First Published from 2014. Reviving Article as it does mention the National Sports Academy plans.
Elusive Olympic dream – Mikee Cojuangco
August 6, 2014 – 12:00am
“Sport has become extremely driven by science and even more competitive,” she told The Star. “Many countries have an amazing amount of pride in their success in sports and the benefits it has created not just for athletes but also for national morale and even the health of its individual citizens, among others and thus, invest accordingly. We have yet to grow in our appreciation of that.
We also pride ourselves in having a lot of heart. There is no question about that. But I don’t believe there is an Olympian out there without an extraordinary amount of heart. We will not win a gold medal based on that alone. So while other countries invest in sports for gains beyond medals that are clearer to them. We struggle to keep up. I believe that unless we begin to see sports better in this sense. An Olympic gold medal will remain elusive.”
Philippine Sports Academy
Over the past year. There has been talking of establishing a Philippine Academy of Sports through a private initiative but backed by the Department of Education. There has also been talked of the POC spearheading the creation of a National Training Center. Mikee Cojuangco said no doubt, a more organized and consolidated way to train the country’s national athletes. It is necessary so that programs are properly and efficiently implemented.
“No organization or institution in our country can do it alone. Building synergies among the different players is crucial,” she continued.
“However, roles and responsibilities must be clear to achieve our country’s goals effectively and hopefully, minimize unnecessary semantics. It is also important to remember that it the National Olympic Committee (NOC) that is recognized by the IOC. And as such, promotes the Olympic values in our country.
Oversees the development and promotion of sport for all. As well as high performance sport and selects the team to be sent to the Olympic Games. Therefore, it makes sense that the NOC is involved in all sport-related discussions and helps streamline the different activities.”
Mikee Cojuangco Role of POC
As an IOC member, Mikee Cojuangco said she has a role to play in the POC, too.
“I would like to keep the POC abreast of the policies and developments in the IOC,” she went on.
“I would like to share what I learn as an IOC member and thereby, advance the efforts of the POC. And help the POC adapt these to our culture, our strengths, and our limitations. In our case. I see a very fine line between what are our strengths. And what are our limitations?
“In all we would like to achieve, the cooperation and assistance from the NSAs, government, media and athletes themselves are a must. We will not see progress if we are not prepared to acknowledge where we are wrong, bite the bullet and move forward.
I am desperately hoping to see more effort and less bickering. More positivity so people see the beauty and advantages of sports and less crab mentality. Sports is an amazing tool for nation-building.”
Mikee Cojuangco Olympic Movement
Since her election into the IOC last year, Mikee Cojuangco has been drawn closer to discussions related to the future of the Olympic movement. “All the IOC members have been asked to submit our comments and ideas with regard to the Olympic Agenda 2020,” she said.
“Although I do not have specific issues that I want to bring up. I will certainly send in my thoughts and hope these will be positive contributions. I will know more (about my duties) after the (extraordinary General Assembly) session in December but before then, I have trips almost monthly for sports events, competitions, and meetings.”
The December session will focus on the Olympic Agenda 2020 which Mikee Cojuangcodescribed as the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic movement initiated by IOC president Thomas Bach.
“After each edition of any Olympic Games, the IOC reviews the Olympic program,” she said. “On the occasion of each review, the standards for the inclusion of sports, disciplines, and events may be reviewed and the inclusion or exclusion of sports, disciplines or events determined by the competent IOC organs.
The Olympic Charter, which is the guiding document of the Olympic movement. Lays out the rules with regard to the sports on the Olympic program. And the IOC has policies in place to keep the program attractive. And ensure the sustainability and universality of the Games.
“It’s possible for new sports seeking inclusion to be chosen or not and also possible for a sport currently in the program not to be chosen. But for those sports. Not being chosen and having another sport come in does not at all mean that it will not be on the program again in the future.
The Charter says that ‘the inclusion of any sport in the program of any edition of any Olympic Games. Shall be decided no later than at the session electing the host city of that edition of the Olympic Games’ and that ‘the inclusion of disciplines or events into the program of any edition of any Olympic Games shall be decided by the IOC Executive Board not later than three years before the opening of the Olympic Games.’
I see it as part of the constant evolution of the IOC and thus, the Olympic Games which means policies can be made or adjusted as the IOC deems necessary.”
Mikee Cojuangco IOC Works Closely with NOC’s
Mikee Cojuangco said the IOC works closely with NOCs and international sports federations or IFs to ensure the universality of the Olympics. “The qualification process for the Olympics falls under the IF and the NOC selects the team they are sending to the Games,” she explained.
“Each IF has its own standards and reasons behind the qualification criteria and to use equestrian sport as an example. It must and does include the ability of the athletes to participate in the highest level of competition safely. There is also a responsibility to ensure that the best and most deserving athletes get the opportunity to perform on the Olympic stage.
That said, I am sure each IF has its unique issues as far as qualification, availability of slots, and other matters are concerned.
“The IOC has its Olympic Athletes’ Scholarship and Olympic Solidarity programs that NOCs can avail of to help athletes to qualify and go to the Olympics. As an example, our very own Michael Martinez, the ice skater from our beloved tropical Third World country, was able to compete in Sochi. He is an Olympic Solidarity scholarship holder. Among other sources of funding he received. There are other recipients like him, though not from Third World countries, who were medalists in Sochi.” unbeaten
Mikee Cojuangco said she is in the process of building relationships within the IOC family. “After the Sochi Games, I can say that I have become friends with a few members like Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe and a few of my ‘batchmates’ as well as some members of the Athletes Commission,” she added. “The relationships have many different levels but there is only one ultimate goal which is to put sports at the service of humankind.
