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International Olympic Committee

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The Olympic Movement encompasses a large number of national and international sporting organisations and federations, recognised media partners, as well as athletes, officials, judges, and every other person and institution that agrees to abide by the rules of the Olympic Charter. As the umbrella organisation of the Olympic Movement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is responsible for selecting the host city, overseeing the planning of the Olympic Games, updating and approving the sports program, and negotiating sponsorship and broadcasting rights.

The Olympic Movement is made of three major elements:

International Federations (IFs) are the governing bodies that supervise a sport at an international level. For example, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is the IF for association football, and the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball is the international governing body for volleyball. There are currently 35 IFs in the Olympic Movement, representing each of the Olympic sports.
 

National Olympic Committees (NOCs) represent and regulate the Olympic Movement within each country. For example, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) is the NOC of the Russian Federation. There are currently 205 NOCs recognised by the IOC.
 

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) are temporary committees responsible for the organisation of each Olympic Games. OCOGs are dissolved after each Games once the final report is delivered to the IOC.


French and English are the official languages of the Olympic Movement. The other language used at each Olympic Games is the language of the host country (or languages, if a country has more than one official language apart from French or English). Every proclamation (such as the announcement of each country during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony) is spoken in these three (or more) languages, or the main two depending on whether the host country is an English or French speaking country: French is always spoken first, followed by an English translation, and then the dominant language of the host nation (when this is not English or French).

Criticism
The IOC has often been criticised for being an intractable organisation, with several members on the committee for life. The presidential terms of Avery Brundage and Juan Antonio Samaranch were especially controversial. Brundage fought strongly for amateurism and against the commercialization of the Olympic Games, even as these stands came to be seen as incongruous with the realities of modern sports. The advent of the state-sponsored athlete of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. Brundage was accused of both racism, for resisting exclusion of apartheid South Africa, and antisemitism. Under the Samaranch presidency, the office was accused of both nepotism and corruption. Samaranch's ties with the Franco regime in Spain were also a source of criticism.

In 1998, it was reported that several IOC members had taken gifts from members of the Salt Lake City bid committee for the hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Soon four independent investigations were underway: by the IOC, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the SLOC, and the United States Department of Justice. Although nothing strictly illegal had been done, it was felt that the acceptance of the gifts was morally dubious. As a result of the investigation, ten members of the IOC were expelled and another ten were sanctioned. Stricter rules were adopted for future bids, and caps were put into place as to how much IOC members could accept from bid cities. Additionally, new term and age limits were put into place for IOC membership, and fifteen former Olympic athletes were added to the committee. Nevertheless, from sporting and business standpoints, the 2002 Olympics were one of the most successful Winter Olympiads in history; records were set in both the broadcasting and marketing programs. Over 2 billion viewers watched more than 13 billion viewer-hours. The Games were also financially successful raising more money with fewer sponsors than any prior Olympic Games, which left SLOC with a surplus of $40 million. The surplus was used to create the Utah Athletic Foundation, which maintains and operates many of the remaining Olympic venues.

The 1999, it was reported that the Nagano Olympic bid committee had spent approximately $14 million to entertain the 62 IOC members and many of their companions. The precise figures are unknown since Nagano, after the IOC asked that the entertainment expenditures not be made public, destroyed the financial records.

A BBC documentary entitled Panorama: Buying the Games, aired in August 2004, investigated the taking of bribes in the bidding process for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The documentary claimed it was possible to bribe IOC members into voting for a particular candidate city. After being narrowly defeated in their bid for the 2012 Summer Games, Parisian mayor Bertrand Delanoë specifically accused the British prime minister Tony Blair and the London Bid Committee (headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe) of breaking the bid rules. He cited French president Jacques Chirac as a witness; Chirac gave guarded interviews regarding his involvement.  The allegation was never fully explored. The Turin bid for the 2006 Winter Olympics was also shrouded in controversy. A prominent IOC member, Marc Hodler, strongly connected with the rival bid of Sion, Switzerland, alleged bribery of IOC officials by members of the Turin Organising Committee. These accusations led to a wide-ranging investigation. The allegations also served to sour many IOC members against Sion's bid and potentially helped Turin to capture the host city nomination.

In July 2012, the Anti-Defamation League called the continued refusal by the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremony for the eleven Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics, "a continuing stubborn insensitivity and callousness to the memory of the murdered Israeli athletes."

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