Canada’s Richard Pound, a staunch opponent of the concept of the Youth Olympic Games, will sit on a 27-member Tripartite Commission debating the future of the event, chaired by Turkey’s World Archery President Uğur Erdener, it has been announced.
Erdener, also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board, is seen as a close ally of President Thomas Bach who can be expected to liaise closely with the German.
The same cannot be said of Pound, the senior IOC member and two-time former vice-president beaten by Erdener for a place on the Executive Board in 2014.
The 73-year-old, selected in his capacity as chairman of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), has criticised the Youth Olympics ever since it was first proposed by Bach’s predecessor Jacques Rogge, claiming it is a waste of IOC money and resources
He chose not to attend the second edition of the Youth Winter Olympic Games, which finished in Lillehammer on Sunday (February 21).
Before the event started, Pound told Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) that it “will not stop couch potatoes sitting on the couch” or force people to “put away their iPads, and run-out into nature”.
Pound and Erdener are joined by 14 other IOC members, including four other Executive Board members, United States’ Anita DeFrantz, Ireland’s European Olympic Committees President Patrick Hickey, and Switzerland’s International Ice Hockey Federation boss René Fasel.
Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain will also sit on the Commission and represent the Olympic Channel.
Fasel is joined by two compatriots, International Basketball Federation secretary general Patrick Baumann and the chairman of Lausanne 2020, and International Ski Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper.
Kuwait’s Association of National Olympic Committees and Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah is another influential member, along with Singapore’s Ser Miang Ng, chair of the IOC Finance Commission.
Ng was also the organiser of the first-ever Summer Youth Olympic Games, held in Singapore in 2010.
Other members include New Zealand’s Barry Maister, Fiji’s Oceania National Olympic Committee head Robin Mitchell, Israel’s Alex Gilady and Aruba’s Nicole Hoevertsz,
Two members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission are also participating, bringing down the average age of a panel which embodies experience rather than youth.
These consist of Russia’s Alexander Popov and United States’ Angela Ruggiero, respective chairs of the Coordination Commissions for the two most recent editions in Nanjing 2014 and Lillehammer 2016.
Interestingly, Slovakia’s Danka Bartekova, head of the Coordination Commission for Lausanne 2020, is not included.
IOC honorary members Lassana Palenfo, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, and International Swimming Federation and Pan American Sports Organization head Julio Maglione are other members.
Representatives from Innsbruck 2012, Lillehammer 2016 and Buenos Aires 2018 – Peter Mennel, Siri Hatlen and Leandro Larrosa respectively – are also included.
Spain’s Leando Negre, Italy’s Bruno Grandi and France’s Jean-Christophe Rolland, respective Presidents of the International Hockey Federation, International Gymnastics Federation and International Rowing Federation, will also sit on the panel.
The line-up is completed by International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation secretary general Heike Groesswang, Association of Summer Olympic International Federations President Francesco Ricci Bitti and marketing expert Ricardo Fort, who has just stepped down as senior vice-president, Global Brand, Product & Sponsorship Marketing, at Visa.
A Tripartite Commission on the future of the Youth Olympic was a recommendation of Agenda 2020 but has not been realised until now.
Bach, who support for the event has been seen as more fragile than that of Rogge, suggested his support for the event after the “outstanding” success of Lillehammer 2016,.
He has, however, left the door open for changes to be made.
Pound is not the only figure to hold reservations over the event, however, with others calling for a full cost-benefit analysis and to find ways of expanding its global reach.
No timeslines have yet been given about when the Commission will meet or make recommendations.
- By Nick Butler
- Republished with permission insidethegame.biz