Fourteen IOC commissions met in Lausanne (Switzerland) from 14 to 20 January. IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed each of the commissions at the start of their respective meetings. He reiterated that “in the fragile and fragmented world in which we live, our role and values are increasingly important. We are the only body that can still bring the whole world together under one roof; this shows that the Olympic Games are more relevant than ever”. The President also said that while there are challenges, the Olympic Movement can deal with them from a position of strength, provided that it was proactive in tackling the issues it faced. He noted that this was very much the vision of Pierre de Coubertin when he founded the IOC 125 years ago and introduced the modern Olympic Games; Coubertin had not been happy with the prevailing zeitgeist. The President concluded by saying that we can learn from Coubertin’s example and move forward in promoting our values.

On 17 January, the IOC Executive Board (EB) and the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) held their annual joint meeting in Lausanne. As part of the agenda, the Commission presented the key achievements of 2018 and the milestones for 2019. The IOC Career+ programme (formerly known as the IOC Athlete Career Programme) and the adoption of the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibility Declaration by a wide range of organisations were important topics of discussion, as were communication with athletes and the issue of mental health in sport. On this issue, it was decided to create a toolkit for athletes, sports organisations and athlete entourages. There was also an update on Olympic medal reallocation. The major milestone of 2019 will be the 9th International Athletes’ Forum organised from 13 to 15 April 2019 in Lausanne. Some 350 athlete representatives from across the Olympic Movement are expected to attend. It will be by far the largest athlete-representative gathering for the Olympic Movement ever. The IOC EB and the IOC AC also discussed the topic of anti-doping. Kirsty Coventry, Chair of the IOC AC, informed the EB about the statement regarding RUSADA the Commission had issued on 4 January 2019. The Commission is now awaiting the recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the subsequent decision by the WADA Executive Committee. The IOC AC is currently gathering feedback from the whole athlete community on this topic. Full details about the joint meeting here.

President Bach welcomed a group of German female Olympians and former athletes at the IOC, accompanied by IOC Member Britta Heidemann. They recently started a mentoring programme for future sports leaders and will all have an experienced mentor supporting them over the next year. The athletes are being trained to take up positions in sports organisations or to work in the field of sport. The group spent time in Lausanne to learn more about the Olympic Movement and governance in sport. The German NOC (DOSB) is organising the programme for the fourth time.

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) President Jean Todt and IOC President Thomas Bach signed an agreement to collaborate on motor sport and road safety content for the Olympic Channel on 19 January in Lausanne. The agreement builds on the existing collaboration between the FIA and the IOC, and provides an opportunity for motor sport and road safety content to be distributed on the Olympic Channel, including original content through the activities of the FIA, motor sports athletes and road safety ambassadors from around the world. Full press release here.

The IOC President inaugurated the newly renovated floor of the permanent “Olympic Spirit” exhibition at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The exhibition features a bigger emphasis on the Olympic Truce, a new area dedicated to the IOC’s activities outside the Games, and a science and technology section containing equipment and technologies used at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

President Bach addressed an introductory seminar for the new IOC Members elected at the Sessions in PyeongChang and Buenos Aires in 2018. Chaired by Barry Maister, the seminar brought together Jiri Kejval, Emma Terho, Hong Zhang, Samira Asghari, Daina Gudzineviciute, Camilo Pérez López Moreira, Felicité Rwemarika, William Frederick Blick, Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, Andrew Parsons, Morinari Watanabe and Giovanni Malagò. Daniel Gyurta, elected at the Session in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, was also present.

Making the most of their presence in Lausanne, President Bach met a number of IOC Members and IOC Commission members.

President Bach met IOC Member Daniel Gyurta and Balázs Fürjes, Secretary of State responsible for the development of Budapest and international sports events, who passed on a letter from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban about an official visit to Lausanne.

With the Chinese Ambassador in Geneva, Yu Jianhua, accompanied by IOC Vice President Yu Zaiqing, President Bach discussed the preparations of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 as well as his upcoming visit to some of the Olympic venues for Beijing 2022.