Monday, 11 October 2021

Grabar-Kitarović New Chair of Future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - Former Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has been appointed as the Chair of the Future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reported on its website on Monday.

A press release by the IOC notes that Grabar-Kitarović, an IOC member since 2020, will immediately replace former Chair Kristin Koster Aasen, who stood down following her election to the Executive Board (EB) because no EB member can serve on the Future Host Commissions.

"I am grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with potential hosts on Olympic projects, which will help them to achieve their long-term goals for development, public health, sports participation and inclusion. I would like to continue to build on the great work begun under Kristin's leadership. It is an exciting chance to develop innovative ways to steer the Olympic Games into the future and explore the challenges facing upcoming hosts, such as climate change," Grabar-Kitarović said.

IOC President Thomas Bach also commented on Grabar-Kitarović's appointment.

"The Future Host Commissions have an important role in shaping the future of the Olympic Movement. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will bring rich and diverse skills and experience, including at the very highest levels of government and international relations. As a member of the same Commission, she has already contributed to the successful delivery of the first election under the new approach to choosing Olympic and Paralympic hosts, with the selection of Brisbane 2032," he added.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic Opens Up About Engagement in International Olympic Committee

August 4, 2020 - Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic spoke to Croatian Radio about becoming a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which values she would promote during her tenure and the future of Olympism and sport amid a pandemic.

Jutarnji List writes that several months have passed since she was nominated, and she was confirmed as an IOC member by video conference two weeks ago.

"IOC President Thomas Bach called me shortly after the end of his presidential term and suggested it. I accepted the proposal with enthusiasm. Before it passed the candidacy and ethics committee and before the Executive Committee made a decision, it was all supposed to be kept secret. After the IOC itself announced it, I confirmed it and waited for the decision of the assembly. I was excited. I was waiting for the vote on the new board members and working bodies, which was coming to an end. It was interesting to watch the video conference, but I would much rather have seen each other than waiting in silence from home. For now, I have online activities ahead of me, mostly introductory seminars for new members and an introduction to the membership of the committee that decides on the future host of the Olympic Games to which I have been appointed this week. Other activities depend on the pandemic."

As President of the Republic of Croatia, she received Bach in Pantovcak.

"That was the beginning of our work cooperation, I think I can freely say friendship, although we did not have the opportunity to hang out together often. I would always find time even when I was in New York to meet with Mr. Bach and IOC members. That first meeting was in Pantovcak when we had the Open Days and we presented sports, athletes, active sports for the healthy development of both the individual and society. That was the moment we clicked. Lots of common thoughts, ideas, the general attitude towards sports, accessibility of sports to young people, but also sports as a way of thinking, not just physical activities. And philosophies, as the Olympic Charter itself, says: Olympism is a philosophy of life that implies a lot. In terms of development, but also world peace, harmony and balance in society, quality of will and mind, but also sport as a weapon that can and must be used in general diplomacy, in stopping wars, the Olympic truce is known. These are just some of the forms of action and goals that Mr. Bach and I share in sport."

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic is the fourth person from Croatia in the IOC, and the first woman.

"It is a great pleasure and recognition for me personally, but also great recognition for Croatia as a country of sports. I am sorry that the first news that followed the announcement of the candidacy was accompanied more by some financial aspects, and in fact, it is a much more substantial job. It’s not just going to sporting events; it’s a lot of work. For Croatia, I think that is extremely good. When foreigners mention people who come from Croatia, they mostly mention athletes, rarely or never politicians, even people from other walks of life. At this moment, we must use all the values of sports diplomacy and thus profile Croatia on the international scene. Even a symbolic gesture, give someone the jersey of the Croatia national team with their name printed on the back, can do wonders. And imagine only when you embark on some much more significant actions such as organizing international camps."