“I am very thankful for the pride many of our countrymen have in my election and hope I have their faith and trust in fulfilling my role as IOC representative to the Philippines. This is especially so that our countrymen might also be counted on for the development of sports toward its full potential in benefits for our country because it will not always be an easy ride.
But it will certainly be worth it. One of the most useful first steps must be a clearer understanding of the sports structure in the Philippines by the general public and also what the role of an IOC member is.”
Mikee makes a mark in IOC
August 5, 2014
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 5, 2014 – 12:00 am
Quietly but significantly, Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski is making her mark in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and as one of only 24 women among 105 members, she has been appointed to the Coordination Commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will be involved in an extraordinary General Assembly in December to decide on issues related to the Olympic Agenda of 2020.
Mikee, 40, was elected to the IOC last year, garnering 79 of 97 votes to claim a seat. She is one of only 20 Asians in the body. At the IOC Congress in Sochi last February, she participated in the voting of three new IOC members, Poul Erik Hoyer of Denmark, Ole Bjorndalen of Norway and Hayley Wickenheiser of Canada.
“As a new member, I still have a lot to learn,” said Mikee. “I have been appointed to the Coordination Commission for the 2020 Tokyo Games. It is possible that President (Thomas)
Bach will appoint me to more commissions if he sees fit. I trust that Mr. Bach will appoint me to the commissions he deems most appropriate based on the meetings we’ve had, his expertise on functions within the IOC and the direction he takes the IOC to. A few weeks after the Buenos Aires session last year, Mr. Bach called me in Manila to inform me that he was appointing me to the Coordination Commission.
On the evening of the Saturday that Yolanda hit the Philippines, I again received a call from him expressing his concern for our country and assuring that the IOC will extend assistance towards the repair of sports infrastructure in the hard-hit areas.
In January, there was a seminar for the new IOC members in Lausanne where he spoke to us as a group, had meals with us on the days we were there, and conducted one-on-one meetings with each new member.”
Mikee said it is inevitable that she will always represent the interests of developing nations, women, and athletes in discussions with the IOC. “This is where I come from.
And this is what I know first hand,” she said. “Another thing that makes me appreciate the IOC more is that according to IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper. This is what I bring to the table. And that is very much welcomed by the IOC. After all, having all interests represented will improve the universality and sustainability of sports for the entire world which is the goal of the IOC.”
Before even considering being a candidate for the IOC, Mikee said she did a lot of soul-searching and sought the advice of her husband Dodot and father Jose who is the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president.
“More than advice, they offered support, as did my Mom, sisters, father-in-law, and mother-in-law,” continued Mikee, a mother of three boys. “I think my Dad is mainly proud of me becoming an IOC member.
As for Dodot. What I appreciated the most is the way he expressed how proud he is of me and said that he knew our lives. As a family would change because of it. Most importantly, I have his complete support. Because he wants me to be able to make a significant contribution to the world of sport. I guess that really is the only thing that would make the lifestyle changes and sacrifices worth it.
“You see before I applied for IOC membership, we had a very serious discussion about whether or not it was the right thing to do considering that my priority is really our young. We considered as many factors as we could think of. And also consulted other family members. So when we made the decision that I should go for it. It was a 100 percent team effort. I could not have made the decision on my own because as we are seeing even in this early stage. My commitments as an IOC member have an effect on everyone around me, even the riders whom I coach. Everybody has helped in their own way. In order that I may fulfill my commitments as an IOC member so far. Yes, it is only the beginning.”
Mikee said Bach’s predecessor Dr. Jacques Rogge paved the way for a smooth transition. And must be recognized for his achievements. “Dr. Rogge has countless accomplishments,” she said. “But those with the most impact and recall are that he made the IOC a very financially stable organization. His initiatives on fair play and sportsmanship. Especially through the IOC’s fight against doping and illegal sports, betting, giving women and athletes a strong voice within the IOC and the birth of the Youth Olympic Games. I think Mr. Bach is doing a great job already and believe he will continue to do so.”
It was Dr. Rogge who interviewed Mikee before her candidacy was presented to the IOC Executive Board. “The first thing Dr. Rogge told me was that considering my many commitments, I would really need to make myself available to serve the Olympic Movement in the best way possible,” said Mikee. “That said, I observed in Sochi that the IOC also shows consideration for practical facts of life such as that many of the members are parents to young children, need to earn a living and have other important duties to fulfill outside of the IOC.”
Today, Dr. Rogge remains involved with the IOC as the honorary president. Aside from the 105 IOC members. The organization recognizes 33 honorary members (one of whom is the Philippines’ Francisco Elizalde) and Dr. Henry Kissinger as an honorary member. Elizalde is chairman of the IOC Nominations Commission and member of the Ethics Commission.
In tomorrow’s column, Mikee will take up the issues of
- Including more athletes from developing countries in the Olympics.
- Introducing new sports in the Olympic program.
- Her role in the POC as an IOC member.
- The plan to put up a Philippine Academy of Sports.
- And the chase for the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal.
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