Holiday wishes from WOA

24 | 12 | 2023

Dear fellow Olympians,

As we come to the end of another eventful year, I would like to thank you all for your dedication and hard work promoting the Olympic values in your communities. We were delighted to see your many projects and events that served either the needs of your communities or your fellow Olympians. We always try to promote them on our website and social media. If you participated in a project that could inspire or be copied by your fellow Olympians, please share the details here and we’ll do a story or social about it: Best Practices Form.

A big highlight of 2023 was the third World Olympians Forum which was held in Istanbul. It was attended by 150 Olympians from over 100 countries. Delegates exchanged best practices, heard from world experts and participated in workshops on how Olympians can more effectively spread the values of the Olympic Movement, the benefits of sport and physical activity and give back to their communities. The Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu was fulsome in his praise, saying: ““I was so impressed with the level of knowledge and debate and the ideas that emerged from the World Olympians Forum”. We were very grateful for his and his city’s hospitality and dedication to sport as a tool for peace, health and social integration.

The WOA continued to grow this year. The WOA General Assembly voted in 12 new National Olympians Associations in May. The new member associations are based in: Algeria, Benin, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and Venezuela. We will continue to support these budding organisations and encourage the formation of new NOAs in the new year.

Olympian opportunities continued to be offered to all Olympians, including full and partial scholarships for the University of London’s Postgraduate Certificate in International Sports Management in partnership with the World Academy of Sport. If you know of any upcoming opportunities specific to Olympians, please do not hesitate to contact us with the relevant information.

Service to Society and Service to Olympians grants for Olympian-led projects were awarded across all five continents, including an impressive list of activities such as an all women, all ages skate competition in South Africa. In June I announced at the Global Alliance for Physical Activity Summit in Hamburg that all Service to Society grants next year would be reserved for projects that get people physically active. Applications for those grants will open in early January.

There were many OLY Celebrations in 2023, including the largest-ever gathering of Olympians in Chilean history which took place right before the Santiago 2023 Pan American and Parapan American games in October. Uplifting and recognising Olympians is a priority every year and we will continue to support and promote OLY celebrations in 2024.

We celebrated passing the 20,000 mark for OLY registrations this year. If you know of any Olympian who hasn’t signed up yet, make sure to tell them and share this link so they can join our ever-growing OLY community.

Finally, I would like to thank the IOC for their continued support, the WOA Executive Committee, WOA CEO and our staff and you all for your dedication to our Olympian community and your promotion of the Olympic values. Without you, fellow Olympians, there would be no Olympics. Without your work and dedication, the Olympic Movement would be the poorer. You are the living embodiment of the spirit that guided Pierre de Coubertin when he revived the Olympics. Don’t ever forget that.

We hope you have a relaxing and festive holiday season in the company of your families and friends. Enjoy the celebrations. And let’s all come back in the new year refreshed and ready to promote together a healthy and physically active 2024.

I hope to be able to see many of you at OLY House in Paris, whether in person or online. We will send you more details about the OLY House activities early next year. All the best for 2024. And bonne chance to those of you who will be competing at the Paris Games.

Best Olympian regards to you all.

Joël Bouzou OLY