IOC opens door to joint bids and new sports events
Bach outlines 2020 proposal that could help baseball softball's return
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Breaking from the tradition of awarding the Olympics only to a single host city, the IOC is opening the door to possible wider bids -- including bids from an entire country, joint bids from more than one city and even the possibility of events held in more than one country.
The possibility of new types of bids was among the 40 recommendations released Tuesday as part of International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach's reform agenda, his drive to make the bidding process and the games themselves more attractive and less costly.
"We want to create more diversity in the candidatures," Bach told a small group of reporters at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution."
Under the proposals, the IOC would allow "the organization of entire sports and disciplines outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country notably for reasons of geography and sustainability."
That would be a first for the Summer Games. The IOC rules already allow for events to be held in a bordering country for the Winter Games.
Bach's proposals also include scrapping the current limit of 28 sports for the Summer Games to allow for new events to come in while maintaining a limit of 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events. For the Winter Games, the proposed limit is 2,900 athletes and 100 medal events.
The proposals would allow host cities to propose the inclusion of one or more events for their games -- a move which would clear the way for baseball and softball to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Both sports were dropped from the Olympics after the 2008 Beijing Games, but are highly popular in Japan.
The package also includes measures for revamping the bid process to make it more of a partnership with candidates, creating a digital Olympic television channel to promote Olympic sports in the years between the games, and including language on non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter and host city contract.
The move to change the wording of the IOC's Principle 6 follows the international outcry that erupted before the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi over a Russian law prohibiting gay "propaganda."
The proposed new clause states: "The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
The reforms, called "Olympic Agenda 2020," will be put to a vote by the full IOC at a special session in Monaco on Dec. 8-9. Barring any surprise, most or all the recommendations are expected to be passed.
"It's like a jigsaw puzzle," Bach said.
The pressure for change to the bidding process has grown following the troubled race for the 2022 Winter Games. Scared off by the reported $51 billion associated with the Sochi Games, several cities pulled out of the bidding, leaving only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the running.
"More must be done to alleviate concerns regarding the costs and impacts of hosting the Olympic Games," the IOC document said.
The new bid process will go into effect for the race for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The United States, which hasn't hosted the Summer Games since 1996 in Atlanta, would be considered an early favorite if decides to bid. The U.S. Olympic Committee is weighing a possible bid from either Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington. Other potential contenders include Paris, Rome, and Hamburg or Berlin in Germany.
In the Summer Olympics, some events -- such as sailing and many of the preliminary-round football matches -- are already held outside host cities. But Bach said the IOC is now ready to open the chance for country-wide and joint bids.
"In the Summer Games, it's more about small or neighboring countries where you have distances which are manageable and feasible," he said. "We want to have more diversity, to give smaller countries the opportunity to organize games."
There has been a precedent for holding events outside the host country. Because of quarantine laws in Australia, the equestrian competition for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics was held in Stockholm.
Bach stressed there still should be a "main organizing city" with an athletes village that serves as the center of the Olympic experience.
"We want the games with the unity of time, place and action," he said.
The recommendations also include a broad review of the Youth Olympics, which debuted in Singapore in 2010. The Youth Games would be moved to non-Olympic years, meaning the 4th Summer Youth Games would be switched from 2022 to 2023.
November 19, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
The list (with highlights indented):
• 1. Shape the bidding process as an invitation
• The IOC wishes to assist and advise cities considering bids about bid procedures, core Games requirements and how previous cities have ensured positive legacies.
• The IOC would allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.
• 2. Evaluate bid cities by assessing key opportunities and risks
• 3. Reduce the cost of bidding
• The IOC wishes to bear more travel costs during the bidding process and create a register of consultants/lobbyists to work for bid cities.
• 4. Include sustainability in all aspects of the Olympic Games
• 5. Include sustainability within the Olympic Movement’s daily operations
• 6. Cooperate closely with other sports event organizers
• 7. Strengthen relationships with organizations managing sport for people
with different abilities
• 8. Forge relationships with professional leagues
• 9. Set a framework for the Olympic program
• Limit the Summer Olympics to approximately 10,500 athletes and 310 events. London 2012 had 10,568 athletes in 302 events; Rio 2016 will have 306 events.
• Limit the Winter Olympics to approximately 2,900 athletes and 100 events. Sochi 2014 reportedly had fewer than 2,900 athletes in 98 events.
• 10. Move from a sport-based to an event-based program
• 11. Foster gender equality
• Encourage more mixed-gender team events.
• 12. Reduce the cost and reinforce the flexibility of Olympic Games management
• 13. Maximize synergies with Olympic Movement stakeholders
• 14. Strengthen the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism
• Include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter. The principles currently include text against discrimination based on race, religion, politics and gender.
• 15. Change the philosophy to protecting clean athletes
• 16. Leverage the IOC $20 million fund to protect clean athletes
• 17. Honor clean athletes
• 18. Strengthen support to athletes
• 19. Launch an Olympic channel
• 20. Enter into strategic partnerships
• 21. Strengthen IOC advocacy capacity
• 22. Spread Olympic values-based education
• 23. Engage with communities
• 24. Evaluate the Sport for Hope program
• 25. Review Youth Olympic Games positioning
• Move the Youth Olympics to non-Olympic years starting in 2023.
• 26. Further blend sport and culture
• 27. Comply with basic principles of good governance
• 28. Support autonomy
• 29. Increase transparency
• 30. Strengthen the IOC Ethics Commission independence
• 31. Ensure compliance
• 32. Strengthen ethics
• 33. Further involve sponsors in “Olympism in Action” programs
• 34. Develop a global licensing program
• 35. Foster Olympic partner sponsors’ engagement with National Olympic Committees
• 36. Extend access to the Olympic brand for non-commercial use
• 37. Address IOC membership age limit
• 38. Implement a targeted recruitment process
• 39. Foster dialogue with society and within the Olympic Movement
• 40. Review scope and composition of IOC commissions