The present Slovak Olympic Committee (SOC, in Slovak language Slovenský olympijský výbor - SOV) originated at founding session on 19th of December 1992. The Ministry of Interior SR registered it on 20th of January 1993. SOC became one of two successors of the Czechoslovak Olympic Committee (ČSOV) that officially finished its activities on 27th of March 1993.The provisional approval of the SOC was made by the IOC Executive Board during its session in Atlanta on 16th of March 1993. The 101st IOC Session in Monte Carlo fully approved the SOC as the National Olympic Committee of Slovak Republic on 24thSeptember 1993.
Previously the Olympic movement in Slovakia developed mainly under the aegis of ČSOV (Czechoslovak Olympic Committee) with the seat in Prague. During the World War II and shortly after it, the first Slovak Olympic Committee acted in the territory of the Slovak State (it came into existence in 1939 and was dissolved in 1947). However, the present SOC is one of two successors of ČSOV which acted with forced war break in the years 1919 - 1992.
An important legal step, that laid down the sphere of action of the Slovak Olympic Committee, was the adoption of the Act No 226/1994 Coll. on utilization and protection of Olympic symbols and on the Slovak Olympic Committee. The National Council of SR adopted it on 18 August 1994.
At the constitutive session 49 members were elected to the SOC. Professor Vladimír Černušák, who had been an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member in ČSSR since 1981, became the first SOC President. After the division of Czecho-Slovakia he was elected IOC member in Slovakia in 1993. He remained its member until he reached the age limit of 80 years in 2001, when he became an IOC Honorary Member. Vladimír Černušák, who led the SOC since December 1992, was re-elected President at the 11th Session of the SOC on 18 October 1997 in Bratislava. However, he resigned for serious private reasons on 19 August 1999.
František Chmelár was elected new SOC President at the 16th session of the SOC on 20 November 1999. Vladimír Černušák became Honorary SOC President. František Chmelár was re-elected SOC President four times - at the 21st General Assembly on 31 March 2001, at the 29th General Assembly of the SOC on 20 November 2004, at the 36th General Assembly of the SOC on 29th November 2008 and at the 44thGeneral Assembly on 24th November 2012. His present mandate is valid until the end of the Olympic cycle and will expire after the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
The first seat of the SOC for a decade was the House of Sport on Junácka street in Bratislava. From 24th September 2002 the SOC has been seating in its own building – Slovak Olympic House on Kukučínova street 26, Bratislava.
The Slovak Olympic Committee created SOC Foundation (Nadácia SOV) and the Slovak Olympic Marketing Company, Inc. (SOM, a.s.), which is fully owned by the SOC.
FAST INTERNATIONAL ESTABLISHING OF THE SOC
Particularly thanks to work that the Olympic Society of Slovakia (in Slovak language Olympijská spoločnosť Slovenska - OSS) under the lead of Mária Mračnová carried out before the foundation of the SOC, and thanks to the national and international authority of the SOC President and IOC member Vladimír Černušák as well as experiences of the Secretary-General of the SOC Ján Mráz (for many years member of the DIS executive board) the Slovak Olympic Committee fast established itself on the Slovak and international scene. It is true to say that the SOC smoothly and without problems integrated itself into Slovak and international sports structures and shortly won an important position.
The positive perception of the activity of the SOC abroad was reflected in a number of important awards granted to the leading representatives of the Slovak Olympic Movement on the part of the IOC and other important sports organizations, as well as in the election of Slovak officials to Olympic structures. The Olympic Order in Silver before the foundation of the SOC was awarded to Ľudovít Komadel (1992) and later during the existence of the SOC to Ján Mráz (1996), Ján Zachara (1997), Peter Šťastný (1997) and Vladimír Černušák (2001). After the change of criteria for the award of the Olympic Order Mária Mračnová was granted the IOC President Trophy in 2007. The IOC awarded the Medal of Pierre de Coubertin to Hilda Múdra (2002) and Bohumil Golian (2006). Many other personalities from Slovakia won the annual IOC trophies and honorary mentions. In 2002 the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) awarded the Prize for Merits to Vladimír Černušák. In the same year Mária Mračnová became the first Slovak laureate of the highest international prize for fair play – Prize of Jean Borotra, that was granted to her by the International Fair Play Committee of UNESCO. The European Olympic Committees awarded Vladimír Miller by the EOC Laurel Award in 2010.
