Having been one of you for so long makes me feel at home among you, and for the discussion about the future of our Olympic Movement.
Last week, there was an historic milestone in the history of our Movement when the United Nations recognized the autonomy and independence of sport and of the IOC. The resolution supports the independence of sport as well as the mission of the IOC in leading the Olympic Movement.
Our task and responsibility was to make this happen and this started last November at the General Assembly of the United Nations and continued over the last months with a number of meetings and discussion, and also at the bilateral level where I met more than eighty heads of State and Government in the last year. This was our job at the IOC.
Now it is in your hands and depends on each National Olympic Committee to come to agreement with your national and local governments to make this happen. Here is the ‘present’ of the IOC to the NOCs. This resolution is for you and to guide you in your future work.
Dear Friends, Olympic Agenda 2020 is a chance for us to undertake some fundamental changes and reforms. Many of you have been part of this process from the very beginning.
We are successful we have had brilliant Olympic Games in London 2012 and in Sochi just last year. We are enjoying the highest TV audiences, and I could even extend this list of successes. So why change? This is exactly why. The reason is because we are successful.
If we do not change when successful, we will be forced to change. Change is on the horizon, and if we are hit by change and we are not in position to drive the changes by ourselves then we will be driven by others. We are now sitting in the driving seat, if we do not take the opportunity to change others will do it for us. We will be forced to sit in the back and hope the driver takes the right direction.
We have to take leadership with Olympic Agenda 2020. If we miss the opportunity then the window will be closed. We have the opportunity and we must seize the moment of this Olympic Agenda 2020 process.
The process started a year ago at a meeting of the IOC Executive Board, following that there was a fruitful debate in in Sochi at the session. We invited the general public to contribute and we had more than 40,000 contribution. These were mainly made by pressure groups and interested parties but it shows the huge interest in this Olympic Agenda 2020 process.
You, the NOCs were part of this process from the beginning through your represen-
tatives on the IOC, through your President at the Olympic Summits from your Continental Associations, everyone has had a chance to contribute. Thank you for that and for the detailed contributions of so many of the National Olympic Committees. These have all been considered carefully.
Now we must move from discussion to decision. IOC members will receive 40 final recommendations in a couple of days’ time and after that the recommendations will be published.
This is a transparent process as it has been from the beginning and as it will be in Monaco where there will be a free and open discussion. In Monaco, IOC members representing the NOCs and IFs and the athletes will discuss and debate and reach agreement.
This is the time for change.
This is the chance for change.
This is the moment for change.
We are on solid foundations and the Olympic Movement can strengthen Olympic Sport in society to keep it relevant to youth and society. Sport and Olympic Sport are far too impor-
tant to the world. We cannot ignore society, we are not living on an island, we are in the middle of society. We must have a dialogue with society, and we must take leadership on sport. We must make clear how we see its future.
The rest of society will not wait for us. Society is developing and moving faster than ever. If we are to keep the leadership of sport in society and the relevance of sport in society then we must act to preserve our values. If we stand still we will fall behind. We need to keep our many strengths to encourage diversity and adapt to different cultures and societies.
We must embrace diversity in all aspects of life. What we want to achieve is unity based on our Olympic values. And in Olympic Agenda 2020 we have an opportunity to show that our values are important now and for the future. We must preserve those values for future generations and show for all in society why those values are so important.
Study the recommendations carefully, continue to make your contributions. The time for change is now – we have had good discussions for more than a year. It is important that we remain in the driver’s seat. Now is the time for agreement, to be united and to protect and promote our values.
This article was republished with permission from the editor and publisher of the Sport Intern, Karl Heinz-Huba.