It was Mahatma Gandhi who famously said, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world". Whether forceful like a tidal wave or incrementally like a glacier, change is always hard. The hardest part is accepting that you need to change, harder still when you are a group of more than one hundred independent strong-minded members from around the world all needing to be of one mind.   .

But together the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members came together with one mind - they understood that the world has changed and that we have to continue to change with it. They agreed to a man and woman to support the forty recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 that will change our organisation and Olympic sport and make it fit for the future.

But why now? For me this is an easy answer. The Olympic Movement has rarely been stronger. We have had two exceptional Games in 2012 and 2014. We enjoy financial stability and redistribute more than 90 per cent of our revenues to sport and to the athletes - that is over $3 million (£2 million/€2.5 million) every single day going to support worldwide sport. Being strong and in good health is important to any change programme. The world is changing faster than ever so we need to be in the driving seat rather than sitting in the back being driven by others.

The world is more fragile, fragmented and individualised than ever. Our messages of tolerance, solidarity, friendship and peace are more important today than ever before. But if we want to strengthen the relevance of our Olympic Message people have to hear that message, they have to understand what we are endeavoring to do and they have to believe in our integrity to deliver.

We have listened to people's concerns we have listened to the questions people have about the access and affordability of the Olympic Games, about our governance, our finances, our values and our social and community responsibility. In short, we hear that people want to understand more about our sustainability, our credibility and the plans we have to engage young people. They want to understand how the Olympic Movement and its values can play a role in making the world a better place.

We have spent the past year addressing these concerns and tackling the next question, which is what to change in order to make the progress we seek. The IOC is a values-based organisation so it was not enough to change just for the sake of change. For us change has to be more than a cosmetic effort or just a procedure, change has to have a goal. This goal is progress. Progress for us means strengthening sport in society through our values.

The decisions we collectively made mean we now have embraced a new philosophy in the bidding procedure which will enable cities each to target their own different development goals. Bidding will not be a 'one size fits all' solution. We need to understand how the Olympic Games can fit into the social, economic and sporting interests of a city or region. We will respect and encourage diversity in bidding in the same way we have also enshrined diversity and the prohibition of discrimination in the fundamental principles of Olympism.

We have also strengthened our good governance, transparency and ethics. Our financial statements will be prepared and audited by the benchmark International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and even to a higher standard than is strictly legally necessary.

We will provide an annual activity and financial report, including the allowance policy for IOC Members, which will give evidence for the fact that the IOC Members are genuine unpaid volunteers. We already have an independent Ethics Commission but in common with good governance practice of many large corporations we will also create the position of a compliance officer.

When it comes to young people we cannot forget that they are our future. As a sports organisation we cannot be satisfied only with increasing numbers of young people watching the Olympic Games. Only children playing sport can be future athletes. Only children playing sport can enjoy the educational and health values of sport. We want to inspire these children by giving them better access to sport. We want to engage with them wherever they are. We want sport on more school-curricula world-wide.

We have adopted plans to allow the sports programme to more easily allow the inclusion of new sports that appeal to the young. I am also delighted with the recommendation to create an Olympic Channel. We must give our athletes and sports the world-wide media exposure they deserve between Olympic Games, connecting the athletes with their fans, the fans with sport 365 days a year.

The recommendations the Olympic Movement has passed are all about progress, progress in safeguarding the Olympic values and progress in strengthening sport in society. They are the individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but put together these individual pieces come together to provide a picture of progress.

And now our work begins. We have come together and agreed our roadmap for the future. Changes that I believe will shape the Olympic Movement to be fit to speak to a new generation of fans and athletes.

In the same way as our founder, Pierre de Coubertin set out on a journey over a century ago we carry the hopes and dreams of the world's athletes to turn these recommendations into progress and to drive unity in diversity through our actions. We are shaping a brighter future for the athletes and the Olympic Movement. Just as Pierre de Coubertin did before us, we will all "be that change".

Together we will deliver an Olympic future for this magnificent, truly global Olympic Movement.


