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Posts Tagged ‘Bidding for the Games’

(ATR) It’s deadline day for the three cities bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics to submit their initial plans to the IOC – and Munich remains ahead of PyeongChang and Annecy in the latest rankings by Around the Rings.

The Bavarian bid offers a strong team, good infrastructure and experience in winter sports. It’s a combination that will be hard to match from PyeongChang and Annecy.

PyeongChang is not far behind, based on the experience of two previous bids that almost succeeded. But unless it steps up its game, the third time will provide more disappointment. In its favor, the South Korean bid has the distinction of offering to host the Winter Games in a new country, eager to boost winter sports.

Annecy is clearly the dark horse in the race, lacking a powerful raison d’être to return the Olympics to the same part of France that hosted the 1992 Games in Albertville.

Each submitted their applicant files to IOC headquarters ahead of today’s deadline. The submissions clear the way for a panel of IOC technical experts to review the files and determine whether the cities have what’s needed to stage the Winter Games.

The IOC Executive Board will review those findings in late June to determine if any of these bids should be cut. But unless the experts expose a fatal flaw in the applicant files, we predict all three will stay in the race for the last 12 months of the campaign. The IOC will vote for the 2018 host on July 6, 2011, in Durban, South Africa.

We have analyzed previous bids for the Games using the Around the Rings Olympic Bids Power Index, a matrix of 11 categories, a mix of subjective and objective ratings. We will not use the index at this early stage of the campaign, as we do not yet have the information needed to provide a worthwhile Index.

On-the-scene visits by ATR staff to the cities, an essential element of the Index, have not taken place. Nor have we been able to review the plans being proposed in the dossiers presented to the IOC. Those documents will be released later in the week and we’ll report on them as they become public.

That said, there’s still plenty of information for us to make some preliminary observations about where things stand with each bid.

We’ve reviewed information already available from the three cities, interviewed bid leaders and observed their teams during the Vancouver Games, the first time each has stepped onto the international stage for this bid.

Munich Fits City and Mountains Model

Strong Points for Munich:

Since 1998, hosts for Winter Olympic Games have been good-sized cities that offer amenities such as hotels and transportation hubs, with ski and sliding events held at mountain venues some distance away.

Munich is the only one of the three bids that fits that model. That will provide an advantage when it comes time to house and transport Olympic guests.

In the mountains, the winter sports resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (about an hour from Munich) is well-known for hosting elite competitions every year. It was also the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics.

Speaking of past Olympics, Munich may have the cachet of offering the IOC the chance to bring the Winter Games for the first time to a city that hosted the Summer Olympics.

The Munich team has been in place for almost a year. Its leadership is dynamic and well-spoken, including CEO Willy Bogner and chair Katarina Witt, who brings glamour and acclaim as an Olympian.

The president of the DOSB — the German NOC — is Thomas Bach, an IOC vice president – and a possible contender for IOC president in 2013. None of the IOC members associated with the other bids wield the influence among IOC colleagues that Bach does.

Germany has the biggest population base of Winter Olympic sports fans of the three as well as the most advanced system of winter sports clubs.

Weak Points for Munich

Opposition appears to be minimal, but the bid could face concerns if naysayers grow in number. Opposition so far seems to center on environmental concerns.

Another Winter Olympics in Europe, right after Sochi, could make the timing wrong for Munich. Garmisch, though 70 years ago, has already hosted the Games.

Distances between Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, as well as to the sliding venue at Koenigssee, mean more venue-to-venue travel time as well as the need for three Olympic Villages.

PyeongChang Builds, Will They Come?


Strong Points for PyeongChang

With this third consecutive bid for the Winter Olympics, PyeongChang can show that it is delivering promised improvements made during past bids.

Government support at national and provincial levels seems committed to doing what is needed to host the Games.

With some venues built and two world championships (biathlon and snowboard), PyeongChang brings more experience hosting Olympic winter sports than did Sochi when it was chosen in 2007.

PyeongChang, with two competitors from Europe, can clearly make the case that 2018 provides the IOC with the chance to bring the Winter Games to a new part of the world, helping to grow winter sport.

The great success of South Korea at the Vancouver Olympics shows Korea is a major player in Winter Olympic sport.

While a two-hour journey from Seoul, once in PyeongChang, all venues are minutes apart, the most compact of the three venue plans.

