The entire world at this moment has its eyes on the Olympic Games! Considered the biggest show on earth, the Olympic Games are held every four years and are major sporting events. The much-prestigious Olympics started in 1896 in Athens, Greece, with 14 different countries competing in the first modern Olympic Games. Check out the process of choosing the Olympic host country!
The Summer and Winter Olympics were two independent events held earlier in the same year until 1992. In 1992, a decision came into effect to conduct the games in alternate even-numbered years on separate four-year cycles. The Summer Olympics take place between July and August, while the Winter Olympics take place in March.
How is the host city of the Olympic Games chosen?
Every two years, significant towns worldwide compete for the right to host the Olympic Games at the International Olympic Committee. The host city is usually chosen seven years before the Games take place.
First Stage: Bid Proposal
The cities whose proposals go into consideration undergo a ten-month examination. It is to ensure that they have the necessary infrastructure to host an international athletic event. The ability of a city to accommodate a large number of people, including athletes, is one of the factors that the IOC looks at.
Because all Olympic events have a precise timetable, the host should have an efficient and well-organized transportation system. Ample security is also required, as any threat to the athletes might disrupt the events. The host city must provide all of the necessary venues of excellent quality for all the Olympic disciplines.
Second Stage: Becoming a Candidate City
A city becomes a Candidate City for the Olympic Host Country after passing the first set of qualifications. It then goes to the second round of the screening process. The Candidate City pays a cost of roughly $150,000 in the second round. Once the winning bid is declared, the final hosting city immediately starts the development of the necessary infrastructure.
New venues and, most importantly, the construction of the Olympic Village- which will house all athletes in one location, starts! Subsequently, the IOC typically prepares a backup plan if the winning host city is unable to host the games. An example of an unfortunate event was in 1976 when Denver, United States, pulled out of hosting the Winter Olympics. After that, Innsbruck, Austria, took over as the host.
Despite the high application fee, countries worldwide compete for the chance to host the Olympic Games. There are several reasons for that! The first is the pride of hosting the Games. The Olympics is the biggest sporting event on earth, and hosting them is an absolute honour. Therefore, despite the high application fee, the countries apply their bids.
Innovative Approaches to electing the Future Olympic Host
The groundbreaking new method of selecting Olympic and youth Olympic Games hosts saves money for the hosts. It also provides sustainable projects and master plans for the Olympic events.
The reforms ensure that the IOC keeps pace with a fast-changing world. It also sees that it delivers games that are more aligned with the long-term development objectives of the host country. They also aim to preserve the integrity of games and offer athletes the best possible sporting experience. Since the inauguration of Thomas Bach as IOC President in 2013, the IOC has made substantial adjustments to becoming potential hosts.
The reforms began around 2014, when the total membership of the IOC, collectively known as the IOC Session, unanimously approved Olympic Agenda 2020. It is a strategic roadmap planned for the Olympic Movement and its future. The roadmap conducted a review of every aspect of organizing the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. It also prioritizes enhancing sustainability and legacies.
The candidature procedure was one of the critical areas addressed by Olympic Agenda 2020. There was a new philosophy wherein potential hosts get invitations to present projects. These projects should best fit their sporting, economic, social, and environmental planning needs. It was not only about trying to fit the Games into the local context. The objective was also to develop Olympic projects that were less expensive and more efficient. It also aimed to unlock more value for future hosts and prioritize legacy and sustainability.
Following the success of these efforts, the New Norm was adopted in 2018. It provided the Olympic host country with even more latitude in organizing the Games. The IOC and the entire Olympic Movement also extended their help and expertise. These measures have had a significant impact. For example, for the candidacy phase of the Olympic Winter Games 2026, a one-year non-committal conversation period resulted in considerable cost savings. The savings occurred in both the candidature and operating budgets – about 80% and 20% lower.
The IOC’s flexibility in using existing and temporary venues shows that 80% of the proposed venues for 2026 are existing or temporary, up from 60% in 2018-2022. The expanded cooperation was so productive and well-received during the 2026 conversation stage that the IOC formed a Working Group in early 2019 to examine how to build on these features in the future.
Increased Flexibility and Dialogue
The Working Group proposals were submitted to and accepted by the IOC Session in June 2019. This was after consultation with the IOC Executive Board (EB). The Executive Board then decided on a plan of action for their implementation in October 2019. It culminated in developing a new, simplified approach to future host elections that ensures greater flexibility and bilateral collaboration.
This strategy allows for more interaction between the IOC and interested parties. It also provides scope for greater flexibility in the schedule of future elections. Furthermore, interested parties are not restricted to a single location but may relate to numerous cities, regions, or nations.
