International Olympic Committee
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International Olympic Committee
Comité international olympique
The IOC is the governing body of the National Olympic Committees
(NOCs) and of the worldwide "Olympic Movement", the IOC's term for all entities and individuals involved in the Olympic Games. As of 2016, there are 206 NOCs officially recognised by the IOC. The current president of the IOC is Thomas Bach
of Germany, who succeeded Jacques Rogge
of Belgium in September 2013.
Until 1992, both Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same year. After that year, however, the IOC shifted the Winter Olympics to the even years between Summer Games, to help space the planning of the two events from one another, and improve the financial balance of the IOC, which receives a proportionally greater income in Olympic years.
In 2009, the UN General Assembly
granted the IOC Permanent Observer
status. The decision enables the IOC to be directly involved in the UN Agenda and to attend UN General Assembly meetings where it can take the floor. In 1993, the General Assembly approved a Resolution to further solidify IOC–UN cooperation by reviving the Olympic Truce
During each proclamation at the Olympics, announcers speak in different languages: French
is always spoken first, followed by an English translation, and then the dominant language of the host nation (when this is not English or French).
The IOC received approval in November 2015 to construct a new headquarters in Vidy
, Lausanne. The cost of the project was estimated to stand at $156m.
The IOC announced on 11 February 2019 that "Olympic House" would be inaugurated on 23 June 2019 to coincide with its 125th anniversary.
The Olympic Museum
remains in Ouchy
Mission and roles
The stated mission of the IOC is to promote the Olympics
throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement:
- To encourage and support the organisation, development and coordination of sport and sports competitions;
- To ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games;
- To cooperate with the competent public or private organisations and authorities in the endeavour to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace;
- To act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement;
- To encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women;
IOC Executive Board
The IOC Session
is the general meeting of the members of the IOC, held once a year in which each member has one vote. It is the IOC's supreme organ and its decisions are final.
Extraordinary Sessions may be convened by the President or upon the written request of at least one third of the members.
Among others, the powers of the Session are:
- To adopt or amend the Olympic Charter.
- To elect the members of the IOC, the Honorary President and the honorary members.
- To elect the President, the Vice-Presidents and all other members of the IOC Executive Board.
- To elect the host city of the Olympic Games.
- Olympic Foundation (Lausanne, Switzerland)
- IOC Television and Marketing Services S.A. (Lausanne, Switzerland)
The Olympic Partner Programme (Lausanne, Switzerland)
- Olympic Broadcasting Services S.A. (Lausanne, Switzerland)
- Olympic Channel Services S.A. (Lausanne, Switzerland)
Olympic Channel Services S.L. (Madrid, Spain)
- Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (Lausanne, Switzerland)
- IOC Heritage Management
- Olympic Studies Centre
- Olympic Museum
- International Programmes for Arts, Culture and Education
- Olympic Solidarity (Lausanne, Switzerland)
In addition to the Olympic medals for competitors, the IOC awards a number of other honours.
- The IOC President's Trophy is the highest sports award given to athletes who have excelled in their sport and had an extraordinary career, creating a lasting impact on their sport
- The Pierre de Coubertin medal is awarded to athletes who demonstrate a special spirit of sportsmanship in Olympic events
- The Olympic Cup is awarded to institutions or associations with a record of merit and integrity in actively developing the Olympic Movement
- The Olympic Order is awarded to individuals for exceptionally distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement; superseded the Olympic Certificate
- The Olympic Laurel is awarded to individuals for promoting education, culture, development, and peace through sport
- The Olympic town status has been given to some towns that have been particularly important for the Olympic Movement
For most of its existence, the IOC was controlled by members who were selected by other members. Countries that had hosted the Games were allowed two members. When named, they did not become the representatives of their respective countries to the IOC, but rather the opposite, IOC members in their respective countries.
Oath of the International Olympic Committee
"Granted the honour of becoming a member of the International Olympic Committee and declaring myself aware of my responsibilities in such a capacity, I undertake to serve the Olympic Movement to the very best of my ability; to respect and ensure the respect of all the provisions of the Olympic Charter and the decisions of the International Olympic Committee which I consider as not the subject to appeal on my part; to comply with the code of ethics to keep myself free from any political or commercial influence and from any racial or religious consideration; to fight against all other forms of discrimination; and to promote in all circumstances the interests of the International Olympic Committee and those of the Olympic Movement."
