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Aussie Olympians join largest IAF meeting for global sporting change

18 April 2019

AOC: The International Athlete’s Forum (IAF) recently brought together 350 athletes from across 185 countries, including several Australian Olympians. Steven Hooker, Daniel Kowalski, James Tomkins, Natalie Cook, Michelle Ford, Natalie Galea, Jennifer Screen and Kenny Wallace all participated and had their voices heard in the largest ever meeting of worldwide athletic representatives.

The forum gave athletes a unique and invaluable opportunity to work together with International Olympics Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, to address the many pressing issues and concerns regarding global sport and come up with a plan of action to increase the support for athletes at all levels. 

Six-time Olympic rower, Tomkins was invited as a forum panelist, speaking about the IOC financial model that he assisted in developing. 

The four-time Olympic medallist explained the purposes of financial management, mentioning the importance of the IOC’s funding on National Olympic Committees (NOC), especially pertaining to big programs without government funding in countries such as Australia. 

“The ability to help athletes have a voice around key decisions is so beneficial for all. In a world which is becoming more divided, it was awesome that athletes from all over the world could come together, all because of sport.”

Tomkins presenting IAF 2019

Also present at the forum was Aussie gold medal-winning pole vaulter Steven Hooker, who was excited to be a part of the collective. 

“It was a great event, the most valuable thing for me was getting the global perspective on the Olympic Movement. Hooker stated at the conclusion of the weekend’s meetings.  

“185 countries had representation at the forum, which made for a hugely diverse range of points of view.” 

Dual-Olympic swimmer and four-time medalist Daniel Kowalski along with Beijing 2008’s gold medal-winning canoeist, Kenny Wallace were also present at the forum. 

The ability to hear the ideas of the IOC firsthand and ask questions pertaining to the betterment of the Olympic Movement was a great privilege that all Aussie representatives took advantage of.

Thomas Bach with Aus Olympians at 2019 IAF

The group worked together to implement nine main goals, that the IAF and the IOC President unanimously agreed to focus on, in order to better the Olympic Movement: 

  • Strengthen the representation of athletes. 

  • Strengthen the solidarity funding model. 

  • Strengthen direct financial support for National Olympic Committees Athletes’ Commissions. 

  • Strengthen the support for career transition. 

  • Strengthen the protection of clean athletes and fight against doping. 

  • Focus on athletes’ mental health. 

  • Support for the Athletes’ Declaration. 

  • Invite athletes to be ambassadors for the Olympic Movement. 

  • Foster engagement and communication among the Athletes’ Commissions network. 

The implementation of these new recommendations will work to the benefit of all athletes to place an emphasis on their overall health and wellbeing before, during and after their time competing at an elite level. 

 The IOC and World Olympians Association are now collaborating at the World Olympians Forum to further discuss these goals and strengthen the Olympic Movement.


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