It’s been another busy year for the Olympic Council of Ireland with Irish athletes taking part in two major Olympic Games; the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and the Singapore 2010 World Youth Olympic Games.
The OCI formed a strategic and collaborative partnership with the Irish Sports Councils and Institutes in developing the high performance system and in planning for London 2012.
The OCI athlete Commission was also formed and its chair Jamie Costin has actively been involved in OCI Executive and in aspects of Olympic Team Planning for London.
It was also the year that the IOC announced the inclusion of women’s boxing for London 2012 and golf and rugby sevens for 2016.
Here’s a brief summary:
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games February 12 to 28, 2010
Ireland sent a team of 6 athletes in four disciplines, based in Whistler and raised the profile and performance levels of Irish Winter sport during the Games.
The women’s x 2 bobsleigh team of Aoife Hoey and Claire Bergin finished 17th, Pat Shannon 25th in Skeleton bob, Shane O’Connor 45th in Slalom, Kirsty McGarry 50th in Giant Slalom, and PJ Barron 91st in Cross Country Skiing. For a non- Alpine Nation the Irish athlete’s qualification dramas and Games performances captured the public’s attention as never before, and the Olympic Council of Ireland is proud of its support to Winter sports, particularly our role in assuring the women’s bobsleigh team retained their right to compete.
New events such as snowboard cross and skier cross were popular innovations, and appealed to a new generation of younger sports fans. The highlight though for the host Nation came last night when the Canadian Men’s team defeated the USA to win Ice Hockey Gold. Canada set out to top the medal table and did so by winning more Gold medals than any other country, a magnificent return on the investment placed in their high performance sport programmes.
Here are some statistics which capture the global scale of this magnificent event:
82 participating National Olympic Committees (NOCs)
6,500 athletes and team officials in total
2,632 registered athletes
10,800 media representatives: 7,000 rights holding broadcasters, 2,800 press reporters and photographers
3.5 billion Worldwide television viewers are estimated to have tuned into the Games
Olympic Games coverage on more than 300 TV stations and on more than 100 websites worldwide
47 per cent more global television coverage of the Games than for the Torino
Singapore Youth Olympic Games (YOG), 14th – 26th August 2010
Singapore hosted the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from 14 to 26 August 2010. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games received some 5,000 athletes and officials from the 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), along with estimated 1200 media representatives, 20,000 local and international volunteers, and more than 370,000 spectators. Young athletes – aged between 14 and 18 years – competed in 26 sports and took part in a new culture and education programme.
The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aimed to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect. It certainly created a lasting sports, culture and education legacy for Singapore and youths from around the world. Not · Not even International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge could have envisioned such a successful inaugural Games.
The event, which catered to athletes aged between 14 and 18, has been championed by the Belgian since he became the Olympics chief in 2001.
Competition in the 26 Olympic sports also included a simultaneous culture and education component.
New formats like three-on-three basketball and mixed-team events in triathlon and swimming were also introduced.
These adaptations, aimed at attracting a younger audience, drew praise from Rogge.
Rogge added that the media coverage had surpassed his expectations. The former Olympic sailor noted that 45,000 articles were written by some 1,200 journalists, and the YOG was broadcasted in 166 countries.
In addition, a five-billion-strong audience watched YOG YouTube clips while four million people visited its Facebook page.
Another pleasing statistic: Of the 204 National Olympic Committees that were represented at the YOG, 98 will return with at least one medal.
Irish Team at the YOG
Team Ireland was represented in 8 sports with 25 athletes. Athlete and support personnel feedback compliments the “exceptional management and support” provided by the OCI and the National Federations. In addition there was comprehensive website coverage and interviews on the OCI YouTube channel : OlympicIrl , Facebook and Twitter
Gold Medal performance by boxer Ryan Burnett
Joe Ward ( injured in his first bout)
4th Race Walking: Kate Veale
5th girl’s hockey: Irish U17’s
8th 1000m: Mark English
9th Triathlon: Laura Casey
4th Team triathlon: Laura Casey (Europe 2)
Quarter finalist tennis: John Morrissey
21st individual event Emily Greenan
12th team mod pentathlon Emily Greenan
17th Sailing Sophie Murphy
12th (Semi finalist) Rowing: Denise Walsh
Olympic Council Website
The OCI consulted with press, TV, National Federations, athletes and its sponsors to ensure the new website meets their requirements. Various seminars have been held with each stakeholder to maximise collaboration and strategy for developing content in the build up to London 2012. We are indebted to the contribution of Kevin Kilty on this project.
