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IOC President discusses future of Olympic Games at Sport Future Rendez-Vous

Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), opened the debate about the future of the Olympic Games at this year’s Sport Future Rendez-Vous, which took place on 5 June in Lausanne.  Organised jointly by ThinkSport and the University of Lausanne (UNIL), the sold-out event attracted more than 200 people from the academic world, sport organisations, United Nations institutions, NGOs, media and the business sector. 

President Bach delivered a comprehensive speech about the IOC’s vision for the future of the Olympic Games, which has been driving the organisation’s reform programme “Olympic Agenda 2020”, developed under his leadership. Aimed at strengthening the societal relevance and the uniqueness of the Olympic Games in a fast changing world, Olympic Agenda 2020 is built on the three pillars of sustainability, credibility and youth. Bach outlined strategies and results achieved in all of these areas and concluded:

“Olympic Agenda 2020 has brought important results. Half of the world’s population is following the Olympic Games and we have witnessed the important impact of the Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 in the world.” He continued: “However, for the future we have to realise that we are against the Zeitgeist at the moment. We have a Zeitgeist changing from a healthy patriotism, one we appreciate in sport, to a nationalism which we don’t want to see in sport. We see a Zeitgeist where societies are becoming more and more divisive – as well as relations between nations. International institutions are increasingly ignored.  These tendencies are contrary to our mission – which is to unite the world without any form of discrimination and in solidarity, enabling the world to join the Olympic Movement. In sport we are all equal and if we achieve this universality, the Olympic Games can be a great symbol of humanity. This remains our ultimate goal.”

The IOC President then took several questions from a very engaging audience.

A line-up of excellent speakers from different sectors featured on the subsequent panel discussion on key Olympic Games topics, ranging from anti-doping, Olympic programme reforms, digitalisation and artificial intelligence to sporting values, sustainability and the nature of future athletes. The panel included Stefano Caneppele, UNIL-ESC Professor; Benjamin Cohen, ITA Director General; Despina Mavromati, lawyer, former CAS Managing Counsel; Martin Müller, UNIL-IGD Professor; and Susanne Schödel, FAI Secretary General.

Jean-Loup Chappelet, Emeritius Professor of Public Management at UNIL, who guided through the discussion together with Emmanuel Bayle, UNIL-ISSUL Professor, said:

“For the fifth time since 2015, Sport Future Rendez-Vous gives an opportunity to sport managers to discover and discuss the latest innovations in sport administration. For this year’s topic, we could not have had anybody better than Thomas Bach to be the keynote speaker and it was an honour to welcome him to our university.”

Click here to learn more about the programme and the speakers.

ThinkSport’s General Assembly was held just before Sport Future Rendez-Vous.  The meeting was a timely occasion to deliver a report on the second edition of THE SPOT, held successfully last week, and to assess the progress made in the creation of the new Sport Innovation Hub in Lausanne and the region.

The General Assembly also approved the 2018 financial statements as well as the 2019 budget.