With its third bid, the team from PyeongChang should have the best understanding of the three cities as to how the bidding process works, from the travel, to the bid documents and guarantees, to the right words to say to IOC members.

Weak Points for PyeongChang

The bid has yet to find a charismatic figure to lead the PyeongChang bid effectively in the international arena, a weakness faced in the past two bids.

While located in a scenic part of Korea, PyeongChang does not yet offer the range of hospitality amenities expected by Western guests, such shopping, dining or other diversions.

PyeongChang’s location near the East Sea could mean weather complications, which have affected past ski events in the mountains. PyeongChang would be the third Winter Olympics in a row held near sea level.

South Korea will need to improve its performances in other winter sports ahead of a possible Olympics.

Alpine and Nordic events, as well as hockey, are sports in which Korea has a low-profile.

Low-profile also applies to the two IOC members from South Korea. Neither have the influence or prestige of some of the members from France or Germany. The controversy over IOC member Kun Hee Lee which includes a presidential pardon for embezzlement charges and the IOC lifting its two-year suspension of Lee, is a bell that cannot be un-rung.

In terms of time zones, PyeongChang is the worst of the three bids for TV broadcasters in North America and Europe, the biggest markets for the Winter Olympics.

Annecy Debut in Olympic Arena

Strong Points for Annecy

The Annecy Olympics would be held under the backdrop of one of world’s iconic landmarks: Mont Blanc towers over the Haute Savoie region where the Games would be held.

Annecy itself, a lakeside city of 52,000, offers a picturesque setting.

Chamonix, the location for alpine events, sits in the shadow of Mont Blanc and carries the distinction as the host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

The bid is led by Annecy native Edgar Grospiron, who in 1992 won the first Olympic moguls competition. He turns 41 this week, the youngest bid leader among the three and the only Olympic medalist in the group.
Great location for European TV audiences, OK for North America.

Weak points for Annecy:

Like Munich, Annecy may suffer from trying to stage another Winter Olympics in Europe four years after Sochi, especially with a proven bidder from Asia offering a viable alternative.

Another challenge is the “why” for Annecy, when Albertville, 40km away, hosted the 1992 Winter Games.
At 52,000 in Annecy and 9,300 for Chamonix, the bid has the smallest population base of the three 2018 contenders.

Good roads link the region, but the biggest transport hub for Annecy is 30km away – in Geneva, Switzerland. Along with depending on Switzerland for the airport gateway, hotels would be needed in Geneva, adding the complication of border crossings and the necessity of agreements with the Swiss.

It’s the first time for Annecy to bid and the team may not have the experience of PyeongChang to understand how the bidding game is played.

Annecy is missing the public involvement of the two French IOC members, notably Jean-Claude Killy. Killy, respected as an Olympic great as well as an expert on staging the Winter Olympics (he was Albertville CEO), is occupied as chair of the IOC commission overseeing preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.


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Written by Ed Hula

Your best source of news about the Olympics is http://www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only.

(Copyright 1992 2008, all rights reserved. The information in this report may not be published, excerpted, or otherwise distributed in print or broadcast without the express prior consent of Around the Rings.)

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ATR Editor Ed Hula

(ATR) The U.S. Olympic Committee takes the first steps in what will be an 18-year journey to the 2028 Olympics – the next time the Summer Games could possibly return to the U.S.

The hiring of Scott Blackmun as chief executive of the USOC last week has been greeted warmly in the U.S. and internationally. Well-regarded for his demeanor, knowledge and experience at the USOC, there is none of the second-guessing that has marked the tenure of nearly everyone else who has held the job in the past 10 years.

He will start work at the end of the month, just in time for the Vancouver Olympics, where the U.S. could finish second or third in the medals table. That’s a respectable tally that shows that all is not rotten in the state of Colorado. While the wheels may have come off the USOC’s international bandwagon with failed Olympic bids, the U.S. is still a world leader preparing its team for the Olympics and Paralympics.

With a consensus leader for the USOC in Blackmun, maybe the stage is set for him to steer the U.S. to a podium finish when the contest involves bids for the Games and other events.

Well before the U.S. manages to win the big prize — the Summer Olympics — Blackmun may be wise to consider some smaller ones along the way, such as Pan American Games, Youth Olympics or world championships. Now 52, Blackmun should have the time needed to make it all happen, given a long tenure at the USOC.

“Those are all things we need to think about. Hosting those kinds of events are good for us,” said Blackmun at the press conference announcing his hiring last week.

