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  • Paralympic Leaders Elect Next President, Consider Russian Participation -- Monday Memo


    (ATR) Big changes are on tap this week for the Paralympic Movement as leaders of the International Paralympic Committee gather in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

    The 2017 IPC General Assembly will be president Philip Craven's last at the helm of the organization. (ATR)
    The week of important meetings began with the IPC Governing Board session from Sep. 3-4. Here, the 15 members – led by IPC president Philip Craven – will finalize the medal program and athlete quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

    The Governing Board will also hear a report from the independent taskforce monitoring Russia’s doping reforms. The country was suspended ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympics due to the damning McLaren Report that uncovered state-sponsored doping programs that affected both Olympians and Paralympians in Russia.

    The IPC Conference then begins on Sept. 5 with the first day analyzing diversity in the Paralympic Movement, the cost of Paralympic Competition and potential future sports and disciplines to add to the Paralympic Games program.

    Day two of the conference features campaign speeches by the four candidates seeking to become the next IPC president: Patrick Jarvis, Andrew Parsons, John Petersson and Haidi Zhang. The election of the next president will be held on Sept. 8 along with the vice president and 10 member at large positions on the board.

    Sept. 6 will also feature president Craven updating the media and IPC on the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee. This briefing will likely determine Russia’s ability to participate in the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics under the Russian flag and not as neutral athletes.

    Munich 1972 Massacre Memorial Opens

    A rendering of the memorial in the Munich Olympic Park (Munich Memorial)
    Forty-five years after the deadliest attack on an Olympic Games, a new memorial is set to open in the Munich Olympic Park.

    The memorial will open Sept. 6 honoring the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and one German police officer who died in the terrorist attack during the 1972 Olympics. The attack was carried out by a band of Palestinians.

    High level delegations from the IOC, Germany, Israel and officials from all over the world will attend. Family from all 11 Israeli victims will also be present.

    The memorial will be located between the Munich Olympic Stadium and the site of the 1972 Olympic Village. It is the first permanent, dedicated museum commemorating the victims in Munich, joining past memorials scattered around the world.

    More importantly, the project’s impetus came from IOC President Thomas Bach, who found a partner in the Bavarian state government. Bach is the first German to lead the IOC, and used his clout to push for the memorial. The idea of a permanent project languished under earlier IOC presidents, who organized memorial services for the families of those affected ahead of previous Olympic Games.

    Dr. Steven Ungerleider, IOC consultant and International Paralympic Committee board member, told Around the Rings the location for the memorial was deliberately chosen for its greatest impact. Ungerleider, among others, was part of a group put together to oversee the project.

    The group worked together with the IOC, the Bavarian government, and the Israeli victims, coordinating everything from choosing an architect to the memorial’s location. The group even helped produce a documentary “Munich ’72 and Beyond” about the massacre.

    The Foundation for Global Sports Development has made the documentary free to view for the public via its YouTube channel. Viewers may stream the 29-minute documentary for free from Sep. 1-15.

    ATR reporter Aaron Bauer will be on the scene for the opening of the memorial to the fallen athletes.

    Taekwondo World Peace Festival Concludes

    World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue (r) and OCOG chairman Yang Woo Park (Taekwondo World Peace Festival)
    The annual Taekwondo World Peace Festival ends its celebration on Sept. 4 in Seoul, South Korea.

    The three-day festival is taking place at Gwanghwamun with the slogan “Connected to the World”. The second edition of the festival once again commemorates Taekwondo Day, the day taekwondo was admitted to the Olympic Games – Sept. 4, 1994.

    Five organizations are co-hosting the event, including World Taekwondo, the Global Taekwondo Support Foundation for Peace and Unification, Kukkiwon, the Korea Taekwondo Association and the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation.

    The goal of the festival is to increase awareness about the Olympic sport so that it may retain its Olympic program status up until the 2028 Summer Games. Organizers also hope to promote the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics that will take place in the Korean resort town in February.

    Organizers invited 300 famous taekwondo athletes and more than 20,000 taekwondo practitioners to participate in the festival. The hosts expect a total audience of more than 100,000 people throughout the three-day ceremony.

    The 2016 and inaugural edition of the event took place over the course of just one day. Organizers believe the extended festival with more diverse events will fuel greater appreciation and awareness of the sport.

    Written by Kevin Nutley and Aaron Bauer.

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