Broader Appeal takes courage, flexibility and change
In their current form, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, especially the Summer Games have outgrown the capability of all but select number of major metropolitan centres in wealthy, developed nations.
The Executive Board of the IOC has created Olympic Agenda 2020 and tasked a group to examine and report back in December on how to preserve the unique qualities of Games while making the bidding and hosting tasks easier to attract new candidate cities. This is a highly desirable goal as the IOC strives to maintain its relevance as an inclusive, global movement. It will not be an easy task. There will be considerable resistance to change, especially in cases where established parties perceive threats to their position by shifts in the status quo. It is going to require open and frank dialogue. Above all, the kinds of cities that the IOC would like to see join in must be asked, from their perspective what reforms will it take to come to the party. The consultation will have to be inclusive in order to gain a fresh point-of-view.
Fundamentally, the IOC will have to demonstrate flexibility in adjusting the Games model to achieve several outcomes for potential hosts.
Firstly, the risks faced in hosting have to be reduced while increasing the likelihood of rewards. This means ultimately that the costs have to be contained and the sport, cultural, social and economic benefits have to be maximized for the city, region and nation.
One way to accomplish this is by better sharing of lessons learned for the public sector partners, not just the Games organizers. The role of governments in supporting the Games is crucial, not simply because of direct financial contributions, but because of their crucial role in providing essential services and leveraging the Games as a platform to achieve public policy goals.
A second reform which will move the process in the right direction is strengthening the degree of collaboration among all the international and domestic stakeholders in the project. The recent example of Vancouver and Whistler 2010 demonstrated the powerful effect that partnerships can have in delivering successful editions of complex, large-scale projects. In a world where societies are increasingly inter-connected socially and economically, it is folly to adopt any approach where key players are operating outside the tent.
The Executive Board of the IOC has created Olympic Agenda 2020 and tasked a group to examine and report back in December on how to preserve the unique qualities of Games while making the bidding and hosting tasks easier to attract new candidate cities.