Athlete Welfare a Top Priority for WOA in 2016

22 | 3 | 2016

Following a meeting of its full Executive Committee, the World Olympians Association (WOA) has presented its plans for the year ahead, highlighting its commitment to serving the needs of Olympians worldwide.

As part of the WOA’s strategic goal to promote athlete welfare, the Committee ratified the decision of the WOA Medical Committee to undertake a review of post-career medical research on elite athletes.

The Olympic Studies Centre will compile a list of existing literature published on key areas relating to post-athletic career health issues on behalf of the WOA. From this initial investigation, the WOA Medical Committee will identify research gaps and commission a full study with the aim of producing practical protocols for use by Olympians, National Olympic Committees and International Federations.

The Committee also pledged to support refugees and refugee athlete programmes including the recently proposed International Olympic Committee (IOC) team of Refugee Olympic Athletes for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  WOA is also in dialogue with Honorary IOC President and UN Special Envoy for Youth Refugees and Sport, Jacques Rogge, to look at ways WOA and its member National Olympians Associations can support Rogge’s UNHCR visits to refugee camps to galvanise youth through sport.

Other highlights from the meeting include the decision to support the global expansion of World Fit, a US Olympians’ anti-obesity initiative that promotes active lifestyles among school children and their communities. The campaign will be trialled outside the US in both Singapore and the UK later this year.

WOA will once again be backing Peace and Sport’s White Cards for Peace campaign for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on 6 April. It will also continue to work closely with the IOC on activities promoting Olympic Day on 23 June with the goal of encouraging Olympians to serve as role models to help bring communities closer together.

WOA President Joël Bouzou said:

“Each year WOA presents projects that align with the WOA mission and Olympic Agenda 2020 and we are pleased that in 2016 we will deliver initiatives and activities that encompass these goals while allowing Olympians the opportunity to fulfil their duties as role models within society.

“The WOA’s Medical Committee’s admirable ambition to improve athlete welfare through research into post-athletic career health issues along with the Board’s unanimous support of the IOC’s refugee campaign as well as the other service to society programmes demonstrate WOA’s dedication to both improving the lives of Olympians and mobilising them to help make the world a better place.

“Olympic Agenda 2020 continues to guide the work we do across our many planned activities, in particular through our aim to strengthen support of athletes, spread Olympic values-based education and engage with communities.”

Image credit: IOC Media Library