Off the starting line
G20 Summit

Off the starting line

Sport holds the potential to make the world a better and healthier place, and the International Olympics Committee invites the G20 to team up in making this vision a reality

With One Earth, One Family, One Future, India has chosen an appropriate theme for its G20 presidency that resonates perfectly with the Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.

The overarching mission of the International Olympic Committee is to make the world a better place through sport. Sport brings people together in peaceful competition. At the Olympic Games, the athletes set aside the differences that divide the world. They compete fiercely against each other, while living peacefully together under one roof in the Olympic Village. This makes the Olympic Games a powerful symbol of peace.

But peace is about much more than setting aside differences. It is about creating a better world, improving the lives of people, so that everyone can thrive. This is where sport can make a positive impact: sport is the low-cost, high-impact tool to support all countries – big or small, rich or poor – to build together a more peaceful, healthier, more equal and more sustainable world for everyone.

This is why the IOC is focused on strengthening this important enabling role of sport and contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Guided by our Olympic Agenda reforms and our Olympism 365 strategy, we are strengthening our collaboration with partner organisations from the UN system and beyond, to advance the SDGs through sport in areas such as peace, health, education, gender equality, climate action and many more.

The contribution of sport to health is an excellent illustration of the role of sport to improve people’s lives. The global Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear how important sport is for our physical and mental health. Sport can save lives.

This is why the IOC signed a new cooperation agreement with the World Health Organization at the beginning of the pandemic. Since then we have developed several initiatives to put the spotlight on healthy living through sport. The latest example is our “Let’s Move” campaign. Over 1,000 Olympians and athletes led the way, encouraging millions of people on five continents to exercise together with them for better health.

Efforts worldwide

Beyond such global efforts, we are also cooperating with the WHO to build healthy communities through sport. This is urgently needed because according to WHO studies, worldwide, one in four adults and three in four adolescents do not engage in enough physical activity. Here sport can have an impact because of its capacity to encourage all people, regardless of age or ability, to lead active and healthier lives – and in this way contribute to promoting physical activity and fighting non-communicable diseases.

We are doing so by improving access to sport, by supporting Sport for All programmes that reach millions of people. We are doing so by supporting the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 to improve the health and well-being of their population through sport.

The slogan of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 is Games Wide Open, illustrating our new approach of organising inclusive Olympic Games by offering people the opportunity to actively take part in the Olympic Games themselves. This is brought to life in several ways. Iconic Parisian landmarks will be transformed into competition venues, bringing sport into the heart of the city where the people are. The public can take part in sports events, such as the Marathon Pour Tous, when over 40,000 runners will run the same marathon route that the Olympic athletes compete on. Already four years ahead of the Olympic Games, Paris 2024 launched an ambitious programme introducing 30 minutes of daily exercise in primary schools throughout France, and this is on track to reach 4.2 million children.

In these and so many other ways, we can look forward to more inclusive, more youthful, more urban, more sustainable Olympic Games Paris 2024. The IOC has allocated more qualification quotas to make these the first Olympic Games with full gender parity. Paris 2024 will represent the Olympic Games of a new era – fully aligned with the Olympic Agenda from start to finish.

As the G20 leaders gather to shape our shared future, I extend the hand of the IOC to join forces in partnership to make the world a better and healthier place through sport.