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Olympic Solidarity and NOC Services Annual Report 2022 showcases athlete support

International Olympic Committee

12 Sep 2023 – The newly published Olympic Solidarity and NOC Services Annual Report 2022 celebrates the achievements of the athletes, programmes and initiatives that Olympic Solidarity (OS) supports around the world. In particular, the report outlines how a total of 429 Olympic Scholarships were awarded for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Over 50 per cent of those scholarship-holders, 236, qualified for the Games, winning 10 medals.

The Annual Report also showcases the launch of the Olympic Scholarships for Athletes Paris 2024 programme. By the end of 2022, a total of 1,146 individual scholarships had been awarded to athletes from 145 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) – more than 70 per cent of all the NOCs expected to compete at the Games.

Strong solidarity within the Olympic Movement

During 2022, the solidarity of the Olympic Movement was felt in its response to the various crises and conflicts that affected NOCs around the world.

“Beyond the Olympic Games, the world encountered adversity in various regions, affecting the Olympic Movement,” said NOC Relations, Olympic Solidarity and Olympism365 Director James Macleod. “Despite the challenges posed by external events, the Olympic community showcased unparalleled solidarity, providing lasting support to athletes and their entourage in regions affected by conflicts.”

Olympic Solidarity focused on bringing support in order to allow athletes to continue training in the best possible conditions despite the challenges they faced, and to preserve the autonomy of sport.

This included establishing a USD 7.5 million Solidarity Fund for the Ukrainian Olympic community and sports movement following the Russian invasion in February 2022. The main objective of the fund was to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of elite athletes, while also helping them to continue competing internationally by covering costs related to competitions, training camps, travel and accommodation. The continuation of these solidarity efforts aims to ensure that strong teams from the NOC of Ukraine will be able to participate at the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.

“Everyone has been really supportive, from [IOC] President [Thomas] Bach and all the team, in this challenging time,” says Sergii Bubka, IOC Member and former President of the NOC of Ukraine, in the Annual Report.

“In the end, when you see the work, to give hope, to solve certain problems, to give athletes the chance to compete – this is amazing.”

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Ongoing support for refugee athletes

Following the participation of the first-ever IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the IOC established the Refugee Athlete Scholarship Programme. With the aim of helping refugee athletes train for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, by the end of 2022, 52 athletes from 12 countries, living in 18 host countries, were being supported through the Refugee Athlete Support programme.

Additional scholarships have since been awarded, bringing the total number of Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders to date to 63 athletes, from 12 countries in 23 host countries, and representing 13 sports. All hope to be selected for the Refugee Olympic Team for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

The scholarship-holders include Nigara Shaheen, a judoka from Afghanistan who was part of the Refugee Olympic Team at Tokyo 2020 and whose story is showcased in the Annual Report as she hopes to return for Paris 2024.

“There is a team, a support system; I belong to that team,” she says. “I have a sense of belonging.”

And as the Olympic Solidarity Annual Report illustrates, that sense of belonging – for Shaheen and thousands like her around the world – is possible through sport.

Promoting peace and social cohesion

Illustrating how sports participation can promote peace and social cohesion, the 2022 report also provides a look at a variety of initiatives launched by NOCs, with support from Olympic Solidarity.

Macleod emphasised the positive impact that NOCs can have in the lives of thousands of athletes and communities through these initiatives. “As we reflect on 2022, we must acknowledge the dedicated efforts of the NOCs and all members of the Olympic Movement,” he said. “Your unwavering commitment has made the world a better place through sport, enriching the lives of countless individuals worldwide.”

The NOC initiatives highlighted include Arrows for Peace – a programme established by the NOC of Kenya that aims to further peace efforts among the warring communities in the Rift Valley, encouraging young people to use their archery skills to pursue a path to the Olympic Games, rather than for petty crimes.

“I’m viewing sports quite differently from what I thought,” explains participant Esther Wakhiya in the Annual Report. “Who knew arrows can be a sign of peace?”

Read the full report here


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