Tag Archives: Morinari Watanabe

International Gymnastics Federation Boss Releases Statement Regarding US Abuse Cases

Statement regarding the US abuse cases, following the 132nd IOC session in Pyeongchang

Firstly I would like to express my sincere appreciation to IOC President Thomas Bach for his powerful statement about the abuse scandal in US Gymnastics.

This statement encourages us to continue our work, ongoing already for many months, towards the necessary action.

I can assure you that the FIG, following President Bach’s lead, is committed to doing everything possible within our remit to develop an environment of dignity and safety for the entire Gymnastics community.

I want to show the gymnasts that their courage to speak out against unacceptable behaviour has been and will continue to be rewarded.

To this end, the FIG’s action will be built on three pillars.

The first pillar is to establish a safeguarding commission within the FIG to provide educational material for our national member federations. The IOC has assisted us in this respect with its excellent toolkit on safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.

The second pillar is the involvement of our Athletes’ Commission whom we will look to learn the athletes’ opinions and expectations with regards to the FIG’s operations.

The third pillar is to establish an independent body to which any abuse case can be reported. This will include a helpdesk and the provision of legal support. We are aiming to announce this independent body once the FIG Authorities have approved the governance structure.


However, the most important thing for me is how our athletes feel.

For this reason, I will remain available to listen to the US gymnasts who have asked for change.
I would like not only to praise their courage but to listen to their ideas on measures that might be taken to foster a culture of mutual respect within the sport.

It is together with the athletes that the International Gymnastics Federation can succeed in the fight against abuse and harassment. It is also with the collaboration and the support of the Olympic movement.

As FIG President, the athletes’ welfare and safety will always be my priority and will guide my actions. I will never stop this fight.

Morinari Watanabe

A Promising Step Forward For Parkour Development

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and the International Parkour Federation (IPF) have laid the groundwork for a promising cooperation in the best interests of Parkour to advance the sport worldwide as a recreational and competitive activity.

A meeting of great significance took place between the two organisations on January 23rd, at the headquarters of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The meeting was held in the presence of Morinari Watanabe, President of the FIG, Charles Perrière, one of Parkour’s founders and Vice President of the FIG Parkour Commission, and Victor Bevine, President of the International Parkour Federation (IPF).

During this meeting, FIG President Watanabe reaffirmed that the FIG would respect the autonomy of Parkour while supporting its development under the FIG umbrella.

IPF President Victor Bevine and FIG President Morinari Watanabe signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies.

The common vision shared between the participants led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. At the heart of this MoU is this central tenet:
“The FIG and IPF acknowledge that Parkour is a unique culture and commit to do their utmost to protect the culture, integrity and autonomy of the sport.”

“Last year, David Belle and I made the choice to join the FIG after being assured of the respect paid to the discipline’s identity and of a flexible way of working that is compatible with its development” said Perrière. “We are very pleased to see these commitments reaffirmed today through this exciting new partnership”.

“As long as we can be certain that Parkour will remain autonomous,” said Bevine, “then it is obvious that the resources of the FIG offer tremendous benefits to Parkour athletes and communities around the world. After this meeting, we are confident that the working group understands and will support the unique culture of Parkour”.

IPF President Victor Bevine and Charles Perrière, Vice President of the FIG Parkour Commission

It was decided that the FIG and IPF would combine their respective strengths to closely collaborate in the development of a grass roots educational program, as well as a competitive event structure, an area where IPF has extensive experience.

Though one of FIG’s stated goals is the possible inclusion of Parkour in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the immediate focus will remain on global grass roots development and education among Parkour enthusiasts.

“As Parkour inevitably grows and progresses,” added Bevine, “it is crucial that an organization like IPF, working closely with Founders David Belle and Charles Perrière, remain an integral part of the process to help safeguard the interests of local Parkour communities and businesses and the philosophy of the sport as a whole.”

The FIG Commits To Developing a Duty Of Care Code

As a clear sign of its strong commitment to the protection of gymnasts, the FIG will develop a “Duty of Care Code” which sets up all the policies and procedures regarding misconduct in the Gymnastics world, ranging from prevention and education to reporting, investigation and sanctions.

“As FIG President, I declare that we will not tolerate abuse or sexual harassment in the Gymnastics community,” said Morinari Watanabe. “In the sporting community, we observe the rules because we are educated to do so. But rules cannot be observed only through education and legislation. Severe sanctions are needed. The same level of severe measures as anti-doping is necessary for eradicating harassment,” he emphasized.

