As always, the world of Olympics and international sports continues to make news and impact the full range of international events and bids. The following provides an update on relevant international sports activities.
These new games, created in 2007 by the International Olympic Committee under the auspices of their leader, Jacques Rogge, are designed to accommodate increasing Games interest among potential host communities and among competitors. This event, which will be taking place at the time of the publishing of this issue of TORCH TIMES is the second such winter event and is expected to reach new heights. From a community standpoint, the cost of bidding and hosting the regular Olympic Games has reached where the largest countries and communities can afford them, but not the smaller cities. With the extended four year interval for the regular games, this youth opportunity also fills in the international schedule and makes hosting a games more realistic for many more communities. From an athlete standpoint, with Olympic-sport athletes extending their careers beyond what was typical in the past, the creation of these YOG’s provides an opportunity for the next generation of athletes to compete internationally, at the highest level, at an earlier time.
The preparations for these next Olympic Games continue on and, in many cases, ahead of schedule. With most preparation areas going very well, there are still issues that have and do require significant management attention. The first of these is the final completion of and ultimate use of key Games facilities, particularly the main stadium. As with many Olympics, the long term use of such a visible facility is receiving a great amount of attention and will continue to do so until a final solution is reached. The second key issue facing organizers is the dramatic increase in anticipated security costs which may be as much as $1 billion above original estimates. As will be noted, both of these issues have a financial solution and, with the strong commitment of the British government, are likely to be resolved.
Preparation is reported to be going well for the February 2014 event although the level of public scrutiny for these games is far less than for London 2012 as there is still limited access to the facilities and the details of the games preparation. In addition, much of the Games public infrastructure is still in development and the recognized shortcomings of accommodating the large numbers of international visitors still remain. There is not yet a high level of comfort that the long range tourism needs for this area will require the level of services being developed for the Games period. Where funding appeared to be a challenge for these Games since the timing of the bid award in 2007, this issue appears to be solved with the well publicized public and private support and commitment of the Russian government both regionally and nationally.
2018 Winter Olympics – PyeongChang
Preparations at all levels continue on schedule although PyeongChang has already announced that some bid commitments will not be met. This is an ongoing practice but to be publicly announced so early is unusual. Importantly for both bids, there are already a number of substantial sponsor commitments in addition to the high level of anticipated public spending.
There are also extensive early reports of anticipated increases in tourism spending with Korea already announcing significant increases in such numbers and the expectation that such increases will continue. Much of these anticipated increases and tourism expectations are the result of reports from Vancouver 2010. The Canadian Tourism Commission has reported strong increases in key tourism measures resulting from the 2010 Games. For example, tourism bookings form Australia doubled in 2010 from 2009, German tourism increased by over 30% and British tourism was up threefold from 2008. More directly related to Games preparation, the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee announced that their initial and current games budget was approved unanimously by the Korean National Assembly on December 30. This budget approval also included a “Special Act to Support the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics and Paralympics” to rigorously protect the games intellectual property.
2020 Summer Olympic Games Bids
This process is beginning to heat up with much more public attention expected to come as the 2012 Games approach and are completed. It has been a historical practice for bid organizations to avoid intruding on upcoming games so, while much work is being done, it is being done quietly and with limited public outreach. For this bid, it is those communities that have bid infrequently (Doha, Baku) that have been the most public. The major news from this bid is the broad and well publicized bid cost reduction plans announced by Madrid, Rome and Tokyo with announced reductions of up to 40% from original plans and past expenditures from winning cities. These announcements have been well noted and applauded by the Olympic family as costs, particularly for Summer Games, have increased dramatically from past standards. These reductions have not been matched by the Doha and Baku bids which have different awareness and political issues. For both of these bids, the numbers of international consultants have also been substantial. As the cost reductions are not universal, it will be interesting to observe if the announced reductions are carried through.
2022 Winter Olympic Games Potential Bids
In addition to the possibility of a bid from the United States to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, there are bids being considered or under development from :
- Switzerland: The country has announced the appointment of a leading Swiss official to conduct a feasibility study into a joint bid for Davos/St. Moritz. St. Moritz was the last Swiss host in 1948.
- Norway: Norway is expected to announce in early 2012 that they will be making a bid for 2022 (the announcement is expected to come after their annual Olympic meeting on January 24). Expectations are “positive but cautious.” Lillehammer is scheduled to be the host of the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games so a 2022 bid may be seen to be premature.
- Germany: While there is still a great deal of public support after their 2nd place finish for 2018, Olympic leaders have discouraged such discussion.