IOC President Thomas Bach:’It’s beautiful to be here’

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach spent his last and only afternoon on Guam visiting some of Guam’s sports facilities, rounding out a whirlwind 24-hour visit here.

Bach, along with other leaders from the IOC and Oceania National Olympic Committee, arrived on Guam Friday evening from Palau, and was scheduled to depart 24 hours later to Hong Kong.

He made the most of his trip, with a reception dinner at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort. And on Saturday, he led his entourage to Matapang Beach in Tumon for the GKCF/IIAAG Kareran Galaide finals. More than 120 racers gathered for the finale under a blistering, postcard-worthy day of high school outrigger canoe racing.

“This is fantastic. It’s a fantastic beach and to see all the kids enthusiastic, that’s a real Olympic experience. This is what sports is all about and the joy of sport,” he said.

Bach visited the Guam Basketball Confederation’s National Training Center, as well as the IOC-funded GNOC building in Maite. He was scheduled to visit LeoPalace after that, said GNOC president Ricardo Blas.

Bach — considered the most influential man in worldwide sports — also addressed members of the media at the GNOC office. He said that the IOC spends $3.4 million per day supporting its 206 member NOCs, or about $5 billion per year.

Guam has an advantage over other countries too, he added. Its smaller size, when compared to other countries and their millions of people, have helped Guam attain self-sufficiency, without depending on a government subsidy to stay afloat.

“You are one of the few NOCs in the world independent of government funding and therefore can develop sport in full autonomy,” he said. “On the other hand, it gives the opportunity to work with the government on specific projects in such a way to establish parternships in mutual respect. This is what we are striving for in the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Movement.”

 Answering a final question, Bach refused to give any hints about the opening ceremonies planned for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“Opening ceremonies must always offer a surprise,” he said. “But you can be sure it will be a brilliant opening ceremony.”

IOC President Bach visits Guam

May 10, 2019 – Maite, Guam

Note: This article is from the Pacific Daily News, a proud partner of Team Guam and the Guam National Olympic Committee. Story posted on May 11, 2019 by Jojo Santo Tomas.

Wearing a fresh lei draped upon him moments before, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach heads to his motorcade after his arrival on the tarmac of the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport on May 10, 2019.

Wearing a fresh lei draped upon him moments before, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach heads to his motorcade after his arrival on the tarmac of the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport on May 10, 2019. (Photo: Jojo Santo Tomas/PDN)

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach arrived on Guam Friday evening, part of a mini-tour of Australia and three other island National Olympic Committees.

Bach landed via private jet along with an entourage that also included:

  • Dr. Robin Mitchell, M.D., IOC Sr. Vice President, Acting President Association of National Olympic Committees and President of Oceania National Olympic Committees
  • Pere Miro, IOC deputy director;
  • James MacLeod, IOC director of National Olympic Committees Relations and Olympic Solidarity
  • Mark Adams, IOC director of Communications.

Bach’s trip to Guam followed a tour of Australia’s Gold Coast. He arrived on Guam from Palau and will head to Hong Kong on May 11, said Ricardo Blas, president of the Guam National Olympic Committee.

Along with Blas and GNOC Secretary General Bob Steffy and several others, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and first gentleman Jeffrey Cook waited on the tarmac for Bach’s arrival. It touched down just after 6 p.m. Leon Guerrero draped a necklace of fresh flowers around Bach’s neck after shaking his hand and welcoming him to Guam.

“To have great people welcome him; the governor, first gentleman, and entourage of government support basically demonstrates Guam’s welcome to the president of the IOC,” said Blas.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, in white, shakes hands with Tony Babauta, chief of staff for Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero while Bob Steffy, secretary general of Guam's National Olympic Committee waits his turn. At left is GNOC president Ricardo Blas.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, in white, shakes hands with Tony Babauta, chief of staff for Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero while Bob Steffy, secretary general of Guam’s National Olympic Committee waits his turn. At left is GNOC president Ricardo Blas. (Photo: Jojo Santo Tomas/PDN)

“I feel very honored. … I look forward to our dinner tonight to get to know him better,” said Leon Guerrero. “He seemed very down to earth, an approachable man, and I feel very proud to welcome him here as the governor of Guam.”

Following his arrival at a reception dinner at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort, Bach met with other island dignitaries, as well as leaders of Guam’s many sports federations and heads of Guam businesses that are stakeholders in Guam sports.

First gentleman Jeffrey Cook, left, along with Guam National Olympic Committee president Ricardo Blas, center and secretary general Bob Steffy, await the arrival of IOC president Thomas Bach on the tarmac of the AB Won Pat Guam International Airport on May 10, 2019.