Cessation of membership
The membership of IOC members ceases in the following circumstances:
- Resignation: any IOC member may cease their membership at any time by delivering a written resignation to the President.
- Non re-election: any IOC member ceases to be a member without further formality if they are not re-elected.
- Age limit: any IOC member ceases to be a member at the end of the calendar year during which they reach the age of 70 or 80. Any member who joined in the 1900s ceases to be a member at age 80 and any member who joined in the 2000s ceases to be a member at age 70.
- Failure to attend Sessions or take active part in IOC work for two consecutive years.
- Transfer of domicile or of main center of interests to a country other than the country which was theirs at the time of their election.
- Members elected as active athletes cease to be a member upon ceasing to be a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission.
- Presidents and individuals holding an executive or senior leadership position within NOCs, world or continental associations of NOCs, IFs or associations of IFs, or other organisations recognised by the IOC cease to be a member upon ceasing to exercise the function they were exercising at the time of their election.
- Expulsion: an IOC member may be expelled by decision of the Session if such member has betrayed their oath or if the Session considers that such member has neglected or knowingly jeopardised the interests of the IOC or acted in a way which is unworthy of the IOC.
Sports federations recognised by IOC
During the first half of the 20th century the IOC ran on a small budget.
As president of the IOC from 1952 to 1972, Avery Brundage rejected all attempts to link the Olympics with commercial interest.
Brundage believed the lobby of corporate interests would unduly impact the IOC's decision-making.
Brundage's resistance to this revenue stream meant the IOC left organising committees to negotiate their own sponsorship contracts and use the Olympic symbols.
When Brundage retired the IOC had US$2 million in assets; eight years later the IOC coffers had swelled to US$45 million.
This was primarily due to a shift in ideology toward expansion of the Games through corporate sponsorship and the sale of television rights.
When Juan Antonio Samaranch
was elected IOC president in 1980 his desire was to make the IOC financially independent.
Samaranch appointed Canadian IOC member Richard Pound to lead the initiative as Chairman of the "New Sources of Finance Commission".
In 1982 the IOC drafted ISL Marketing, a Swiss sports marketing company, to develop a global marketing programme for the Olympic Movement. ISL successfully developed the programme but was replaced by Meridian Management, a company partly owned by the IOC in the early 1990s.
In 1989, one of the staff members at ISL Marketing, Michael Payne
, moved to the IOC and became the organisation's first marketing director. However ISL and subsequently Meridian, continued in the established role as the IOC's sales and marketing agents until 2002.
In collaboration with ISL Marketing and subsequently Meridian Management, Payne made major contributions to the creation of a multibillion-dollar sponsorship marketing programme for the organisation which, along with improvements in TV marketing and improved financial management, helped to restore the IOC's financial viability.
The Olympic Movement generates revenue through five major programmes.
- Broadcast partnerships, managed by the IOC.
- Commercial sponsorship, organised through the IOC's worldwide TOP programme.
- Domestic sponsorship, managed by the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs).
- Licensing programmes within the host country.
The OCOGs have responsibility for the domestic sponsorship, ticketing and licensing programmes, under the direction of the IOC.
The Olympic Movement generated a total of more than US$4 billion (€2.5 billion) in revenue during the Olympic quadrennium
from 2001 to 2004.
The IOC distributes some of the Olympic marketing revenue to organisations throughout the Olympic Movement to support the staging of the Olympic Games and to promote the worldwide development of sport. The IOC retains approximately 10% of the Olympic marketing revenue for the operational and administrative costs of governing the Olympic Movement.
Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games
The IOC provides TOP programme contributions and Olympic broadcast revenue to the OCOGs to support the staging of the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games:
- TOP programme revenue to OCOGs: the two OCOGs of each Olympic quadrennium generally share approximately 50% of TOP programme revenue and value-in-kind contributions, with approximately 30% provided to the summer OCOG and 20% provided to the winter OCOG.
