Evolution of the revolution: IOC transforms future Olympic Games elections
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today took yet another step to transform future Olympic Games elections. At its 134th Session in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC approved the proposed changes accepted last month by the Executive Board (EB).
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “This is the evolution of the Olympic Agenda 2020 revolution, as we must continue to keep up with the fast pace of change in our current world. Flexibility is a necessity to ensure good governance and to have sustainable Olympic Games in the future. We will do that while maintaining the magic of the Games, the fundamental principle of universality and our commitment to having athletes at the centre of everything we do.”
The key proposals, submitted by a Working Group previously set up by the EB and driven by the relevant recommendations from Olympic Agenda 2020, are:
- Establish a permanent, ongoing dialogue to explore and create interest among cities/regions/countries and National Olympic Committees for Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games
- Create two Future Host Commissions (Summer and Winter Games) to oversee interest in future Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games and report to the EB
- To preserve the magic of the Olympic Games to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the best athletes of the world
- Give the IOC Session more influence by having non-EB members form part of the Future Host Commissions
- Based on input from these Host Commissions, the key principles to guide the work will be:
An edition-based approach
A more contextualised approach
A more proactive manner to approach prospective hosts
A more open and flexible mind to innovative proposals by prospective hosts
“Host” does not necessarily refer to a single city, but can also refer to multiple cities/regions/countries
More responsible and flexible timing, adjusted to local opportunities, context and needs.
The IOC Members will continue to be at the centre of the decision-making process, with the Session’s prerogative to elect Games hosts preserved. The Members will be consulted on numerous occasions, and prospective hosts will still be required to make presentations to the Session, which will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.
The corresponding modifications to the Rules and Bye-laws of the Olympic Charter were also approved by the IOC Session, and can be summarised as follows:
Date of election
- Previous regulation: “election takes place 7 years before the […] Games” (OC, 33.2)
- Previous regulation: “The Olympic Games are entrusted […] to a city” (OC, 32.2)
Change: Entrusted to a City in principle. The EB can determine that “Host” can also refer to other entities, e.g. multiple cities, regions and/or countries.
- Previous regulation: “All sports competitions […] must, in principle, take place in the host city (OC, 34) / “the OCOG shall provide an Olympic Village” (OC, 38)
Change: Allow for more flexibility to maximise the use of existing sports or other infrastructure.
- Previous regulation: “The President appoints an Evaluation Commission for candidate cities for each edition of the Olympic Games” (OC, 33)
Change: Introduction of two Future Host Commissions.
Application of the principles underpinning these changes already started in the reformed Candidature Process that culminated on Monday this week with the awarding of the Olympic Winter Games 2026 to Milan-Cortina. This resulted in significant cost reductions of an average of 75 per cent in the candidature and an average of 20 per cent of the organisation budgets.
It also led to an increased use of existing and temporary venues compared to the two previous processes for the 2018 and 2022 Games (an average of 80 per cent versus an average of 60 per cent respectively).
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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