From ‘win at all costs’, to ‘win it well’. – International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Safeguarding, a Global Approach and strategy

International Sports Convention, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 20th March 2024

International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Safeguarding, a Global Approach and Strategy

Kirsty Burrows, Head of the Safe Sport Unit, International Olympic Committee

Kirsty Burrows started by outlining the IOC’s approach to interpersonal violence, stating the enormous size of the problem globally, and not just in sport. The IOC take a public health approach because: “Abuse is systemic in society,” she said.

The IOC aim to provide proactive measures to prevent abuse within the context of sport, and that there are appropriate responses to concerns.

Burrows wants to move from a ‘win at all costs’ culture, to a ‘win it well’ culture.

The IOC set up a $10 million fund to strengthen the ability to provide a safe environment in sport.

They have recommended the establishment of regional hubs to provide a comprehensive service, available to anyone who has been harmed in sport. There should be a single access point in the local language.

The IOC are starting with two pilot hubs in Southern Africa and the Pacific Islands.

An International Taskforce should be set up to oversee this.

“We are full steam ahead,” she said.

In addition the IOC are providing services for athletes to support their mental health and wellbeing.

Burrows said of the safeguarding issue: “It is one of critical importance to sport.”