- Broadcast revenue to OCOGs: the IOC contributes 49% of the Olympic broadcast revenue for each Games to the OCOG. During the 2001–2004 Olympic quadrennium, the Salt Lake 2002 Organizing Committee received US$443 million, €395 million in broadcast revenue from the IOC, and the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee received US$732 million, €690 million.
- Domestic programme revenue to OCOGs: the OCOGs generate substantial revenue from the domestic marketing programmes that they manage within the host country, including domestic sponsorship, ticketing and licensing.
National Olympic Committees
The NOCs receive financial support for the training and development of Olympic teams, Olympic athletes and Olympic hopefuls. The IOC distributes TOP programme revenue to each of the NOCs throughout the world. The IOC also contributes Olympic broadcast revenue to Olympic Solidarity, an IOC organisation that provides financial support to NOCs with the greatest need.
The continued success of the TOP programme and Olympic broadcast agreements has enabled the IOC to provide increased support for the NOCs with each Olympic quadrennium. The IOC provided approximately US$318.5 million to NOCs for the 2001–2004 quadrennium.
International Olympic Sports Federations
The IOC is now the largest single revenue source for the majority of IFs
, with its contributions of Olympic broadcast revenue that assist the IFs in the development of their respective sports worldwide. The IOC provides financial support from Olympic broadcast revenue to the 28 IFs of Olympic summer sports and the seven IFs of Olympic winter sports after the completion of the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics, respectively.
The continually increasing value of Olympic broadcast partnership has enabled the IOC to deliver substantially increased financial support to the IFs with each successive Games. The seven winter sports IFs shared US$85.8 million, €75 million in Salt Lake 2002 broadcast revenue. The contribution to the 28 summer sports IFs from Athens 2004 broadcast revenue has not yet been determined, but the contribution is expected to mark a significant increase over the US$190 million, €150 million that the IOC provided to the summer IFs following Sydney 2000.
The Olympic Partner programme
The Olympic Partner (TOP) sponsorship programme includes the following commercial sponsors of the Olympic Games.
The IOC recognises that the Olympic Games demand substantial environmental resources, activities, and construction projects that could be detrimental to a host city's environment.
In 1995, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch stated, "the International Olympic Committee is resolved to ensure that the environment becomes the third dimension of the organization of the Olympic Games, the first and second being sport and culture."
Acting on this statement, in 1996 the IOC added the "environment" as a third pillar to its vision for the Olympic Games.
The IOC requires cities bidding to host the Olympics to provide a comprehensive strategy to protect the environment in preparation for hosting, and following the conclusion of the Games.
This initiative was most notably acted upon in 2000, when the "Green Olympics" effort was developed by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games. The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics
effort to host environmentally friendly games resulted in over 160 projects meeting the goal of "green" games through improved air quality
and water quality
, implementation of sustainable energy sources, improved waste management, and environmental education. These projects included industrial plant relocation or closure, furnace replacement, introduction of new emission standards, and more strict traffic control.
Most of these measures were adopted on a temporary basis, and although real improvements were realized (particularly in air quality
), most of these improvements had disappeared one year following the Games. Although these improvements were short lived, IOC's inclusion of environmental policies in evaluating and selecting host cities demonstrates a corporate responsibility that may be built upon in years to come. Detailed frameworks for environmental sustainability have been released for the 2018 Winter Olympics
, and 2020 Summer Olympics
in PyeongChang, South Korea, and Tokyo, Japan, respectively.
The IOC has four major approaches to addressing environmental health concerns during the construction and competitions of the Olympic Games. First, the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission focuses on how the IOC can improve the strategies and policies associated with environmental health throughout the process of cities hosting the Olympic Games.
Secondly, every candidate city must provide information to the IOC on environmental health issues like air quality and environmental impact assessments. Thirdly, every host city is given the option to declare "pledges" to address specific or general environmental health concerns of hosting the Olympic Game. Fourthly, the IOC has every host city collaborate with the United Nations to work towards addressing environmental health objectives.
Ultimately, the IOC uses these four major approaches in an attempt to minimize the negative environmental health concerns of a host city.
Venue construction effects on air
Cities hosting the Olympic Games have two primary concerns: traffic congestion and air pollution, both of which can result in compromised air quality during and after Olympic venue construction.
