News26 Apr 2021

Colombia applauds Banks for Global Conversation


Willie Banks during the virtual Colombian Olympic Committee press conference

In a press conference hosted by the Colombian Olympic Committee, former triple jump world record-holder Willie Banks told the nation’s media that the Global Conversation was a unique opportunity for every federation to “take that information…and hopefully improve the state of athletics in their country.”

Banks, chair of the World Plan Working Group, spoke to a national audience on 19 April in a conference that was broadcast live via Facebook. Banks also told the online audience that it was crucial for the sport to engage more with younger people. 

Referencing some of the early submissions from stakeholders to the Global Conversation, he said: “I think one of the most interesting pieces of information that we have already received is that the fan base that we have is a little older than we thought. And we need to start focussing on the younger fan base, the ones that have been with the sport for the least amount of time.”

Banks, a living legend of the sport and creator of the iconic rhythmic clap, was warmly welcomed by his South American hosts. He said: “I want to thank you very much for having me and allowing me to talk about one of the most important things our sport will be doing over the next 10 years. And that is growing the sport of athletics. With the information that we gather from the Global Conversation, we will develop a world plan. 

“For me, this is amazing, because I am very passionate – just as I am sure the rest of you are – about our sport. This will be the first time that any federation has done such a huge investigation of the stakeholders to improve their sport. And I believe this will help us become in the top two of the world federations.” 

He also emphasised the benefits of the Global Conversation for the sport at national and local level. “Every federation will have the opportunity to get this information from us, from the survey from the Global Conversation and they will be able to take that information to their own country and hopefully improve the state of athletics in their country.”

The event was promoted widely on the Colombian Olympic Committee’s own website and on

You can watch again the conference here:


To take in the Global Conversation and have your voice heard, please complete the survey by 30 April.