What is legacy?
Olympic legacy is the result of a vision. It encompasses all the tangible and intangible long-term benefits initiated or accelerated by the hosting of the Olympic Games/sport events for people, cities/territories and the Olympic Movement.
Legacy is about the creation of positive changes that goes beyond the delivery of 17 days of celebrations and competitions. Examples of these benefits are: training centres and facilities used to improve the performance of athletes, increased enthusiasm for less popular sports, new diplomatic relations and improved dialogue between countries, enhanced professional skills and career opportunities, new cultural heritage assets, growth of the volunteering movement, innovative design and visual arts, and increased global visibility for cities, upgraded urban parks and leisure areas, and national/regional cultures.
Why is legacy important during the candidature process?
Legacy is of the utmost importance when a potential host city is creating a vision for the Olympic Games. Not only does early legacy planning strengthen an Olympic candidature, it also brings many benefits to a city not elected to host the Games.
The Candidature Process is the most important period for shaping the long-term benefits for the people, the city/territory and the Olympic Movement.
During the Candidature Process, greater attention is given to the development of the legacy vision, through the alignment of the Olympic Games concept with the city/region’s long-term plans, on the basis of: social parameters, including sport and healthy lifestyle; urban/spatial/economic parameters; sustainability strategies; and cultural/immaterial heritage assets.
The IOC aims to help cities to develop a legacy vision that will enhance the value proposition of the Olympic Games. The Dialogue Stage of the Candidature Process is the key moment for the cities interested in hosting the Olympic Games to engage with stakeholders and define clear priorities related to tangible and intangible aspects of legacy. The IOC also supports cities in further developing their legacy planning as an integral part of their candidature.
With the necessary planning and partnerships, bidding for the Olympic Games can leave a positive legacy and outcome in those cities not elected and, through the scope and profile of bidding, major opportunities for positive improvement and significant legacy can be provided. It also serves as an excellent means of creating positive public support and buy-in for the event itself.
"The Games are more than just an important sporting event. Aside from the dreams and achievements of young athletes, the Games provide a setting for champions to sow the seeds for future generations, and also enshrine the social responsibility of ensuring that the host cities bequeath a positive legacy. The IOC is firmly committed to guaranteeing that this legacy is as positive as it can possibly be." Speech given by then IOC President Jacques Rogge at the International Symposium on the Legacy of the Olympic Games at the Olympic Museum, Lausanne, on 14-16 November 2002
Benefits of a Candidature for the Games
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is committed to supporting every city and National Olympic Committee that wishes to be a candidate to host the Olympic Games. It aims to ensure that all potential candidate cities and NOCs receive the necessary information to launch a fully formed candidature.
The sense of creating long-term benefits for people and cities is very closely bound to the Olympic Movement’s vision of “Building a better world through sport”. This vision dates back to the foundation of the modern Olympic Games, and is shared by all constituents of the Olympic Movement across the globe.
The Olympic Games have the power to significantly change a community, its image and its infrastructure. Through their scope and profile, the Olympic Games provide major opportunities for positive improvement and significant legacies.
IOC President Thomas Bach states: “Society today demands more from sports organisations and sports events. We need to respond by embracing sustainability and delivering positive, long-term legacies for the local population. Olympic Agenda 2020, our strategic road map for the future of the Olympic Movement, addresses this issue in the context of the Olympic Games with an entirely new approach to the host city selection process. We put a stronger focus on sustainability, legacy, and transparency and make it easier for host cities to tailor Games that meet their needs rather than trying to fit a template. Cities have to identify post-Games legacy uses for all permanent venues to ensure that Games-related investments deliver benefits for years to come to the city and region and its people.
What makes the relationship between Olympic sport and sustainability so special is that sustainability is not simply a ‘nice to have’ it is an indispensable part of the Olympic philosophy, since the effective transmission of our values depends on a broad concept of sustainability.”