IOC EC Visits Olympic Park on Day Three of Munich 2018 Evaluation

On Day 3 of their visit to Munich, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission visited the proposed “Olympic Park” for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games bid.

Included in the venue tour of the park was the 12,000 seat Olympic Hall, the proposed venue for figure skating and short track speed skating competitions. For the 1972 Munich Summer Games the venue was used for Handball and Gymnastics – and it is currently used for many types of shows. While the IOC delegation were visiting, the venue was being set up for a concert by American pop star Usher set for Friday night. The venue would be ideal for figure skating, it is open and airy without the typical arena “feel”.

A key strategy for Munich’s bid is leveraging the venues used for their 1972 Games and repurposing them for Winter events. This concept is best exemplified with plans to convert the swimming and diving venue, a building made famous when U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz won seven gold medals, to a curling venue with 4,000 seats.

To temporarily convert this actively used swimming pool, engineers have devised a plan where the water is drained, the air de-humidified, and a surface is placed over the swimming pool. More seats will be added adjacent to the curling ends and the multitude of windows will be blacked out to make the environment more suitable for television. The bid team demonstrated how the curling sheet would look in 2018 by “rolling out” an imitation surface over a swim lane.

The Olympic Stadium used for the 1972 Games is the proposed venue to host ceremonies for the 2018. The venue had been used by local football clubs including Bayern Munich, but currently has no permanent tenant. There, the IOC members were welcomed by school children who held letter that spelled “Festival of Friendship” and including drawings that were given to the delegation as gifts.

The IOC team visited a planned temporary site for speed skating, and planned sites for ice hockey that will remain as a legacy. They also saw the site of the new Olympic Village.

The evaluators enjoyed lunch in the Munich Olympic Tower’s revolving restaurant that offers stunning views of the Olympic Park and Central Munich.

A strength in Munich’s plan is the compactness of the ice venues and their close proximity to the Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium. However, the Main press and broadcast centres are about 15 minutes away by car, the Snow Park is 1-hour distant and the Konigsee Sliding Park is about 2-hours away. The legacy and sustainability benefit from the 1972 Games is clearly a compelling argument but could be lost on the IOC who awarded the 2014 Games to Sochi, Russia with a plan to construct most venues from scratch.

The IOC will visit the Konigsee Sliding Park, home of bobsleigh and luge, on Friday. – IOC Evaluation of Munich 2018 – Day 3