United under the spirit of sport for all and promoting an active society, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
This long-term partnership follows recommendation 6 of Olympic Agenda 2020 – the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement – to “cooperate closely with other sports event organisers”.
Under this new agreement, the IOC and the IMGA will discuss the possibility for the host cities of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games to organise the Masters Games in the years following the Games. The two organisations will also strengthen their cooperation in the field of Masters Sports and continue to explore means to promote and encourage mature athletes from all over the world to practise sport regularly.
“The IOC believes that being physically active and participating in sport is of the utmost importance for people of all ages and abilities,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “The Masters Games presents a unique opportunity for mature athletes looking for a competitive atmosphere in a fun relaxed environment.”
IMGA President Kai Holm said: “I am delighted that the International Olympic Committee recognises the importance of supporting masters sport and understands the potential it can have on the legacy of the Olympic Games – not only in usage of existing venues, but also in promoting Olympism in action.”
Masters sport encompasses all sport for mature athletes meeting the age criteria set by the International Federations in each individual sport. The IMGA received recognition from the IOC in 2001. As organisers of Summer and Winter Masters Games, which respectively gather around 20,000 and 30,000 athletes over the age of 35, the IMGA not only builds awareness, but also demonstrates that competitive sport can continue throughout life.
The 9th World Masters Games will take place next April in Auckland, New Zealand, where over 20,000 mature athletes are expected to compete in 45 disciplines across 28 different sports.