The World Olympians Association (WOA) has hailed the conclusion of their “successful” World Olympians Forum in Lausanne today.
The three-day event featured workshops held under the theme of “Olympians for Life”.
Some 150 participants from 107 National Olympians Associations (NOA) were involved, with the forum billed as a chance to underline the status of Olympians as ambassadors.
WOA claimed the event would help to strengthen and grow the global network of NOAs.
“The World Olympians Forum has been an outstanding success, bringing together Olympians from around the world to share ideas on how we can best support and empower our global community and secure the legacy of Olympians as the enduring ambassadors of the Olympic Movement,” said Jöel Bouzou, WOA President.
“I would like to thank the International Olympic Committee for its support and all participants for the enthusiasm and commitment they have shown over the past three days.
“I look forward to continuing to work together in strong partnership as we seek to drive forward even more programmes to serve Olympians in the future.”
The forum was claimed to have focused on boosting the capabilities of NOAs, highlighted by the launch of the NOA Guide online resource yesterday.
The guide is aimed at helping NOAs to better connect and engage with Olympians at a national level, and to deliver programmes and initiatives which align with WOA’s goal of supporting the needs of Olympians.
WOA also announced the recipients of their grant programme for 2019, which followed their first “grants challenge”.
Five NOAs pitched project ideas in front of an expert panel and Olympians at the forum to determine the recipients of $5,000 (£3,800/€4,400) grants.
The WOA stated projects from Colombia and Lithuania had been chosen.
The Colombian initiative is an Olympian-led mentoring programme which will support the empowerment of women in sport and in their communities.
This morning at #WOF2019, we’ve invited five NOAs from across the world to pitch against each other for two, $5,000 WOA Grants…— World Olympians (@worldolympians) April 17, 2019
The three that miss out will automatically be put forward for consideration in our normal Grants Programme#WOF2019 pic.twitter.com/ha0Ypx67Xe
The Lithuanian project will see Olympians promote, activate and diversify the lives of the elderly, orphans and people with disabilities through sport and physical activity.
A further $50,000 (£38,000/€44,000) in grants will also be available as part of the wider WOA programme, with applications open for NOAs until June 30.
The grants are available in the categories of “service to Olympians”, “service to society” and “NOA development”.
“We are thrilled to have launched the WOA 2019 Grants Programme in Lausanne today,” said Bouzou.
“I would like to congratulate Colombia and Lithuania on their winning pitches as part of our first live-action Grants Challenge and I would encourage all NOAs who have been inspired by today to get involved and apply for funding through the 2019 Grants Programme.
“As we have seen from previous years, this funding can and does make a vital difference to Olympians and their communities.”
WOA also hailed the increased integration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the forum.
This included a joint working day with the International Athletes’ Forum on Monday (April 15).
WOA state there is a “renewed ambition” for the organisation and the Commission to work collaboratively on initiatives that support the welfare, development and engagement of Olympians at a global level, as well as greater cooperation between NOAs and National Olympic Committees locally.
“Congratulations to WOA for this successful Forum,” added IOC President Thomas Bach.
“The IOC offers continuous support to Olympians throughout their journey at all stages of their life.
“Olympians are valuable and valued ambassadors of the Olympic Movement.”