Research at the Beijing Olympic Games identified particulate matter – measured in terms of PM10 (the amount of aerodynamic diameter of particle≤10 μm in a given amount of air) – as a top priority that should be taken into consideration.
The particulate matter in the air, along with other airborne pollutants, cause both serious health problems, such as asthma
, and contribute to the deterioration of urban ecosystems. Black Carbon is released into the air from incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fluids contributing to global climate change and human health effects. The black carbon concentrations are highly impacted by the truck traffic due to the traffic congestion during the massive construction. Additionally, secondary pollutants like CO
, and xylenes
(BTEX) are also released during the venue construction, resulting in harmful effects to the environment.
Methods to measure particulates in the air
Environmental magnetic methods have been established as a successful way of measuring the degree of pollution in air, water and soil. Environmental magnetism is sensitive to particle size, and has proven effective even at low detection levels. For these reasons, it is becoming more widely used.
Measures taken to improve air quality
Various air quality
measures are undertaken before and after the Olympic Games. Research studies demonstrate that the primary method to reduce concentrations of air pollutants is traffic control, including barring heavy vehicles from the roads. For the Beijing Olympics, vehicles not meeting the Euro 1 emission standards were also banned from the roads, and the odd-even rule was implemented in the Beijing administrative area. Additional air quality improvement measures include replacing coal with natural gas, suspending construction and/or imposing strict dust control on construction sites, closing or relocating the polluting industrial plants, building long subway lines, using cleaner fluid in power plants, and reducing the activity by some of the polluting factories. These were several air quality improvement measures implemented by the Beijing government. There, levels of primary and secondary pollutants were reduced, and good air quality was recorded during the Beijing Olympics on most of the days.
Venue construction effects on soil
can occur during the process of constructing the Olympic venues. In the case of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, negative environmental impacts were observed, including impacts on soil. Before the Games, researchers studied four areas which the Games would likely affect: a floodplain, a highway, the motorway connecting the city to Lyon, France, and a landfill. They performed an extensive analysis in the types of chemicals found in the soils in these areas both before and after the Games. Their findings revealed an increase in the number of metals in the topsoils post-Games, and indicated that soil was capable, as part of an ecosystem, of negating, or "buffering," the effects of many heavy metals. However, their findings also revealed that this was not the case for all metals, and that mercury, lead, and arsenic may have been transferred into the food chain on a massive scale.
One of the promises made to Londoners when they won the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games was that the Olympic Park would be a "blueprint for sustainable living." However, residents of the allotments of Manor Road were relocated, due to the building of the Olympic stadium, and would later disagree that the Olympics had had any positive effect on their lives. Allotments, originally, were intended to provide low-income residents with a plot of land on which to grow their own food, thus receiving the dual health benefits of a supply of fresh food and outdoor work. Many of these sites were lost as a result of the Olympic venue construction, most notably the Manor Road site. Residents were promised that the allotments would be returned, and they eventually were. However, the soil quality would never be the same. Crops tended by allotment residents were the result of years of careful cultivation, and thus, those years of care and attention were destroyed by a bulldozer. Further, allotment residents were exposed to radioactive waste for five months prior to moving, during the excavation of the site for the Games. Other local residents, construction workers, and onsite archeologists faced similar exposures and risks.
In contrast, the Sydney Olympic Games of 2000 provided an opportunity to improve a highly contaminated area known as the Homebush Bay site. A study commissioned by the New South Wales Government Olympic Coordination Authority, which was responsible for the Games' site preparation, looked at soil contamination prior to the Games. The work assessed soils that had been previously impacted by waste and identified areas that could pose a risk to the environment. Soil metal concentrations were found to be high enough to potentially contaminate groundwater. After risk areas were identified, a remediation strategy was developed. Contaminated soil was consolidated into four containment areas within the site, which left the remaining areas available for recreational use. Also, the contained waste materials no longer posed a threat to surrounding aquifers. Sydney's winning Olympic bid provided a catalyst to undertake the "greenest" single urban remediation ever attempted in Australia.
