Q&A with Barbara Kendall – Chair of the ANOC Athletes' Commission

Barbara Kendall represented New Zealand in windsurfing, before joining the New Zealand NOC's Athletes' Commission in 1996. Barbara has been an IOC member since 2011 and a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission and Chair of the Oceania National Olympic Committees Athletes' Commission since 2005. She spoke following the first meetings of ANOC's nine newly established Commissions and Working Groups in Kuwait.

What is the role of the ANOC Athletes' Commission and why does ANOC need one?
Whether you're talking about an NOC, an IF or an umbrella organisation like ANOC, an Athletes' Commission is there to make sure the voices of the athletes are heard. That means factoring the needs of athletes into every stage of the decision-making process. An Athletes' Commission keeps athletes' issues at the fore, because what they're wearing, who they're competing with and who's supporting them can be the difference between a good performance and a great performance for an athlete. And in the end, that's why we're all here: to deliver great sport.

The ANOC Athletes' Commission will work in tandem with the IOC Athletes' Commission and its Chair, Claudia Bokel, to educate every NOC about the importance of having an active, empowered Athletes' Commission in place and making it a fundamental pillar of good governance. ANOC's Modernisation Commission identified a need for ANOC to be more proactive in promoting Athletes' Commissions among NOCs: it's not something that will happen by itself, so we have to get out there and tell the NOC family why they need it and what value it can bring.

What were your recommendations to the ANOC Executive Council following the first meeting of the ANOC Athletes' Commission in Kuwait?
In Kuwait, our focus was on putting together our initial strategic plan and presenting our strategic recommendations for the approval of the ANOC Executive Council. One of our key recommendations to the ANOC Executive Council was the creation of an Athletes' Commission ‘toolkit' for all Continental Associations (i.e. ANOCA, EOC, OCA, ONOC and PASO). We have seen that the clearer, more practical the guidance, the quicker and more tangible the outcomes. Our ‘toolkit' would therefore be designed to include specific guidelines on the establishment of Athletes' Commissions, their governance structures, activities and the composition and election process of their members. One of the core governance structures we recommended is the staging of an annual meeting and a biennial Continental Athletes' Forum and we will work with the Continental Associations to ensure that specific funding is allocated to fulfil these requirements.

We want to develop effective ways of engaging with NOCs and encouraging them to engage with their athletes. One way of achieving this, which we recommended to the ANOC Executive Council, is to work in compliance with the Olympic Charter to make it mandatory that all NOCs and Continental Associations give their athletes one vote on their Executive Boards and two votes at the NOC General Assemblies. Those countries without an Athletes' Commission would be obliged to have one independent athlete representative on their Executive Board until they established their own Athlete's Commission.

We also recommended to the ANOC Executive Council that we amalgamate all Continental Athlete's Commissions' ‘Terms of References' for review by the ANOC Juridical Commission to ensure that they are fit for business. We can then create a template ‘Terms of Reference', based on the review.

Of course to be successful, we must collaborate very closely with the IOC. Our role is to give NOCs the tools to establish Athletes' Commissions; the IOC will be working to ensure the recommendations those Commissions make are heard and acted upon.

What role do you see the ANOC Athletes' Commission playing long-term?
ANOC's Athletes' Commission will serve the NOC family by ensuring we never lose sight of the primacy of the athlete. I think we saw at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi this year that athletes are enthusiastic about taking an active role in governance. We had a record turnout for the IOC Athletes' Commission elections – over 80% - after an intensive two-week programme of education and information.

I like to think that the growing enthusiasm for Athletes' Commissions and the outstanding athlete experience in Sochi was no coincidence. Athletes who had competed at the previous four or even five Games said that the accommodation and the sports facilities were some of the best yet. Sochi 2014 has set a high standard for future OCOGs.

But there is a huge amount of work to be done. According to our latest figures, only 135 of the 204 NOCs have active Athletes' Commissions; many of them are still in their infancy and not yet fit for purpose. The NOCs and the wider Olympic Family are looking for leadership from ANOC on this issue, and athletes are looking for a voice: we have to deliver.


PyeongChang 2018 Undergoes Organizational Reshuffle, Appointing 3 Vice Presidents

SEOUL, 18 April – The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has appointed three vice presidents, as part of its second phase of organizational reshuffle aimed at improving management in order to effectively reflect POCOG's expanded responsibility in its Games preparation.