First gentleman Jeffrey Cook, left, along with Guam National Olympic Committee president Ricardo Blas, center and secretary general Bob Steffy, await the arrival of IOC president Thomas Bach on the tarmac of the AB Won Pat Guam International Airport on May 10, 2019. (Photo: Jojo Santo Tomas/PDN)

On May 11, Bach was scheduled to tour the GNOC facilities in Maite and meet members of GNOC’s Athlete’s Commission, more members of Guam’s sports federations and aspiring members of Guam’s national teams following a news conference set for 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

Guam granted International Gymnastics Provisional membership

May 8, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Guam has officially joined the global gymnastics community following the endorsement of the Guam Gymnastics Federation (GGF) as a provisional affiliated member of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) at the governing body’s Council meeting in St Petersburg, Russia on May 3, 2019.

The Guam Gymnastics Federation, an associate member of the Guam National Olympic Committee, becomes the eighth National Federation in the Oceania Gymnastics Union (OGU) – the newest FIG Union just ratified in December 2018. 

Guam Gymnastics Federation’s endorsement follows significant work over many months by the GGF Board of Directors and Secretary General, Brooke Kneebush.

“Becoming a member of the FIG and OGU will create a platform to make the sport more empowering for Guam’s gymnasts, dancers, and cheerleaders,” said Jayne Flores, GGF President. “FIG and OGU membership will allow the GGF access to regional and international training, coaching, and funding opportunities. We are thrilled to have been granted this membership,” said Flores.

OGU President and FIG Executive Committee member, Kitty Chiller, said the endorsement of Guam’s membership highlights the growing interest in Oceania gymnastics.

“On behalf of every National Federation in the OGU, we welcome Guam to the Union and to the broader international gymnastics community,” Ms Chiller said.

“President Jayne Flores and the Guam gymnastics community have worked very hard to ensure the sport has the best potential to develop and offer broad benefits to the region’s passionate and growing gymnastics member base. Being part of the FIG is a significant step to achieving their longer-term goals and we wish them all the best as they work towards obtaining full FIG membership at the next FIG Congress, in 2020,” added Chiller.

The GGF was first established in 2015 and currently includes six member clubs that encompass competitive gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading.

Since the first Oceania Gymnastics Development visit to Guam in 2015, Gymnastics Australia experts have been providing support to coaches, judges, gymnasts, dancers and cheerleaders including video feedback and analysis of skills, and feedback and analysis of gymnastics routines in preparations for competitions. Guam gymnasts aspire to compete at FIG events including future World Championships and future Olympic Games.

For further information contact: Jayne Flores, GGF President, at 483 6409 or atguamgymnastics@gmail.com, or Kitty Chiller, OGU President, at kchiller@gymnastics.org.au

IOC President Bach to visit Guam

(EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) International Olympic Committee President (IOC) Thomas Bach poses during a photo call on January 9, 2014 in Tauberbischofsheim, Germany.

MEDIA RELEASE – Thursday, 2 May 2019

Article by Jayne Flores, Guam Gymnastics Federation President

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, will visit Guam on May 10-11. Rick Blas, Guam National Olympic Committee President, says Bach will meet with our stakeholders, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, Guam’s national teams, future athletes and tour GNOC and sports facilities while on island.  

“We are thrilled that IOC President Bach will be visiting us on Guam,” said Blas. “For someone of his stature in the Olympic realm to spend time with our athletes is very inspiring,” the GNOC president added.

A German lawyer and former Olympic foil fencer, Mr. Bach is the ninth IOC president. He is traveling from Palau along with Dr. Robin Mitchell, Acting ANOC President, ONOC President & IOC Member; Pere Miro, IOC Deputy Director; James MacLeod, IOC Director of NOC Relations and Olympic Solidarity; Sarah Friberg, Executive Assistant to the IOC President; Marina Baramia, IOC Personal Assistant; Greg Martin, IOC Image and Production Management; and Mark Adams, IOC media representative.

President Bach will arrive on Guam the evening of Friday, May 10th. On Saturday, May 11th, a media conference with President Bach will be held at 3:00 p.m. on the 3rd floor of the GNOC headquarters in Maite. President Bach will also tour GNOC facilities, meet with Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, and meet with GNOC Athlete’s Commission athletes on Saturday before he and his party depart for Hong Kong.

A former member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation Executive Board, Mr. Bach was elected to a six-year term as IOC President at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires on September 10, 2013. He succeeds Jacques Rogge, who served as IOC President from 2001 to 2013. President Bach will be eligible to run for a second six-year term at the 130th IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 24, 2019.

President Bach was a member of the West German gold-medal winning team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. He also took home silver, gold, and bronze team medals at the 1973, 1977 and 1979 world championships, respectively.

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