Gianni Merlo has been President of the International Sports Press Association since 2005 and has been a correspondent for Italy’s leading sports daily newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport since 1974.
He began his journalistic career in 1967 at the magazine Atletica Leggera. He then went on to contribute to a number of newspapers including Il Giorno, La Gazzetta del Popolo and Corriere dello Sport-Stadio. In 1972, he held the position of television commentator assistant, first for Italian Swiss television and then national Italian network RAI. He then moved on to La Gazzetta dello Sport where he was head of the athletics, winter sport and Olympic departments. Throughout his career, he has covered 12 winter Games and 12 summer Games, and more than 35 World Championships and European Championships in athletics and skiing and other sports. He wrote the biography of Oscar Pistorius. He is a member of the IOC Press Commission.
Vincent Amalvy (FRA)
Vincent Amalvy started out in journalism at regional French newspaper Sud-Ouest. He joined Agence France-Presse (AFP) as a photojournalist in Bordeaux in 1990, before moving to the Paris photo staff in 1992. He was appointed as chief photographer to Jerusalem in 1995 and became AFP Chief photographer two years later in Paris. He was promoted to editor in chief in 2000, and was handed responsibility for the France-Europe-Africa region in 2003, before becoming editor in chief of AFP's global photo operation. In 2006, he moved to Washington to take over as chief regional photo manager for North and South America, and had responsibility for organizing AFP's coverage of global sporting events including the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. In 2011 he was appointed Global Head of Sports in Paris. Since 2016, Vincent Amalvy has been Head of Special Operations and Photo Director for Asia / Pacific, based in Hong Kong. With less than 900 days to go before the opening of the Paris 2024 Games, AFP has announced the appointment of Amalvy as Director of Major Events. His role will be to “enhance the global production of sports content associated with these major events”, including the management of resources, the production by the Factstory subsidiary of tailor-made content for sports institutions and companies, and the development of technological, commercial and editorial innovations adapted to the world of sport.
Jaap de Groot (NED)
Jaap de Groot has been a reporter at De Telegraaf since 1976, and Chief editor of the sports section since 2006 till 2018. Throughout his career he has covered 11 World Cups Football; 10 European Football Championships; four Summer Olympic Games and four Winter Games. He has had articles published in Die Welt, France Football, Newsweek Magazine, Soccer America, World Soccer and a number of other foreign media. He is also a regular commentator on Dutch national radio and television, and has had appearances on several international media, including those in England (SKY and BBC) and United States (CNN). De Groot is the author of the authorized biography of Johan Cruyff (My Turn), that was published in more than 60 countries and in 23 different languages. He is a member the Dutch Sports Council, member of FIFA Players Committee under Michel Platini and former member of UEFA Media Task Force.
Donna de Varona (USA)
Donna de Varona, President of DAMAR Inc., a sports marketing, production and consulting company, is a double Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder in swimming. By the time de Varona retired from her sport aged 17, she had established more than 18 world records and fastest times, competed in two Olympics - the first as a 13-year-old world record holder - and was voted the most outstanding female athlete in the world in 1964-5.
She is recognised for her work as an Emmy award-winning sports journalist, having covered 17 Olympic Games. She has been appointed by three IOC Presidents to the Women in Sport Commission and served as Chairman of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. De Varona has served on the United States Olympic Committee Board and Foundation, the United States Soccer Foundation, the International Special Olympics Executive Board, and is an advisor to the US Department of State Empowering Women Through Sport initiative.
Badreddine Drissi is a professional Moroccan journalist, one of the pioneers of the sports press in Morocco and in the Arab world, with a brilliant journalistic career that dates back to 1978. Drissi, who had a career as a player in the junior categories of his hometown team AS Salé and was part of the Moroccan university team, worked as a sports editor and then head of the sports division from 1978 to 1984 at the newspaper Al Mitak Al Watani. From 1984 to 1986 he was an editor of the famous magazine Assakr in Qatar. In 1986, alongside two of his colleagues, he launched the bi-weekly sports newspaper Almountakhab, considered as a reference point for Moroccan sport, and for which he has been the chief editor from 1986 until now. Badreddine Drissi has covered dozens of international and continental sports events (Olympic Games, Football World Cup, World Athletics Championship, Africa Cup of Nations, Asian Cup). He is a columnist and analyst for several sport programmes in Morocco and elsewhere (Arriyadia, Medi1 Sport, BeIN Sports, Alkass, Abudahbi Sport). He is a jury member for several masters in sport programmes in Moroccan universities, and contributes to debates about Moroccan sport. Badreddine Drissi is a member of the AIPS Sport Media Awards jury, and a member of the Arab Press Awards (Duvai) jury. He was awarded the Royal Wissam of Sport in 1993 and has received numerous honours, both at national and Arab level.
