Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee has been urging athletes and athletes’ commissions to make their voices heard on various matters. Rule 40 for example, that dictates what athletes can and cannot wear for advertising at the Olympic Games is one subject he is urging athletes to speak up about – this is a new turn of event in an apparent democratic approach to Games management.

From Inside the Games

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach urged Athletes’ Commissions to make their opinions heard as the International Athletes’ Forum began in Lausanne, insisting they did not need others “who pretend to speak on your behalf”.

Bach delivered an opening speech at the three-day forum, which is taking place at SwissTech Convention Centre.

Around 300 athletes are participating from the 206 National Olympic Committees (NOC) Athletes’ Commissions, as well as their counterparts from International Federations (IFs), the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Paralympic Committee and upcoming Olympic host cities.

Bach suggested Athletes’ Commissions knew best about the needs of athletes and claimed they were in a powerful position.

The German, whose words were reminiscent of his keynote speech at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in November, then dismissed the views of officials and organisations who claim to speak on behalf of athletes.

“I know you can speak for yourself,” Bach said.

“You do not need others, who pretend to speak on your behalf.

“You are sitting there, you are having the first-hand experience as an athlete.

“You are sitting in the decision-making organisations and on the boards of your organisations.

“You know best what athletes need, what the athletes want, what the athletes require.

“You are in a much more powerful position than just commenting on decisions from outside.

“You are the decision-makers.”

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