Among Slovak Olympic officials Vladimír Černušák, who had been an IOC member in ČSSR since 1981, maintained his dominant position in the world. After the division of Czecho-Slovakia he was elected IOC member in Slovakia in 1993. He remained in this office until he achieved the age limit of 80 years in 2001, when he became an IOC Honorary Member. During the Games of the XXX Olympiad 2012 the Slovak Olympian and bronze medallist in skeet shooting Danka Barteková won the elections for the IOC Athletes´ Commission. This meant also her election into the International Olympic Committee for the 8 years term. Her approval as the IOC member became reality on 3 July 2013 during the IOC Extraordinary Session in Lausanne.
Martin Benko was an Executive Committee member of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in the period of years 2001 – 2005. Ján Mráz (auditing commission), Mária Mračnová (EYOD commission), Jozef Prusák (legal commission) and Jerguš Bača (athletes commission) worked in the structures of EOC in the past. František Chmelár (commission for relations with EU), Jozef Liba (EYOF commission) and Igor Nemeček (commission for youth and environment) work in the structures of EOC recently.
ACTIVITIES ON THE FIELD OF OLYMPISM´s DEVELOPMENT
Thanks to activities in the field of Olympic development the Slovak Olympic Committee already shortly after its establishment gained good reputation in the international Olympic movement. Until now the organizers of the Olympic activities help the SOC to fulfill its mission. In the year 2010 SOC launched the complex programme of the Olympic education which was mainly focused on schools. Its part is also issuing of publications with the Olympic topics which were supplemented by posters and other materials as documentary Olympic Slovakia.
As early as in 1991 an unique network of regional Olympic Clubs developed in Slovakia – they created the Association of Olympic Clubs of the Slovak Republic; currently they operate in 20 regions and represent so to say „extended arms” of the SOC. They regularly participate in the organization of the Olympic Day Run which is the most important and the most mass regular event organized under the auspices of the SOC.
Olympic clubs are distinctly involved in realisation of long-lasting SOC project – Slovak Olympic Festivals for Children and Youth (OFDMS). The Olympic clubs are main coordinators of the project Olympic Badge of Versatility which was launched by SOC in 2012 and on its shoulders lay also organization of whole Slovakia Olympic Relay with the Mission for the Olympic Games 2012 in London which travelled since 1st of April to 23rd of June 2012 throughout whole Slovakia. The club activity covers the Association of Olympic Clubs in SR that are organizational part of the Slovak Olympic Committee. The Olympic clubs are closely cooperating with SOC environmental commission and SOC women and sport commission too.
High international acknowledgement in the past gained the Slovak Society of Olympic and Sport Philately. It has the important part of spreading of Olympic ideals through its promotional activities, own philatelic exhibitions SLOVOLYMPFILA as also by participation in international exhibitions OLYMPHILEX during the Games of the Olympiad, from which its members brought numerous laurels. In 2011 it merged with the Slovak Society of Olympic and Sports Symbology and together they created the Slovak Society of Olympic and Sports Collectors that is a member of the SOC.
A member of the SOC is also the civil association Kalokagathia in Slovakia, that has been organizing the unique Olympiad of children and youth combining sports competitions with artistic contests and quizzes for many years. Kalokagathia was born in Trnava, where it is organized each even year in summer, but it developed so much that now it also has its winter edition in odd years.
Very rich activities are developed by the Slovak Olympic Academy (SOA), that organizes and manages many activities – seminars, quizzes on Olympism for pupils and students, international Olympic camps for children as well as excursions; its members issued a number of publications devoted to the Olympic Movement in the individual regions and monographs on the individual Olympians. In 1999 the SOC Fair Play Club as the first national fair play club in Europe was awarded the Honorary Certificate of Merit of the European Fair Play Movement. SOA and FPC of the SOC are units of the SOC without legal personality.
The operation on this field is completed by activities of the Slovak Olympians Association, that is a member of the SOC, the sports and environment commission and the commission for women and sport. Since 2001 the activities of all these entitiesare implemented under the auspices and coordinated by the Council of Olympism of the SOC. The headquarters of the Olympic Festivals of Children and Youth Commission and SOC media and editorial commission work independently.
