International Olympic Committee

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The International Olympic Committee is an organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on June 23, 1894 to reinstate the Ancient Olympic Games held in Greece between 776 BC to 396 AD. Its membership is 204 National Olympic Committees.

The IOC organises the Olympic Games: the Games of the Olympiad (Summer Olympic Games) are celebrated during the first year of an Olympiad, and the Olympic Winter Games during its third year. The first Games of the Olympiad of modern times were celebrated in Athens, Greece, in 1896. The first Olympic Winter Games were celebrated in Chamonix, France, in 1924.

Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.



Presidents of the IOC

Demetrius Vikelas (1894–1896) | Pierre de Coubertin (1896–1925) | Henri de Baillet-Latour (1925–1942) | Sigfrid Edström (1942–1952) | Avery Brundage (1952–1972) | Lord Killanin (1972–1980) | Juan Antonio Samaranch (1980–2001) | Jacques Rogge (2001–current) |

The IOC Session (composed of the IOC Members) elects, by secret ballot, a President from among its members for a term of eight years renewable once for four years. The next President election will then take place in 2009.

The President represents the IOC and presides over all its activities.

Note: President Juan Antonio Samaranch has been elected Honorary President For Life. Samaranch was formerly Minister for Sport under General Franco's Fascist government.


On June 23, 1894 the Olympic games were re-created by Pierre de Coubertin after a hiatus of 1500 years. The baron hoped to foster international communication and peace through the Olympic Games. The IOC is a parent organisation intended to localize administration and authority for the Games, as well as to provide a single legal entity which owns copyrights, trademarks, and other intangible properties associated with the Olympic games. For example, the Olympic logos, the design of the Olympic flag, the motto, creed, and anthem are all owned and administered by the IOC. There are other organisations which the IOC coordinates as well, which are collectively called the Olympic Movement. The IOC President is responsible for representing the IOC as a whole, and there are members of the IOC which represent the IOC in their respective countries.

Mission and role

The mission of the IOC is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement. The IOC’s role is:

1. to encourage and support the promotion of ethics in sport as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned;

2. to encourage and support the organisation, development and coordination of sport and sports competitions;

3. to ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games;

4. to cooperate with the competent public or private organisations and authorities in the endeavour to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace;

5. to take action in order to strengthen the unity and to protect the independence of the Olympic Movement;

6. to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement;

7. to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women;

8. to lead the fight against doping in sport;

9. to encourage and support measures protecting the health of athletes;

10. to oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes;

11. to encourage and support the efforts of sports organisations and public authorities to provide for the social and professional future of athletes;

12. to encourage and support the development of sport for all;

13. to encourage and support a responsible concern for environmental issues, to promote sustainable development in sport and to require that the Olympic Games are held accordingly;

14. to promote a positive legacy from the Olympic Games to the host cities and host countries;

15. to encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education;

16. to encourage and support the activities of the InternationalOlympic Academy (“IOA”) and other institutions which dedicate themselves to Olympic education.

See Olympic Charter, in force as from 1 September 2004


The powers of the IOC are exercised by its organs, namely:

1. the Session,

2. the IOC Executive Board,

3. the President

The IOC Session

The Session is the general meeting of the members of the IOC. It is the IOC’s supreme organ. Its decisions are final. Each IOC Member has one vote.

An ordinary Session is held once a year. Extraordinary Sessions may be convened by the President or upon the written request of at least one third of the members.

Among others, the powers of the Session are:

1. To adopt or amend the Olympic Charter.

2. To elect the members of the IOC, the Honorary President, honorary members and honour members.

3. To elect the President, the Vice-Presidents and all other members of the IOC Executive Board.

4. To elect the host city of the Olympic Games.

The IOC Executive Board

The IOC Executive Board consists of the President, four Vice-Presidents and ten other members. All members of the IOC Executive Board are elected by the Session, in a secret ballot, by a majority of the votes cast.

The IOC Executive Board assumes the general overall responsibility for the administration of the IOC and the management of its affairs.

IOC Members

See: list of members of the IOC

For most of its existence, the IOC was controlled by members who were co-opted, which means they were selected by other members. Countries that had hosted the Games were allowed two members, others one or none. When named, they became not representatives of their respective countries to the IOC, but rather to opposite, IOC members in their respective countries.

For a long time, members of the royalty were popular targets of cooption, and there are still some around, like Prince Albert de Monaco, and then former athletes. These last 10 years, the composition has evolved, in order to get a better representation of the sports world. Members seats have been allocated specifically to athletes, International Federations leaders and National Olympic Commitees leaders.


IOC members are natural persons. The total number of IOC members may not exceed 115. Each member of the IOC is elected for a term of eight years and may be re-elected for one or several further terms.

1. A majority of members whose memberships are not linked to any specific function or office; their total number may not exceed 70; there may be no more than one such member national of any given country;

2. Active athletes, the total number of whom may not exceed 15, elected for eight years by their pairs during the Olympic Games;

3. Presidents or persons holding an executive or senior leadership position within IFs, associations of IFs or other organisations recognised by the IOC, the total number of whom may not exceed 15;

4. Presidents or persons holding an executive or senior leadership position within NOCs, or world or continental associations of NOCs, the total number of whom may not exceed 15; there may be no more than one such member national of any given country within the IOC.


