IOC approves changes to Olympic bidding process, sports program

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The International Olympic Committee unanimously approved 40 changes to the Olympic bid process and sports program Monday, as part of what the IOC president called Agenda 2020, “a strategic roadmap for the future.”

“This Olympic Agenda 2020 is like a jigsaw puzzle,” IOC president Thomas Bach told IOC members in Monaco. “Now, after you have approved all these 40 individual recommendations, you can see the whole picture of this jigsaw puzzle. You can see the picture of progress, the picture of progress in ensuring the uniqueness of the Olympic Games.”

The next step will be full implementation of the 40 recommendations over the coming months.

The 40 recommendations are officially laid out here.

In bidding, the IOC accepted reduced costs for bid cities, assisting cities considering bids before the bid process starts and allowing bids from multiple cities or countries (which is already allowed in the Winter Games) in exceptional cases.

In the Olympic program, the IOC is shifting focus from a set number of sports approved seven years in advance to a set number of events across all sports. A host city can propose adding a sport for its Games. This could open the door for baseball and softball to be added for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The IOC also urged more mixed-gender events. The Sochi Winter Games included mixed relays in biathlon and luge and a figure skating team event for the first time. Swimming’s international governing body already approved mixed relays in non-Olympic competitions. Bobsled’s international governing body made four-man bobsled gender neutral starting this season.

Also, an Olympic channel was approved. It will start as a digital network when it launches.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has said it will determine if it will bid for the 2024 Olympics after this IOC session. If the USOC bids, it will choose one city from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Here’s the list of 40 recommendations (with highlights indented):

  • 1. Shape the bidding process as an invitation
    • The IOC wishes to assist and advise cities considering bids about bid procedures, core Games requirements and how previous cities have ensured positive legacies.
    • The IOC will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.
  • 2. Evaluate bid cities by assessing key opportunities and risks
  • 3. Reduce the cost of bidding
    • The IOC wishes to bear more travel costs during the bidding process and create a register of consultants/lobbyists to work for bid cities.
  • 4. Include sustainability in all aspects of the Olympic Games
  • 5. Include sustainability within the Olympic Movement’s daily operations
  • 6. Cooperate closely with other sports event organizers
  • 7. Strengthen relationships with organizations managing sport for people
    with different abilities
  • 8. Forge relationships with professional leagues
  • 9. Set a framework for the Olympic program
    • Limit the Summer Olympics to approximately 10,500 athletes and 310 events. London 2012 had 10,568 athletes in 302 events; Rio 2016 will have 306 events.
    • Limit the Winter Olympics to approximately 2,900 athletes and 100 events. Sochi 2014 reportedly had fewer than 2,900 athletes in 98 events.
  • 10. Move from a sport-based to an event-based program
  • 11. Foster gender equality
    • Encourage more mixed-gender team events.
  • 12. Reduce the cost and reinforce the flexibility of Olympic Games management
  • 13. Maximize synergies with Olympic Movement stakeholders
  • 14. Strengthen the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism
    • Include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter. The principles currently include text against discrimination based on race, religion, politics and gender.
  • 15. Change the philosophy to protecting clean athletes
  • 16. Leverage the IOC $20 million fund to protect clean athletes
  • 17. Honor clean athletes
  • 18. Strengthen support to athletes
  • 19. Launch an Olympic channel
  • 20. Enter into strategic partnerships
  • 21. Strengthen IOC advocacy capacity
  • 22. Spread Olympic values-based education
  • 23. Engage with communities
  • 24. Evaluate the Sport for Hope program
  • 25. Review Youth Olympic Games positioning
    • Move the Youth Olympics to non-Olympic years starting in 2023.
  • 26. Further blend sport and culture
  • 27. Comply with basic principles of good governance
  • 28. Support autonomy
  • 29. Increase transparency
  • 30. Strengthen the IOC Ethics Commission independence
  • 31. Ensure compliance
  • 32. Strengthen ethics
  • 33. Further involve sponsors in “Olympism in Action” programs
  • 34. Develop a global licensing program
  • 35. Foster Olympic partner sponsors’ engagement with National Olympic Committees
  • 36. Extend access to the Olympic brand for non-commercial use
  • 37. Address IOC membership age limit
  • 38. Implement a targeted recruitment process
  • 39. Foster dialogue with society and within the Olympic Movement
  • 40. Review scope and composition of IOC commissions