WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Standing at a dais in between two 75-foot tall Corinthian columns inside the National Building Museum, Association of National Olympic Committees President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah made a promise to Olympic Movement stakeholders from around the globe.
Wednesday night at the United States Olympic Committee Welcome Reception in Washington, D.C., Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told the crowd in town for the XX ANOC General Assembly that the ANOC would continue to use its growing influence to pursue a “clean” Olympic Movement, taking a hard stance against doping and illegal betting.
Al-Fahad Al-Sabah joked that the U.S. capital was the perfect place to make such a statement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation just down the street.
While the message was serious, it was an otherwise festive night meant to celebrate the 206 National Olympic Committees represented at the annual conference. Joining the nearly 1,200 delegates and guests were representatives from Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome, the five cities bidding to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Earlier in the day Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, ANOC Senior Vice President Patrick J. Hickey of Ireland, ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg of Sweden and other members of Continental Associations met for the 68th ANOC Executive Council meeting.
The ANOC Marketing & New Sources of Finance Commission and ANOC Athlete’s Commission met earlier in the day as well.
As delegates and guests entered the National Building Museum, they were greeted by the structure’s signature columns, a flowing fountain shooting high in the center of the gallery and a video montage introducing them to American cultural icons ranging from Arthur Fonzarelli and Bart Simpson to Michael Jordan, Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens.
After a meal of specialties from various regions of the United States, Al-Fahad Al-Sabah took turns with USOC Chairman Larry Probst, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in addressing the crowd.
Under Al-Fahad Al-Sabah’s leadership, the ANOC has worked to include every NOC into the Olympic Movement and get the United States more involved.
Probst said the USOC has heeded that message and responded by hosting 10 world championships in 2015 alone.
“Thanks to the leadership of Sheikh Ahmad, as well as Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg and the entire staff, ANOC has never been more professional, more inclusive or more important in the representation of our NOCs and the athletes we serve,” Probst said.
“Scott and I recognized that it was long past time for the U.S., and the USOC specifically, to actively participate in advancing this important movement, not merely accept its great gifts.”
Instead of accepting great gifts, Probst and Blackmun exchanged them, handing three miniature obelisks to ANOC and IOC representatives while accepting a silver eagle from Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.