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32OLYMPIC REVIEW OLYMPIC CONGRESS P reparations for the 13th Olympic Congress entitled, " The Olympic Movement in Society" began in 2007, when IOC President Jacques Rogge made an official " Call for Contributions" to all members of the Olympic Family at the IOC session in Guatemala. At the same time, Rogge also announced a groundbreaking new element of the 13th Olympic Congress, with the launch of the Virtual Olympic Congress. The Virtual Olympic Congress is an important component of the preparatory process leading to the 13th Olympic Congress in Copenhagen in October. Through this internet platform, all members of the Olympic Family were encouraged to provide some insights on the discussion topics ahead of the Congress. But in a far reaching initiative by the IOC, the Virtual Olympic Congress was also opened to the general public, offering people from all walks of life the opportunity to offer their views on any two of the five themes under consideration. This type of public participation is a first in the 115- year history of Olympic Congresses. Designed to " Take the Pulse" of the general public, the Virtual Olympic Congress enabled the IOC to gather a wider range of views on the Olympic Movement than ever before. The site was first opened in October 2007 for contributions from members of the Olympic Family and was made public in January 2008. Participants from outside the Olympic Movement could submit a written contribution of 1,000 words or less on two of the five Congress themes. " This is an exciting time for the Olympic Movement," declared IOC President Jacques Rogge. " Modern communication methods have made it possible for us to tap into the views and opinions of those outside the immediate Olympic family." As he went on to say, " We are pleased with the number of high- calibre contributions and appreciate the efforts of everyone who took the time to contribute". This sentiment was echoed by the IOC Director General Urs Lacotte. " We are very happy with the input from the public," said Mr Lacotte. " The contributions we received were thoughtful and insightful and have given us some food for thought." In total, over 453 contributions were received from the Olympic Family FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF OLYMPIC CONGRESSES THE GENERAL PUBLIC WERE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON THE TOPICS THAT WILL BE DISCUSSED AS THE IOC INITIATED THE VIRTUAL OLYMPIC CONGRESS, A WEBSITE DESIGNED TO ACCEPT WRITTEN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PARTICIPANTS ALL OVER THE WORLD

OLYMPIC REVIEW33 OLYMPIC CONGRESS and 1319 contributions from the general public. A synthesis of the ideas contained in the contributions will be fed into the proceedings of the Congress. The contributions from the Olympic Family and selected contributions from the public will be published in hard copy format before October. The IOC will extend a special invitation to 20 members of the general public, who participated in the Virtual Olympic Congress, to attend the Congress in Copenhagen this year. These individuals will have the opportunity to take part in the debates and witness first hand the workings of the Olympic Movement. No doubt they will take away some incredible memories of their time at this momentous occasion! ¦ LeftThe Virtual Congress allowed the public to give their opinion on the future of the Olympic Movement What inspired your contribution to the Virtual Congress? I thought it was a brilliant idea to let the general public participate in sharing ideas instead of always turning to the same people for ideas. How best do you think the Olympic Movement can connect with the general public and sports fans? I think the Virtual Congress was a good idea to connect, but there should be more advertising for the Olympic ideas and actions; I only came across the Virtual Congress accidentally, although I am very interested in the Olympic Movement. So I think there should generally be more media presence etc. to get the public involved. What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing the Olympic Movement? Currently I fear the doping issue is the biggest threat and challenge to the Olympic Movement because sport is in danger of losing its credibility. Measures have to be taken to prevent this from happening. What sets the Olympic Games apart from other sporting events? The Olympic Games have always had a certain spirit about them, with the whole world united watching and talking about the same events. What sports do you participate in and/ or enjoy watching? I am an active runner, skier and windsurfer and also like doing many other sports such as hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and cross country skiing. I mostly watch athletics and football but am interested in many more. What is your favourite Olympic memory? I have made friends for a lifetime when volunteering at the Olympic Games in Athens and couldn't imagine not knowing them now. Subsequent trips and travels together afterwards, including to the Olympic Games of Torino and Beijing, have deeply shaped me, and I am very thankful for these unique experiences. MARIE KRONBERG GERMANY, RESEARCH ASSISTANT AND ASSISTANT LECTURER, UNIVERSITY OF PASSAU What inspired your contribution to the Virtual Congress? We wanted the IOC to take into account in biddings and negotiations the specific interests and the legacy expectations of " developing and upcoming" countries. This in contrast to biddings from and negotiations with " developed" Northern countries. How best do you think the Olympic movement can connect with the general public and sports fans? Sport does not automatically produce positive effects. Good planning, sustained reflective action and quality criteria for good delivery of sport are needed to unlock the potential of sport. We welcome sponsorship and media coverage however sponsorship mustn't conflict with the ethical basis of sport and the interests of the athletes. The drawbacks of a too intrusive commercialisation are that this undermines the public's belief that positive values prevail in sport, and this reinforces a generalised cynical attitude. What do you think are the best challenges currently facing the Olympic movement? The promotion of the Olympic values is so serious and fundamental that local action is no longer likely to have any effect. Action should be taken at the world level to guarantee its effectiveness. The IOC should take the lead in the promotion in ethics in sport. In your opinion what sets the Olympic Games apart from other sporting events? The IOC ( Olympic values, Olympic family, Olympic academy) is more explicit in identifying and making reference to positive values. What sports do you participate in and/ or enjoy watching? I am an ex- participant in athletics and rugby but enjoy watching all sports ( mainly those associated with the summer Olympic Games - athletics and gymnastics for example.) What is your favourite Olympic memory? I have many individual favourite moments ( Jesse Owens, Nadia Comaneci, Teofilo Stevenson; Usain Bolt; Mark Spitz; Carl Lewis) but mainly the performances of African athletes in general as it shows that " Africa can". ANDRÉ TRAVILL SOUTH AFRICA, DEPUTY DEAN OF FACULTY OF COMMUNITY AND HEALTH SCIENCES