The International Olympic Committee (Comité International Olympique) is an organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas on June 23, 1894. Its membership consists of the 205 National Olympic Committees.
The IOC organizes the modern Olympic Games held in Summer and Winter, every four years. The first Summer Olympics organized by the International Olympic Committee held in Athens, Greece, in 1896; the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, in 1924. Until 1992, both Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same year. After that year, however, the IOC shifted the Winter Olympics to the even years between Summer Games, to help space the planning of the two events two years apart from one another.
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 organization 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 organizations 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.
Professor David C. Young of the University of Florida has conducted research suggesting that the revival of the modern Olympic Games was planted firmly in both Greece and the United Kingdom by Evangelos Zappas and Dr William Penny Brookes respectively.
Mission and role
- Also see Olympic Charter.
The mission of the IOC is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement.
The IOC's role is 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;
- Encourage and support the organisation, development and coordination of sport and sports competitions;
- Ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games;
- Cooperate with the competent public or private organizations and authorities in the endeavour to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace;
- Take action in order to strengthen the unity and to protect the independence of the Olympic Movement;
- Act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement;
- 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;
- Lead the fight against doping in sport;
- Encourage and support measures protecting the health of athletes;
- Oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes;
- Encourage and support the efforts of sports organisations and public authorities to provide for the social and professional future of athletes;
- Encourage and support the development of sport for all;
- 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;
- Promote a positive legacy from the Olympic Games to the host cities and host countries;
- Encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education;
- Encourage and support the activities of the International Olympic Academy (IOA) and other institutions which dedicate themselves to Olympic education.
The IOC Session
The Session is the general meeting of the members of the IOC, held once a year in which each member has one vote. It is the IOC’s supreme organ and its decisions are final.
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:
- To adopt or amend the Olympic Charter.
- To elect the members of the IOC, the Honorary President and the honorary members.
- To elect the President, the Vice-Presidents and all other members of the IOC Executive Board.
- 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.
The IOC Session elects, by secret ballot, the IOC 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. Former President Juan Antonio Samaranch has been elected Honorary President For Life.
In addition to the Olympic medals for competitors, the IOC awards a number of other honours:
- the IOC President's Trophy is the highest sports award given to athletes who have excelled in their sport and had an extraordinary career and created a lasting impact on their sport.
- the Pierre de Coubertin medal is awarded to athletes who demonstrate a special spirit of sportsmanship in Olympic events
- the Olympic Cup is awarded to institutions or associations with a record of merit and integrity in actively developing the Olympic Movement
- the Olympic Order is awarded to individuals for particularly distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement, and superseded the Olympic Certificate.
The IOC publishes Olympic Review
and Revue Olympique
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 the opposite, IOC members in their respective countries.
For a long time, members of royalty have been members of co-option, such as Prince Albert de Monaco, as have 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 Committees leaders.
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.
- 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;
- Active athletes, the total number of whom may not exceed 15, elected for eight years by their peers during the Olympic Games;
- 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;
- 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.
Cessation of membership
The membership of IOC members ceases in the following circumstances:
- Resignation: any IOC member may cease their membership at any time by delivering his written resignation to the President.
- Non re-election: any IOC member ceases to be a member without further formality if they are not re-elected.
- Age limit: any IOC member ceases to be a member at the end of the calendar year during which they reach the age of 70.
- Failure to attend Sessions or take active part in IOC work for two consecutive years.
- Transfer of domicile or of main centre of interests to a country other than the country which was theirs at the time of their election.
- Members elected as active athletes cease to be a member upon ceasing to be a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
- Presidents and individuals 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 they were exercising at the time of their election.
- Expulsion: an IOC member may be expelled by decision of the Session if such member has betrayed their 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.
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 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.
