Talking clean sport and play fair with Olympians in Rio

14 | 8 | 2016

Fair play is a central tenet to the Olympic Games – and it’s one International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is committed to fighting.

From illegal sports betting to cheating through doping, competition manipulation can undermine the value of sports to all. Friday night President Bach took to the IOC Space situated in front of the Rio Olympic Village’s main dining hall to speak directly – and frankly – with the athletes about what the IOC was doing to ensure fair play in international competitions.

“Fair Play is always important; fair play is what makes sport different to other areas of life,” President Bach said. “We want athletes to know and be sure that their opponents respect the rules in the same way as they do.

Part of the allure of sport is to see individuals and teams perform at the peak of their abilities during the unpredictability of an event. Competition manipulation is when an athlete, coach or official cheats to remove this unpredictability from an event – or turns to the pharmacy to increase their sporting advantage.

“If an athlete cannot rely on this fairness in a competition, then we are no longer living sport anymore – then it is like a circus,” President Bach said. “If this happens, we are losing our values. This is the last thing we should do.”

Joining President Bach in the town hall style event were IOC Athletes’ Commission Members Members Tony Estanguet, Barbara Kendall and Todd Nicholson.

“When we compete we are focused on what we have to do and we believe this threat doesn’t exist,” said Tony Estanguet, a three-time Olympic gold medalist in canoe slalom for France. “But in the end we have to admit, it does exist, that this is really serious.”

President Bach and the three IOC Athletes’ Commission Members all talked about the lengths the IOC was going to ensure fair play in the competition grounds of Rio de Janeiro –and beyond.

Tackling sport corruption

As the sports betting market grows steadily, there will be an enormous amount of money bet on the events of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Consequently, it has become of even greater significance for the IOC to take a proactive approach in the fight against the manipulation of competitions.

“We are supervising the whole betting market during the Olympic Games,” the IOC President said. “If a competitor should bet on any competition during the Games, we will know and we will take actions so all the bets are supervised. Wherever there is something suspicious, our people are following up and there can be pretty severe sanctions.”

Athletes and officials can access all the relevant information they need to know about preserving the integrity of sport via the Olympic Athletes’ Hub or the IOC website at

Learn more about the various IOC integrity initiatives here.