IOC moving in the right direction: President Bach

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach believes the IOC is heading in the right direction.

Speaking at the opening of the 128th Session of the IOC Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, President Bach said approval of the Olympic Agenda 2020 last December are already revealing positive signs fo the Olympic Movement.

“Olympic Agenda 2020 gives us a clear vision of where we are headed, how we can protect the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthen Olympic values in society. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, my dear colleagues and friends, IOC Members, but also Presidents of International Federations and National Olympic Committees for your support and enthusiasm with which you have embraced the Olympic Agenda 2020 over the last seven months.” 

President Bach said IOC should focus on the road ahead with the same energy and passion as when they approved the Olympic Agenda 2020.

“We all can do so with great confidence, because we see already today how positively these reforms are shaping the present and the future of the entire Olympic Movement. 

“Tomorrow (today) you will elect the Host City for the Olympic Winter Games 2022. This will be the last vote on a candidature procedure which started before the approval of Olympic Agenda 2020. Even more I would like to applaud both Candidate Cities, Almaty and Beijing, for having taken major recommendations into account already.”

The Candidate Cities had made presentations at the IOC Headquarters in  Lausanne a fortnight ago prior to coming to Malaysia.

Bach says the bids are already reflecting positive aspects of the Olympic Agenda 2020.

“Even if the 2022 candidatures are the last pre-Olympic Agenda 2020 ones, they have already succeeded in reducing the infrastructure budgets to 1.5 and 1.85 billion US dollars respectively. But it is not only about reducing budgets. They did so by choosing more sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions. Therefore from these investments generations to come will benefit.”

He said the Evaluation Commission under the Chairmanship of Alexander Zhukov has analysed both bids through this lens of Olympic Agenda 2020, clearly highlighting both opportunities and risks for all assessment criteria. 

The agenda according to President Bach addresses sustainability in a holistic way. 

“We have offered all our future host cities to benefit from these reforms already now. The Organising Committee of Tokyo 2020 has embraced this opportunity in a remarkable way. 

“Together with our Coordination Commission chaired by Vice-President John Coates, the Games project was reviewed in cooperation with the representatives of the International Federations who play an always more important role in the delivery of Olympic Games. With this joint effort we have achieved within seven months savings of 1.7 billion US dollars and some hundreds of millions more in the pipeline without jeopardising the atmosphere of the Olympic Games. 

“This is what Olympic Agenda 2020 means for all of us. 

“The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year will give another great example of the legacy of the Olympic Games. As the Organising Committee and the Mayor have recently stated: seven billion euros is being invested into sustainable long-term infrastructure projects, like 150 kilometres of new express bus lanes, a new metro line and the transformation of the old port area to name but a few. From this investment generations of Brazilians will benefit. 

“Our Brazilian friends know that they cannot slow down their great efforts, that there is no time to lose. But knowing about the challenges is an important step to overcoming them. 

“Therefore we all together can look forward with great anticipation to the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016. Our Brazilian hosts will deliver excellent Games with the Brazilian combination of passion, a joy of living and efficiency at the same time.” 

The IOC President is adamant the Olympic Movement has a right future. 

“Our recent success in marketing and TV-rights negotiations with many long-term contracts demonstrate that also our partners have such great confidence in the IOC and the direction we are taking.” 

He said another proof is the bidding procedure for the Olympic Games 2024. 

These candidates will be the first ones to fully benefit from the philosophy change in the bidding process – turning it from an application for a franchise to an invitation to present to IOC and the world their view on the sustainable organisation of Olympic Games. 

After having benefited from the consultation with the IOC in this newly created invitation phase five NOCs have already committed themselves to a candidature: France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, USA. 

All of them have made it very clear that the wide-ranging reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 played a decisive role in their decision about presenting a candidature. 

“We welcome them all here among us. We invite you to continue this close cooperation with us in order to have creative, diverse, authentic and sustainable candidatures. 

“This is what Olympic Agenda 2020 means for all of us.”