Olympic Sport: Change or be changed

Published on June 25th, 2019

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session is the general meeting of the members of the IOC, held once a year in which each member nation votes on matters pertaining to the IOC and the Olympic Games.

The 134th IOC Session on June 24-26 2019, among its immediate business in Lausanne, Switzerland, is recognizing its quasquicentennial. As Sailing is an Olympic sport, here are some excerpts from the opening remarks at the Session by President Thomas Bach on June 25:

Today we should look at the 125 years of existence of the International Olympic Committee, which we are celebrating these days.

125 years ago, our founder Pierre de Coubertin revived a revolutionary idea of bringing all of humankind together in peace through sport.

When he created the International Olympic Committee and revived the idea of the Olympic Games on the 23rd of June 1894, this concept that sport could bring together all people in peaceful competition was seen by many of his contemporaries as very naïve.

In fact, his idea ran counter to the prevailing spirit of his time: nationalism, imperialism and colonial rivalry culminating in brutal wars. Against this backdrop, the notion that sport can build understanding and even peace among people and nations seemed hopelessly idealistic.

Always an idealist, one could even say a dreamer, Coubertin never gave up on his Olympic dream. Above all else, he was a visionary, when he said, and I quote: “Should the institution of the Olympic Games prosper, it can become a potent factor in securing universal peace.” End of quote.

Today, 125 years later, his dream lives on and it is stronger than ever.
The enduring power of the Olympic Games he created is its universality. The Olympic Games are the only event with the power to bring the entire world together in peaceful competition. But we can only bring the entire world together at the Olympic Games if everyone can participate. We can only achieve this mission by showing respect and solidarity for one another.
To maintain this universality and solidarity of the Olympic Games, we need strong partners. We need strong International Federations (IF) to promote and develop their sports. We need strong National Olympic Committees (NOC) to promote and develop the national athletes.

This is why I thank all the IFs and all the NOCs for their ongoing support and commitment for the Olympic Movement. They are standing with us in times of reforms and change brought about by Olympic Agenda 2020. They are translating these reforms into their respective areas and for this I want to thank and congratulate all of them.


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