Delegate Name: Macie Dow
Committee: International Olympics Committee
Topic: Wellbeing of Olympic Athletes
Country: Gabon (Gabonese Republic)
Delegate: Macie Dow, Forest Hills Northern High School
The high pressure and mental strain of the Olympics affect the performance and outlook of the games as a whole. Gabon is a country that has been actively participating in the Olympic games since 1972 and has produced some remarkable athletes such as Ruddy Zang-Milama, the triple jumper who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is crucial to ensure the well-being of Olympic athletes, as they represent not only their country but also the ideals of the Olympic movement. With the surging amount of athletes who have come forward about their mental health struggles with the Olympics, action must be taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the wellness of athletes. As the games grow, the stress of success weighs heavily on the athletes; this stress not only amounts to mental health hardships but overall performance. Moreover, these issues are primarily caused by coach influence, and the priority of success that is demanded of athletes.
The IOC has attempted to rectify these troubles but requires further research and programs to enact genuine change. Conscious of the troubles of athletes, the IOC launched the IOC Olympian Health Cohort, a program aimed at researching the physical and mental health of professional athletes. While the program aims toward the research of athletic health, the cohort lacks the necessary action regarding mental health and the impact of coaches. Coach’s authority is a major contributor to the well-being of athletes that is widely disregarded in the IOC’s efforts. Athletes’ well-being is directly related to their relationship with coaches, and the demands presented can have a greater impact on the well-being of athletes in comparison to the Olympics itself. The IOC’s framework position for safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse is a fair start to developing the processes necessary to help athletes, but it is a baseline. Gabon believes that the framework is lacking necessary procedures and guidelines for coach behavior during the training period, not only for the season of games.
Gabon is a strong advocate for the prioritization of health among athletes and citizens. Gabon is in favor of peace and well-being amid the Olympics and has frequently fought for the healthcare of its citizens. Being one of the above-average healthcare providers in Africa, Gabon prioritizes the health of its residents in the country and Olympics. Through the levies on mobile phone companies, Gabon has been successful in developing its healthcare operation anointed Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Maladie et de Garantie Sociale (CNAMGS), a department praised by World Health Organization (WHO) specialists.
To improve the well-being of Olympic athletes during and outside of the games, Gabon believes that the IOC should take action regarding mental health awareness, and coach impact. Gabon urges the IOC to help athletes through proper funding, and developing programs that take in money to help athletic health. These programs should include mental health resources and counseling services, educational programs on injury and rehabilitation, and equal treatment and support. These programs will help shift the overall image of the Olympics, and Gabon is in support of this change. Gabon must prioritize the well-being of athletes to ensure positive and successful outcomes in the Olympics. By implementing these recommendations, countries can support their athletes and demonstrate their commitment to the Olympic movement’s values of excellence, respect, peace, and friendship.