LOS ANGELES - The International Olympic Committee 5th World Conference on Women and Sport opens today in Los Angeles for 750 delegates from 140 countries. The three-day IOC event - hosted jointly by the U.S. Olympic Committee and Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games - will analyze the progress made within the Olympic Movement and identify ways to improve and increase the participation of women in sport.
"We're pleased to be returning to a city with such great Olympic history," said IOC President Jacques Rogge. "As we join the leaders of the Olympic Movement in working toward the common goal of advancing women in sport, our memories will be taken back to those magical two weeks in 1984 when the world turned its eyes on Los Angeles."
The quadrennial conference is being held in the Americas for the first time and coincides with the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the 1972 landmark federal legislation milestone that opened the door for girls and women to participate in high school and college athletics.
"This critical conference falls during an especially significant time, as we reflect on the impact that Title IX has had in this country," said Anita DeFrantz, the senior U.S. IOC member and chair of the IOC Women and Sport Commission. "While we have seen a substantial growth in female participation in all aspects of sport, we recognize that there is more to be done and this conference will provide a forum to share ideas among the worldwide Olympic Movement."
Under the theme "Together Stronger: The Future of Sport," the global event is co-chaired by two-time Olympic figure skating medalist Michelle Kwan and Hollywood producer Frank Marshall, under the direction of DeFrantz.
"Together Stronger really reflects the purpose of this conference," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "By gathering some of the most influential and prominent leaders - both men and women - from around the world, we hope to use collaboration and partnership to further advance the idea of equality in the Olympic Movement and beyond."
Beyond numerous notable IOC members, the long list of distinguished speakers and participants includes Rogge; actress Geena Davis; Lord Sebastian Coe, president of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games; Billie Jean King, tennis legend and women's equality advocate; Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Olympic medalist swimmer and Title IX expert; Donna de Varona, Olympic champion swimmer; and various other Olympians and Paralympians.
Other participants include Blackmun and USOC Chairman Larry Probst, along with representatives from National Olympic Committees, International and National Sport Federations, non-governmental bodies, global companies, universities and the United Nations system.
The event will officially open tonight at L.A. Live with a kickoff dinner and celebration of the 2012 IOC Women and Sport Awards, during which Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a special Hollywood guest will be on hand. The remainder of the conference will take place at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live.
"A lot of thoughtful time and effort has gone into ensuring that the IOC World Conference on Women and Sport is a very special event," said SCCOG President David Simon. "We have rolled out the red carpet for our worldwide friends and colleagues, who will be privy to great events and important discussions, as well as Los Angeles' Olympic history."
The conference program includes four plenaries: Leadership Views on Women in the World of Sport, Partnerships for Progress, Role Models and Leadership, and Growing Up in a Gender-Balanced Society. In addition, eight breakout dialogue sessions will take place with topics ranging from sustainable responsibility, government and education, to the business of sport, medical issues and the media.
For more information and a full list of speakers, visit womenandsport2012.com.
ABOUT THE IOC
The International Olympic Committee is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement. Acting as a catalyst for collaboration between all parties of the Olympic family, from the National Olympic Committees, the International Sports Federations, the athletes, the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games, to the TOP partners, broadcast partners and United Nations agencies, the IOC shepherds success through a wide range of programs and projects. On this basis, it ensures the regular celebration of the Olympic Games, supports all affiliated member organizations of the Olympic Movement and strongly encourages, by appropriate means, the promotion of the Olympic values.
ABOUT THE USOC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., the U.S. Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements throughout the country. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.
ABOUT THE SCCOG
Formed in 1939, the SCCOG is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the Olympic Movement in Southern California. Since its inception, the SCCOG has bid for the Olympic Games on behalf of and in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles. Further information can found at sccog.org