Olympic Sponsor Workshop
The OCI held its first sponsor workshop for the London Olympic Games. OCI local and IOC Top Sponsors were invited to Cadbury Headquarters in Coolock and heard presentations on Cadbury’s 2012 Activation Spots v Stripes campaign. The OCI and Cadburys feature Olympians in the campaign; Sonia O’Sullivan, Michael Carruth, David Gillick and Ken Egan. Sponsors were provided with insight into the London Games from an Irish perspective. The OCI discussed the rational, consultation, and purpose of the new website how the National Federations, Sponsors, and press can benefit from its update.
Partnership with Irish Sports Councils and Institutes
The Olympic Council of Ireland, the Irish Sports Councils (ISC) and Irish Sports Institute (IIS) now engage more collaboratively. As Olympic “Team Ireland” encompasses the 32 Counties under the International Olympic Charter collaboration with of the Sport NI and SINI is also strategically important.
The agencies committed to a partnership over the period up to and including London 2012 Olympic Games. This includes, in the short term, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, 2010 and 2012 World Youth Olympic Games, the 2011 EYOF Summer and Winter Games and the London Olympics 2012. This has manifested in a number of ways, for example
1. A High Performance Advisory Committee was established;
To advise on the strategic and operational planning for the High Performance Programme and the Irish Institute of Sport (IIS) and to advise on key initiatives within the High Performance Programme and the IIS to include:
2. A London 2012 Technical Group was established : its role;
The purpose of the London 2012 Technical Group is to consider the Olympic focus sports high performance planning for the London 2012
Olympic Games and to consider the technical components of these plans and the prioritisation of support for these sports, to include:
Science and Medicine strategy leading into the London 2012 Olympic Games
Ongoing professional development of high performance directors, coaches, science and medicine staff
London 2012 Planning and timelines
Olympic Games period and pre-Games period incl. Pre-games camp
The Olympic Council of Ireland hosted a London 2012 planning conference at the new Tollymore Conference Centre in Newcastle Co Down, in collaboration with the Institutes of Sport (IIS and SINI) on the 9th, 10th December 2010.
Over the two days a total of 50 performance staff from Performance leads, head coaches, science and medical support staff and institute service providers working within current sports programmes attended.
The conference was led by the OCI management team for London, Sonia O’Sullivan, Stephen Martin and Martin Burke. The agenda and content for the conference was agreed and run in collaboration with the Institutes of Sport (IIS, SINI) to assist National Federations in their preparations for London.
Some of the key topics covered were as follows:
· Roles and responsibilities of organisations and their support for National Federations in preparation for London 2012
· Developing a high performance culture
· Peaking for major competitions
· Science and medical strategies for London
· Working as an inter and multi disciplined teams
· Agreeing on the issues that will require group policy
The sessions were facilitated by OCI, Institute and National Federation staff. In particular Stephen Martin, Martin Burke, and the OCI medical and Science team of Dr Giles Warrington, Niamh Fitzpatrick, Phil Glasgow, and Rod McLoughlin. Institute of sport leads Phil Moore and Peter McCabe together with Chris Jones, Triathlon PD contributed their expertise.
Follow up meetings will now be held in January 2011 with the OCI, National Federations and ASICS to sign off on performance, training and village team clothing requirements for each sport.The next OCI London 2012 conference is scheduled for Tollymore Mountain and Conference Centre in early April 2011. Meetings with athletes are underway also, for example, at the National Boxing Stadium on December 11th when the high performance boxing squad and some individual athletes from Judo, Eventing and Taekwondo heard and discussed plans for London 2012 with Sonia O’Sullivan and Athlete Commission Chair Jamie Costin. In addition Stephen Martin met the Irish Hockey squad at their centralised training base at UCD on Monday 13th December to share his Olympic experiences and plans for London.