Mark Gleeson (SAF)
Mark Gleeson began his journalistic career aged 20, winning the prize as the best Cadet Reporter for 1984 and going onto be based in Durban and Johannesburg, through which he cultivated a lifelong passion for African football. Gleeson covered South Africa’s admission to CAF at the Dakar Congress in 1992 and has been to every single Nations Cup tournament since then –14 in a row. He has also attended all World Cups since 1986 in Mexico, missing only Italy in 1990. In 1993 Gleeson founded the soccer magazine KICK OFF, and embarked on a career commentating for television, first with the South African Broadcasting Corporation and later SuperSport. In 2017 Gleeson was awarded the Confederation of African Football’s highest award – Medal of Honour (Gold) – and also inducted into the South African Sports Journalism Hall of fame.
Gary Kemper (USA)
Gary Kemper has been a photojournalist for nearly 40 years and currently is a photo consultant for multi-sport events. He helped start the Reuter News Pictures service in 1984 and served as the editor for Asia, Australia and New Zealand for five years based in Hong Kong and as the editor for Europe, Africa and the Middle East for three years based in London.
Prior to that, he was a photographer for United Press International covering news and sport stories around the globe. More recently, Kemper was the director, North America, for the European Pressphoto Agency.
He was the Photo Chief for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Shinsuke Kobayashi (JAP)
Shinsuke Kobayashi joined Kyodo News, Japan's leading news agency in 1987 as a sports reporter. He covered numerous national and international sporting events including five Summer and five Winter Olympic Games. Having enjoyed spells in New York and London as a correspondent, Kobayashi became Deputy Editor in 2010, then Chief Editor of Sports News Section at Kyodo News from 2014 to 2018. He has been Secretary General of Japan Sports Press Association since 2015. He is a member of the IOC Press Committee. He now leads Kyodo’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Games as Managing Director of Olympic and Paralympic News Office.
Roslyn Morris (Aus)
After completing her journalism cadetship with News Limited in the late 1970’s Roslyn Morris worked for The Australian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Mirror newspapers. A move to television saw her join a large regional network where she was bureau chief and on-air reporter/presenter.
Morris joined Good Morning Australia in Sydney as a senior on-air reporter before moving to New York, where she worked for UNICEF, and Murdoch’s Star Magazine. Morris later became an international education consultant and then joined AIPS in 2006 as executive editor of AIPS Magazine. She took on the role of AIPS Secretary General from 2009 – 2016, and is now Honorary Secretary General of AIPS. Morris was instrumental in developing the AIPS Young Reporters Program and facilitating the role of AIPS as Special Olympics International’s first-ever Global Impact Partner. Most recently she was a member of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Media Advisory Group.
Andreas Schirmer (GER)
Andreas Schirmer began his journalistic career at German agency Sport-Informations-Dienst (SID) in Hamburg at the end of the 1970s. After his traineeship and a further two years at SID, he continued his studies in politics and journalism. At the end of the 1980s, Schirmer joined the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), where he works to this day. His reporting expertise lies in athletics, sports politics and fencing, and he has written several books about the history of fencing. He has reported on a total of 16 summer Olympic Games and eight winter Games as well as several world championships in football and athletics.
Steve Wilson (USA)
Steve Wilson is a media, sports, Olympics & communications expert. A native of Washington D.C, USA, he became the correspondent for the Associated Press (AP) in in Rome, New Delhi, New York, Boston and Miami. He was AP European Sports Editor from 1991 to 2017, directing writers and editors in London and around the world and AP’s Olympic correspondent, reporting on all facets of Olympic Movement, becoming the go-to expert on all Olympic issues. He has covered 15 summer and winter Olympic Games and all major international sports, including football, tennis, golf, athletics, skiing, boxing, basketball, and all American sports.
He has also covered multiple IAAF Athletics World Championships, Wimbledon and French Open tennis championships, British Open golf championships and Ryder Cups. He is the winner of the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year’’ and “Story of the Year” awards for Olympic reporting, and member of International Olympic Committee Press Commission since 1991.
Jie Zhou (CHI)
Zhou Jie, Deputy Director of Sports News Department of Xinhua News Agency and IOC Press Committee member, began his sports media career in 1986. He has covered a series of important sports events including all Olympic Summer and Winter Games since 1992. For his long-time coverage of the Olympic movement, he was recognized by AIPS at the “Journalists on the Podium” event at four consecutive Olympic Games since London 2012. Mr. Zhou also takes the position of Deputy Secretary General in the Chinese Sports Press Association.