Olympic Games programme faces radical changes

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IOC President Thomas Bach at a round table discussion with athletes after the public launch of The Recommendations Programme at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Pictured with Bach are Claudia Bokel, Vincent Defrasne, Susana Feitor, Jessica Fox, Jean-Michel Saive, Jade Jones, Stéphane Lambiel, Marsha Marescia, Kaveh Mehrabi, Koji Murofushi, and Maria Höfl-Riesch. Ian Jones/IOC
IOC President Thomas Bach at a round table discussion with athletes after the public launch of The Recommendations Programme at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Pictured with Bach are Claudia Bokel, Vincent Defrasne, Susana Feitor, Jessica Fox, Jean-Michel Saive, Jade Jones, Stéphane Lambiel, Marsha Marescia, Kaveh Mehrabi, Koji Murofushi, and Maria Höfl-Riesch. © Ian Jones/IOC

Some Olympic events could one day take place outside a host country in new proposals under discussion by the International Olympic Committee.

olympic-agenda-2020

This has happened before, but only with the equestrian events of Melbourne in 1952 (Stockholm) and Beijing in 2008 (Hong Kong), because of logistics and quarantine.

The recommendation, part of the Olympic Agenda 2020 plan, would allow sports and events to be run outside the host city, and in exceptional cases, outside the host country, for reasons of geography and sustainability.

Sports would also not wait seven years from being approved for their first appearance.

The Olympic Agenda 2020 is a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. The proposals will be discussed and voted on by the full IOC membership at the 127th IOC Session on December 8 and 9 in Monaco.

The 40 recommendations were launched publicly on Tuesday at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, with IOC President Thomas Bach saying the recommendations were “like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle”.

“When you put them together, a picture emerges that shows the IOC safeguarding the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthening sport in society.”

Bachfirst presented the recommendations to a round table of athletes, many of whom actively contributed to the Olympic Agenda 2020 process. The discussion included several medal-winning Olympians.

Some of the key areas addressed by the recommendations are:

Changes to the bidding process (Recommendation 1), with a new philosophy to invite potential candidate cities to present a project that fits their sporting, economic, social and environmental long-term planning needs. Shaping it more as an invitation and introducing an “invitation phase” – during which cities considering a bid will be advised about the opportunities this new procedure offers, in particular in regard to legacy and sustainability.

♦ Reducing costs for bidding (Recommendation 3), by decreasing the number of presentations that are allowed and providing a significant financial contribution from the IOC. At the same time emphasising that the sustainability of a bid must be taken into consideration right from the beginning.

♦ Move from a sport-based to an event-based programme (Recommendation 10). Create limits on accreditation for athletes, coaches and other athlete support staff to ensure that the Games do not grow bigger. Allowing more than 28 sports to be on the programme while respecting these limits.

British Taekwondo athlete Jade Jones with IOC President Thomas Bach after the public launch of the Olympic Agenda 2020 programme.
British Taekwondo athlete Jade Jones with IOC President Thomas Bach after the public launch of the Olympic Agenda 2020 programme. © Ian Jones/IOC

♦ Launch of an Olympic TV Channel (Recommendation 19) to provide a world-wide platform for sports and athletes beyond the Olympic Games period, 365 days a year. To fully connect with the digital age and connect with young people on their terms.

The protection of the clean athletes being at the heart of the IOC’s philosophy. The central importance of the “athletes’ experience” will be introduced into the evaluation criteria with no compromise on the field of play for athletes, and the paramount importance of the Olympic Village.

Among the recommendations was to leverage the IOC’s extra $US20 million “Protection of clean athletes” fund, with $10m going to develop robust education and awareness programmes on the risks of matchfixing, manipulation of competitions and related corruption, and $10m to support projects offering a new scientific approach to anti-doping.

Bach said in the past year he had been asked the reason for a desire to make changes. “After all, they say, the Olympic Games, the IOC, and the Olympic Movement have enjoyed many successes and we are in a very good position.

“My answer is that we are now in the position to drive change ourselves rather than being driven. We have to take leadership with Olympic Agenda 2020. We have the opportunity, and we must seize the moment – now is the time for change.”

The 40 recommendations were finalised by the IOC Executive Board in October following presentations from the chairs of the 14 Working Groups that were set up to refine the proposals earlier this year. In addition to members of the Olympic Movement, including National Olympic Committees, International Federations, TOP sponsors and athletes, the Working Groups consisted of experts from civil society such as the United Nations, Google/YouTube, Transparency International, the Clinton Foundation, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the World Bank.

The inclusive and transparent Olympic Agenda 2020 process was initiated by President Bach over a year ago. His call for contributions resulted in more than 40,000 submissions and produced 1200 concrete ideas.

Olympic Agenda 2020: 20+20 Recommendations

 

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