Venue construction effects on water
The Olympic Games can affect water quality in the surrounding region in several ways, including water runoff and the transfer of polluting substances from the air to water sources through rainfall. Harmful particulates come from both natural substances (such as plant matter crushed by higher volumes of pedestrian and vehicle traffic) and man-made substances (such as exhaust from vehicles or industry). Contaminants from these two categories lead to elevated amounts of toxins in street dust. Street dust then reaches water sources through runoff, facilitating the transfer of toxins to environments and communities that rely on these water sources.
For example, one method of measuring the runoff contamination of water sources involves magnetism. Magnetism measurement systems allow specialists to measure the differences in mineral magnetic parameters in samples of water, air, and vegetation. Unlike traditional methods of measuring pollutants, magnetism is relatively inexpensive, and can identify smaller particle sizes.
Another method used to assess the amount and effects of water pollutants is to measure the amount of PM2.5 in rainfall. Measuring PM2.5 (the amount of aerodynamic diameter of particle≤2.5 μm in a given amount of air) is a common metric for assessing air quality. Comparing PM2.5 levels between air and rainfall samples allows scientists to determine the amount of air pollution being transferred to water sources. Pollutants in rainfall quickly and directly affect pollution in groundwater sources.
In 2013, researchers in Beijing found a significant relationship between the amount of PM2.5 concentrations in the air and in rainfall. Studies showed that rainfall had a significant "washing" effect on PM2.5 in the air, transferring a large portion of these pollutants from the air to water sources.
In this way, Beijing's notorious air pollution has a direct and significant impact on rainfall, and therefore, on water resources throughout the region.
Amateurism and professionalism Pierre de Coubertin
, founder of the IOC, was influenced by the ethos of the aristocracy as exemplified in the English public schools
The public schools subscribed to the belief that sport formed an important part of education and there was a prevailing concept of fairness in which practicing or training was considered cheating.
As class structure evolved through the 20th century, the definition of the amateur athlete as an aristocratic gentleman became outdated.
The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. The Soviet Union entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full-time basis.
Nevertheless, the IOC held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism.
Near the end of the 1960s, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association
(CAHA) felt their amateur players could no longer be competitive against the Soviet team's full-time athletes and the other constantly improving European teams. They pushed for the ability to use players from professional leagues but met opposition from the IIHF and IOC. At the IIHF Congress in 1969, the IIHF decided to allow Canada to use nine non-NHL professional hockey players
at the 1970 World Championships in Montreal
The decision was reversed in January 1970 after Brundage said that ice hockey's status as an Olympic sport would be in jeopardy if the change was made.
In response, Canada withdrew from international ice hockey competition and officials stated that they would not return until "open competition" was instituted.
Beginning in the 1970s, amateurism requirements were gradually phased out of the Olympic Charter. After the 1988 Games, the IOC decided to make all professional athletes eligible for the Olympics, subject to the approval of the IFs.
1976 Winter Olympics (Denver, Colorado)
The Games were originally awarded to Denver on 12 May 1970, but a rise in costs led to Colorado
voters' rejection on 7 November 1972, by a 3 to 2 margin, of a $5 million bond issue to finance the Games with public funds.
A scandal broke on 10 December 1998, when Swiss
IOC member Marc Hodler
, head of the coordination committee overseeing the organisation of the 2002 Games, announced that several members of the IOC had taken gifts. Although nothing strictly illegal had been done, it was felt that the acceptance of the gifts was morally dubious. Soon four independent investigations were underway: by the IOC, the United States Olympic Committee
(USOC), the SLOC
, and the United States Department of Justice
Before any of the investigations could even get under way, both Welch and Johnson resigned their posts as the head of the SLOC. Many others soon followed. The Department of Justice filed charges against the two: fifteen charges of bribery and fraud.
As a result of the investigation, ten members of the IOC were expelled and another ten were sanctioned.
Stricter rules were adopted for future bids, and caps were put into place as to how much IOC members could accept from bid cities. Additionally, new term and age limits were put into place for IOC membership, and fifteen former Olympic athletes were added to the committee.
From sporting and business standpoints, however, Salt Lake 2002 was one of the most successful Winter Olympiads
in history; records were set in both the broadcasting and marketing programs. Over 2 billion viewers watched more than 13 billion viewer-hours.
The Games were also financially successful raising more money with fewer sponsors than any prior Olympic Games, which left SLOC with a surplus of $
40 million. The surplus was used to create the Utah Athletic Foundation, which maintains and operates many of the remaining Olympic venues.
