SportAccord gearing up for an intense week of Olympic politics in St. Petersburg
CHAD WISE and LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
(SFC) This year the annual gathering of the International Sports Federations promises to be quite a benchmark in the history of the event with so many issues at stake in the Olympic Movement.
The SportAccord Convention 2013 is being hosted at the Lenexpo Convention Centre in St. Petersburg this week with the theme of “The State of Our Industry – Examining the Health of Sport.”
Eight international sports federations will be on hand in St. Petersburg to give the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board presentations in an attempt to gain a place on the Olympic Programme. One or more of wrestling, karate, roller sport, squash, sport climbing, wakeboard, wushu, and baseball and softball (a joint bid) will be recommended for a vote at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires this September. A shortlist should be announced Wednesday night in St. Petersburg.
Wrestling has pulled out all the stops to reverse the recommendation that they be pulled from the Olympic Program and these days in St. Petersburg will be the pivot point on that turn of events.
The IOC Board will be convening from Wednesday through Friday and discussing a number of issues, with President Dr. Jacques Rogge to hold a press conference Friday afternoon.
The bid committees from Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo – bidding to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games – will also be in attendance Thursday for a set of key presentations followed by press conferences.
All the candidates running for IOC presidency will be busy talking to IOC members and full time lobbying before the September 10th vote. Competing for this office includes Thomas Bach, Ser Miang Ng, Richard Carrion, CK Wu, and Denis Oswald who will reveal his manifesto after the convention.
Saatchi & Saatchi Chief Executive Officer Kevin Roberts will provide the keynote address on “Winning the Future – Sport as Inspirational Player” Wednesday, Rio 2016 President Carlos Arthur Nuzman will lead “Gains and Gambles for Government” with Hugh Robertson, U.K. sports minister, and Slava Fetislov will lead “A Legend’s Perspective” at the end of the day.
Sochi 2014 President and Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Chernyshenko will give a 45-minute speech on “a highly visual account” of the 2014 Winter Olympics Host City’s offering, he will field questions from David Eades of BBC before revealing the medals to be awarded to medallists at the Games.
International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer and International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset are the only candidates for the SportAccord president position, as Hein Verbruggen will step down as president Friday after nine years in the position. The presidential election will also take place this week.
All in all a number of top decisions that will have serious effects on the sports movement. We will see how the week unfolds but the politics will be as intense as ever before at a SportAccord meeting.
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Laura Walden ()
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