Just after taking up his duties in January, the FIG President decided to mandate a working group to review the Federation existing rules in this matter and to reinforce them. This working group, composed of Slava Corn, Jane Allen and Steve Butcher, held its first meeting in Lausanne May 31 and June 1, starting from the premise that “everyone in sport has the responsibility to develop a culture of dignity and safety.”

In an effort to assist the FIG’s member federations, they established the principles of a “Duty of Care Code” providing a series of supporting procedures which are intended to serve as the acceptable standard when adopting and implementing safeguarding policies. It will be the responsibility of each member federation to adopt and implement such policies.

The group based its work notably on the strong recommendations to international federations of the IOC’s Agenda 2020, which provides a framework outlining the key components required for athlete welfare.

As the governing body of one of the top Olympic sports, the FIG fully endorses this framework and these principles, and is committed to strengthening the support offered to all its members by putting the athletes involved in gymnastics, their safety, well-being and welfare, at the centre of everything the FIG does.

“Winning medals is important but this should not be at the expense of the Duty of Care towards our athletes, coaches and members involved in gymnastics,” President Watanabe emphasised.

“Everybody has the responsibility to identify and prevent misconduct, harassment and abuse. Our member federations in particular must demonstrate strong leadership by identifying and eradicating unacceptable practices and implementing preventative programs,” stressed Slava Corn, FIG Honorary Vice President and President of this working group.

The FIG will also develop educational material and provide opportunities to share case studies of best practice to further assist its member federations.

Claudia Schoensleben, Jane Allen, André Gueisbuhler, Morinari Watanabe, Slava Corn and Steve Butcher

The FIG working group recommends also the establishment of an Ethics and Welfare Unit within the Federation’s headquarters in Switzerland.

This unit will not only work to implement the FIG’s policies and procedures for addressing complaints, but will collaborate with the activities of other FIG Commissions who play an integral role in the delivery of duty of care to its members.

The Ethics and Welfare Unit will also collaborate with the FIG Academy programme for coaches to develop educational resources and examples of best practice for delivery at FIG courses, World Championships, events and congresses.

FIG New Executive Committee Meets For The First Time…,

FIG President Morinari Watanabe began to lay out his plans for the development of Gymnastics in announcing the Federation’s new commissions during the first meeting of the new Executive Committee February 21-23 at the FIG Headquarters in Lausanne.

Marking the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Gymnastics, the EC also agreed to the development of a new FIG discipline.

The other main decision expected from this meeting concerned the nomination of a Technical Coordinator for the FIG. Steve Butcher (USA) will assume this new position, which was adopted in the Statutes by the FIG Congress in October 2016. The role consists of overseeing the technical committees of all disciplines in order to establish greater uniformity of the rules.
“I am delighted with this first meeting, which has been very constructive. We made important decisions concerning the future of Gymnastics, which correspond with my plans to innovate and broaden the base of the sport,” President Watanabe said.


Developing a new discipline
Following a presentation and research into parcours d’obstacles (obstacle course competitions) and parkour, already part of the work of many national gymnastics federations including Sweden, The Netherlands and Belgium, the Executive Committee agreed the development of a related FIG discipline. The Executive Committee has mandated the Presidential Commission to continue the development process.
“The FIG is excited to develop a new discipline based on both historical and contemporary sporting practices, in order to broaden even further the appeal of our sport. The FIG’s work will be based on a clear understanding that parcours d’obstacles, or obstacle course competitions, are necessarily artificial. Meanwhile the FIG deeply respects the development of parkour as a non-competitive training methodology, based on obstacles that were not created as such, and with a particular philosophy emphasising efficiency, usefulness and personal development,” said President Watanabe.


New commissions
The President announced the new commissions charged with piloting the different sectors of activity in the sport and named the people who will head them.

Statutes Commission
President: Morinari Watanabe (JPN), FIG President

Compliance Commission (good governance and ethics)
: Morinari Watanabe (JPN), FIG President

Innovation Commission
President: Nellie Kim (BLR), FIG Vice President

FIG Ambassador Commission
President: Nellie Kim (BLR), FIG Vice President

Anti-doping, Medical and Scientific Commission
President: Michel Léglise (FRA), FIG Honorary Vice President

Competition Sector – FIG Vice President in charge: Vasily Titov (RUS)

Competition Commission
: Ron Galimore (USA)

Marketing and TV Rights Commission
: Martin Reddin (GBR)

Development Sector – FIG Vice President in charge: Luo Chaoyi (CHN)

Education Commission
: Jani Taskanen (FIN)

Apparatus Commission
: Ali Al-Hitmi (QAT)

Women in Gymnastics Commission
: Slava Corn (CAN), FIG Honorary Vice President

Steve Butcher, FIG Technical Coordinator
Upon the proposal of the President, the Executive Committee named Steve Butcher to the position of Technical Coordinator. This new role, provided for in article 25 of the Statutes, has been integrated into the administrative structure of the FIG.

