LAUSANNE: Dear Olympic friends — 2021 . . . what a year it was. At the end of this Olympic year, we can look back with great pride, because with regard to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we can say: we did it. And we did it together, we did in great solidarity and we did it for the athletes.

We can all be very happy about the overwhelming response from the athletes, their huge appreciation for the fact that the Games could take place – and that they could take place in a safe way. The entire world gave an overwhelming response to these Olympic Games from all walks of life.

More than 3 billion unique viewers tuned in and followed more than 28 billion streams of coverage across linear TV and digital platforms. These Games were indeed a success on all fronts. First, and most important, with regards to the athletes, but also to the worldwide audience and, as important, to the Olympic values. They were the most engaged Olympic Games ever, the most watched Olympic Games ever on digital platforms, and they were the first streaming Games.

But now our focus is already on Beijing 2022. We are looking forward to successful Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and we have great confidence, built on our experience, that we will stage safe and secure Olympic Winter Games for everybody.

With these Olympic Winter Games, Beijing will write history, as the first city ever to host both summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games. In doing so, they will greatly benefit from the legacy of the Olympic Games 2008. These Winter Games will open a new era for winter sports globally. 300 million Chinese will become familiar with sport on snow and ice. 

The support of the international community for these Olympic Winter Games is very evident and is very much welcomed. The United Nations General Assembly approved the Olympic Truce Resolution by consensus from all 193 UN Member States. This Olympic Truce Resolution is another demonstration that we can only accomplish our mission to unite the world, if everybody respects that the Olympic Games must be beyond all political disputes. In this way, the Olympic Winter Games 2022 can set another great example for a peaceful competition. The Olympic Games stand above any conflict. In the Olympic Games we all respect the same rules and each other. In the Olympic Games we are all equal.

Olympic life will continue after these Olympic Winter Games 2022. Next year will also be the opportunity to walk the talk with regard to our new reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020+5. There we have 3 pillars. One is to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), to show that we are the enabler to achieve these goals. The other is our commitment to solidarity. And finally, it will be about driving the digitalisation of the Olympic Movement even further.

To give you some examples with regard to the UN SDGs, we will plant our Olympic Forest next year in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is our contribution to climate action, to sustainable agriculture and building resilient communities, because we will not only plant over 350,000 trees, we will also help 90 villages to a better and more sustainable life.

The pandemic crisis has also shown the great importance of sport to health and to resilient societies. Also in this respect, we will drive our actions even further.

With regard to solidarity, we will strengthen the Olympic Refuge Foundation. We will strengthen the direct support to athletes worldwide. And we will show our solidarity with the Olympic community in Afghanistan.

With regard to digitalisation, we will experience the second edition of the Olympic Virtual Series, where people can compete in their sport virtually, and where we will offer new opportunities in particular to the young generation.

In all these ways, 2022 will be a great opportunity for our Olympic community: a great opportunity to strengthen the role of sport in society and to contribute to build a better post-pandemic world. 2022 will be our chance to live our new Olympic motto: to go faster, to aim higher, to become stronger by standing together – in solidarity. This should be our motto and our motivation for the new Olympic Year, for which I wish you all the very best and I look forward to hopefully seeing many of you in this New Year 2022.

Thomas Bach

IOC President