Keith Joseph Photo: M. Bascombe

Keith Joseph Photo: M. Bascombe

by Michael Bascombe

NEW YORK, December 9, 2014 – Caribbean sports administrators have added their voices in support of the Olympic Agenda 2020 which was unanimously approved at the 127th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Monaco on Monday.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, Brian Lewis and the General Secretary of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee, Keith Joseph have strongly backed the wide-ranging reform package.

The Olympic Agenda 2020 discussions were initiated by IOC President Thomas Bach about two years ago aimed at reforming the Olympic Movement.

“Agenda 2020 will provide the framework for needed changes,” said Lewis who is a strong advocate for reforms. “I look forward to the specifics in respect of the implementation. On the issue of the IOC’s governance structure there is needed for more diversity. One can anticipate meaningful changes in due course.”

Joseph, who was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), was invited to attend the IOC Session.

He said that the proposed 40 recommendations are consistent with President Bach’s comment that they focus on ‘Sustainability, Credibility and Youth’.

He said that bidding cities would now be invited to engage in a dialogue with the IOC rather than be entangled in trying to win the IOC’s franchise for the Games.

“This means that the IOC will provide consultation and advice to bidding cities. This is a significant difference to what obtained previously,” he said.

Joseph said that host cities would have greater flexibility with an opportunity to offer the IOC and the world some sports that they believe would be of more value to them as hosts. “This is a novel approach for the Olympic Games. It removes much of the pressure Games’ hosts experienced in the past.”

The IOC’s recommendations also seek to reduce the heavy expenses involved in bidding, a boon for future bidding cities.

Of great interest is the IOC’s continued commitment to placing the athlete at the centre of the Movement. This begins with revising the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism as in the Olympic Charter that includes rewording of its non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation.

In an unanimous vote, the IOC members approved a recommendation that one its fundamental principles, the Principle 6 clause, to state that the Olympics should be free of discrimination “of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

The language also will be included in the host city contract between the IOC and future Olympic Games hosts.

The IOC also approved the creation of an Olympic television channel and a more flexible sports programme that could bring baseball and softball into the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Athletes who compete clean will be heralded as never before and those who are elevated to medal status because of the removal of tainted athletes would receive appropriate recognition and acknowledgement.
Olympic values-based education would receive greater attention going forward and that means collaboration with educational institutions as well as all forms of social organisations. Communities and governments will be engaged in the IOC’s advocacy programmes as the organisation works more deliberately with the United Nations and its appropriate agencies. Sport and culture will have more focus.

But Joseph, who is also a Vice-President of the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO), believes that one of the most exciting recommendations that will impact the image and work of NOCs in the Caribbean is the establishment of the Olympic Channel.

“This will significantly and positively impact the way in which people, especially youths, will come to know and understand all aspects of the global Olympic Movement.”

He said that the members of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) would be enthused by the impact that the proposed changes to the Olympic Charter would allow them to be more visible and engaging in their respective societies.

“This allows our members to play a more dynamic role in the process of placing sport at the service of humanity in their own countries, a fulfilment of the original ideas of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the IOC,” Joseph said.

The full list of approved recommendations can be found on this link.

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