KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The loyalist elite of the Olympic movement has stood four-square behind Thomas Bach and insisted that political disputes are nothing to do with the Games, summer or winter.
A virtual online summit of the International Olympic Committee cast aside human rights group pressures and notice of political boycott around February’s Winter Games in Beijing.
Concerns over the alleged genocide of Uighur Muslims and the whereabouts of tennis star Peng Shuai have cast long shadows over the Chinese capital’s imminent piece of history as the first city to have hosted both summer and winter Games.
IOC president Bach has insisted all along that “quiet diplomacy” is the peferred strategy and the online summit went even further.
A statement across a stream of topics included the insistence: “The summit stands firmly against any politicisation of the Olympic Games and sport, and strongly emphasised the need for the political neutrality of the IOC, the Olympic Games and the entire Olympic Movement.”
A final statement about summit issues said:
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The Summit appreciated the overwhelming global success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with regard to the athletes, the worldwide audience and the Olympic values. The athletes expressed strong satisfaction that the Games had taken place despite the unprecedented challenges.
The Games reached a total global broadcast audience of more than three billion people across linear TV and digital platforms, and were watched on digital platforms with more than 28 billion video views in total on the Olympic broadcast partners’ digital platforms.
All this made the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 the most engaged Olympic Games ever, the most watched Olympic Games ever on digital platforms, and the first “streaming” Games.
Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022
The participants were informed of the final preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, with a series of successful test events. The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be the start of a new era of global winter sport. With 300 million Chinese people engaging with sports on snow and ice, global participation in winter sports will be taken to new levels.
The Summit participants welcomed the strong support for the Games by the UN Member States, which adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution by consensus of all 193 Member States. In addition, the Resolution was co-sponsored by 173 UN Member States.
The Summit stands firmly against any politicisation of the Olympic Games and sport, and strongly emphasised the need for the political neutrality of the IOC, the Olympic Games and the entire Olympic Movement.
Future Editions of the Games
The Summit was updated on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, which will be the first Olympic Games to be fully organised and benefitting from the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020. These Games will be sustainable, inclusive, urban, youth-oriented, and gender-equal. The Organising Committee has the ambition for the Games to be the first climate-positive Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The youth-oriented initial sports programme for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 was welcomed by the participants. It will build on the success of Tokyo 2020 with 28 initial sports on the programme, including the new sports of skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, to be submitted for approval at the upcoming IOC Session.
A pathway for potential inclusion by the IOC Session in 2023 has been provided to boxing (AIBA), weightlifting (IWF) and modern pentathlon (UIPM), subject to the fulfilment of conditions specific to each of them.
The Summit appreciated that International Federations (IFs) and Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will have the offer to create a direct Olympic association with the Olympic qualifying events. This will also benefit the athletes who participate in these events. The Olympic Summit supported the comprehensive offers for the development of dedicated Olympic qualifying brands for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the use of the Olympic digital broadcast platforms.
Olympic Virtual Series
The Summit received a review of the successful first edition of the Olympic Virtual Series in 2021, bringing together the virtual sports of five International Federations and reaching nearly 250,000 participants, with more than two million entries. The Summit noted that, building from this this strong base, the Olympic Virtual Series is planned to continue on an annual basis, providing opportunities for IFs to reach out, engage with and promote their sports, and reach new communities. Details for the Olympic Virtual Series 2022 will now be confirmed in the first half of 2022, including the timing and the sports to be included.
The Summit discussed the ongoing coordination of all stakeholders for the international event calendars, with the Summit noting the importance of all sports having the opportunity to promote and develop their respective sports, for the wider benefit of a diverse global sports landscape.
The attendees voiced serious concerns over proposals from FIFA for a biennial World Cup and the impact on the world-wide sport event calendar. It was noted that, until today, there has been neither any information nor consultation with other IFs, Continental Associations of NOCs or the IOC. The FIFA President explained that the ongoing discussions in FIFA were broader in scope than a biennial World Cup, and that what had been presented so far was only the preliminary results, which are still under discussion within FIFA. He offered to engage with the Olympic Movement in these discussions.
The Summit noted the success of the 4th International Forum for Sports Integrity last month. Representatives of the Olympic Movement, governments, intergovernmental agencies, betting entities and other experts are strengthening their cooperation in the fight against corruption, in order to protect the credibility and integrity of sport – in particular through the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS).
The Summit welcomed the new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the IOC and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The aim is to fight corruption and crime in sport, with a particular focus on preventing youth crime, violence and drug use through sport.
The Summit expressed its firm commitment to continuing to strengthen this fight against corruption in sport.
The Summit welcomed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s wide-ranging governance reforms that were agreed by its Foundation Board last month. These reforms will increase the representation within WADA of athletes, independent members and National Anti-Doping Organisations, while also maintaining the unique and successful 50-50 partnership between the sports movement and governments of the world. This latest round of reforms will ensure that WADA’s governance model is effective and reflects international best practice.
The Summit was informed that the anti-doping programme for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 carried out by the ITA had been fully and successfully implemented despite the challenging COVID-19 circumstances. The comprehensive pre-Games testing programme and the long-term storage of samples, introduced for the first time, were also welcomed.
The Summit welcomed the full delegation of the anti-doping system by the IOC to the International Testing Agency (ITA), for management, and to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS), for sanctioning. This avoids any perception of a conflict of interests, and adds greatly to the credibility of the process. It is also strongly supported by the athletes.