Sex verification controversies
is a practice used by Olympic
and other sporting institutions to ensure participants compete only in categories for their sex.
Verifying the sex of Olympic participants dates back to ancient Greece
when Kallipateira attempted to break Greek law by dressing as a man to enter the arena as a trainer. After she was discovered a new policy was erected wherein trainers, just as athletes, were made to attend naked in order to better assure all were male.
In more recent history, sex verification has taken many forms
and been subject to dispute within various societal spheres.
Before mandatory sex testing, Olympic officials relied on, “nude parades”
and doctor's notes.
Successful women athletes
perceived to be masculine
were most likely to be targeted for inspection.
In 1968, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) implemented compulsory sex verification at the Grenile Winter Games where a lottery system was used to determine who would be inspected with a Barr body
The American media critiqued the use of the lottery system and claimed that only the most obvious, which in this case meant the Soviet
and Eastern European women, should be subject to examination.
The scientific community also found fault in this policy for different reasons. The use of the Barr body test was evaluated by fifteen geneticists who unanimously agreed it was scientifically invalid.
By the 1970s this method was replaced with PCR testing
, as well as evaluating other factors including brain anatomy and behaviour in order to verify sex.
Following continued backlash against mandatory sex testing of both forms, the IOC's Athletes' Commission
successfully advocated for the end of the practice in 1999.
Although sex testing was no longer mandated by IOC policy, women who did not present as feminine
enough continued to be inspected based on suspicion in the 2000
, and 2008 Summer Games
By 2011 the IOC created a Hyperandrogenism
Regulation, which aimed to standardize natural testosterone
levels in women athletes.
This transition in sex testing was to assure a fairness within female categories. This was due to the belief that higher testosterone levels increased athletic ability and gave unfair advantages to certain women including intersex
and transgender competitors
Any female athlete flagged for suspicion and whose testosterone surpassed regulation levels, was prohibited from competing until medical treatment brought their hormone levels within the standardized amounts.
It has been argued by press,
that some ethnicities are disproportionately impacted by this regulation and it has been alleged 
that the rule endorses hegemonicgender norms
. Most notable cases of competition bans due to sex testing results are as follows: Maria José Martínez-Patiño
(1985), Santhi Soundarajan
(2006), Caster Semenya
(2009), Annet Negesa
and Dutee Chand
In 2014 Dutee Chand was banned from competing internationally after being found to be in violation of the Hyperandrogenism Regulation.
Following the decision of her appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport
, the IOC suspended the policy for the 2016
and 2018 Games
Press advocated for the continued suspension of sex verification practices for the 2020 Tokyo Games
Other controversies: 2006–2013
In 2006, a report ordered by the Nagano
region's governor said the Japanese city provided millions of dollars in an "illegitimate and excessive level of hospitality" to IOC members, including $4.4 million spent on entertainment alone.
Earlier reports put the figure at approximately $14 million. The precise figures are unknown since Nagano, after the IOC asked that the entertainment expenditures not be made public, destroyed the financial records.
International groups attempted to pressure the IOC to reject Beijing's bid in protest of the state of human rights in the People's Republic of China
. One Chinese dissident who expressed similar sentiments was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for calling on the IOC to do just that at the same time that IOC inspectors were touring the city. Amnesty International
expressed concern in 2006 regarding the Olympic Games to be held in China in 2008, likewise expressing concerns over the human rights situation. The second principle in the Fundamental Principles of Olympism
, Olympic Charter
states that "The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity."
Amnesty International considers the policies and practices of the People's Republic as failing to meet that principle, and urged the IOC to press China to immediately enact human rights reform.
In August 2008, the IOC issued DMCA
take down notices on Tibetan Protest videos
of the Beijing Olympics hosted on YouTube.
YouTube and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) both pushed back against the IOC, which then withdrew their complaint.
In 2010, the IOC was nominated for the Public Eye Awards. This award seeks to present "shame-on-you-awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year".
