Former Southern Methodist University standout and Bermudian Olympian Julian Fletcher participated in the World's largest Athlete Forum in International Olympic Committee history recently in Lausanne, Switzerland.
At the conclusion of the event, several recommendations were made to the IOC Executive Board covering topics such as athletes' representation, funding and financial support, doping and mental health to name a few.
To strengthen the support for career transition:
- Following various requests for more support for athletes in their career transition from sport to business, the Athlete365 Business Accelerator was launched. It aims to support athletes with dual careers or who are transitioning from their athletic careers by helping them develop their business ideas by working with experts in the field. The announcement follows the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 6 October 2018, during the Olympism in Action Forum in Buenos Aires (Argentina), between the IOC and the Yunus Centre, chaired by Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2006. The Athlete365 Business Accelerator has been added to the programmes available to athletes through Olympic Solidarity.
To strengthen the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping:
- The IAF had many very detailed questions about the protection of the clean athletes and the fight against doping. The participants called on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the IOC and the Olympic Movement to ensure a level playing field in terms of international testing and to improve education, prevention measures, research as well as to enhance the support for athletes at all levels of the anti-doping system.
- The IAF called on WADA, governments, the NOCs, the IFs and the IOC to find ways to better target the enablers of doping, such as doctors, medical staff, coaches and officials, and to strongly sanction them in the most effective ways.
To focus on athletes’ mental health:
- A full session was dedicated to mental health. The first draft of a toolkit being produced by the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission was discussed, and valuable feedback provided by the participants. The IOC is working on helping to raise more awareness around this topic.
- Presentations on various IOC resources to protect and support the holistic well-being of athletes were given, such as the IOC Safeguarding Toolkit and initiatives on the prevention of competition manipulation and anti-corruption.
Support for the Athletes’ Declaration:
- The Athletes’ Right and Responsibilities Declaration was discussed and fully supported with a practical “how to” session, focusing on the implementation of the Athletes’ Declaration across all Olympic Movement stakeholders.
- The participants pledged to work with their respective sporting organizations to adopt and implement the document.
To invite athletes to be ambassadors for the Olympic Movement:
- An IOC ambassador programme should be developed to inspire young people, promote the Olympic values and the power of sport in improving people’s lives around the world.
To foster engagement and communication among the Athletes’ Commissions’ network:
- The IOC is to launch an Athlete365 app dedicated to athlete representatives: it should facilitate Athletes’ Commissions’ communication around the world, increasing the engagement and the exchanges among them.
- The IOC to invite all athletes’ commission members from all NOCs, IFs, OCOGs and from all Olympic Movement stakeholders to every edition of the IAF.