The membership of IOC members ceases in the following circumstances:

1. Resignation: any IOC member may cease his membership at any time by delivering his written resignation to the President.

2. Non re-election: any IOC member ceases to be a member without further formality if he is not re-elected.

3. Age limit: any IOC member ceases to be a member at the end of the calendar year during which he reaches the age of 70.

4. Failure to attend Sessions or take active part in IOC work for two consecutive years.

5. Transfer of domicile or of main centre of interests to a country other than the country that was his at the time of his election.

6. Members elected as active athletes cease to be a member upon ceasing to be a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

7. Presidents and persons holding an executive or senior leadership position within NOCs, world or continental associations of NOCs, IFs or associations of IFs or other organisations recognised by the IOC cease to be a member upon ceasing to exercise the function he was exercising at the time of his election.

8. Expulsion: an IOC member may be expelled by decision of the Session if such member has betrayed his oath or if the Session considers that such member has neglected or knowingly jeopardised the interests of the IOC or acted in a way which is unworthy of the IOC.

See Olympic Charter, in force as from 1 September 2004

Host city bids

Countries which wish to host the Summer Olympic Games or the Winter Olympic Games must bid for the organisation with the IOC, which has the ultimate authority of deciding where the Games will take place. The IOC members, representing most of the member countries, vote to decide where the Games will take place. Members from countries which have cities bidding to host the games are excluded from the voting process, up until the point where their city drops out of the contest.

Olympic Marketing


The Olympic Movement generates revenue through five major programmes. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) manages broadcast partnerships and the TOP worldwide sponsorship programme. The Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) manage domestic sponsorship, ticketing and licensing programmes within the host country under the direction of the IOC.

The Olympic Movement generated a total of more than US$4 billion in revenue during the most recent Olympic quadrennium (2001 – 2004). The following chart provides details of the revenue generated from each major programme managed by the IOC and the OCOGs during this period.


The IOC distributes approximately 92% of Olympic marketing revenue to organisations throughout the Olympic Movement to support the staging of the Olympic Games and to promote the worldwide development of sport. The IOC retains approximately 8% of Olympic marketing revenue for the operational and administrative costs of governing the Olympic Movement.

The Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs)

The IOC provides TOP programme contributions and Olympic broadcast revenue to the OCOGs to support the staging of the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games:

- TOP Programme Revenue to OCOGs; the two OCOGs of each Olympic quadrennium generally share approximately 50% of TOP programme revenue and value-in-kind contributions, with approximately 30% provided to the summer OCOG and 20% provided to the winter OCOG.

- Broadcast Revenue to OCOGs; the IOC contributes 49% of the Olympic broadcast revenue for each Games to the OCOG. During the 2001 - 2004 Olympic quadrennium, the Salt Lake 2002 Organising Committee received US$443 million in broadcast revenue from the IOC, and the Athens 2004 Organising Committee received US$732 million.

- Domestic Programme Revenue to OCOGs; the OCOGs generate substantial revenue from the domestic marketing programmes that they manage within the host country, including domestic sponsorship, ticketing and licensing.

National Olympic Committees (NOCs)

The NOCs receive financial support for the training and development of Olympic teams, Olympic athletes and Olympic hopefuls. The IOC distributes TOP programme revenue to each of the NOCs throughout the world. The IOC also contributes Olympic broadcast revenue to Olympic Solidarity, an IOC organisation that provides financial support to NOCs with the greatest need.

The continued success of the TOP programme and Olympic broadcast agreements has enabled the IOC to provide increased support for the NOCs with each Olympic quadrennium. The IOC provided approximately US$318.5 million to NOCs for the 2001 - 2004 quadrennium.

International Olympic Sports Federations (IFs)

The IOC is now the largest single revenue source for the majority of IFs, with its contributions of Olympic broadcast revenue that assist the IFs in the development of their respective sports worldwide. The IOC provides financial support from Olympic broadcast revenue to the 28 IFs of Olympic summer sports and the seven IFs of Olympic winter sports after the completion of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Winter Games, respectively.

The continually increasing value of Olympic broadcast partnership has enabled the IOC to deliver substantially increased financial support to the IFs with each successive Games. The seven winter sports IFs shared US$85.8 million in Salt Lake 2002 broadcast revenue. The contribution to the 28 summer sports IFs from Athens 2004 broadcast revenue has not yet been determined, but the contribution is expected to mark a significant increase over the US$190 million that the IOC provided to the summer IFs following Sydney 2000.

Other Organisations

The IOC contributes Olympic marketing revenue to the programmes of various recognised international sports organisations, including the International Paralympic Committee, the Paralympic Organising Committee, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

See official site of the IOC


The IOC has been involved in a number of scandals, most involving members taking advantage of the bidding cities to extort financial and other rewards. The most widely publicised example occurred in relation to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City but earlier stories, reported by British journalist Andrew Jennings, date back decades. After the Salt Lake City scandal, efforts were made to clamp down on the most blatant misbehaviour of IOC delegates (who used their position as voters for the host city to extract favours from bidders for the games), and an advisory board of recently retired former athletes has been set up. Critics of the organisation believe more fundamental reform is required, for instance replacing the self-perpetuating system of delegate selection with a more democratic process.

See also

External link

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