The 5th International Athletes’ Forum ended in Colorado Springs with a series of strong recommendations for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take action in a number of areas affecting athletes. In the presence of the IOC President Jacques Rogge, eight separate working groups made a series of recommendations.
Athletes’ representatives reported back to the closing plenary session on a number of subject areas, including: athletes’ entourage (those surrounding and advising athletes, such as coaches and doctors); communications and social media; the IOC’s Athlete Career Programme; health, safety and security of athletes; anti-doping; betting and gambling; Games-time experience; and athletes’ commissions themselves.
Calls were made to control the size of athletes’ entourages during important events, and for members of an entourage to face investigation and possible sanctions when the athlete in their care faces similar action.
But perhaps the strongest recommendations came from the working group on anti-doping.
One recommendation was that athletes “convicted of a deliberate and aggravated doping offence should receive a lifetime Olympic ban”. In addition, “coaches, doctors or any other members of an athletes’ entourage found to be taking part in illegal doping practices must be convicted and sanctioned.”
The Athletes’ Forum consists of representatives from the athletes’ commissions of International Federations, National Olympic Committees, the International Paralympic Committee, Continental Associations and WADA, and is designed to give them a strong voice within the Olympic Movement. The recommendations will be put to the IOC Executive Board for final approval.
Frank Fredericks, Chairman of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, praised those present for their hard work and welcomed the recommendations. “It is important to take note of the strong and growing voice that athletes have in the Olympic Movement,” he said. “We are right to put the athletes at the centre of our activities, and we should take action when they speak so clearly and powerfully on topics that crucially affect them.”