A year in review for the IPC Athletes’ Council

IPC Athletes Council Chairperson Todd Nicholson looks back on 2015 18 Dec 2015
Todd Nicholson

Todd Nicholson, Chairperson IPC Athletes' Council


Most recently, members of the IPC Athletes’ Council (IPC AC) attended the 7th IOC International Athletes’ Forum, which brought together more than 100 athletes from 40 countries.

They included Athletes’ Commission representatives from the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), International Federations and Continental Associations and, for the first time, athlete representatives from the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Agenda 2020 roundtable group.

With athletes being central to the framing of many of the reforms, the Forum provided a great opportunity to exchange ideas.

One issue that continues to be raised is what athletes can do once their sporting career is over. This is why the Athlete Career Programme (ACP) has been working with the Proud Paralympian and the IOC Athletes Commission to provide awareness for the programmes. Athletes successfully manage the difficult transition from sport to a new career through professional development and job placements. This year, outreach programmes have been organised around the world to help spread the work of the ACP even further. Many thanks to the IOC AC for the invitation to the Paralympians when providing outreaching opportunities to the Olympians.

The IPC AC has been working hard to create “Athlete Focus Groups” within the sports. Our goal is to create these focus groups in each of the sports that don’t have an Athletes’ Council as part of their structure so that athletes have the opportunity to have a say. Each sport will have its own Athlete Focus Group and identify leaders to continue the athlete meetings.

The objectives of the focus groups are:

• To consider issues related to athletes and provide advice to the International Federation.

• To represent the rights and interests of athletes and to make related recommendations

• To maintain contact with the IPC Athletes’ Council

The Athlete Focus groups shall have the following specific tasks and activities:

• To establish a means of seeking athletes’ opinion on issues of major importance within your International Federation through as wide a network of enquiry as possible

• To keep the International Federation and Sport Technical Committee regularly informed of athletes’ opinion on issues of major importance within the International Federation

• To report to the International Federations bodies on organisational issues that may arise in connection with athletes’ participation at the different competitions organised under the International Federation umbrella

• To provide opinions on specific issues of athletes’ interest that may be entrusted to it by the Sport Technical Committee or International Federation

• To promote a “healthy image” and “fair play”

• To be the link between active athletes and International Federation

• To contribute to the promotion and fostering of the worldwide development of your sport

• To meet once per year at major events

Another major accomplishment this year was the approval of the IPC Athlete Classification Code. This document was circulated and received input from all levels of the IPC. Athletes, National Paralympic Committees, International Federations all provided suggestions to make this document one that we should all be very proud of.

Looking forward to 2016, para-athletes all over the world are looking forward to the Paralympic Games in Rio. The Games will look to improve on the success of the past summer games in London and the other world events that have taken place so far. As the IPC works towards building the IPC brand we will make sure that the athletes remain a top priority going forward.

The IPC AC will be holding its election in the Athletes’ Village during the Games. We are asking and encouraging all those who are competing in Rio to come and make your voice heard by voting. We also hope you can visit us in the Athletes’ Space. Here we hope to provide you with some additional information about what we are doing and get to know how you can make a difference in your sport by being part of the “Athlete Focus Groups”.

If you haven’t had a chance to meet your current members of the IPC AC, please remember that you can contact us at any time by email by going to the following link http://www.paralympic.org/athletes-council

Please get in touch if you have any questions/concerns or if you would like to stay involved following your athletic career. The International Paralympians Association (IPA) would like to keep in contact with our past and present Paralympians. athletescouncil@paralympic.org

All the Best,

Todd Nicholson

IPC Athletes Chairperson