IOC Plans for North Korean Athletes; Medal Reallocation Approval

(ATR) A roundup of news from the first day of the IOC Executive Board meeting.

(ATR) The IOC is working on an initiative to help North Korean athletes participate in future sports events, a blueprint it plans to roll out to "dozens" of countries.

Few details were given at an IOC press conference that wrapped day one of its executive board meeting in Lausanne on Wednesday. There was no information about how much it would cost.

But IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the money would come from Olympic Solidarity coffers. Initially, financial aid will help North Korean athletes to travel to and compete at sporting events including the Tokyo Olympics before it is rolled out to assist athletes in other nations.

He said the IOC was working on developing a blueprint "to roll out to dozens and dozens of countries".

The plans follow the success of the unified North and South Korean women’s ice hockey team at the PyeongChang Olympics.

This week, the IOC continued its support for North Korean athletes – within the rules of the United Nations sanctions – by funding a team of 12 athletes to take part in the World Table Tennis Championships in Sweden.

Olympic Solidarity is covering all costs related to their participation including air tickets and accommodation.

Medal Reallocation Plans

IOC Athletes’ Commission chair Kirsty Coventry said she was "very happy" after the executive board approved medal reallocation proposals. She said it would be a clear and useful document for IFs and NOCs, "a great thing for athletes in the future".

Among the principles are to ensure reanalysis of samples of any athletes bumped up in medal positions takes place. Athletes will also be ordered to return original medals if they are stripped of them following doping violations.

Athletes will also be offered a number of ceremony options for medal reallocations including awarding at the next Olympic Games, Youth Olympics, at an NOC or IF function, at IOC headquarters, the Olympic Museum or at a private ceremony.

"The Olympic medal reallocation ceremony policy is focused on giving the athletes the choice of ceremony they would like for their medal reallocation, knowing this is a special moment to recognise their achievement but taking into account that they may have different desires for the type of ceremony and occasion they would like," the IOC said.

The IOC set a timeframe for the reallocations. Oncethe medal change is confirmed and legal processes, including appeals, are "exhausted" they will happen within 12 months.

No Replacement for Zhukov

The IOC’s top inspectors for the next Games in Tokyo, Beijing and Paris gave reports to the executive board.

As exclusively reported by Around the Rings on Monday, Alexander Zhukov will not stand again for the Russian Olympic Committee presidency. This was officially confirmed on Wednesday.

Spokesman Adams said no replacement for Zhukov as head of the IOC’s Beijing 2022 coordination commission would be announced until after he stepped aside at the ROC elections on May 29.

Juan Samaranch Jnr is interim chair of the Beijing watchdog and appears favorite to be appointed.

On Tokyo, sports director Kit McConnell commented briefly on the format for baseball, a thorny issue for the World Baseball Softball Confederation. He said it would be finalized over the next couple of months as the sports competition schedule was due to be finalized at the IOC executive board’s July meeting.

PyeongChang Debrief

The official IOC debrief takes place in the first week of June in Beijing. But the IOC’s ruling body spent considerable time today discussing the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said that while legacy plans for three venues had still to be drawn up, PyeongChang 2018 "has delivered what they said they would deliver in the candidature.

"They said they would open new horizons and that’s exactly what they have done," he said, pointing to a region "that is now fully equipped with sporting venues, infrastructure, hotels and restaurants".

He said PyeongChang had balanced the books with a budget of $2.4 billion and may generate a small profit as last numbers had still to be calculated.

Reported by Mark Bissonin Lausanne

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