A Budapest 2024 Olympic Games will send “the message that the Olympic Games are not simply for the mega-city but for mid-size cities, too,” Olympic bid leader Balázs Fürjes claimed during a critical twenty-minute presentation to key stakeholder members of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Tueday in Doha, Qatar.
Hungary’s capital is widely deemed an outsider in the race against so-called “mega-cities” Los Angeles and Paris – both having already hosted the Games twice. An Olympics in Budapest would be the first for the nation, and for Central Europe.
The three cities are all campaigning with the message that they are a good fit for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020 reform package that is designed to make bidding more affordable and sustainable – and available to more cities. But Budapest claims its model is an alternative concept that will open up the Games to more cities in the future, where its rivals would instead reinforce the IOC’s exclusive mega-city club.
“The Agenda 2020 reforms make it possible for a new generation of mid-sized cities to host the Games, creating new possibilities for the Olympic Movement that will reinforce the IOC’s modern agenda,” Fürjes said Tuesday.
“A Budapest Games would give hope to new nations and new cities, nations and cities on the rise. It would spread the reach of the Olympic Movement…(and create) new possibilities that will take forward the IOC’s new agenda.
“Today, our region offers financial resilience and stability, containing the most reliable economies in the European Union – among them Hungary. Budapest is on the rise and ready to deliver – we are the right city at the right time.”
Last week bond rating service Moody’s upgraded Hungary’s status based on a more positive financial outlook.
Budapest is a founding nation of the Olympic movement and offered to host the first modern Games in 1896, and also bid for six other Games is the past century – failing in each attempt.
The bid team emphasized that the Games would be an extremely compact concept straddling the Danube River. Many venues already exist and only three new facilities would need to be built. And that shouldn’t be a problem, organizers say, because more development has occurred in the city in the past seven years than would be needed to prepare for the Games seven years from now.
“The experience will be truly new and unique,” Attila Mizsér, Director of Sports and Venues said.
“The whole city as one single connected Olympic Park. A genuine compact games experience built into the fabric of the city and accessible to all. A city wide celebration of sport.”
The Hungarian bid committee suggests the legacy of an Olympic Games is vital to the IOC and that Budapest provides a credible option of lasting improvements to the city and the nation.
“The legacy for each of our venues is carefully considered in the context of comprehensive business plans that continue to be honed as we progress,” Fürjes said.
The city has a recent history of quickly developing world-class sport venues on time and on budget and this is underlined by the new Budapest Aquatics Centre (BAC), which is being completed in a record-breaking two-year schedule of construction for the FINA World Aquatics Championships to be held next July.
Other venues, such as the velodrome, will become an important part of the legacy plan designed to support nations of central Europe.
The ANOC presentations were the first of three planned and approved events by the IOC during the 2024 bid campaign. The cities will present next July at a special session in Lausanne, Switzerland and then again just prior to the host city election September 13 in Lima, Peru.
Budapest 2024 Presenters:
Zsófia Arlóy, table tennis Paralympian
Áron Szilágyi, sabre fencer and two-time Olympic Champion
Zsolt Borkai, Chairman of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, Olympic gymnastics champion
Balázs Fürjes, Chairman, Budapest 2024
Deputy Mayor of Budapest, Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky
Attila Mizsér, Director of Sports and Venues, Budapest 2024, Olympic modern pentathlon champion
Non-speakers in the delegation:
Dr. Gusztáv Bienerth, Vice-Chairman, Budapest 2024
László Vajda, Vice-Chairman, Budapest 2024
György Habsburg, Budapest 2024 Bid Ambassador
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.