It’s the first talk in a long time of anything except the Summer Olympics from the USOC, which has been fixated since the 1990s on winning another Summer Olympics, to the exclusion of other sports events.

But after the IOC swatted away bids from New York City and Chicago, there’s no talk of launching a 2020 bid, which would almost certainly be rejected by the IOC. With Rio de Janeiro hosting 2016, any candidate from the Americas would seem to be out of the running for 2020.

Indeed, instead of bidding for 2020 or even the 2024 Olympics, the USOC could use that time (between 2011 and 2017) to curry goodwill among the other cities bidding for those Games. The U.S. could play a role in bringing the Olympics back to Asia, to Africa and to Paris for the centennial of 1924 Games. Depending on how well the U.S. plays the game, the USOC might be able to collect some IOUs from the Olympic Movement to be cashed-in for the 2028 vote.

In the meantime, there are more immediate opportunities for bids from the U.S. for Olympic-level events that would help earn street credibility for the USOC. The 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games or the 2018 Summer YOG will be coming up for decisions in a year or two. So far the USOC is mum on a bid, even though Lake Placid seems willing to consider 2016. Blackmun’s hire at the USOC should be an encouragement to the crowd from upstate New York.

For the past eight years, the USOC has resolutely dismissed Winter Olympic bids from suitors such as Reno/Tahoe, Lake Placid and Denver, while fixated on summer bids. Maybe the USOC will change its tune without the Summer Olympics so much a speck on the horizon.

Indeed, the declining interest in the number of cities seeking the Winter Games may put the U.S. in a position to present a bid that would “save” the Winter Olympics. The U.S. could make a persuasive case that it could stage Games with the potential for commercial and public success. Winter Games in 2022 would seem to be the first possibility.

Then there are the Pan American Games, an event the U.S. last hosted in 1987 in Indianapolis. In a 2002 vote laden with foreshadowing for the race for the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro won the 2007 Pan Ams over San Antonio, Texas. Those Pan Ams ended up the cornerstone of Rio’s successful Olympic bid.

Arguably, the U.S. can’t expect to win any Olympic bid without the support of nations in the Americas; a winning U.S. Pan Am bid would be evidence that it has that backyard-backing. But that won’t be any guarantee of continental fealty.

The U.S. presumably already has competition for the next Summer Olympics in North America: Toronto, which bid for 1996 and 2008. Just chosen as the host for the 2015 Pan Am Games, Toronto may have moved ahead of any U.S. city as the favorite when it comes time for the IOC to bring the Summer Olympics back to the Americas.

And with Toronto hosting 2015, the U.S. is probably out of the running for the 2019 Pan Ams in favor of a Latin America candidate. That means 2023 may be the first chance for the U.S. to host those games, with a bid campaign between 2015  and 2017.

Aside from these multi-sport events, the USOC has other ways to inculcate itself with the Olympic movement in the years ahead.

Hosting world championships in the Olympic sports has come a bit easier to U.S. cities than bids for the Games. Boxing, gymnastics, figure skating football and archery have recently held their top events in the U.S. But long-overdue championships in athletics, basketball and swimming still speak to the impotence of the U.S. in Olympic sports. One reason: the absence of U.S. leaders at the top table of the Olympic sports.

Out of 28 Summer and seven Winter Olympic sports just one — golf — has Americans leading the federation, albeit in shared positions with counterparts from Great Britain. Until 2008, the U.S. had two international federation presidents, Don Porter for softball, Harvey Schiller for baseball. But the elimination of both sports from the Olympic program ended that, another symptom of the malaise the U.S. suffers on the international front.

High hopes for the administration of Scott Blackmun are based on the belief that he understands there will be no instant gratification for the USOC from winning an Olympic bid. As a USOC leader 10 years ago, he’s well acquainted with challenges he faces, some of which still linger from his previous tenure.

It’s a long-term fix that Blackmun must put in place, but unlike some others who have been USOC CEO, he won’t need a course in Olympics 101 to find Lausanne, Switzerland, on a map — or know how to pronounce it correctly.

Written by Ed Hula

For general comments or questions, click here

Your best source of news about the Olympics is http://www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only.

(Copyright 1992 2008, all rights reserved. The information in this report may not be published, excerpted, or otherwise distributed in print or broadcast without the express prior consent of Around the Rings.)

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