SOC INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
The important activities on the exclusively Olympic soil also contributed to the fast establishment of the SOC on the scene. In 1994 the SOC approved the candidature of the region Poprad-Tatras for the organization of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games (OWG) and helped during the whole bidding process. The SOC provided even more significant and universal support to another Olympic candidature of Poprad-Tatras for the organization of the 2006 OWG. In the framework of the support of the candidate process for 2006 OWG the SOC organised the IV Winter European Youth Olympic Days (EYOD) in 1999. They remain the most extensive and most important international event organized by the SOC.
Other results of the successful diplomacy of the SOC in Europe were the assignment of the 19th Seminar of the Chefs de Missions and Secretaries-General of European NOCs, that took place in 1998 with participation of 144 delegates representing IOC, EOCs, organizers of the following OG and OWG as well as representatives of 46 national Olympic Committees in Europe. Its part was the session of the Executive Committee of EOC. In 2001 another important events were the General Assembly of the European Fair Play Movement (EFPM) and the 4th European Fair Play Conference in Bratislava, at which participated delegates from 18 countries.
In the area of international relations the establishment of Slovak Houses during important sports events proved to be very beneficial for the SOC. Their tradition started modestly in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA and was followed by very successful Slovak Houses at each Summer and Winter Games including Games of the XXX Olympiad in London 2012.
On April 2013 the SOC General Assembly approved the Slovak participation in the bidding process of Polish city Krakow with effort to become an organizer of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games to be held on territory of Poland and Slovakia, mainly in the common Tatra mountains region.
The athletes are one of the main pillars of the Olympic Movement. Like the development of Olympism, they are in the spotlight of the Slovak Olympic Committee. The SOC has been trying to strengthen the position of the athletes in the Slovak Olympic Movement by the increase of their representation at the General Assembly of the SOC, by the constitution of the athletes commission, as well as by the help to the Slovak Olympians Association. Some years ago the SOC has already joined the international Athletes Career Programme that IOC realizes in cooperation with Adecco. The programme helps prepare athletes for their future in post-sports career.The athletes commission of the SOC represents the interests of active athletes – Olympians and interprets their views and attitudes on matters that directly affect the athletes, to the President and the Executive Committee of the SOC.
SUPPORT OF THE ATHLETES
One of the tasks of the SOC is to support the development of élite sport and youth sport. To ensure the best preparation for the Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games and for Youth European Olympic Festivals the SOC always organizes headquarters for particular events which are coordination organs with certain decision power with the position of organizational sections of the SOC and advisory organs of SOC Executive Board. Besides that also commission for sport-talented Youth worked for a long time. In the recent history the projects of Olympic Top Teams and Junior Olympic Teams were organized with the state support.
The Slovak Olympic Committee has since 45th General Assembly of SOC, which was held on 27st of April 2013, and after approval of Danka Barteková as an IOC member on 3th July 2013, altotogether 74 members with altogether 104 votes at the General Assembly. Among them there are 62 collective members in whose SOC is represented by a deputy - it is 38 Slovak sports associations of Olympic sports, 13 associations of non-Olympic sports and 11 other organizations, or institutions acting in the field of sports. Collective members designate their representative for each General Assembly of the SOC and potential change of the present representation are obliged to be reported to the secretarial of SOC in advance.
STRUCTURE OF THE SOC
Altogether 30 of 38 so called Slovak Olympic sports associations possess 2 votes each at the SOC General Assembly. Unlike the structure of international Olympic sports federations Slovakia records four cases where sports that are roofed by one federation at the international level, have two different sports associations in SR – the artistic and the rhythmic sports gymnastics (globally managed by FIG), flat-water canoeing and white-water slalom (ICF), figure and speed skating (ISU) and swimming and water polo (FINA). Consequently the number of member Olympic sports associations in the SOC (38) exceeds the existing number of international sports federations of Olympic sports (35), with missing rugby federation (at the moment it is not approved by its international federation). Those 8 federations possess 1 vote eachat the SOC General Assembly. The same voting right have the other 24 collective members.
Other 12 SOC members have individual membership. At present it is related to the SOC president, IOC member in Slovakia, then 5 members who were elected for a yearly functional period of the Olympic cycle as outstanding personalities and 5 Olympians, delegates of the SOC athletes commission in the General Assembly (chairman of the commission is the ex officio member of the SOC Executive Board too).
Regarding the internal structure of the SOC organizations, besides the abovementioned organizational sections and commissions also SOC legislative commission, SOC media and editorial commission, SOC commission for sport medicine and sport sciences, SOC commission for international and EU relations and the SOC economic commission are active.