The three cities bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games – Istanbul (Turkey), Tokyo (Japan), and Madrid (Spain)* – are all in London this month, as part of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) London 2012 Observer Programme.
The Programme is a key component of the IOC’s knowledge-transfer process, providing a unique opportunity to live, learn and experience real Olympic Games operations. Eight representatives from each Candidate City are following the Programme, which will allow them to create better bid plans on the basis of the real-life Games experience that they have had during London 2012.
The IOC works with cities right from the start of the bidding process until the end of the Games to provide them with the knowledge and experience of previous organisers and to provide cities with first-hand experience of the scope, scale and complexity of Olympic Games operations. This allows them to develop plans that are not just adapted to their own local contexts, but also based on the lessons that the IOC has been able to gather from previous Games hosts. The Observer Programme also gives the bid cities the opportunity to exchange views with colleagues from upcoming Games hosts Sochi, Rio de Janeiro and PyeongChang, all at different stages of their preparations. The knowledge accumulated from all of these different observer and networking opportunities can be integrated into the cities’ bids at a critical point in the preparation of their Candidature Files.
Over the course of the Games, cities have the opportunity to attend numerous visits, briefings and round tables in subjects ranging from Olympic Village operations, to the spectator experience and utilities and energy strategy.
Bidding for the Games can also leave a legacy to the city, even if it doesn’t finally become the host. Cities that were unsuccessful but whose bids have left important legacies include New York, Manchester, Stockholm and Lille. Just by participating in the IOC’s Observer Programme, cities are gaining invaluable experience of how an event like the Olympic Games is organised, a legacy in itself which will no doubt serve the city and country in bidding for future events.
* Cities are listed in the order of drawing of lots