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
Bidding to host the games
Countries bidding to host
the Summer Olympic Games
or the Winter Olympic Games
compete aggressively to have their bid accepted by the IOC. 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. Sochi
, was elected as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics
on July 4
during the 119th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session
in Guatemala City
. The next host city for the 2016 Summer Games
will be announced at the 121st Session (which will also be the XIIIth Olympic Congress) held in Copenhagen
, on October 2
In recent years, the contest for the right to host the games has grown increasingly fierce. Allegations were levelled after the 1996 Olympics that Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) organizers bribed members of the IOC to obtain the Olympic Games. However, ACOG documents were destroyed prior to a formal inquiry and the allegations remain unproven. In his defense, ACOG Chairman Billy Payne said "Atlanta's bidding effort included excessive actions, even thought processes, that today seem inappropriate but, at the time, reflected the prevailing practices in the selection process and an extremely competitive environment." In 2002, Salt Lake City was involved in a bribery scandal but earlier stories, reported by British journalists Vyv Simson and Andrew Jennings, date back decades. Corruption in the IOC has been documented by numerous investigations. After the Salt Lake City scandal in which a number of IOC members were expelled following an extensive investigation, efforts were made to clamp down on abuses of the bid city process. More stringent rules were introduced and an advisory board of recently retired former athletes was 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.
Even legal attempts to sway the IOC to accept a city's bid can spark controversy, such as Beijing's successful bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. Several human rights organizations spoke out against the controversial human rights condition of China, in conflict with the Olympic Charter of the IOC.
In an August 2007 interview on the Beijing 2008 website, IOC President Jacques Rogge said, the IOC "definitely would love to see the continents that have not yet organized the Games like Africa or Latin America do that in the future. I cannot tell you exactly when, but I will see it in my life... We believe in the near future we can determine the host country under this rotating system. As of now, we haven’t set a timetable for starting this system”.
Criticism of the 2002 Olympic Games host selection
Scandal broke on December 10
, when Swiss
IOC member Marc Hodler
, head of the coordination committee overseeing the organization of the 2002 games, announced that several members of the IOC had taken bribes. Soon four independent investigations were underway: by the IOC, the USOC, the SLOC, and the United States Department of Justice
Before any of the investigations could even get under way both Welch and Johnson resigned their posts as the head of the SLOC. Many others soon followed. The Department of Justice filed charges against the two: fifteen charges of bribery and fraud. Johnson and Welch were eventually acquitted of all criminal charges in December 2003.
As a result of the investigation ten members of the IOC were expelled and another ten were sanctioned. This was the first expulsion or sanction for corruption in the more than a century the IOC had existed. Although nothing strictly illegal had been done, it was felt that the acceptance of the gifts was morally dubious. Stricter rules were adopted for future bids and ceilings were put into place as to how much IOC members could accept from bid cities. Additionally new term and age limits were put into place for IOC membership, and fifteen former Olympic athletes were added to the committee.
In 2006, a report ordered by the Nagano region's governor said the Japanese city provided millions of dollars in an "illegitimate and excessive level of hospitality" to IOC members, including $4.4 million spent on entertainment alone.
Controversy of the 2008 Olympic Games host selection
Some international groups attempted to pressure the IOC to reject Beijing's bid in protest of the state of human rights in the People's Republic of China. One Chinese dissident who expressed similar sentiments was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for calling on the IOC to do just that at the same time that IOC inspectors were touring the city. Amnesty International expressed concern in 2006 regarding the Olympic Games to be held in China in 2008, likewise expressing concerns over the human rights situation. The second principle in the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, Olympic Charter states that The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity. Amnesty International considers the policies and practices of the People's Republic as failing to meet that principle, and urged the IOC to press China to immediately enact human rights reform.
In August 2008 the IOC issued DMCA take down notices on Tibetan Protest videos of the Beijing Olympics hosted on youtube . YouTube and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) both pushed back against the IOC, which then withdrew their complaint.
The Swedish government received a letter from the Vice President of IOC where she asked the minister of justice to take action against the file sharing network The Pirate Bay, that contains links to the opening ceremony from the olympics. In Sweden that would consitute the crime of "ministerstyre" (minister rule). The vice president of IOC is Swedish and has been reported to the police, since she should have known this is a crime.