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IOC President addresses Economic Club of Chicago


While in the city for the 2007 AIBA World Boxing Championships, IOC President Jacques Rogge visited the Economic Club of Chicago last Friday. At the invitation of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, President Rogge used the opportunity to introduce the cornerstones of the Olympic Movement - values, partnerships and legacy - to Chicago’s business and civil community: “Our values demonstrate who we are and what we stand for. They distinguish the Olympic Games from all other sporting events. They reflect the universal principles that drive the Olympic Movement. Partnership is the core of our success and the soul of the Olympic Games. This partnership unites 205 National Olympic Committees in one place, under one flag, for 16 days, to engage in sport at the service of society. Legacy is our raison d’ętre. It ensures that the Olympic Games are more than metres and medals. The Games leave behind a host of social, economic and environmental benefits.” The President added: “Values, partnership and legacy are all required to turn the Olympic Games into an enduring celebration of the human spirit.”

Why Olympic Values Matter
Rogge continued by explaining how the Olympic values translate into daily life and are incorporated in the Olympic Movement’s activities: “The Olympic Movement does its greatest work by instilling the values of sport into the hearts and minds of young people everywhere. Sport is a universal language. It teaches us how to strive for excellence in all that we do. How to live in friendship and peace. How to respect ourselves, each other and the rules. Excellence, friendship and respect are the fundamental Olympic values. They anchor all our activities.”

Partnerships for impact
In order to give these activities an impact in the world, the IOC - represented by fewer than 500 people – works with various partners and stakeholders. “Without our partners, it would be impossible to stage the Olympic Games”, stated the IOC President. Elaborating on the collaboration between sport, broadcasters and business communities he said: “The IOC receives about 60 per cent of our funding from broadcasters and the remaining 40 per cent from our 12 Worldwide Sponsors. Broadcast and corporate support have widened the reach of the Olympic Games. It has made them universal and allowed developing countries to participate. The IOC keeps a very small percentage for our own administrative expenses. We allocate the rest to 205 National Olympic Committees, 35 International Federations and - importantly - to the Organising Committees in the host cities. We provide between 50 and 60 per cent of their revenue, with the rest coming from local sponsors.” Rogge also made it clear that he regards these partnerships as a win for all parties involved: “As much as our partnership with business has benefited the Olympic Movement, it has returned great benefits to our partners. The Olympic Games offer an unrivalled brand platform. The relevance of Olympic values to human achievement gives sponsors a powerful foundation for building, enhancing and promoting their own brands. This is true both internationally and locally.”

Key: Leaving a Legacy
Elaborating on the Olympic brand, Rogge emphasised that he regards “legacy” as its essence. “Once an Olympic City, always an Olympic City. Wherever the Games have appeared, cities are changed forever”, Rogge stated. Stressing that the IOC looks at the legacy aspect from the moment a city bids for the Games, Rogge gave the example of the Sydney 2000 Games, which were a catalyst for an economic boost, infrastructure improvements and increased tourism in the city. In order to ensure the transfer of knowledge from past Games organisers to future hosts, the IOC has developed different tools: “One example is a rigorous report called the Olympic Games Impact study. It identifies and tracks 150 sustainable development criteria in three areas - social, economic and environmental. This is a powerful tool to remake, remodel and rejuvenate cities through sport. And it is a very useful way to capture knowledge that can be transferred from one host city to the next. Beijing will be the first host city to produce a full Olympic Games Impact report.”


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