Nearly 2,000 athletes and Olympian representatives have pre-registered to take part in the 10th edition of the International Athletes’ Forum (IAF), which will be held virtually for the first time on 26 and 27 May.

This year’s edition will be organised around two plenary sessions from 2 to 5 p.m. CET on 26 and 27 May 2021. Both sessions will be live-streamed on Athlete365.

Exclusive continental breakout meetings and sessions focusing on anti-doping will beheld “in camera” ahead of the plenary sessions from today to 23 May.

The IAF is organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission (AC), chaired by Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry.

Commenting ahead of the event, Coventry said: “This year, the IOC AC celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark this milestone, while taking advantage of the fact that the IAF will be held digitally, invitations have been extended to all AC members globally, in addition to the AC chairs. This gives the opportunity for more athlete representatives to have their voices heard and to discuss in greater depth the issues which matter to all of us.”

IOC President Thomas Bach will join Kirsty Coventry at the IAF, giving opening remarks on the first day and participating in a live Q&A session with athletes on the second day.

Looking forward to Tokyo and beyond

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 approaching soon, preparations for the Games will be one of the main focus areas.

Numerous test events have been held successfully in Japan over the past few weeks, and 70 per cent of the quota places for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have been allocated, with qualification in a number of sports and disciplines already completed.

Athletes who have already qualified for Tokyo 2020 will share their journey and will tell their story of resilience and determination. The Forum participants will also have the opportunity to obtain more information about the countermeasures in place for the Games (contained in the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks) to ensure that all Olympic Games participants and the people living in Tokyo and Japan will be safe and secure.

Another of the key discussions at the Forum will surround the implementation of the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 recommendations announced in March 2021, which are benefitting athletes globally, while also empowering and equipping ACs with the resources requiredto do so.

In addition, the IAF will focus on the holistic well-being of athletes, with a dedicated session on mental health, safeguarding and well-being.

A virtual venue filled with resources for athletes

Members of ACs around the world have already the chance to explore a “virtual venue” created for the Forum – an area where they can access useful information and materials on various topics, including: Olympic Solidarity programmes, the IOC AC election at Tokyo 2020, safe sport and mental health, gender equality and inclusion, the International Partnership Against corruption in Sport, and prevention of competition manipulation.

Additionally, Organising Committees of the Olympic Games, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Testing Agency (ITA) and the World Olympians Association (WOA) are holding virtual booths that athletes can visit to learn more about their programmes.

IAF 2019 recommendations put into action

Held in Lausanne in April 2019, the previous edition of the International Athletes’ Forum led to the approval of nine recommendations aimed at empowering athletes at all levels globally. Their implementation resulted in a significant increase in funding for athletes’ commissions worldwide and greater support for athletes regarding well-being and mental health.

“We listened to the collective voice of athlete representatives at the International Athletes’ Forum in 2019, and these nine recommendations have shaped the work of the IOC AC over the last two years,” said Kirsty Coventry, “We truly believe that athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement and are key to shaping the future of world sport, and these updates on each recommendation show how we have worked to accomplish this.”

Find out more about all the actions implemented since 2019.

Find out about the 2021 IAF’s agenda and participantshere.

The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

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Photo: IOC