SOME 350 ATHLETE REPRESENTATIVES FROM 185 NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES (NOCS), 50 INTERNATIONAL FEDERATIONS (IFS), FIVE CONTINENTAL ATHLETES COMMISSIONS (ACS), THE ACS OF ALL THE ORGANISING COMMITTEES OF THE UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES, THE INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE (IPC), THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (WADA) AND THE WORLD OLYMPIANS ASSOCIATION (WOA) MET OVER THE PAST THREE DAYS IN LAUSANNE FOR THE 9TH EDITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATHLETES’ FORUM (IAF). IT WAS THE BIGGEST EVER GATHERING OF OFFICIAL ATHLETE REPRESENTATIVES, TO WHICH ATHLETES FROM ALL 206 NOCS WERE INVITED. ALSO ATTENDING WAS IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH, OLYMPIC CHAMPION IN FENCING IN MONTREAL 1976 AND MEMBER OF THE FIRST IOC ATHLETES’ COMMISSION IN 1981.
“This IAF was empowering, exciting and unifying,” highlighted Kirsty Coventry, IOC AC Chair, who is about to give birth to her first child, but joined the Forum online.
“We had a very fruitful meeting,” said IOC AC Vice Chair Danka Bartekova, who led the discussions in the absence of Kirsty Coventry. “The IOC Athletes’ Commission will take the proposals to the IOC Executive Board, where we are directly represented. The IOC President has told me in our discussions during the Forum that he will fully support our recommendations. We look forward to their implementation, which will ensure that the support for athletes at all levels is improved even further and the solidarity model of the Olympic Games is reinforced for the benefit of all athletes.”
The discussions produced the following recommendations from the IAF, which were unanimously supported in a vote during in the closing session:
1. To strengthen athletes’ representation:
– The participants of the IAF underlined that, for the legitimacy of athlete representation by their peers, it is essential that the elections for ACs should take place in every NOC and every IF, as is done at the Olympic Games for the IOC AC. It was emphasised that, based on this election having a voice and a vote within the decision making bodies, this is the most powerful and legitimate form of athlete representation.
2. To strengthen the solidarity funding model:
– The athletes emphasised the need to continue and strengthen the solidarity funding model because it serves all athletes from all 206 NOCs and all Olympic sports. It was noted that the athletes participate in the Olympic Games as a team of their NOC. Therefore, the financial support from the IOC should go to the Olympic team, i.e. the NOC.