Joint session paves way for future collaboration

15 | 4 | 2019

Close to 500 athletes and Olympians have come together in Lausanne for a joint working day between the International Athletes’ Forum and World Olympians Forum.

The joint session is part of a wider commitment between World Olympians Association and the IOC Athletes’ Commission to work in collaboration to ensure that there is continuous support for athletes and Olympians at all stages of their lives.

Taking place in the gap between the 9th edition of the International Athletes’ Forum (IAF) and the World Olympians Forum, it brought together National Olympians Associations (NOAs) and National Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commissions (ACs), as well as athlete representatives from International Federations, Olympic Games Organising Committees, Continental Athletes’ Associations, WADA and the International Paralympic Committee.

The day opened with a welcome address by IOC President Thomas Bach OLY, who endorsed the collaborative approach of both organisations. This was followed by a panel discussion between IOC Athletes’ Commission Vice-Chair Danka Barteková OLY, IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell and WOA President Joël Bouzou OLY, where they outlined the different but complementary roles that Athletes’ Commissions and NOAs have in supporting athletes and Olympians as well as opportunities for collaboration at a national level. 

IOC Athletes’ Commission Vice-Chair Danka Barteková OLY, said:

"At the heart of the IOC Athletes' Commission's strategy, our mission is to strengthen the support to all athletes and Olympians in their sporting and non-sporting career. Also, our mandate as the IOC Athletes' Commission is to represent the voice of athletes within the IOC and Olympic Movement. We work tirelessly to further strengthen and empower athlete representatives in decision-making bodies to ensure the athletes' viewpoint is heard and is taken into consideration at all levels and across all Olympic Movement stakeholders. By working together, collectively we can further the reach of our programmes and activities for all athletes and Olympians."

IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell, said:

“We have a duty of care to provide the best possible conditions for elite performance, fair play, safety and holistic well-being, ensuring athletes and Olympians are supported in their sporting and non-sporting lives. That is why a collaborative approach is imperative. Together with WOA we can provide the necessary support throughout the different phases of their careers. In doing so, we can empower them give back to the movement to help other athletes and build a better world through sport.”

The joint day also featured workshops, networking and team building opportunities focussed on strengthening continental ties as well as enhancing partnerships at a local level. This will ensure NOAs and ACs can work together to maximise opportunities for Olympians to feel valued and remain connected to the Olympic Movement and fulfil their role as ambassadors of the Olympic Movement.

WOA President Joël Bouzou OLY, said:

“It has been fantastic to see participants today working collaboratively, exchanging views, sharing ideas and strengthening partnerships – all focussed on how collectively we can best support athletes and Olympians at all stages of their lives. We believe this has been a valuable experience that has laid the groundwork for a unified and effective network for future cooperation between athlete representatives and Olympians across the Olympic Movement.”

The World Olympians Forum runs from 15-17 April in Lausanne, Switzerland. Keep up to date with the latest news from the Forum by following WOA on Twitter and Facebook