UIPM Secretary General’s message: Reflecting on IOC priorities for Olympism and the fight against discrimination
In November 2021 during the International Federations (IF) Forum, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shared and underlined a set of updated values and priorities for all IFs, which set the tone for a series of innovations in our sports including the New Pentathlon Discipline.
One year later, as we approach UIPM 2022 Congress, it feels timely to reflect on the expectations the governing body of the Olympic movement set for all IFs that want to be part of it – values and priorities that have increasingly been implemented by UIPM.
Priorities for Olympism
Access: Access to sport needs to be equal, with opportunities created to access sport backed up by investment with diverse partners.
Belonging: People leave sport if they don’t belong, so we need to build partnerships and create a safe, inclusive and equal community.
Benefits: People have many options for how they use their time – benefits can be physical, they can relate to mental wellbeing and they can consist of new opportunities.
Connection: We need to make it possible for diverse groups of people and organisations to connect, to solve problems, and to share a broad range of Olympism.
Fight against discrimination
Inclusion: Everybody should be able to participate in sport safely and without prejudice. There should be no discrimination towards gender identity and no discrimination towards expression and/or sex variations. Sports organisations should prevent these discriminations through training and capacity-building.
Prevention of harm: Sports organisations should prevent negative direct and indirect impact on athletes, whose physical, psychological and mental well-being should be prioritised.
Non-discrimination: Eligibility criteria should be established implemented fairly, in a maner that does not systematically exclude athletes based on their region, religions or financial conditions. Criteria to determine disproportionate competitive advantage may require testing.
Fairness: No athlete within a category has an unfair and disproportionate advantage. No athlete has an advantage that exceeds other advantages that exist at elite-level competitions. And we need to prevent a risk to the physical safety of other athletes.
No presumption of advantage: No athlete should be precluded from competing or excluded from competition because of an unfair competitive advantage, while athletes should not deem to have an unfair or disproportionate competitive advantage.
Evidence-based approach: Any conclusion should be based on investigation results, and research can be oriented towards unfair advantages and demographic constraints.
Having spent the past year working hard to deliver on the mandate given by Congress last November, our entire community remains focused on one goal: to stay in the Olympic Games. To achieve that, we need to follow the guidance of the IOC.
As we approach Congress, I ask you to read and interpret this guidance carefully, and draw your own conclusions about how it impacted on actions and decisions you have seen over the past 12 months, and how it informed the declarations you have heard about the future direction of Modern Pentathlon.
Coming back to these values and priorities struck a chord with me. It was a timely reminder that everything we do is aimed at making sport more accessible, inclusive and equitable, while ensuring that sport combats discrimination and limits the risk of physical and mental harm to all who participate.
Whatever your opinion on the exact direction of travel, and whatever is decided during the upcoming Congress, these principles should be enshrined in everything we do – today and tomorrow and forever.