As we move into another busy year, I would like to share with you some of the important focus areas the IOC Athletes’ Commission will be working on this year as we continue to engage with and represent athletes worldwide.
Strategy and Athletes’ Commissions engagement
In November, we started to define the strategic direction which will lead our work over the next five years. As part of the process of finalising this new strategy, our Commission held a video conference this week with the chairs of the IF and Continental Association athletes’ commissions. Our goal was to share our draft strategic objectives and to seek feedback from athletes, to ensure we are focusing our efforts in the right direction.
During the two two-hour video conferences, the importance of ongoing support and best practice-sharing among athletes’ commissions was re-emphasised to our Commission as various chairs raised examples of similar challenges they face in their day-to-day work.
Relying on each other’s success stories and experiences can certainly be beneficial, whether about how to best educate athletes about anti-doping or career transition, facilitate two-way communication or ensure support from the leadership of their organisations.
Overall, this first call was very positively received and was an important step in further opening up our communication channels with the worldwide network of athletes’ commissions.
We want to ensure athletes’ commissions worldwide are empowered and informed, and to support this we will ensure that this call between various AC Chairs is a reoccurring appointment for exchanges among the group about important topics. Additionally, each athletes’ commission has been assigned dedicated support through an IOC Athletes’ Commission liaison.
Once all our ideas are captured and aligned, I will present the new strategy to the IOC President and Executive Board. The input and support of Olympic Movement stakeholders is crucial for its implementation, success and ultimately the strengthening of support to athletes.
The same week as the calls, I was invited to take part in the second International Forum for Sports Integrity (IFSI), which was held at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The meeting focused on future actions in two main areas: strengthening the prevention of the manipulation of competitions and supporting ethical conduct and anti-corruption. And it is important for you to know that the IOC is monitoring the betting market 24/7, not just during the Olympic Games but also during other major IF competitions.
Trust was a key topic of many of the interventions – ensuring there is trust in the system is of paramount importance. But to build trust and credibility, we believe there is a need for you, the athletes, to be part of the discussion as we all have the same goal; and only by being involved in the process we can achieve better governance and tangible results.
It is crucial for both you and your entourage to be aware of the sports rules (Olympic Movement Code for Preventing Competition Manipulation), refrain from betting on your own events and carry this information within your peer group. Please use the Integrity and Compliance Mechanism email address (email@example.com) or Integrity and Compliance Hotline if you ever need to report suspicious approaches or activities related to competition manipulation, or visit IOC Integrity e-learning for more information.
In 2016, great steps were made in the fight against doping, and this work will continue into 2017. IOC AC members Tony Estanguet, Adam Pengilly, Kirsty Coventry, Hayley Wickenheiser and I will participate in different capacities in the “Working Group on WADA Governance Matters” in order to support the revision of the current status of WADA’s governance. We are currently working on a document that will clearly explain the current status of re-testing globally, and the roles and responsibilities of the Olympic Movement with regard to anti-doping. You can find some information about the IOC reanalysis programme for Beijing 2008 and London 2012 here. It continues to focus on protecting clean athletes and underlines the wide range of IOC actions which are supported by the IOC AC.
Games-Time Athlete Experience
With the “athlete experience” becoming an increased focus of our work, we also have an opportunity to influence it through the various Commission members who are serving in different roles on Coordination and Evaluation Commissions. Please don’t hesitate to raise any points you may have which could be helpful in making athletes’ experiences at future Games as good as possible, so that we can bring them up during these important meetings.
Lastly, I want to re-emphasise the importance of your contributions to our work throughout the year. We need your input to ensure that athletes are supported on and off the field of play. Feel free to contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions you may have with regard to our work and where our priorities should lie.
I wish you all a productive and successful 2017, and am looking forward to working with all of you in support of athletes!
In the Olympic spirit,