Before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, the IOC decided not to hold a minute of silence
to honor the 11 Israeli Olympians who were killed 40 years prior in the Munich Massacre
. Jacques Rogge
, the then-IOC President, said it would be "inappropriate" to do so. Speaking of the decision, Israeli Olympian Shaul Ladany
, who had survived the Munich Massacre, commented: "I do not understand. I do not understand, and I do not accept it".
In February 2013, the IOC did not include wrestling
as one of its core Olympic sports
for the Summer Olympic programme for the 2020 Olympics
. This decision was poorly received by the sporting and wrestling community. Wrestling was still part of the programme at the 2016 Summer Olympics
in Rio de Janeiro.
This decision was later overturned, and wrestling will be a part of the 2020 Olympic Games
As planned, the alpine ski run and luge racing area of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be built in the core area of Beijing Songshan National Reserves. A great number of valuable species such as Lonicera oblata and Cypripedium shanxiense S. C. Chen are found here and many of them can not be conserved through ex situ conservation. Many Chinese professionals of biology and environmentalists deemed that if the Olympic venues are developed in such area, the rare species and integrated ecological environment will be catastrophically collapsed. Chinese government intended to remove such area out from the range of the natural reserves and chose some other area with few rare species as the reserves. Besides, the comments regarding the strict compliance with laws and protection of Songshan National Reserves are widely deleted or restricted in China. All these actions have been criticized by some media and the professionals of biology in China.
Russian doping scandal
Media attention began growing in December 2014 when German broadcaster ARD
reported on state-sponsored doping in Russia, comparing it to doping in East Germany
. In November 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency
(WADA) published a report and the International Association of Athletics Federations
(IAAF) suspended Russia indefinitely from world track and field events. The United Kingdom Anti-Doping agency later assisted WADA with testing in Russia. In June 2016, they reported that they were unable to fully carry out their work and noted intimidation by armed Federal Security Service
After a Russian former lab director made allegations about the 2014 Winter Olympics
, WADA commissioned an independent investigation led by Richard McLaren
. McLaren's investigation found corroborating evidence, concluding in a report published in July 2016 that the Ministry of Sport
and the FSB had operated a "state-directed failsafe system" using a "disappearing positive [test] methodology" (DPM) from "at least late 2011 to August 2015".
In response to these findings, WADA announced that RUSADA should be regarded as non-compliant with respect to the World Anti-Doping Code and recommended that Russia be banned from competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics
The IOC rejected the recommendation, stating that a separate decision would be made for each athlete by the relevant IF
and the IOC, based on the athlete's individual circumstances.
One day prior to the opening ceremony, 270 athletes were cleared to compete under the Russian flag, while 167 were removed because of doping.
In contrast, the entire Kuwaiti team was banned from competing under their own flag (for a non-doping related matter).
The IOC's decision on 24 July 2016 was criticised by athletes
It received support from the European Olympic Committees
, which said that Russia was "a valued member".
Cam Cole of Canada's National Post
said that the IOC had "caved, as it always does, defaulting to whatever compromise it could safely adopt without offending a superpower."
Expressing disappointment, a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, Hayley Wickenheiser
, wrote, "I ask myself if we were not dealing with Russia would this decision to ban a nation [have] been an easier one? I fear the answer is yes."
Writing for Deutsche Welle
in Germany, Olivia Gerstenberger said that Bach had "flunked" his first serious test, adding, "With this decision, the credibility of the organization is shattered once more, while that of state-sponsored doping actually receives a minor boost." Bild
(Germany) described Bach as "Putin's poodle". Paul Hayward
, chief sports writer of The Daily Telegraph
(UK), remarked, "The white flag of capitulation flies over the International Olympic Committee. Russia's deep political reach should have told us this would happen."
Leaders of thirteen national anti-doping organisations wrote that the IOC had "violated the athletes' fundamental rights to participate in Games that meet the stringent requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code" and "[demonstrated that] it lacks the independence required to keep commercial and political interests from influencing the tough decisions necessary to protect clean sport."
WADA's former chief investigation, Jack Robertson, said "The anti-doping code is now just suggestions to follow or not" and that "WADA handed the IOC that excuse [not enough time before the Olympics] by sitting on the allegations for close to a year."
McLaren was dissatisfied with the IOC's handling of his report, saying "It was about state-sponsored doping and the mis-recording of doping results and they turned the focus into individual athletes and whether they should compete. [...] it was a complete turning upside down of what was in the report and passing over responsibility to all the different international federations."