While shot putter Cleopatra Borel is grateful for being the recipient of the T&T Olympic Committee’s Sportswoman of the Year honour for the second consecutive year, she wants to use her star power to tackle obesity locally. Speaking to the T&T Guardian at the post awards ceremony held at Theatre 1 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on Frederick Street in Port-of-Spain on Monday, she said, “Your question actually speaks to one of my passions. I have a Masters (degree) in health promotions. Obesity is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. Going after kids… going after young people… getting people involved in sport–not just competitively–but to teach an active lifestyle…to teach healthy living…to teach a holistic way of living not just work and burning yourself out.”

Borel added, “I believe if we bring in the young people–the young kids–then the families will get involved, because kids don’t do anything without their parents involved and then we have a movement where we value our health in T&T. Sincerely that’s the most important thing that we have: being healthy and enjoying life. We live on a beautiful island. There is no excuse not to go outside.” She believed that the resurgence of community games especially in rural areas was vital to fighting the obesity scourge, while developing athletes. Borel said she was proof of a top athlete from the rural community of Mayaro. “Many times the opportunities that I had to compete against individuals—to see how good I was up against kids my age—came at community sports…employee sport programmes from my dad’s workplace from running the egg and spoon race to sack race. These are all really important to me. We have to go back to basics now, especially in this technological age.

I think it’s a really good idea to have community games. Build up to the games and have a community championship! Make it exciting!” she said. Borel added, “We have to bring people back outdoors. We are not outdoors as we used to be, which leads to a sedentary lifestyle. We live on an island. It’s sunny all year round. There is no reason why we cannot have a community beach volleyball tournament. Bring the people out to play.” Fielding questions on the role she believed sponsors could play in sustaining community sporting activities, she expressed optimism that companies were willing to give back to this country. “This is a great avenue where we can really see what the young people are made of and it’s a great place to establish your brand, establish your product and loyalty to your brand. I think at the community level, it’s really where things happen in T&T; in small villages across the island,” she said.

On the issue of women in sport and spiralling crime, Borel said, “I think that we have to empower women. Sport empowers women all the time. It’s a great way for us to teach our sisters how to stand up to the stresses of life here in T&T and just to do well, do better. Perhaps our crime solutions need to be led by women.” Commenting on the discipline needed to sustain success, she said, “The work that went in training was unbelievably punishing. It is unbelievable how much athletes have to go through and how much we do to perform well, while representing T&T. It’s nice to be recognised.”


Michel Platini will be the sole candidate in the 2015 UEFA Presidential election campaign, the governing body for European football has confirmed.

The Wednesday (December 24) deadline for submissions to run for President of UEFA has passsed with incumbent Platini the only candidate to put themself forward for the role as head of the organisation.

"Only one candidate has been announced: current UEFA President Michel Platini, who will be seeking a third four-year term of office from 2015 to 2019," a UEFA statement confirmed.

Platini was first elected for the post of UEFA President in January of 2007 and was re-elected for a second term in March of 2011.

The 59-year-old Frenchman, who made 72 international appearances and led his country to victory at the 1984 European Championships, and considered to be one of the greatest footballers following a career at Saint-Étienne and Juventus.

Platini had been widely expected to stand for the President of world governing body FIFA but announced earlier this year that he would not stand against Sepp Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term.  

UEFA also announced the deadline for the positions up for election at the the European governing body's Congress in Vienna is January 24.

That is exactly two months before the Congress is due to take place in the Austrian capital on March 24.

"These remaining positions concern seven members of the UEFA Executive Committee," UEFA added.

"Also, the Vienna Congress will see the election of a FIFA vice-president, a FIFA vice-president representing the four British Associations, and a FIFA Executive Committee member."

The other eight Executive Committee members will be elected in 2016 after the European Championships in France.


Commonwealth 800 metres silver medallist succumbs to cancer

Olympian Benedict “The Rolls Royce” Cayenne has passed away.

