COLORADO SPRINGS - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the selection of two U.S. cities to host international sport conferences in 2011 and 2012 based on bids submitted by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). The USOC will host the IOC's fifth International Athletes' Forum in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 19-23, 2011. Four months later, from Feb. 16-20, 2012, Los Angeles, Calif., will welcome the IOC's fifth World Conference on Women and Sport, which will be organized by the IOC Women and Sport Commission, the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG) and the USOC.
"Both Los Angeles and Colorado Springs will be great locations for our next World Conference on Women and Sport and the fifth International Athletes' Forum, respectively," said IOC President Jacques Rogge . "Not only as host for the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, L.A. has a long sports tradition, with female athletes like diver Aileen Riggen training there on her way to winning a gold medal at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games. The city is a true sports hub and, I am sure, will be an inspirational setting for all the conference participants. And Colorado Springs, as home of the largest U.S. Olympic Training Center, used by 8,000 athletes annually, will be a fantastic experience for our athlete representatives, whose voice and input are so important to us."
Added USOC CEO Scott Blackmun: "The USOC is honored to host these prestigious events in the United States and to demonstrate our commitment to the advancement of the Olympic Movement. Both events have a crucial mission to expand the voice of these important groups and to shape the future of the Olympic Movement. Colorado Springs and Los Angeles are two celebrated Olympic cities that will make excellent hosts."
The International Athletes' Forum takes place every two years to provide athletes with a platform for discussion and exchanges. Created by the IOC Athletes' Commission, the forum encourages athlete participation in the Olympic Movement, both on and off the field of play, by examining athlete rights, roles and responsibilities. Past forums have discussed athlete health initiatives, communication between athletes, athlete support and assistance post-competition, and athlete representation on sport governing bodies.
A number of Colorado Springs community organizations have already stepped up to provide support for the Athletes' Forum, including the El Pomar Foundation and The Broadmoor. The community is an integral part of the participants' experience at the event, which will include cultural and sporting activities in addition to keynote speakers, forums, receptions, working groups and a module at the Olympic Training Center (OTC).
The U.S. members of the IOC Athletes' Commission are Paralympian Bob Balk and Olympian Angela Ruggiero. They will work with the USOC and the IOC on the development of the event's program, including a module at the Colorado Springs OTC focused on a U.S. athlete's entire life cycle. The OTC will be the central component in a full analysis of the athlete experience in the United States, from training to lifestyle to career services. The USOC will share this behind-the-scenes access and insight with the participants while gaining valuable feedback and ideas for improvement based on the international athletes' own experiences.
The event provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the state of Colorado as well as the city of Colorado Springs, and brings a group of distinguished, influential sport leaders to the region. Approximately 100 participants will represent the IOC Athletes' Commission, the International Federations of sport, the IOC, the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees and other sport governing bodies.
Chairing the World Conference on Women and Sport will be USOC board member Anita DeFrantz, Chairperson of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, and President of the LA84 Foundation.
"I'm delighted that the event will be held in the United States," DeFrantz said. "I'm confident that we will be able to develop the initiatives necessary for women and men to work together for the future of sport. By bringing together some of the most influential and prominent thought leaders in and outside of the industry, it will allow for important discussion about new developments and recommendations to enhance the involvement of women in all aspects of sport."
The IOC organizes a World Conference on Women and Sport every four years with the objective of analyzing the progress made within the Olympic Movement and identifying ways to improve and increase the participation of women in the world of sport. Approximately 600 participants from more than 130 countries are expected to participate, representing National Olympic Committees, International Federations, Non-Government Organizations (NGO), universities and other organizations. The program will include breakout sessions, cultural events, keynote speakers and forums.
Participants in the conference will also evaluate the implementation of the recommendations made during the fourth World Conference on Women and Sport, which took place at the Dead Sea, Jordan, March 8-10, 2008. The conference was held under the patronage of Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania, along with more than 600 participants from 116 countries. Attendees agreed to focus on empowerment through education and development, seizing opportunities to promote gender equality and women in media.
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation passed in 1972 which resulted in increased athletic opportunities for females in the United States. Title IX has led to growth in women's participation levels in sport, increased scholarships, and better opportunities to compete at the Olympic Games, World Championships and professional leagues.
Founded in 1939, SCCOG is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to support the Olympic Movement in the Los Angeles area. The organization is led by Chairman Barry Sanders and President David Simon. SCCOG brings together Southern California civic and sports leaders to support bids on numerous sporting events and conferences. The organization will organize and host the 2012 World Conference on Women and Sport with the USOC and the IOC Women and Sport Commission.
"It is a wonderful honor for the city of Los Angeles to once again welcome the leadership of the IOC and principals from throughout the Olympic Movement to our city, where the Olympic spirit burns brightly," Sanders said. "Our community is passionate about creating opportunities in sport for women, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to support this prestigious conference."
Host Cities of the IOC International Athletes' Forum:
2003 Lausanne, Switzerland
2005 Lausanne, Switzerland
2007 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2009 Marrakech, Morocco
2011 Colorado Springs, Colo., USA
Host Cities of the IOC World Conference on Women and Sport:
1996 Lausanne, Switzerland
2000 Paris, France
2004 Marrakech, Morocco
2008 Dead Sea, Jordan
2012 Los Angeles, Calif., USA