28 January 1997
The official opening of the new IOF Headquarters in Helsinki took place on 17 January 1997. In conjunction with the opening ceremony the IOF also launched a new logotype designed by the graphic designer Anna Jonback from Sweden. The new symbol of the IOF indicates development and positive progress and is a sign of belief in the future. The control marker is common for all the different orienteering disciplines and has thus been chosen the main element of the new logo.
The first item on the agenda of the January 17-19 Council meeting was the Olympics. As preparations for the discussion, considerable research had been done over the five months since the IOF Congress confirmed orienteering's determination to seek a place in the programme of the Olympic Games.
At its meeting Council heard the conclusions of the research presented by IOF President Sue Harvey on behalf of the Olympic Project Team, and after an extensive discussion endorsed a programme of action. First stage is further work on refining the product. Ideas and contributions from many sources will be sought, and all national federations will be encouraged to contribute in order that the Project Team can be well advanced by the time the Council next meets in April. Based on this, the Council plans to present the result and perhaps proposals to the Presidents' Conference at the World Orienteering Championships in August.
One week before the Council meeting an agreement was signed between the IOF and the Sugadaira Ski-Orienteering Committee regarding the staging of an international ski-orienteering event in Sugadaira, Japan. The event is part of the International Cultural Festival to be held in conjunction with the XVIII Winter Olympic Games in Nagano 1998 and is thus an important step on ski-orienteering's way towards inclusion in the programme of the Winter Olympics.
The new working structure of the IOF became operational on 1 January 1997. Council met with the committee chairmen in Helsinki in connection with the Council meeting to discuss the new roles and responsibilities and finalise the manning of the groups. More than 40 persons from 22 member countries are now engaged in the Committee Steering Groups and the Council.
The most significant change in relation to the old structure is that the overall responsibility for administration and development of the foot orienteering discipline is brought together under one roof, in the same way as ski and trail orienteering has already been handled in the past and also the mountain bike orienteering will be handled. Four discipline committees form the basic cornerstones of the organisation, supported by three line committees for maps, event standards and technology development.
Council appointed Finn Arildsen (DEN) chairperson of the Technology Development Committee and Jean-Paul Hosotte (FRA) chairperson of the Mountain Bike Orienteering Discipline Committee.
Council also decided to announce the celebrations of the Centenary of Orienteering. On 31 October 1897 an orienteering event was held in Sorkedalen in Norway. Council therefore decided to start the centenary celebrations at the 1997 World Orienteering Championships in Grimstad, Norway. The Centenary Celebrations will last for a whole year, ending at the 1998 Orienteering World Cup Final in Finland. During this year the IOF will officially celebrate the Centenary at its major events. The IOF member federations will also be invited to take part in the celebrations.
Council endorsed the Ski-Orienteering Committee's proposal that the World Cup in Ski-Orienteering be organised every year from 1999 onwards and approved the 1999 World Cup programme. There will be three rounds with eight individual and four relay competitions. The first round will be organised in Switzerland and Italy on 23-30 January, the second round in Finland and Estonia on 12-20 February, and the final round in Bulgaria on 2-6 March.