank Hockey World Cup in 2014. What’s important in our set-up is that the Chair of the FIH Athletes’ Committee is a member of the Executive Board, with full voting rights. It was therefore encouraging to hear that the IOC considers such athlete involvement key to the development of the Olympic Movement.

The International Athletes’ Forum was truly inspiring. What’s clear is that Olympic Agenda 2020 is already moving sport in the right direction, and it is incredibly exciting to see the important role that athletes will play.”

The three-day Forum, which takes place every two years, saw the participation of over 100 athletes from 40 countries with 100 Olympic medals and 200 Olympic appearances between them. They included Athletes’ Commission representatives from the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), International Federations, Continental Associations and, for the first time, athlete representatives from the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games.

The plenary sessions and panel discussions covered a number of topics concerning athletes – from effective leadership and Athletes’ Commission management best practices to athletes’ services and welfare, communication and experiences during Games time and beyond.

The Forum also included a practical session on the IOC’s latest initiatives for athletes, including the Olympic Athletes’ Hub and Integrity e-learning programme. The participants were given the exclusive opportunity to test drive and share first-hand their feedback on these athlete-centred platforms prior to their launch in early 2016 ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement, and their voice is central to the IOC’s decision-making. Olympic Agenda 2020 reiterated the IOC’s commitment to strengthening support for athletes through a series of recommendations currently being implemented.

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