On 5 December 2017, the IOC announced that the Russian Olympic Committee
had been suspended effective immediately from the 2018 Winter Olympics. Athletes who had no previous drug violations and a consistent history of drug testing were to be allowed to compete under the Olympic Flag
as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR).
Under the terms of the decree, Russian government officials were barred from the Games, and neither the country's flag nor anthem would be present. The Olympic Flag and Olympic Anthem
will be used instead,
and on 20 December 2017 the IOC proposed an alternate logo for the uniforms.
IOC President Thomas Bach
said that "after following due process [the IOC] has issued proportional sanctions for this systematic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes." The New York Times
' Rebecca Ruiz and Tariq Panja reported the decision was "without precedent in Olympics history",
while Sean Ingle
at The Guardian
noted the IOC's view that Russian doping was an "unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport". Hugo Lowell
at the i newspaper
, meanwhile, reported that the IOC nonetheless stopped short of a total ban against Russia from the Games.
On 1 February 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport
(CAS) found that the IOC provided insufficient evidence for 28 athletes, and overturned their IOC sanctions.
For 11 other athletes, the CAS decided that there was sufficient evidence to uphold their Sochi sanctions, but reduced their lifetime bans to only the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The IOC said in a statement that "the result of the CAS decision does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited to the Games. Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation" and that "this [case] may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping". The IOC found it important to note that the CAS Secretary General "insisted that the CAS decision does not mean that these 28 athletes are innocent" and that they would consider an appeal against the court's decision.
Later that month, the Russian Olympic Committee was reinstated by the IOC, despite numerous failed drug tests by Russian athletes in the 2018 Olympics,
and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was re-certified in September, despite the Russian officials not accepting the McLaren Report.
The IOC was harshly criticized for their handling of the Russian doping scandal. After reinstating the Russian Olympic committee following the 2018 Winter Olympics, Jim Walden
, attorney for Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov
, who masterminded Russia's programme, called the move "weakness in the face of evil."
2018 Taiwan election interference controversy
On 24 November 2018, Taiwan held a referendum
over a change in the naming of their Olympic representation, from "Chinese Taipei
," a name agreed to in 1981 by the People's Republic of China, who denies Taiwan's independence, to simply "Taiwan." In the immediate days prior to the referendum, the IOC, under pressure from the PRC government, issued a threatening statement, suggesting that if Taiwan underwent the name change, the IOC had the right to exercise, "suspension of or withdrawal," of the Taiwan team from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In response to the allegations of election interference, the IOC stated, "The IOC does not interfere with local procedures and fully respects freedom of expression. However, to avoid any unnecessary expectations or speculations, the IOC wishes to reiterate that this matter is under its jurisdiction.
" Subsequently, with many feeling significant IOC and PRC pressure, the referendum failed in Taiwan 45.20% to 54.80%.
Bid controversies: Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020
On 1 March 2016, Owen Gibson of The Guardian
reported that French financial prosecutors investigating corruption in world athletics had expanded their remit to include the bidding and voting processes for the Rio 2016
and Tokyo 2020
The story followed an earlier report in January by Gibson, who revealed that Papa Massata Diack, the son of the then-IAAF
president Lamine Diack
, appeared to arrange for "parcels" to be delivered to six IOC members in 2008 when Qatar
was bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games, though it failed to make it beyond the shortlisting stage. Qatar denied the allegations.
Gibson then reported on 11 May 2016 that a €1.3m (£1m, $1.5m) payment from the Tokyo Olympic bid team to an account linked to Papa Diack was made during Japan's successful race to host the 2020 Games.
The following day, French financial prosecutors confirmed they were investigating allegations of "corruption and money laundering" of more than $2m in suspicious payments made by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid to a secret bank account linked to Papa Diack.
The string of exclusives by The Guardian
prompted a response from Tsunekazu Takeda
of the Tokyo 2020 bid committee on 17 May 2016, though he denied any allegations of wrongdoing, and refused to reveal details of the transfers.
The controversy was reignited on 11 January 2019 after it emerged Takeda had been indicted on corruption
charges in France over his role in the bid process.
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