WOA | About

History

1994

The concept of creating an association to gather all Olympians from around the world is first introduced during the IOC Centennial Congress in Paris.

1995

The International Federation of National Associations of Olympic Athletes is founded on 21 November 1995 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. A birth certificate is signed by the 25 founding members headed by IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch. Australian Peter Montgomery is named the first President of the newly founded organisation. 

1996

The creation of the World Olympians Association is ratified at the 105th IOC Session at the Atlanta Olympic Games. The first Olympians Reunion Centre is opened at the Atlanta Games, backed by IOC Top Sponsor Visa. More than 900 Olympians visit the Centre during the Games. 

1999

The World Olympians Association holds its 2nd General Assembly at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. 47 countries are represented and Pal Schmitt from Hungary succeeds Peter Montgomery as President.

2000

The Sydney Games Olympians Reunion Centre opens at the historic Customs House in Circular Quay near the Sydney Opera House. The Centre is launched by the Australian Olympic Committee, the City of Sydney and sponsors Visa. 

2001

New IOC President Jacques Rogge becomes WOA Honorary President. Juan Antonio Samaranch becomes WOA Patron.

2002

The first Winter Games Olympians Reunion Centre opens in Salt Lake City, backed by IOC Top Sponsor Visa. The Reunion Centre is located in downtown Salt Lake City at the Salt Lake City Hardware Building. 

2003

The continued growth of the WOA sees offices opened in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and America. This is largely thanks to a new sponsorship deal with the Japanese city of Osaka worth USD $1millon per year for a period of five years.

2004

The WOA and Visa join forces again to open the Olympians Reunion Centre during the Athens Games. Situated in the Athens Tennis Club, around 4,000 Olympians visit the centre and Sports Illustrated names it best hospitality venue of the Games.

2006

IOC President Jacques Rogge opens the Torino Games Olympians Reunion Centre. He commended Reunion Centre and IOC TOP Sponsor Visa for its continued support of Olympians and the Olympic Movement. The Reunion Centre is located in the historic Armida Rowing Club, on the banks of the River Po in Valentino Park. 

2007

The 4th WOA General Assembly is held in Lausanne with 112 nations attending. Dick Fosbury is elected new President.

2008

The Beijing Games Olympians Reunion Centre is housed in the beautiful centuries-old Prince Jun Palace located in Chaoyang Park

2010

The Vancouver Winter Games Olympians Reunion Centre is located in the Wing Sang Heritage Building in Vancouver’s Chinatown. 

2011

The WOA holds its 5th General Assembly in Lausanne which is attended by a record number of 133 national associations. Joël Bouzou, an Olympian in Modern Pentathlon, is elected President. WOA modernisation programme begins.

2012

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco succeeds Juan Antonio Samaranch as patron of the WOA. The London Games Olympians Reunion Centre is situated in Wellington Barracks and backed by Mario and Sonic. Mario and Sonic also sponsor the WOA Gala, which is hosted by HRH Princess Anne at St. James's Palace. WOA membership climbs to 142 National Associations.

2013

The WOA begins phase two of its modernisation and rebuilding programme. Both the National Olympians Association Development Fund and Project Funds are launched. Annual audited accounts are sent to NOAs for the first time. A new Committee structure is inaugurated. New IOC President Thomas Bach becomes WOA Honorary President.

2014

A new look, new logo and new website are launched. The WOA hosts three events and five outings for Olympians in Sochi. NOA Project Fund is expanded.

2015

First inaugral World Olympians Forum held in Moscow, Russia.  250 attendees participate, including an appearance from President of the Russian Federation.

2016

The WOA and EY win an award the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY in Rio 2016. Hundreds of Olympians visit and take part in various WOA programmes including ticketing and chaperoning.