With the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi only a few weeks away, this edition of For The Record will reach many of you as you are preparing to represent your countries on the biggest stage in the world of sport. As you do so, I ask you to bear in mind the important role you play in the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement.
It is the responsibility, therefore, of the International Olympic Committee and our stakeholders to protect your interests by creating the best possible conditions for you both on and off the field of play.
To do this we require close cooperation with you. Your active involvement in the Olympic Movement is vital to its long-term health and success. Your opinions, above all, are both welcomed and encouraged.
As a gold medallist at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, then one of the many athletes deprived of the chance to compete at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games due to a political boycott, I have been fighting for the rights and protection of athletes for well over 30 years. I am well aware of the obstacles that athletes face today and I am committed to working with you to help overcome them.
One body that has had particular success in this regard is the IOC Athletes’ Commission, of which I was a founding member in 1981. Under the capable leadership of its Chair, Claudia Bokel, the Athletes’ Commission serves as the link between active athletes and the IOC, representing your rights and obligations within the Olympic Movement. To ensure that your interests are well-represented, I encourage you to become familiar with the Commission’s many positive activities and to lend your voice whenever and wherever possible.
The continued success of the Olympic Movement depends on your active participation on and off the field of play, and I thank you for your valuable contribution.