The Rise of Olympic Focus on Youth

The Rise of Olympic Focus on Youth

In our world – changing faster than ever – the success of yesterday means nothing for today.

The success of today gives you only the opportunity to drive the change for tomorrow.

Based on a solid foundation of 100 years of history we have together started to anticipate the upcoming challenges about one and a half years ago.

The challenges we are already facing and more important the challenges we can already see on the horizon.

If we do not address these challenges here and now we will be hit by them very soon. If we do not drive these changes ourselves others will drive us to them.

We want to be the leaders of change, not the object of change.

If I would deliver this speech in a theater I would say with an ironic smile:

To change or to be changed, that is the question.

But this is only part of the answer to the question why.

Because it only tells us that now we have the great opportunity to change.

It does not tell us about the need to change.

We need to change because sport today is too important in society to ignore the rest of society.

We are not living on an island, we are living in the middle of a modern, diverse, digital society.

If we want to continue to put Olympic Sport at the service of society, which is part of our Olympic Principles, we must engage with this society, we must be in a respectful dialogue with this society.

This society is changing faster than ever. This society will not wait for sport to change.

If we want our values of Olympism – the values of excellence, respect, friendship, dialogue, diversity, non-discrimination, tolerance, fair-play, solidarity, development and peace – if we want

these values to remain relevant in society, the time for change is now.

The Olympic Agenda 2020 addresses our communication with the youth.

As a sports organisation we cannot be satisfied only with increasing numbers of young people watching the Olympic Games.

We have an interest and a responsibility to get the couch potatoes off the couch.

Only children playing sport can be future athletes. Only children playing sport can enjoy the educational and health values of sport.

We want to inspire these children by giving them better access to sport. We want to engage with them wherever they are.