The dreams of Mario Moccia and Argentina in Paris 2024
Juan Antonio Belmar
April 15, 2024

Mario Moccia, maximum leader of the Argentine Olympic Committee, who has been in office since October 2021 after succeeding Gerardo Werthein, has a great managerial trajectory. During his pilgrimage, he stood out in the presidency of the Pan American handball confederation, with the continent having a development rarely seen in this sport. Among his many investitures, he currently holds the vice-presidency of Panam Sports and ODESUR, among other relevant positions.

The professor of Physical Education and Bachelor in Sports Management assumes with ownership the protagonism and the burden that comes with being at the head of the Argentine Olympic Committee and does not shy away from an interview with SportsIn to openly respond to the challenges his country faces at national and international level.

What is your assessment of your management at the head of the COA since you arrived in October 2021?

I am completing two and a half years of management and, the truth is that my balance today is positive in line with what we committed to when we assumed the leadership of the COA. We set ourselves the goal of having an open and participative policy with all the national federations and all the sectors that have to do with the development of sport -both in the governmental and institutional spheres-. We wanted it to be as federal as possible, trying to reach the whole country with our proposals, continue interacting with the provincial governments and focusing on high performance, which is our goal.

Mario Moccia at the recent 2024 Americas Rifle and Pistol Championship. (COA)

We also wanted to relate to other strategic areas that complement high performance, such as gender equality, the effective participation of athletes within the organizations with voice and vote, environmental care through sustainable and sustainable policies in order to contribute to the care of the planet.

Another point is the emphasis placed on urban sports and the new disciplines that are being promoted more strongly within the programs of international organizations. The training of human resources promoted by the Argentine Olympic Academy with advanced courses in sports administration and management, strategic plans with the federations and governmental bodies…

Last year, when we celebrated 100 years of life with the COA, we reaffirmed our commitment to what Dr. Gerardo Werthein – of which I was Secretary General for twelve years – had been doing, to make a deeper opening and enter into a much more intense dialogue with all the other sectors that are linked to sport.

You are a career leader, you have been linked to sports all your life, therefore, your experience and vision of the future naturally raise expectations for Argentine sports. What is Mario Moccia’s dream for Argentine athletes during his administration?

I see as the goal of our administration a participative athlete, protagonist, active in decision making and with all the possibilities of being able to develop in the discipline he/she practices in the best possible way. All this trying to plan together the athlete and the federation of each sport, adding the governmental institutions, in this case the Secretary of Sports of Argentina and the ENARD, and setting goals to achieve with the necessary resources to achieve them taking into account the preparation and training plan to achieve that goal.

So, we have our athletes very protagonists within the COA and being a priority for all of us. Today the second vice-president and president of the athletes’ commission is Walter Perez, there is also Paula Pareto. In short, athletes are very important in what we do as National Olympic Committee. Sport is a team work, where leaders, athletes, coaches and referees must work together to achieve common goals.

Argentina is a power in several sports in America and also at world level. How does economic stability influence, in your opinion, to project and obtain Pan American and Olympic results?

We are leaders in many sports. We are national and international players together with other countries that also have a lot of potential. Having economic stability, having a strategic plan and having the necessary resources to fulfill those plans are fundamental to project results.

High performance is a very professional, scientific, permanent and systematic task, that is, one has to set a goal for 8 or 12 years and everything depends on the stage in which it is, but having clear what is the critical route, what is the path, the rivals that will be found, the needs in terms of equipment, sports infrastructure and the level of demand that will be put at each stage to achieve the goal.

All of the above must be accompanied by the necessary resources so that each of the stages of the plan can be fulfilled. Sometimes you make an excellent planning and then you do not have the resources in time and form and that makes it impossible for the plan to be completed, so this is fundamental in any strategic planning, it would be necessary to have the resources in time and form.

We are going to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. How will Argentina get to the five-ring event?

We are very close to Paris and Argentina has already qualified 101 athletes. Many of them in team sports. We hope to have 30 more athletes in several disciplines. We dream of a very large and competitive delegation.

Which are the sports where you have legitimate aspirations to be protagonists and compete for Olympic medals?

It is difficult to predict where medals can be obtained or which ones have the best chances. There are many imponderables that determine the final result, it depends on the sports, it has to do with the crossings, the key that corresponds to us in combat sports and with the confrontations in team sports.

Mario Moccia and ODESUR. (COA)

We have several team sports that we go with expectations: Argentina rugby sevens is leading the world, we won the bronze medal in Tokyo and we believe that we are at a level that will surely allow us to be among the protagonists of these games, I aspire to be on the podium and dispute the final. We also believe that in field hockey we have great possibilities of being protagonists, there is a tradition of many years, especially with the Lionesses and not to detract from the Lions who were gold medalists in Rio 2016. In both modalities we can reach the finals. Soccer makes us dream, after achieving the World Cup, although it is another age and category, Argentina has qualified today, we will go with the best team to Paris according to what we have discussed with the federation and we hope to also reach the finals.

In other individual sports such as sailing there are always expectations and, surely, in some other sports the Argentine temperament will appear.

I do not want to get ahead of myself, but we are going with a delegation that excites us and makes us dream of a presentation that will make all Argentines and the continent proud.

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