International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said his organization and future games hosts must overcome the challenge of convincing the wider public about the benefits of staging sports’ biggest event.
Rogge, speaking in his last individual news conference before the IOC elects his successor on Sept. 10, said organizers need to demonstrate how the Olympics, which cost billions of dollars to stage, can have a positive impact on the host city and nation.
“The challenge for the sport movement is to clearly indicate and prove that there is a good legacy after staging such events,” Rogge said yesterday in Buenos Aires. “It will be our responsibility wherever we go to organize games that this is a win-win situation for the city and the region and that we as organizers make sure that there is a sustainable legacy.”
Rio de Janeiro, which will host the 2016 Summer Games, was the scene of demonstrations in June as Brazilians took to the streets to protest political corruption, the lack of spending on health and education and the amount of money going to sporting events. Brazil’s government is spending about $15 billion to prepare for next year’s soccer World Cup, and a similar amount in public and private funding is required for the Olympics.
The IOC will vote in two days to decide whether Tokyo, Madrid or Istanbul will host the 2020 Games. The financing of the event has featured prominently in the bids of two of the three candidates.
Bid leaders for Madrid have said the Spanish capital’s $1.9 billion Olympic project is what citizens would expect given the nation’s economic woes. Istanbul’s bid states that only 7 percent of the $16.8 billion development costs are directly related to facilities required for the games. Rome pulled its bid to host the 2020 edition last year when then-Prime Minister Mario Monti said it would be a drain on public resources.
Madrid bid leader Alejandro Blanco said in an interview two days ago that the IOC’s decision on the 2020 host “is very important because maybe in the next bidding cycle there will only be five countries that think they are capable of delivering the games because of the costs.” Madrid is bidding for the third straight time to host the games.
“From our point of view the last thing we want is for the Olympics to be a burden for a city,” Richard Carrion, one of six candidates to replace Rogge, said in an interview. “On the contrary, what our goal is for the games to be manageable, sustainable and a good thing.”