Dr Una May awarded IOC Trophy for “sport and the fight against doping”
Pat Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland presented Dr Una May with the IOC Trophy Award for her work in overseeing the development of the anti doping programme at the Irish Sports Council over the past ten years.
Pat Hickey said that “the award is appropriate recognition of Dr May’s involvement over the past ten years in establishing the anti doping programme in this country”
Olympic Council of Ireland Athlete Commission in operation
Jamie Costin, Chair the Olympic Council of Ireland Athlete’s Commission and is now a member ex officio of the OCI Executive Committee.
The Athlete Commission for the 2009-12 Olympiad is a consultative body of the OCI ensuring that athlete’s views on Olympic matters are represented on the Executive Committee.
Costin said “I’m delighted to be given this opportunity and believe that the Commission has an important contribution to make on planning for London 2012″
The Commission comprises of 5 athletes who have competed at the most recent Olympic summer or Winter Games.
Athletes elected as follows;
Chair: Jamie Costin (Athletics),Vice Chair: Ciara Peelo (Sailing),Derek Burnett (Shooting),Rory Morrish (Snowsports), and Richard Archibald (Rowing)
Women’s Boxing in 2012 and Golf and Rugby sevens for 2016
Women’s boxing will be included at London 2012, and Rugby 7’s and Golf will feature in the 2016 Games sports programme. The decisions were made by the International Olympic Committee’s ruling Executive Board in 2010.
Boxing had been the only Olympic event without any female participants.Three women’s weight classes will be added, with one men’s class dropped to make room for them.Katie Taylor expressed her delight that she will have an opportunity to fulfill her ambition.“I’m absolutely thrilled. This is a dream come true, not only for me, but for female boxers throughout the world who have worked so hard to gain Olympic status,” said Taylor.
Olympic Council of Ireland and European Olympic President Pat Hickey said, “This is a great result for Ireland and Katie Taylor’s Olympic prospects. I’ve worked long and hard at getting this outcome, personally lobbying the IOC President and Executive Board members in recent weeks and months.I am very pleased that my groundwork and persistence has paid off so well.”
Rugby 7’s and Golf will be in the sports programme for 2016; two sports Ireland can compete at in world terms.The Olympic Council of Ireland is working with both Federations to plan a strategy for their inclusion in 2016”. Golf was played at the 1900 Paris Olympics and 1904 St. Louis Games.
Golf proposes a 72-hole stroke-play competition for men and women, with 60 players in each field. The world’s top 15 players would qualify automatically, and all major professional tours would alter tournament schedules to avoid a clash with the Olympics.
Rugby, which was played in four different Olympics between 1900 and 1924 in the full 15-a-side format, will adopt as 7-a-side version for both men and women.
Looking ahead to 2011
Next year the Olympic Council will take athletes to compete in the European Youth Olympic Festivals:Winter EYOF; Liberec (Czech Republic) 12th -19th February, 2011, with a pre Games training camp
Summer EYOF in Trabzon (Turkey) 24th – 29th July, 2011, with a pre Games training camp
Olympic qualification for London will continue and the signed off OCI/NF agreements and qualification standards will be posted on the OCI/National Federation websites in the New Year
The OCI will host various visits to London for certain groups of National Federation performance staff; the OCI will also host a media recce to LOCOG’s International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre, Olympic Village and sports venues
Ongoing individual meetings with National Federations will continue; high performance leaders, coaches, science and medical teams, and athletes. The next major group multi sports conference will be at Tollymore Mountain and Conference Centre in April, led by the OCI management team of Sonia O’Sullivan, Stephen Martin, Martin Burke and includes the OCI medical team, National Federation High Performance staff, and Institute service providers. A further multi sport conference will be held later in the year
During 2011 various London Games test events will also take place and we will be working to ensure knowledge is captured that will assist the competition experience in 2012. Some sports will get an opportunity to take part in the events themselves, and others can observe the events and note how they operate
The initial 2012 Chef de Mission Conference for all 204 National Olympic Committee delegations will be held London 9th-12th August
The OCI would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.