Rio 2016 – “There must be total commitment”
David Miller reports on IOC President Thomas Bach’s inaugural teleconference.
IOC President Thomas Bach has introduced an innovative series of teleconferences with global media, the first conducted this afternoon (Wednesday) from Lausanne, answering questions for three-quarters of an hour. The following is a synopsis of his response to several crucial issues: Safety and completion of construction for Rio 2016?
There were experts there last week to investigate, progress is being made, but on the other hand, there is no time to lose in establishing effective facilities for all stakeholders, and clearly this needs government support.
Bach will travel to Rio in the next couple of months, the date not yet fixed, his purpose to achieve seamless co-operation with all stakeholders and reassure the hosts that the President is right behind them. There must be total commitment.
Validity of Moscow’s doping laboratory for Sochi 2014?
The decision of WADA is that the laboratory is ready if certain conditions are met, namely that external experts are part of the team in Moscow. Regarding re-testing of samples from Turin 2006, work is proceeding, and once available, any penalties will be implemented.
What are the President’s priorities for keeping Olympic interest alive and gaining new fans?
This has to be approached in different ways. Firstly the IOC’s goal is not just to generate interest, but to achieve the short step of getting youngsters playing again, to be active in sport. The Youth Games, the second summer event scheduled for Nanjing next year, can be expanded to include more modern sports. There can be co-operation with UNESCO, encouraging more countries to encompass sport in the school curriculum. The
access of media can be employed to extend information to a wider audience.
Function of the newly-created IOC coordination commission?
The position of the IOC, NOCs and IFs is very clear: to protect the uniqueness of the Olympic Games. This was emphasised at the recent first meeting, that the IOC’s objective must be as guardians of the Games, ensuring the programme and the financial platform.
are not adversely affected. A group was created to formalize the calendar of all multi-sports events, keeping in mind the capacity and health of all athletes.
Bidding procedure of host cities, including IOC Members’ visits?
Bach could give only a personal opinion, prior to the “brain-storm” meeting which the Executive Board will hold in Montreux immediately following next week’s EB gathering. The bidding process will be examined, the President agreeable to consideration of rule adjustment, something he described in his election manifesto. The President believes that there is insufficient scope for would-be hosts to be creative, fashioning a bid to
suit their own city, country and social cultures. They should be asked how they would integrate a Games into their environment, including sustainability.
Such adjustment of the IOC’s stipulated technical agenda for any host applicant could be in place by the end of next year for the six current candidates for the Winter Games of 2022, which have already been encouraged not necessarily to follow the IOC’s blueprint, but to design their own project.
Russia’s anti-gay promotion law during Sochi 2014?
The IOC has no detailed information on the day-to-day conduct of Russian security forces, but will be intent on upholding free reporting according to the fundamentals of their own Charter.
Creation of an Olympic television network?
So far, a matter of debate, recognizing that between each Games there is insufficient coverage of Olympic sports, some of which need more promotion, addressing the world’s youth and expanding familiarity. Such a network could achieve this, but requires continued discussion by the EB – a vision to be explored.
Is Africa ready to host a Games?
Any bid would find sympathetic IOC Members, because this is a universal movement, not just for all athletes but for all continents. Yet of course it does not mean that a candidate would win if entering – this is still a competition.
The benefits of the President’s recent tour, meeting Heads of State?
With all of them, it was evident just what is the importance of sport within modern society. It can differ between education, integration, social values, but its essential virtues are recognised by all. This common opinion confirms that the Olympic Games are the best catalyst to convey these social messages, and therefore the athletes are valuable role models in any country, in Asia, Africa, Europe, everywhere.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.