The inaugural World Olympians Forum (WOF) took place in Moscow from 21 and 22 October 2015.
The event saw high-profile Olympians, representatives of the International Olympic Committee, the National Olympians Associations and the Olympic Family, Governments and other key stakeholders come together to celebrate Olympism and the achievements of Olympians worldwide.
The Forum marked a significant moment in the Olympic calendar with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, IOC President Thomas Bach, World Olympians Association (WOA) Patron HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and WOA President Joël Bouzou giving opening addresses to launch the new event, on behalf of the WOA.
The launch of the WOF marked new ground for the WOA in its strategic mission to create a meaningful platform for Olympians to share best practices and discuss the topics of greatest concern to them. The Forum also symbolises the new spirit of collaboration between the IOC and the WOA, which includes an agreement to work in close partnership with integrated teams delivering joint projects.
Among the topics and themes discussed across a series of panel sessions, key note speeches and workshops were issues such as how Olympians can use their position as role models to inspire young people and to achieve the aims of Olympic Agenda 2020, why the Olympic Games matter and their relevance in modern society, how to give youth a sporting chance and the importance of closing the gender gap in sport.
One of the key highlights of the WOF was the Signing of the Declaration of Support for the Olympic Charter which was signed by Olympians from all five continents. The Declaration pledges:
- To continue to spread the spirit and practice of Olympism in our communities
- To work for peace and a better life for all through sport
- To help our fellow Olympians with their life transitions and their post-career health and fitness issues
- To oppose any political or governmental interference in the autonomy of sports organisations which might prevent an athlete from exercising their right to compete in the Olympic Games or other major sporting events which also embody the Olympic Spirit
The Declaration was signed on behalf of all Olympians by:
- HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, WOA Patron;
- Joël Bouzou, WOA President;
- Willie Banks, two-time US Olympian and former world record holder in Triple Jump;
- Anastasia Davydova, five-time Russian Synchronised Swimming Olympic Champion;
- Hicham El Guerrouj, middle-distance runner and double Olympic Champion;
- Michelle Ford-Eriksson MBE, Olympic Swimming Gold Medallist and;
- Koji Murofushi, Hammer Olympic Gold Medallist.