She points out that she will work closely with the Croatian Olympic Committee, and welcomed the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

"Sport is so important that it deserves its ministry. It's not just because of the great national team players. This is because of every child in this state who must have the right to access sports, to ensure they are cheap, accessible, and they can engage in either top-level sports or for pure pleasure and health reasons. The general health of the population is essential and sport is essential for immunity. There are huge opportunities ahead of us. Combining tourism and sports is really great. I plan to visit the minister and meet her associates. As a member of the IOC, I must be absolutely neutral, politically and in any other way."

She also referred to the World Cup in Russia in 2018, where she cheered from the ceremonial box in the Croatia jersey.

"It took a little courage. I specifically asked them if I could violate the jersey code prescribed by the FIFA leadership. In fact, I was amazed that it was so. I don't think we should be ashamed of national colors, sport is to rejoice, maybe grieve a little if we lose, but in the end to accept it all in sports and give a hand to each other and show that there are no evil thoughts and that sport brings us closer and contributes to better understanding among nations. The reactions are great and even today, when I travel, people who follow football recognize me."

At the suggestion of the IOC President, she was also appointed to the Commission for Determining the Future Hosts of the Olympic Games.

"I'm going into fifth gear right away. I study documents, arrange future online meetings. Although I have to say I’m a little frustrated that I can’t go somewhere on the spot. The first thing I would do is go to Lausanne and meet everyone at the Olympic House, the people I would work with so closely, on a volunteer basis. Something you invest your own time in, and I will say my heart beats for Croatia, but in the years ahead, I will have to beat for world sports and athletes from all over the world.

I hope that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be held next year. However, if circumstances do not return to normal by then, they are unlikely to hold them in front of empty spectators and when there may be a mass infection among athletes. Still, I hope for a medical miracle in the meantime that will solve these problems. A committee that decides on future hosts has been set up to make savings and make the process more transparent. The responsibility is huge, but also an honor. The work of the board will be quite arduous. You need to consider in detail all aspects of what the possible future hosts of the Games are proposing, and that decision should be made that is the best and balances all arguments from political support to infrastructure. But I have to admit that there isn’t much talk about candidacies at the moment because of the epidemic. It seems to me that they will go towards spending less on the opening of the Olympic Games and similar ceremonies," Grabar-Kitarovic concluded.

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Friday, 17 July 2020

Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Joins International Olympic Committee

July 17, 2020 - Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has been elected to the International Olympic Committee with 86 votes in favor and three against.

Vecernji List reports that former president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic was confirmed as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday through Zoom. Namely, it was originally planned that the ceremony would take place in Switzerland, more precisely in the city of Lausanne, but due to the coronavirus, all trips were postponed, including the ceremony receiving new members.

Grabar-Kitarovic was nominated by IOC President Thomas Bach and was elected by 86 votes to three.

“I am extremely honored to be a member of the IOC. This is not only my personal success but also a recognition of all the achievements of Croatian sport and excellent results of Croatian athletes, who represent our homeland in the world as a nation of great talents and hardworking people, who consistently promote the principles and values ​​of the Olympic Movement," said the former president for Vecernji.

Grabar-Kitarovic added that she has always supported and advocated the values ​​of a positive sports spirit and competition, friendship and Olympism, both in Croatia and on the international scene. “Throughout history, Olympism has played a strong role not only in the development of sport and competition, but also in the field of international peacekeeping and stability. The Olympic truce and Olympic diplomacy have always played an important role and achieved success even where classical diplomacy has failed," she said.

Candidates for membership also included Cuban Marie de la Caridad Colon Ruenes, Saudi Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Battushig Batbold from Mongolia and celebrated athlete Sebastian Coe from the UK, who will take office ex officio as president of the World Athletics Federation.

“I am happy and honored by the nomination! Sport for me is not only a passion but also a great opportunity to promote fundamental human values, positive competitive spirit, but also great athletes - promoters of Our Beautiful," wrote Grabar-Kitarovic on Twitter after the nomination in June.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.