World Olympians Association (WOA): the importance to promote Olympism and benefit communities around the world.

The World Olympians Association (WOA) is an international organisation established to unite Olympians, to serve their needs and to promote Olympism by bringing Olympic athletes from around the world together and encouraging their involvement in public service.





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During the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, the World Olympians Association held high profile events and group outings to competitions for Olympians from different eras and nations. The programme of events was designed to bring Olympians together to share experiences, meet old acquaintances and make new friends.

The second WOA event in Sochi was a lunch held at the IOC Olympic Club, where the packed room heard from two-time gold medallist Pernilla Wiberg Bjerke (alpine skiing) and five-time Olympian in luge Shiva Keshavan about what life is really like for a Winter Olympian in the Olympic Village. The event gave Olympians further opportunities to mingle with other Olympians, IOC TOP sponsors, IOC members and Olympic family members. WOA President Joël Bouzou spoke about the opportunity that the Olympian alumni have to promote Olympism and benefit communities around the world.

Guests at the WOA’s third event, the WOA breakfast at the official Olympic Family Hotel, heard from IOC Athletes' Commission Chair Claudia Bokel, new IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell and the WOA President on how the WOA, the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the IOC would be working more closely together for the benefit of Olympians and society as a whole.

Claudia Bokel, IOC Athletes' Commission Chair:

"We have a number of very important initiatives for Olympians, including the IOC Athlete Career Programme and the recently launched IOC Athlete MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). By working with the WOA we will be able to extend our reach for these and other programmes and ensure that Olympians benefit from the programmes and projects run by the IOC."

Kit McConnell, IOC Sports Director:

"The Sports Department works with both the IOC Athletes' Commission and the WOA. Our aim is to ensure that they work closely together for the benefit of Olympians at all stages of their lives. We will continue to support them in every way we can so that they can, both separately and together, provide the best services possible for Olympians and so that Olympians are able to give back to society and spread the spirit of Olympism."

Joël Bouzou, WOA President:

"There are many Olympians around the world running projects which benefit their communities. But their inspiring stories aren't being heard enough. By working more closely with the IOC and the Athletes' Commission we can help make the Olympic values come alive. We are very excited about the opportunity we now have to mobilise the Olympian force for good in society along with the IOC Athletes' Commission, aided by the IOC Sports Department.”

In Sochi, the WOA arranged a number of successful outings for Olympians to competitions, which has led to plans for an expansion of the programme at Rio 2016.

Anne Cribbs, 400m medley relay gold medallist at Rome 1960:

"It's been great meeting and mixing with Olympians from all over the world. We have such a wonderful bond being Olympians and it's been so much fun."

Looking to the future, the WOA is currently developing a number of projects and initiatives that will drive the organisation forward. One of these initiatives to keep an eye out for is Olympians Network - a global platform that will digitally unite all Olympians. The platform is on track for a global launch this May.