The new service, called "The IOC Athlete Learning Gateway", will go live on 28 May during the 7th IOC Athlete Career Programme Forum in Lima, Peru.
For over a year, more than 4,000 athletes and coaches from around the world have been helping the IOC test and develop the pilot version of the experimental "MOOC" (massive open online courses). Leading academics, sports institutes, sports leaders and Olympians have contributed content for the programme, including courses and live online seminars.
President Bach said: "The long-term interests of athletes are a priority for the IOC. Through Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC has a unique opportunity to act as a bridge between busy athletes and the world’s best academics and learning tools. The IOC Athlete Learning Gateway will allow athletes to shape their futures while still pursuing their athletic careers".
Recommendation 18 of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, calls for support to athletes to be strengthened. This includes the development of athlete career programmes with all the relevant stakeholders and increasing engagement with athletes on important topics related to their careers on and off the field of play.
"This is just one of many important new initiatives being driven by the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, which will strengthen and improve support for the athletes,” said IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair and Athens 2004 silver medallist Claudia Bokel. “This inspiring free electronic platform will give athletes, wherever they may be in the world and at whatever stage of their athletic career, access to educational material produced by leading academics and athletes. This is an important step forward for the welfare of athletes".
IOC Entourage Commission Chair and Seoul 1988 gold medallist Sergey Bubka said: "The life of an athlete is extremely busy: they are constantly on the road; they spend a lot of time training. It is very difficult to find the time to study, to properly prepare for life after sport. But thanks to the many changes brought about by Olympic Agenda 2020, athletes will continue to be given more and more opportunities like the IOC Athlete Learning Gateway. This online tool gives athletes the means to successfully combine sport and education for brighter futures".
The pilot programme for the IOC Athlete Learning Gateway was evaluated by the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, Entourage Commission and a dedicated independent Academic Advisory Board. The IOC President agreed with their recommendation to establish the full service as part of Olympic Agenda 2020.