BidWeek, Reporting from Toronto, Canada – The best in international sport business gathered this week at the SportAccord Convention in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne, Switzerland and fittingly events culminated when Swiss IOC member Patrick Baumann was elected President of SportAccord – the umbrella organization serving more than 90 international sport federations.
Baumann, who is also the Secretary General of international basketball and is currently organizing the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games, decisively defeated Russia’s Anna Arzhanova 55-25 in Friday’s vote to win a four-year term.
Delegates representing bids for the 2024 Games were on-hand at the convention but laid low following International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules that prevented them from any official campaigning. High-level delegations were sent but it was Paris Mayor Ann Hidalgo that drew the most attention as the only mayor on hand.
Rome’s bid is currently without a representing Mayor after Ignazio Marino stepped down last year amid corruption charges, but with municipal elections set to take place on June 5th – this week poll-leading Five Star Party mayoral candidate Virginia Raggi said that she is against the capital’s bid for the Games because the city has other financial priorities. It will be a major blow to the Eternal City’s bid should constituents elect a Mayor who is against the plans.
But it got worse this week for those dreaming for the Games to return to Italy. On Thursday the Radical party’s Riccardo Magi announced that its appeal to hold a public referendum on the Games was approved by a city committee. Referendum supporters have a month to collect almost 30,000 signatures before a referendum can move forward, and election results in June will factor into the whether the vote will occur.
The Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid committee made the most of its time in Switzerland by meeting with the International Handball Association marking the 28th and final federation consultation required in the first round.
Bid Chairman Casey Wasserman said “we have enjoyed these very constructive meetings between LA 2024 and each of the 28 International Federations.”
“This dialogue with world-leading experts gives us a great chance to develop a concept that offers the best possible Games experience for the entire Olympic Movement.”
Meanwhile in Hungary, the Budapest 2024 bid addressed the Hungarian American Chamber of Commerce. Attended by around 250 business leaders, CEO’s of top companies and senior diplomats – bid Chairman Balázs Fürjes touted the forecasted financial benefits of the Games.
The 2026 Olympic Winter Games race took the stage elsewhere in Lausanne this week, even before the campaign has been launched by the IOC. The Swiss National Olympic Committee began its search for a domestic candidate by hosting a briefing for interested cities at the Olympic Museum. Representatives from Davos-St. Moritz, Bern, Sion and Lake Geneva Region were on hand to express interest. If interested they’ll have until May 31 to sign up for the process.
Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) President Tricia Smith said after a board meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan “We’ve launched a process, letters have gone out to cities with populations of 750,000 population or more to ask them if they are interested in knowing more about a possible Olympic bid. We don’t know if we’ll bid at all, it’s the decision of the Canadian Olympic Committee, and of this group, and first we have to determine if it makes sense for us to make a bid at all, if it’s going to be Summer or Winter.”
“It’s an exciting time to be in the Olympic bid business because of Agenda 2020 the IOC has put out and there is lots of different options now for bids,” she added.
Canadian cities have until June 30 “to say if they are interested in hearing more.” Representatives from Calgary and Quebec City have been discussing possible 2026 Winter Games bids and Toronto’s Mayor, after deferring a 2024 Olympic Games bid at the final hour, alluded to a potential future bid.
The Rio 2016 Torch was lit in Greece this week in advance of the 95 day Torch Relay that culminates August 5th at the opening ceremonies. Rio was chosen to host in 2009 at the IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark when the Brazilian city defeated Tokyo, Madrid and Chicago in a vote. Then Brazil President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva boasted that his nation’s economy was among the strongest in the world.
Today, Brazil is suffering its worst recession in years with high unemployment and a President that’s on the brink of impeachment. But despite politics, raw sewage and the Zika virus – the Games must go on!
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.