Thousands of athletes have arrived in London this week for the Olympic Games. These athletes might represent the glory, but the power lies elsewhere. A new ebook curated by Andrew Jennings, the scourge of IOC and FIFA corruption, profiles, in great detail, every member of the IOC. This is the introduction to the book, which appears in full via a link at the end.
Meet the real International Olympic Committee, the folk who will be in the priority traffic lanes, the best hotels and best seats in London– and at every Olympics. They produce their own bland mini-biographies. We have tried a little harder. Some of this information will upset them. That fact it is true upsets them even more.
The IOC in reality is made up of an undemocratic secretly elected group of ultra elite men (only 19% are women, and 10 are royals), and a few token athletes. These athletes are among the only bright spots in the group of 104. They are the only ones elected, by the athletes at the Olympic Games, and the only ones with term limits.
IOC members have been described as unsalaried volunteers. But when travelling on IOC business, their expenses are paid, and they receive a generous per-diem allowance. They demand 5 star hotels, despite athletes only getting 3. Since 2000 there has been a limit on gifts, but we can never really know because their finances are secret.
The IOC has talked about change for decades. Gender equality! Athletes rights! Reform! But little if any real change has or can occur until fundamental processes and values improve. Term limits of eight years should be implemented for all, transparent and democratic elections need to be held, and their books must be opened publicly. These are not unrealistic or unreasonable requests, after all the Olympic pursuit is government funded in almost every country in the world.
Until these changes occur, please meet the real IOC.
Small countries, obscure sports, and elitist endeavours dominate. Small, elitist, militaristic sports have big power. Know anyone who practices (or competes in) Taekwondo? What about yachting or shooting? Yet combined these three sports have 22 members with sport or sports administration experience on the IOC. Compare that to swimming, one of the most populous and popular Olympic sports, which has just three.
Look at perennially popular women’s sports like figure skating and gymnastics and those sports have zero IOC members.
Switzerland, a country that was 33rd in the 2008 Olympic medal count, has four members. New Zealand, with a population of 4.4 million, has two as does Morocco, both of whom are track athletes. The Olympic superpowers US, Russia and China have just three each.
Royals and men, rule. There are 10 princes and princesses on the IOC and at least another two people from military ruling families, most with zero work experience, zero athletic experience, and little if any sports administration experience. Many have of heaps of awards and honours (Sepp Blatter of FIFA lists over a page and a half) but few have real accomplishments.
Strangely, your athletic, work or education background have little to do with your membership on the IOC or of its committees. However the number and type of committee membership does seem to correspond to the lack of an actual reported job. Why work when you can travel the world on the IOC’s dime?
Thirty years after the IOC said they would open up to women’s leadership, still only 19 percent of members are women. Those few women are recent additions and have no real power. Just two women sit on the powerful IOC Executive Board.
Proctor & Gamble, a recent addition to the IOC TOP sponsorship program and by proxy the IOC, does not really care about mums or their daughters; they just want you to watch TV and buy their washing detergent so you can do your family’s laundry. Women athletes, coaches and administrators have succeeded despite the IOC, not because of it. The addition of yet another man to the Executive Committee in May 2012, does nothing to dispel the notion that women are second-class citizens at the IOC.
Plagiarism was the word of the year in 2012, when two IOC Members (Pal Schmitt and Dae Sung Moon), both of whom were also politicians in their home countries, were found to have plagiarised parts of their PhD theses. Both men are still IOC members, because it seems that cheating on your PhD thesis is not relevant to making IOC decisions.
Athletes, the lifeblood of the Olympic Movement, must perform, act, and be one way: Olympian. Athletes cannot say or write anything that criticises the Olympic Movement. If an athlete does tarnish the Olympic” image in any way the IOC threatens them with legal action, or worse, with expulsion from the Olympic Games. Yet IOC members consistently violate the supposed Olympic ethics. Their actions, even when exposed publicly or punished criminally are overlooked, at worst resulting in a slap on the wrist.
Athletes continue to be silenced, taken advantage of and used by the IOC, whose members in turn continue to violate their own ethical rules and the Olympic Charter with impunity.
The IOC has been described as a “family” both by IOC members themselves and critics who compare it to a mafia-like family. But IOC membership itself is often passed from one parent to child, regardless of that child’s (or parent’s before him) experience or qualifications. See Mr Dibos, Mr Singh, and Mr Samaranch Jr., Grand Duke Henri and Shiekh Ahmad and royals Princess Nora, Prince Nawaf, andPrince Albert. Add in the Rana brother-combo inMexico(Mexico’s IOC members are brothers) and it is not what you know, but whose blood runs in your veins.
And what of conflicts of corporate interest?
From Alex Gilady, an IOC member who holds a senior position at NBC to Kun-hee Lee at Samsung, one’s professional life often runs parallel to or interconnected with one’s IOC duties. And if it looks like your private life may interfere with IOC TOP sponsorship, never fear, as in the case of Mr Lee, your government will just pardon your criminal convictions so you don’t lose your IOC seat.
Silence is golden. What IOC members don’t say is often a more interesting indicator of their positions. Rarely if ever do IOC members speak up for those without power. No members from the Arab world spoke publicly about Saudi’s decision to almost not send women to the 2012 London Olympics. Nor did any IOC members speak up for the women ski jumpers who were excluded from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the women canoers who will be excluded from London. When NBC demanded that swimming finals be held in the morning in Beijing for prime-time audiences in the US, the IOC Athlete’s commission said nothing.
In contrast, our biographies speak volumes.
Meet The Real IOC, edited by Andrew Jennings and Nikki Dryden and including full biographies of the 104 current members, can be found here.
Other titles from Jennings, including his Olympic classic The Lords of The Rings in original and updated versions, can be purchased from his website.