For three days, 22 to 24 September, representatives of NOC Athletes’ Commissions are meeting in a hybrid event in Pacific Harbour, Fiji, to discuss their issues and concerns, celebrate success, learn storytelling through media and social media, create action plans, and hold elections.
The NOC Athletes’ Commissions and the continental ONOC Athletes’ Commission operate autonomously from NOCs and National Federations in all settings, ensuring the voice of the athlete is paramount and their interests championed and protected at every level of the sporting movement.
The ONOC Athletes’ Commission (ONOC AC), chaired by Karo Lelai (Papua New Guinea) was established in 2005 and provides support to athletes of all 17 National Olympic Committees (NOCs). It comprises executives elected from the Oceania region. It is part of the IOC international structure giving athletes a voice in every facet of the Olympic Movement.
The Programme for the 5th edition of the Oceania Athletes' Forum is packed with former and current athletes in an inter-generational exchange. This is to share stories, learnings, and to design the future based on reflections from the past.
“Building Bridges, BreakingBarriers” is the theme for this edition of the OceaniaAthletes’ Forum. Held biennially since 2015, the Forum missed its 2021 editiondue to the evolving restrictions under the global COVID-19 coronaviruspandemic. The concept of sharing the vision of ‘building bridges’ and ‘breakingbarriers’ are two-pronged: one is to build bridges between and among athletesthemselves, then their own organising to move outward toward the ecosystem andstructures of sport to facilitate positive sporting careers and experience.
The second is tobreak barriers, some of these long-standing, to enable a transition to stronger,and better performance through self-defined challenges and priorities. Probablythe most significant challenge is that some barriers seem ‘permanent’ and arerepeated in various editions of the Forum over the years – hence the keyfeature of this theme is to signpost athletes to these and facilitate theirdeliberations, so athletes take ownership and leadership of their own journeys.
Transitioning from the Forum theme of‘Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers’, event logo for the 5thedition of the Oceania Athletes’ Forum provides a more direct approach to thebusiness of sport. Drawing lessons from how Oceania athletes, particularlythose from ‘small’ Pacific Islands challenges and tougher pathways to sportingexcellence, the logo depicts seventeen arrowheads (NOC Athletes’ Commissions) pointingupwards or ‘higher’ and framed to mirror the sail of the ancient sailing-vesselin the ONOC logo.
In this iteration, the arrowheads signalathletes to take their passion for sport and transition this to the business ofsport which is the new direction offered by ONOC in its evolving BRISBANE 203210-Year Roadmap – the first-ever long-term athlete and entourage developmentpathway to build a generation of high-performing athletes improve Pacificislands performance at the Olympic Games by up to 500%. Athletes are built toset and work toward goals – every race is structured with the end in mind.
The logo points to the skies –traditionally the place of constellations of stars, which the ancestors of allPacific Island peoples read to make to cross the largest ocean of the world andmake it their home. The logo casts the eye in the same well-trodden pathwaychallenging athletes to read their future into well-structured plans.