In light of the latest appointments, POCOG's new organizational structure now consists of three major divisions, namely games planning and administration, games operations, and games facilities.
Click here to find the POCOG Press Release


WHO & ONOC Join Efforts to Motivate Physical Activity

April 16, 2014 – History is repeating itself. “In the late 1800s, de Coubertin worried that youth in his native France were turning away from physical activity.

As such, the Olympic Movement was born.

Today, the same problem in the growing rate of youth obesity through the world. Recommendation #51 from the IOC Session in Copenhagen 2009 states that, “everyone involved in the Olympic Movement must become more aware of the fundamental importance of physical activity and sport for a healthy life style, not least in the growing battle against obesity, and must reach out to parents and schools as part of a strategy to counter the rising inactivity of young people”.

Please click here to find the ONOC & WHO Joint Press Release


To find the ANOCA Newsletter for March 2014, click here



Third EOC Coordination Commission delivers positive outlook on Baku 2015 progress

Baku; 04 April 2014: The third EOC Coordination Commission for the inaugural European Games concluded in Baku with EOC President Patrick Hickey and Coordination Commission chairman Spyros Capralos praising the innovation driving Baku 2015's hosting concept.

The two-day visit by the EOC's 16-member Commission coincided with the announcement that visually-impaired judo would be included as a medal discipline at Baku 2015. EOC President Patrick Hickey warmly welcomed the announcement that means Baku 2015 will break new ground as the first continental Games to fully integrate a para-sport discipline into its Sports Programme.

Please click here to download the EOC Press release


Message from ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah

Having completed three days of successful meetings in Kuwait, I would like to thank all my colleagues from the International Olympic Committee, the Association of National Olympic Committees, Olympic Solidarity, the Olympic Council of Asia and the International Federations for their participation and their active contributions to the development of ANOC for the benefit of the entire Olympic Movement.

The meetings were highly productive and generated innovative ideas and concepts which will be developed in coordination with the IOC, before being presented to the General Assembly in Bangkok in November. The General Assembly will coincide with the first ever ANOC Gala Awards, which will also be held in Bangkok and provide an excellent opportunity to honour and celebrate Olympism worldwide. We have no doubt that the National Olympic Committee of Thailand will do an excellent job in hosting these events.

We wish the IOC Executive Board, under the leadership of IOC President Bach, and the SportAccord Convention, under the leadership of SportAccord President, Marius Vizer, great success in their meetings in Belek, Turkey, next week. I am sure that the outcome of both important events will benefit our sports, the Olympic Movement and especially our beloved athletes.

We are committed to the modernisation of ANOC and providing the very best environment for all athletes competing in sports within and outside the Olympic Programme, whilst maintaining the uniqueness, value and priority of the Olympic Games at all times.

We are in final negotiations with SportAccord in regards to the concept of the World Beach Games, and we will cooperate closely with the IOC to ensure that this new event serves the interests of the NOCs, IFs and athletes, and adds genuine value to the sports calendar. In this spirit of cooperation, we will create joint Commissions and Working Groups who will be responsible for reviewing and implementing this important project.



Lausanne; 04 April 2014: The Association of National Olympic Committees President, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah, has today joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in calling for the world's NOCs to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

This year is the first year that the United Nations (UN) and its Member States will officially celebrate the International Day. As a Permanent Observer to the UN, the IOC has strongly supported the initiative, whose values it believes are closely aligned to those of its own flagship event, The Olympic Day.

The IOC has called on all the members of the Olympic Movement to take part in the celebrations on 6 April by “demonstrating the social impacts that sport, from grass roots practice to elite competition, has on our communities and their well-being every day.”

Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah said:
“The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace provides an excellent opportunity to recognise and celebrate sport's universal power to unite people and assist in the development of humankind.

“Just last month at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we saw how sport can build bridges and encourage social inclusion. We want to harness this power and actively contribute to the development of sport worldwide.

“This is a digital age: sport faces greater competition than ever before and sedentary lifestyles are becoming increasingly prevalent. So it is imperative that ANOC supports all 204 National Olympic Committees in developing sport within their countries. With the unparalleled power of sport and the Olympic Movement, together we can build a healthier, happier and more harmonious global community.”


Hellenic Olympic Committee

Hellenic Olympic Committee

Click here to find the article about the Celebration of the Olympic Education Day by the Hellenic Olympic Academy

Click here to download "The Five Rings" e-Edition of March 2014 (N°1)