The International Olympic Committee is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an association under the Swiss Civil Code (articles 60–79). Founded in 1894 by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas, it is the authority responsible for organising the modern (Summer, Winter, and Youth) Olympic Games.
The number of IOC members has been limited to 115 since 1999. These members represent the Olympic movement on a volunteer basis within their countries. The IOC holds at a Session at least once a year which serves as its General Assembly. At these Sessions, members elect new members and choose host cities.
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 2020, there are 206 NOCs officially recognised by the IOC. The current president of the IOC is Thomas Bach.
The IOC was created by Pierre de Coubertin, on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president. As of February 2022, its membership consists of 105 active members, 45 honorary members, and one honour member (Henry Kissinger). The IOC is the supreme authority of the worldwide modern Olympic Movement.
The IOC organizes the modern Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games (YOG), held in summer and winter every four years. The first Summer Olympics was held in Athens, Greece, in 1896; the first Winter Olympics was in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The first Summer YOG was in Singapore in 2010, and the first Winter YOG was in Innsbruck in 2012.
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 to 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.
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 the 11th of February 2019 that the "Olympic House" would be inaugurated on the 23rd of June 2019 to coincide with its 125th anniversary. The Olympic Museum remains in Ouchy, Lausanne.
Goals and Purpose
Ethics, Good Governance, and Education: The IOC strives to foster ethics and good governance in sports while promoting education through sports. It emphasizes fair play, denounces violence, and encourages youth development through athletic endeavors.
Organization and Development of Sports: The IOC supports and facilitates the organization, development, and coordination of sports and sports competitions on a global scale. It works to enhance the structure and standards of sports events worldwide.
Regular Celebration of the Olympic Games: One of the primary goals of the IOC is to ensure the regular staging of the Olympic Games, both Summer and Winter editions. It maintains the Olympic Games' tradition and prestige as a global sporting spectacle.
Sport as a Means for Peace: The IOC collaborates with public and private organizations and authorities to utilize sports as a vehicle for promoting peace and unity among nations. It acknowledges the power of sports in transcending political and cultural barriers.
Unity, Neutrality, and Autonomy of the Olympic Movement: The IOC endeavors to strengthen the unity of the Olympic Movement while safeguarding its independence and political neutrality. It ensures that the Olympic Movement remains autonomous from external influences.
Combating Discrimination: The IOC takes a firm stand against any form of discrimination within the Olympic Movement. It aims to create an inclusive and equitable environment for athletes from all backgrounds.
Athletes' Representation and Gender Equality: The IOC encourages and supports the elected representatives of athletes within the Olympic Movement. The IOC Athletes' Commission serves as the supreme representative for athletes in Olympic Games and related matters. Additionally, the promotion of women in sport at all levels and structures is a key objective to implement gender equality.
Clean Sport and Integrity: Upholding the integrity of sport is of paramount importance to the IOC. It actively combats doping, manipulation of competitions, and related corruption. The IOC strives to protect clean athletes and maintain the highest standards of fair competition.
Athlete Health and Well-being: The IOC supports measures related to the medical care and overall well-being of athletes. It recognizes the importance of ensuring the health and safety of athletes during their sporting careers.
Opposition to Abuse and Exploitation: The IOC opposes any form of political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes. It aims to protect athletes' rights and welfare while preventing exploitation within the sports industry.
Social and Professional Development of Athletes: The IOC encourages and supports the efforts of sports organizations and public authorities in providing athletes with social and professional development opportunities beyond their sporting careers.
Sport for All and Sustainable Development: The IOC promotes the development of sports for all individuals, irrespective of age, gender, or ability. It encourages responsible practices concerning environmental issues and sustainable development in sports, ensuring that the Olympic Games align with these principles.
Positive Legacy and Cultural Education: The IOC endeavors to create a positive and lasting legacy from the Olympic Games for the host cities, regions, and countries. It supports initiatives that integrate sports with culture and education, promoting the values and ideals of Olympism.
Olympic Education: The IOC actively supports the International Olympic Academy (IOA) and other institutions dedicated to Olympic education. It aims to spread knowledge and understanding of the Olympic Movement and its values.
Athlete Protection: The IOC prioritizes the promotion of safe sport and the protection of athletes from all forms of harassment and abuse. It strives to create an environment that fosters the well-being and dignity of athletes.
By coordinating the Olympic movement, the IOC brings together various committees, federations, and organizations to orchestrate extraordinary sporting events every two years.
One of the IOC's key roles is to oversee the national Olympic committees of 206 countries and the international sports federations of 35 sports. By providing guidance and support, the IOC ensures that these entities adhere to the principles and regulations set forth by the Olympic Charter. This coordination fosters international cooperation and unity in sports.
Moreover, the IOC plays a vital role in the selection and organization of the Olympic Games. It supervises the organizing committees for each edition of the Games, which are formed seven years in advance. The IOC's decision-making body, consisting of 101 members, including former athletes, convenes regularly to make important decisions. They choose future host cities for the Olympic Games, elect leaders, introduce new Olympic sports, and make amendments to the Olympic Charter. The IOC also selects candidates for membership within the committee itself.
Under the leadership of the IOC president, currently Thomas Bach, the committee plays a central role in representing the IOC during the Games. The president convenes the executive board and ensures the smooth execution of the Games.
Beyond its primary responsibilities, the IOC also initiates and oversees various humanitarian programs. Initiatives such as Peace and Development through Sport, the Olympic Refugee Team, and the Olympic Solidarity program demonstrate the IOC's commitment to using sports as a tool for positive social change. The committee holds observer status with the United Nations and promotes the Olympic Truce resolution, advocating for a symbolic worldwide ceasefire during the Games.
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Ng Ser Miang (Vice President)
John Coates (Vice President)
Nicole Hoevertsz (Vice President)
Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs (Vice President)
Christophe De Kepper (Director General)