The president of the International Olympic Committee gave an unequivocal speech at the Forum of International Federations this week in Lausanne. In front of the members, Thomas Bach gave a lively call for unity.
In these difficult times, the unifying power of sports is more important than ever, he said. In order for such unifying power to be realized, it is essential that we all be together. The autonomy of sport, your autonomy as an International Sports Federation, is threatened. The divisive actions of these political forces would mean that they would effectively replace your role as an international federation.
Photo: Courtesy: CIO – Christophe Moratal
In his speech, President Bach, in barely veiled words, marked the Russians who are organizing their own Games in order to definitively distance themselves from the Olympic movement.
Some would like to decide which athletes will participate in which competitions, he explained. Others would like to decide where the competitions will be held. Others still want to organize their own sporting events from a political perspective. Especially in the latter case, it would mean that the government would take control of international sports. If that were the case, your role and the role of the Olympic movement would become obsolete.
The threat of an ever-present schism
In his petition, Thomas Bach speaks of Fr
an increasing danger for the entire sports movement to undermine its unifying mission, not to mention attack, this or that government.
Coincidence or not with the calendar, President Putin gave a speech 100 days before the start
Games of the future. By his very presence, the master of the Kremlin wanted to show the importance of his event, because for him it is Russia that now embodies the Olympic ideal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual address to the nation.
Photo: Reuters / SPUTNIK
In Russia, we well understand the value of diversity, including, of course, in sports, Putin said. For us, it is much more than a competition in strength and skill or the basis of a healthy and active lifestyle. Sport is a symbol, the embodiment of justice, equality and humanism, a way to strengthen mutual understanding between countries and people. The fundamental importance of sports and the principles of Olympism form the very philosophy of the Games of the Future born in Russia. They have already gathered representatives of about fifty countries. And of course, this is just the beginning.
Games of the future will be held in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, from February 23 to March 2, 2024. Two thousand athletes from 100 countries are expected to participate. These games, which aim to be innovative, will be a mix of sports and electronic competitions.
At these games, therefore, there will be e-sport competitions, as the organizers call them
physical confrontations. A double event where athletes first compete in a video game, then in the same discipline, but this time in a physical version. Another new feature is that there will be no restrictions on age, gender or nationality.
Proposing hybrid competitions, both sports and electronic, is a blow to the Olympic movement. Thomas Bach has just gathered international federations to discuss the future. On the agenda was thinking about the use of e-sports.
Olympic games of e-sports
Photo: Getty Images / Yong Teck Lim
The sports movement will not be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the development of events such asAI and e-sports only on the condition that they remain a unified forcehe said in his troop memo.
Games of the future are a new provocation, after the publication of Fr holding the Games of countries from BRICSnext June, a month before the start of the Olympic Games in Paris.
A sign that the Russian threat is very real, Thomas Bach concluded his speech with a warning.
In such a politicized world of sports, there will no longer be real world championships, he warned. Competitions would only take place between politically similar blocs and it would be impossible for sport to embody a unifying force for all of humanity. Sports would become a vector of conflict and division for our world. Because of all this, I call on everyone to oppose this kind of politicization of sports. None of us should participate in any way in such allegedly politically motivated sporting events.
This new front opened by Russia seems serious enough to prepare a counter-offensive. Until now, sport has carried a message of peace. It is clear that war was also involved.