IOC President puts focus on upcoming Games, Olympic Agenda 2020
With just over a year to go before the start of the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today said he was “very confident” that organisers would deliver great Games next summer.
Providing details of the IOC Executive Board meetings that concluded today in Kuala Lumpur, President Bach told reporters that the Rio de Janeiro Organising Committee for the Olympic Games was preparing well for the 44 test events that are taking place ahead of the Games.
“The situation with Rio de Janeiro is as always: great progress but no time to lose,” said the IOC President, who will travel to Rio de Janeiro to take part in one-year-to-go celebrations on 5 August. “Great progress has been made at the Olympic Village and sports venues. The public transportation being delivered for the Games will be ready on time and leave a great legacy for the people of Rio de Janeiro.”
President Bach said the Organising Committee has acknowledged the challenges that remain: “which is the best way to take care of them. I am very confident we will have great Games next year.”
The IOC President also praised the progress being made by organisers of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the latter of which he said had done an excellent job embracing the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement.
“We see how they have really embraced Olympic Agenda 2020,” he said of Tokyo 2020. “Fifty per cent of the venues will now be existing venues. Venues for 26 of the sports have already been approved. They have saved USD 1.7 billion (from the revised Tokyo 2020 construction budget) and hundreds of millions more in savings are in the pipeline with the new stadium compared to the old project.”
The Japanese government recently decided not to go ahead with a design for a new national stadium due to rising construction costs, and will instead hold a tender for a less costly alternative, a decision President Bach said the IOC respects.
“We understand the fact that they have seen dramatic changes in construction costs compared to the time of bidding,” he said. “They have gone through the roof. This is beyond the control of the Organising Committee and the government. So we respect this decision and we know that they will deliver a state-of-the-art stadium for the athletes.”
Organisers of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, meanwhile, are making good progress with both construction and marketing, having increased their revenue target by 21 per cent since the last EB meeting in June. The EB also heard from IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg, who had just returned from the fifth Project Review in the Olympic Winter Games 2018 host city. She noted the excellent quality of venue construction, the increased collaboration with the Winter International Federations, and attributed the strong progress to the organisation’s new structure.
The EB also received an update on the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020.
“The Host City Contract for 2022 has been reviewed and will for the first time be made public by the IOC on 31 July,” President Bach said. “The contract will include the significant anticipated contribution from the IOC for the organisers of USD 800 million or more.”
The President also commented on the reduction of the Candidature Service Fee to USD 250,000 from USD 650,000, even with a considerably higher level of service provided by the IOC. He said the reduction was in line with Recommendation 3 of Olympic Agenda 2020 to reduce the cost of bidding and also as a result of the 18 agreements worth some USD 14 billion that the IOC has signed since the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. This robust financial foundation also allows the IOC to redistribute more than 90 per cent of its revenues to support athletes and sport around the world — the equivalent of USD 3.25 million a day, every day of the year.
“In 15 months we have signed USD 14 billion worth of agreements so we are giving back some of this success to the Bid Cities,” said President Bach.
The President said the EB had approved an innovative sports programme for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, which will result in record female participation. “There will be quite a few innovations and a more urban approach,” he said. “We will bring sports to the people rather than the people to the sports.”
Joining the Olympic programme for the first time at Buenos Aires 2018 will be, among others, BMX freestyle, kiteboarding and beach handball.