International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach, has been re-elected to serve a second four-year term of office after running unopposed for the post.
The German triumphed in a 93 to one vote with four abstentions, as confirmed at the 137th IOC Session, which was staged virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Bach said his second term will follow the ‘same style of consultation’ as his 2013 campaign model approach, including the ‘Unity In Diversity’ slogan.
“For me this is even more overwhelming considering the many reforms and difficult decisions we have had to take and which affected all of us,” Bach, who succeeded Jacques Rogge as head of the Olympic movement in 2013, said following his re-election.
“This touches me deeply, it also makes me humble. When you elected me for the first time in 2013 I said that I wanted to lead the IOC according to my campaign motto ‘Unity In Diversity’ and be a president for all of you and all our stakeholders.”
Furthermore, Bach’s new five-year roadmap to guide the organisation through the ‘aftershocks’ of the COVID-19 crisis, Agenda 2020+5, will be discussed on Friday. The plan includes the hosting of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Games which the 67-year-old reaffirmed is ‘full speed’ ahead.
He added: “At this moment we have no reason to doubt that the opening ceremony will take place on 23 July. The question is not whether, the question is how these Olympic Games will take place.
“The IOC is working at full speed together with our Japanese partners and friends to make the postponed Olympic Games a safe manifestation of peace, solidarity and resilience of humankind in overcoming the pandemic.
“Our shared top priority was, is and remains a safe and secure Olympic Games for everyone.”
Under the previous Olympic Agenda 2020, laid out by Bach in his first term, the formation of the Olympic Channel resulted in increased engagement with a younger demographic, with 75% of the platform’s social media engagement targeting under 35 year-olds.
In addition, since its launch, the Olympic Channel has received approximately 3.4 billion views across all platforms, amassing 10.4 million social media followers, and created 25,000 pieces of ‘athlete-centric’ in 12 different languages and 75 original series and films.
Bach also disclosed that The Olympic Partners (TOP) sponsorship programme, which was boosted by the Olympic Channel launch, is expected to raise around $3 billion over the course of the 2021 to 2024 cycle.
Addressing concerns about the financial security of the IOC – with the Tokyo Games said to be the most expensive edition of the Olympics in its history – he assured delegates that commercial contracts have ‘withstood the extreme stress’ of this turbulent period.
He thanked the Games’ partners who ‘stayed at our side’ throughout the pandemic, after organisers of the event reached an extension agreement with all 68 of its domestic sponsors in January.
Through the 2020 Agenda, the IOC also established a ‘Protection of clean athletes’ fund which was designated $20 million in funding, with half of the sum going towards education programmes to raise awareness of match-fixing, manipulation of competitions and related corruption.
The remaining half supported the development of new scientific approaches to anti-doping, resulting in the creation of 16 anti-doping research projects since 2014, 12 of which have been successfully completed.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Japanese government had opted to block overseas spectators from attending the 2021 edition of the Olympic Games with new, contagious strands of the virus emerging.
Post-re-election, Bach confirmed that a final decision will be made on allowing visitors from other countries to watch the Games live ‘as soon as possible’.