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18OLYMPIC REVIEW Taking the pulse of the Olympic Movement, analysing its strengths and weaknesses, evaluating the opportunities and the risks it faces: these are the challenges which IOC President Jacques Rogge laid down by convening the next Olympic Congress, to be held in Copenhagen in October 2009. The overall theme of this Congress is " The Olympic Movement in Society", broken down into five main themes. " Many people believe that sport plays an essential role in society, be it in education, integration, health, the environment or the economy. At the same time, we see that sport offers opportunities, but also poses problems. We therefore have to study certain points, and offer new and creative solutions to the challenges facing us. The Congress in Copenhagen will offer this opportunity", says the IOC President. FLASHBACK ON PREVIOUS CONGRESSES To better understand the role of an Olympic Congress and to evaluate its impact it is worth looking back at the previous editions. The first Olympic Congress was held in Paris in 1894, the founding year of the International Olympic Committee. It was at this Congress that Pierre de Coubertin announced the revival of the Olympic Games. The Congresses, organised at irregular intervals, became the platform of encounter for the three pillars of the Olympic Movement: IOC, NOCs and IFs. Despite a gap of more than 40 years between the ninth Congress in Berlin and the next one in Varna, Bulgaria, in 1973, the Olympic Congresses have always had a significant impact on the way the Olympic Movement functions and along with the Olympic Games, served as punctuation marks in the history of Olympism. Eight of the 12 Olympic Congresses held to date were organised by Pierre de Coubertin featuring content that was closely linked to his philosophical idea of modern Olympism and were used to unite modern sport, science and the arts. The Congress themes revolved around health and education, and the early years were notable for the important personalities recruited as speakers from Coubertin's large circle of acquaintances. In 1897, Father Didon, a well known Dominican preacher and writer, spoke at the Olympic Congress in Le Havre. The writer Marcel Prévost gave the opening lecture of the Lausanne Congress in 1913. Coubertin also secured a contribution by the former American president Theodore Roosevelt whose athletic autobiography had been exclusively written for the occasion. VARNA 1973 The modern era of the Olympic Congress began in 1973 in Varna which was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its NOC. Lord Killanin, who had succeeded Avery Brundage as IOC President the previous year, presided over the Congress in which NOCs and all Olympic federations were given the floor on equal terms. The delegates lived up to Killanin's call to make the Congress not a forum for open attacks but for sensible suggestions. Rethinking the idea of amateurism was at the centre of discussion, as it had been at practically all Congresses since 1894, but discussions at the Varna Congress were the springboard for the new rule which authorised financial assistance for elite level training. Within 20 years the Olympic Games were fully open to professionals. BADEN- BADEN 1981 At the 1981 Congress in Baden- Baden, Germany, expectations were even greater, falling as it did just a year after the boycotted Moscow Games and with Los Angeles around the corner. It was no exaggeration to say the credibility of the Olympic Movement was at stake and new initiatives pointing the way ahead were required. For the first time the athletes played a leading role in a Congress, with Kip Keino, Sebastian Coe and Soviet ice hockey goalkeeper Vladislav Tretyak all speaking. Their accounts rang with an authenticity nobody dared contradict and the TAKING THEPULSE

Virtual Congress Over 1,000 contribu-tions were received for the Copenhagen Congress through the virtual Congress website. " We have an excellent basis for an interesting debate in Copenhagen," said IOC President Jacques Rogge. " All the contributions from the Olympic family and a selection from the general public will be edited and published in July. The participants are invited to take note of all these before they travel to Copenhagen, so that we can concentrate on the spot on a real debate." Invitations Official invitations for the 13th Olympic Congress are being sent in early April. Over 1,000 participants including IOC members; IOC honorary and hon-our members; repre-sentatives of the IFs, NOCs, the athletes and Organising Committees for the Olympic Games; athletes and athlete support staff ( coaches, doctors and medical staff); referees, judges and technical officials; the IOC's Olympic part-ners; and the media are expected to attend. Congress in Baden- Baden paved the way for the creation of the IOC Athletes' Commission. PARIS 1994 The Centennial Olympic Congress in 1994, otherwise known as the Congress of Unity, was held in Paris. The Congress proved trend- setting in an area of great interest today, the protection of the environment which was declared to be an essential component of Olympism. A survey was conducted and measures to optimise the Olympic Movement's contribution to preserving the environment were defined. Also at the 1994 Congress, for the first time the media were invited to speak in the framework of the theme on Sport and the mass media. Copenhagen will continue the move towards inclusiveness as the general public, via the internet, will now be able to take part in an Olympic Congress. " This is the first Congress of the new millennium, and the first one since the start of the digital revolution. Even if the Olympic Congress is primarily for the Olympic family, we needed to take the pulse using the modern methods available to us, and in particular open up to the public," Rogge concludes. Above: The picturesque Danish capital Copenhagen will be the host of the 2009 Olympic Congress LOGO LAUNCH PROGRAMME FOR SESSION AND CONGRESS The Organising Committee in Copenhagen has launched the logo for the 13th Olympic Congress and the 121st IOC Session. IOC President Jacques Rogge, who attended the ceremony at the world famous Tivoli Garden, expressed his high appreciation for the logo: " The slogan of the 13th Congress ' Taking the pulse' is nicely reflect-ed in the logo and shows how vital the Olympic Movement is. The red heart also stands of course for the cordial Danish population and the commit-ment with which the Organising Committee is coordinating this event." The Organising Committee has also launched the Session and Olympic Congress website, which offers useful information about the Congress and the City of Copenhagen: www. 2009congress. olympic. org The programme for the 121th IOC Session and the Olympic Congress has been finalised. More details on www. 2009congress. olympic. org 2 October 2009: 121stIOC Session: Election of the Host City for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in 2016 3- 5 October 2009: 13thOlympic Congress 7- 9 October 2009: 121thIOC Session with the election of the IOC President and a vote on the sport programme for 2016 Olympic Games. OLYMPIC REVIEW19 NEWS INBRIEF