Representatives of the three Applicant Cities for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games — Annecy (France), Munich (Germany), and Pyeongchang (South Korea)* — took part in the 2018 Applicant City Seminar last week in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The four-day workshop was led by Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli and Head of Bid City Relations Jacqueline Barrett and addressed by IOC President Jacques Rogge.
The IOC President called on the delegates to take advantage of the transfer of knowledge from previous and current Olympic host cities.
“There is a tremendous amount of useful information at your disposal, more so than at any time in the past, and it is extremely important to leverage the transfer of knowledge to save yourselves time and energy when putting together your bids,” the President said. “But keep in mind that, win or lose, the bid process is a great opportunity for all Applicant Cities because of the legacies it can provide.”
The Seminar, which draws from a wealth of material from the IOC and previous host cities, is an invaluable knowledge tool that walks the bid partners through the bidding process and provides a comprehensive introduction to the complexity, scope and scale of hosting an Olympics. The meetings give the Applicant Cities a clearer understanding of what the Olympic product is and helps them create a long-term vision for their bids using key themes such as sustainability and legacy as their fundamental pillars.
In addition to a host of experts from the IOC, speakers at the Seminar also included the President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, who discussed his city’s winning bid for the 2014 Winter Games and delivered insightful tips on what to include and what to avoid during the two-year bidding process.
Envisioning Lasting Change
A key theme of the Seminar was that of legacy and the “triple bottom line” of economic, environmental and social progress that the representatives of the three cities were actively encouraged to begin preparing for as soon as possible.
Mr Chernyshenko told those assembled that the best way to keep an Olympic bid on track and moving forward was to map out a vision and legacy plan for the Games early on, keeping in mind that “everything you do is for the people, the future and how to make your city better.”
This message was underscored by the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee in its video on sustainability for the 2010 Games, in which it was revealed that the overriding objective of the Vancouver Games was to ensure that benefits from the Winter Olympic Games would still be enjoyed 60 years after the 16 days of competition were finished.
“The Games are a catalyst for profound change that can be used to regenerate an entire community,” said Michael Pirrie of the London 2012 Organising Committee.
The Applicant City representatives were also reminded that a number of important legacies could be achieved merely as a result of bidding for the Games, as highlighted by the accomplishments of previous bid cities.
In addition to briefings and workshops on the fundamentals of staging a Games (marketing, media and transport, to name but a few), heavy emphasis was also placed on the importance of relationship-building. The organisation of a modern Olympic Games is very much a team effort, with all levels of government, commercial partners, public services, community groups, local populations and sports authorities involved in the successful organisation of such a complex event. Open, honest and friendly communication with all relevant parties is therefore essential in producing both a cohesive and smooth-running bid campaign and, if awarded the Games, a memorable Olympic Winter Games in 2018.
The host city of the 2018 Games will be chosen at the IOC Session on 6 July 2011 in Durban (South Africa), and there is an incredible amount of work to be done before then.
Following last week’s Applicant City Seminar, the Bid Committees of the three cities will apply what they have learnt to their respective preparations, before reconvening in Vancouver in February for the 2010 Olympic Observer Programme, where they will get a first-hand look at Games-time operations, take part in a roundtable discussion and liaise with VANOC operational staff for a valuable transfer of knowledge.
After submitting their Applicant City Files on or before the 15 March deadline, the Bid Committees will participate in the official debriefing of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in early June.
The second phase of the bid process begins with the selection of the Candidate Cities by the IOC Executive Board from 21-23 June.
* Cities listed in alphabetical order.