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2016: Games For The Athletes?


“Sport should always be at the heart of your bid – never forget that the Games are for the athletes,” said Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director , as he wrapped-up the 2016 Applicant Cities Seminar at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, this week. The seven applicant cities of Baku (Azerbaijan), Chicago (USA), Doha (Qatar), Madrid (Spain), Prague (Czech Republic), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Tokyo (Japan)[1] had just followed four and a half days of intense information exchange with IOC experts and invited guest speakers about the technical areas that would be examined during the bidding process for the 2016 Games. Felli’s timely reminder was thus poignant, as it allowed the participants to return to the Games’ very raison d’être.

President, Chairman and Minister
During the four and a half days of presentations and individual meetings, which covered topics as wide ranging as sport and the athletes to venue infrastructure to culture education and ceremonies, the participants at the seminar had the privilege of hearing from some very experienced and respected people, notably IOC President Jacques Rogge, LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe and Greek Minister Spyros Cladas. The wealth of knowledge present during the meetings, not just from those mentioned above, but also from other experts with a wealth of Games and Organising Committee experience, was truly impressive and gave the applicant cities the ideal basis from which to start preparing the phase one questionnaire.

Olympic Games More than Just Sport?
Many people often associate the Olympic Games purely with sport, but as demonstrated in the seminar, the Games are more than just a sports event - it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the host city’s population, which draws into its fold the areas of culture, education and sustainability – areas that will often provide a positive legacy to the local community for many years after the Games are over. This unique mix also means that for the prospective hosts, the organisation of the Games will be unlike any event they have ever organised before and this is why the Games bid process needs to be so thorough.

Friendship, Excellence & Respect
Perhaps one of the most important elements that any bid should have is a clear vision and mission – a point that was emphasised by many of the speakers during the week. These crucial documents will ultimately help guide the organisation through the bid phase and to the end of the Games – should the bid city win the right. The communication of the vision and mission was also highlighted as being one of the key points in galvanising support for a bid - be it from the local community, government or other important stakeholder groups. However, no matter what the bid committee does, the respect of the three Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect should always be at the centre of all its actions.

2016 Olympic Games
The next deadline for the seven applicant cities for the 2016 Olympic Games is the returning of the IOC the Applicant City Questionnaire on 14 January 2008. The questionnaires are then analysed and the IOC Executive Board accepts Candidate Cities at the beginning of June 2008. There then follows a candidature procedure, which includes participation in the Beijing 2008 Observers’ Programme, and that will culminate in the election of the 2016 Host City at the IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark on 2 October 2009.


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