Athlete wellbeing prioritised for Rio Games

Last updated: 04 Aug 2016 Topics: Working with our partners Elite athletes International sport Disability sport Safeguarding children Type: News article

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are two of the most anticipated events in the sporting calendar. For the athletes, this is often the pinnacle of their careers. In order for athletes to fulfil their potential, we need to ensure that everyone in the athlete entourage knows how to fulfil their duty of care to them. 

On 21 July 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the important step forward of implementing a new procedure for participants to report any incident of harassment or abuse to the IOC Welfare Officer.

In the run-up to Rio, the CPSU team provided training to the British Olympic Association’s designated safeguarding staff and to the IOC’s Welfare Officer for the Games.

Annamarie Phelps CBE, Vice-chair of British Paralympic Association, said:

"I am really pleased to hear that the IOC are taking positive steps to help protect athletes from abuse and harassment by putting in place robust reporting procedures at the Olympic Games. Allowing athletes to disclose concerns in confidence during a highly stressful time is critical to keeping sport a positive and safe environment for all."

Further developments

Last year, the IOC reviewed its 2006 Consensus Statement: Sexual harassment and abuse in sport. CPSU Director Anne Tiivas was a member of the expert group that met to contribute to sharing the most up-to-date knowledge on harassment and abuse of athletes.

In April 2016, the new Consensus Statement: Harassment and abuse (non-accidental violence) in sport was published.

The CPSU supports all UK Olympic and Paralympic sports to put in place safeguards for athletes. We also work with supporting organisations such as the British Athletes Commission, the English Institute of Sport and Paralympics GB to meet Safeguarding Standards.

Peter Elliot MBE,  Olympic Silver Medallist, Director of Operations EIS, said:

"At the EIS, we think of ourselves as 'the team behind the team' as we work to provide sports, coaches and athletes with the best support. Elite athletes face huge pressures to achieve at the highest level, and it is important that practitioners know what to do if they have concerns about an athlete's wellbeing.  The EIS has robust systems and procedures in place, and welcomes the work of IOC to strengthen support to athletes during Games time."

We wish everyone in Rio a safe and successful event.