Steve Butcher will take up his new function on March 1, 2017. He has chosen to resign as President of the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee, to which he had been re-elected in October for a four-year mandate, to avoid any conflict of interest. With the resignation of Steve Butcher, Arturs Mickevics (LAT) becomes President.

FIG Enters A New Cycle With Morinari Watanabe as President

Morinari Watanabe (JPN) was named as the next President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Wednesday after a landslide election victory at the FIG Congress in Tokyo.
Mr Watanabe, 57, currently Secretary General of the Japan Gymnastics Association and an FIG Executive Committee member, will take up his new position on January 1, 2017, succeeding Bruno Grandi (ITA), who has led the FIG for 20 years.

He will be the ninth President of the FIG, the oldest Olympic sports federation, founded in 1881.
Mr Watanabe was elected by obtaining 100 votes from the member federations gathered in Tokyo, against 19 votes for Georges Guelzec (FRA), the only other candidate for the Presidency.

FIG BANGKOK, Rio 2016 Olympic Gymnastics Competitions,

“Thank you very much for trusting me and believing in me. I am honored to accept the position of the FIG President that was given to me by you,” said Mr Watanabe in his acceptance speech after his victory.
“President Grandi kept challenging for 20 years. I deeply respect President Grandi. The result of this election proves that President Grandi was right in what he challenged,” he added.
“The time has come now for innovation in Gymnastics. Today we sent a strong message to the world. Our Gymnastics is not a sport that is popular only at the Olympic Games. Gymnastics is now and will be the king of sports.”

Mr Watanabe, a sports business management professional, joined the Japanese Gymnastics Association in 2001 with the mission of leading a “Revival of Japanese Gymnastics” following medal-less performances at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. Japan has won medals in Gymnastics at every Games since.

Following the election of the new FIG President, the Congress was called to choose his three Vice Presidents. Vasily Titov (RUS), the only incumbent Vice President to offer his candidacy again, was re-elected in the first round while the two other posts went to five-time Olympic champion Nellie Kim (BLR) – winner of three gold medals at Montreal 1976 and two more at Moscow 1980 – and Luo Chaoyi (CHN).

While the election of the new President attracted particular attention, delegates also voted on all the other FIG member authorities, as is the case every four years.

Luo Chaoyi (CHN), Luo Chaoyi (CHN), Bruno Grandi (ITA), Morinari Watanabe (JPN) and Nellie Kim (BLR)
Luo Chaoyi (CHN), Luo Chaoyi (CHN), Bruno Grandi (ITA), Morinari Watanabe (JPN) and Nellie Kim (BLR)

Technical committee presidents:
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics: Steve Butcher re-elected
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics: Donatella Sacchi (ITA)
Rhythmic Gymnastics: Nataliya Kuzmina (RUS) re-elected
Trampoline Gymnastics: Horst Kunze (GER) re-elected
Aerobic Gymnastics: Sergio Garcia Alcazar (ESP)
Acrobatic Gymnastics: Rosy Taeymans (BEL) re-elected
Gymnastics for All committee: Margaret Sikkens Ahlquist (SWE)

Seven other Executive Committee members:
Ali Al Hitmi (QAT)
Jesus Carballo Martinez (ESP)
Ron Galimore (USA)
Youssef Altabbaa (SYR)
Jani Tanskanen (FIN)
Martin Reddin (GBR)
Kim Dong Min (KOR)

Six technical committee members for each discipline and for the Gymnastics for All committee were also elected along with 21 Council members, five Appeal Tribunal Panel members and two auditors.

Two Candidates Stand For FIG Presidency

The International Gymnastics Federation has received two candidacies in view of the upcoming FIG Presidential election this fall. Contenders had until midnight on May 17 to submit their applications to the FIG through their national federations. The two candidates are:

Georges Guelzec (FRA), 68, President of the European Gymnastics Union (UEG)
Morinari Watanabe (JPN), 57, Secretary General of the Japan Gymnastics Association (JGA)

The Presidential election will be held during the FIG Congress October 18-20 in Tokyo. There, representatives of the FIG member federations will be called upon to choose a successor to Bruno Grandi (ITA), who will bow out at the end of his fifth Presidential mandate in late 2016.

The new president will be the ninth in the history of the FIG, which was established in 1881.