Ideal time for IOC to practise what it preaches

Ideal time for IOC to practise what it preaches
5th meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro September 2, 2013.

SINGAPORE - WhenPierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on June 23, 1894, his vision was for the Olympic movement to be something the whole world would embrace.

He put it thus: "The six colours, including the white background, represent the colours of all the world's flags... this is a true international emblem."

The Olympic Games should be more than just a global gathering of nations showing off their sporting best, but also an advocate for the ideals of sportsmanship, friendship and peace.

As the Olympic family gathers this week in Buenos Aires for what could be one of the movement's defining moments, de Coubertin would be pleased to note the significant strides the IOC has made in the last century.

Aptly, the 125th IOC Session will be held in South America, which in 2016 will be hosting its first Olympic Games.

The Brazil Games are set to feature all 204 National Olympic Committees, representing both the world's sovereign nations and other geographical areas - a far cry from the 14 nations which competed in the 1896 inaugural Games.

Brazil 2016 is also set to see more women competitors, after efforts were made at the 2012 London Olympics to ensure that all disciplines were represented by both sexes. Middle Eastern countries, which once frowned on the idea of women athletes, are slowly opening up to having women in sport.

Yet, while the IOC may be breaking new ground, diversity is still not a word that is synonymous with its leadership. In the 119 years of the movement, American Avery Brundage (1952-1972) remains the only non-European president to head the IOC.

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