Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid announced Tuesday the appointment of Stratos Safioleas as strategic advisor for Communication, International Media and Social Media – a role that will be key in helping raise the profile of the Italian campaign internationally, and in an effort to send the correct messages to Olympic stakeholders around the world.
A veteran in representing Olympic host city bids and International Sport Federations, Safioleas recently worked on Almaty, Kazakhstan’s bid that came close to upsetting heavily favoured Beijing to the host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. He was also involved in successful bids by PyeongChang and London, as well as campaigns from Chicago and Madrid.
In 2013 Safioleas successfully represented the International Wrestling Federation’s bid to have the sport reinstated to the Games after it had been surprisingly cut as a core sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) starting in 2020.
The role comes with additional challenges as Rome fights to remain viable against rivals Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris. An internal threat exists from newly elected Mayor Virginia Raggi who campaigned on a platform that opposed the Olympic bid in favour of spending the funds instead on more fundamental municipal projects including road repairs. Raggi has been open to discussion, and she has the option of reversing an earlier city council decision to ban a city-wide referendum.
If the Mayor instead clears the way for a public vote, the Eternal City risks seeing an early end to the campaign just like Hamburg did after the German city narrowly lost its referendum late last year.
Bid book documents covering phase 2 topics including government support are due into the IOC October 7. If the Mayor’s endorsement is not included, the Executive Board of the IOC has the option to “defer” Rome’s campaign to a future quadrennial.
Safioleas holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Management and Technology Policy and in the past has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, in Washington DC. He will report to the bid’s Head of Communication Fabio Guadagnini.
The IOC will elect a host city at its all members session on September 13, 2017 in Lima, Peru.
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.