Cayenne, who represented Trinidad and Tobago with distinction at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexico, died on Saturday in the United States, losing his battle with cancer. The University of Maryland graduate was 70.

At the ‘68 Games, Cayenne advanced all the way to the men’s 800 metres final. He returned a time of one minute, 48.2 seconds to finish second in his first round heat. The Barrackpore-born half-miler clocked 1:46.8 for fourth spot in the opening semifinal. And in the championship race, he finished eighth in 1:54.3.

Cayenne’s close friend and Olympic teammate, Edwin Roberts remembers Cayenne’s battle with the high altitude of Mexico City.

“Benedict was always a great runner,” Roberts tells the Express. “He was very surprising when he went to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. In the first round, when he finished, he fell down, and the guy came down and gave him oxygen. The second round, they came out and gave him oxygen. The third round, which was the final, they ran out there, but Benedict stood up. He didn’t have to get oxygen.”

In 1968, Cayenne became the first T&T athlete to reach an Olympic Games 800m final. No one has yet matched the feat.

Also in Mexico City, George Simon, Euric Bobb, Cayenne and Roberts combined for sixth spot in the men’s 4x400m relay.

Cayenne’s greatest achievement came at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland. He became T&T’s first Commonwealth Games 800m medallist, earning silver in 1:47.42. Again, this feat is still unmatched.

At the same Games, Melville Wong Shing, Cayenne, Kent Bernard and Roberts teamed up for 4x400m silver.

“The best race Benedict ran,” says Roberts, “is when he was in Edinburgh for the Commonwealth Games. He did very well there. He ran a very smart race – in the 800 and the 4x4.”

Cayenne also earned precious metal at the 1966 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He bagged bronze in the men’s 800m, and was part of the T&T team that secured 4x400m silver.

“Sad to say,” Roberts laments, “we will miss a great person. He got along very, very well with the athletes, and has lived a good life. He travelled with me all over Europe – Germany, France, Italy, Sweden... he used to go all over and run. Benedict’s career was a great career.”

In his younger days, Cayenne served T&T as a member of the police service.


Dexter St Louis together with Michael Hyatt from Jamaica, Guiremello Munoz of Mexico and a representative from Honduras all received lifetime achievement awards from the CAC Table Tennis Organizers and the regional table tennis governing body - LATTU (Latin American Table Tennis Union).

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Sportswoman of the Year, Cleopatra Borel, has thrown her support behind TTOC president, Brian Lewis, as he attempts to undertake several new developmental initiatives in the coming year towards achieving his ultimatum of “10 Olympic Gold Medals by 2024.”

Delivering the feature address at the organisation’s annual award ceremony at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain, on Monday, Borel proudly aligned herself with Lewis’ plans.

According to Borel, such a goal is indeed achievable for the 1.4 million populated twin-island republic. The 31-year-old field athlete outlined five key steps to bolster the country’s future Olympic performances.

“The first step is to create a large pool of coaches, sport administrators, sport medicine personnel and support staff,” said Borel. “The staff ranging from volunteers to full-time professionals, will administer training programmes, keep our athletes injury free and provide other services athletes need to succeed.”

She added that the second step is to create a large pool of potential Olympic athletes. According to Borel, recruitment and talent identification by coaches is pivotal. Driving her point home, Borel reflected on the countless challenges she faced as an athlete coming out of Mayaro, where she was not afforded sporting opportunities.

“The next (third) step is to select our target Olympic events. This is necessary because it is quite challenging for any country to sponsor individuals in all Olympic events. This does not mean that we stop participating in a wide variety of events, but more resources must go towards targetted events. We must decide where we have the best chance to medal, and invest in those events,” she said.

Following her third revelation, the 2014 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games gold medallist saw it crucial for the Government, TTOC, Ministry of Sport and the public to assist in providing the basic needs of athletes.

In conclusion, the Commonwealth Games silver receiver said that to produce these hopeful heightened successes, it is imperative that TT’s athletes have the fundamental tools to practice their sport.