Any interested party is welcome to continue a non-committal conversation with the IOC through two permanent future Olympic Host country commissions. It also enables the IOC to seek out possible hosts if judged advantageous to the Olympic Movement.
The first conversation does not have to be edition-specific, with conversations aimed at determining if a possible host is best suited to hold an Olympic Games or a Youth Olympic Games and when. Timelines and deadlines are no longer as tight as they once were. The IOC will continue to provide hands-on assistance and experience in defining and developing projects in collaboration with the Interested Parties, leaving numerous long-lasting legacies for the local communities.
As the primary governing body of the Olympic Movement, the IOC leads to the forefront of innovation and development. It also assists in delivering the best possible Olympic projects that aim to benefit both Olympic collaborators and the future host countries.
New Developments to Olympic Host Elections
- The propagation of a permanent, non-committal, and non-edition continuous discourse that aims at studying and generating interest in the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games across all Interested Parties;
- Once the commission selects a possible Olympic host country , it does not mean that other interested parties are out of luck. The interested parties can still engage in a collaboration with future host commissions to consider hosting a future Olympic event.
- The propagation of two future host Commissions (both summer and winter) supervises and advises the Executive Board on interest in future Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games.
- Giving the IOC Session more clout by making the Future Host Commissions composed of non-Executive Board members.
Future Host Commissions
In October 2019, IOC President Bach appointed two important future host commissions. Both the Commissions are gender-balanced and uphold the current values of the entire spectrum of the Olympics. The Commissions shall honour any confidentiality requests made by possible hosts as they seek to establish the public and private elements of their initiative, as well as the content of any discussions about specific proposals.
Role of the future host commissions
- The responsibility of the future Host Commissions is to thoroughly investigate, scrutinize and create interest in the upcoming Olympic Games, Olympic Winter Games, and Youth Olympic Games.
- The Commissions communicate with potential Olympic host countries to establish the nature and degree of their potential interest in holding the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. They also collaborate with them to comprehend the many components and opportunities of the Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games.
- The commission will assist interested parties in developing a compelling vision for their Olympic project and proposing sustainable ideas that correspond with their long-term development objectives.
- The role of the commission also includes researching the long-term issues of hosting future Olympic Games.
- The Commissions will report to the Executive Board regularly, offering advice and suggestions on potential hosts. It is so that the Executive Board responds to the numerous developments and possibilities that incline towards the best interests of the Olympic Movement.
The Future Host Commissions will remain open for debate indefinitely under this new methodology. Continuous exploratory and non-committal conversations occur with interested parties about future Olympic or Youth Olympic Games. It occurs with the cooperation of their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Therefore, these are not edition-specific discussions. Throughout this conversation, the Commissions will continually monitor and analyze the projects, producing feasibility evaluations that will serve as the foundation for suggestions and advice presented to the IOC Executive Board at regular intervals (EB).
Targeted Dialogue refers to the standard structured procedure to investigate a bid by a country to host a specific edition of the Olympic and Paralympic Games or the Youth Olympic Games. When the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board (EB) asks one or more preferred hosts to enter into deeper negotiations to enhance their concept, a collaborative partnership occurs. While there is no defined duration for Targeted Dialogue, it hardly lasts more than 12 months as each circumstance is unique.
During that period, in the spirit of the Olympic Agenda 2020 partnership hosting model, the IOC will deliver a series of seminars focused on and customized to the specific needs of the preferred Olympic host country. Such workshops assist the Preferred Host to ensure that their sporting projects adhere to the long-term development plans. It also scrutinizes the recent Olympic Games planning and delivery developments to provide operationally efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable Games. As per the new technique of selecting future Olympic hosts, the IOC gives its expertise in direct services.
In Targeted Dialogue, each Preferred Host needs to submit an Initial Submission that will respond to the IOC’s Future Host Questionnaire. This questionnaire will be for the upcoming Olympic Games or Olympic Winter Games. The host will also offer assurances to support the deemed proposal. After a thorough consultation with the Future Host Commission, the Preferred Host will get the chance to evaluate their replies before they finally submit.
The Future Host Commission will offer a detailed report based on the Final Submission for consideration by the IOC EB. Then, the EB decides whether they should propose one or more hosts for election. If the preferred host comes up for election, the report by the future Host country commission and the final submission by the preferred host will be available for every IOC member to see. It is also published on the official website olympics.com/ioc.
Vote by the IOC session
The right of the IOC Session to choose Olympic hosts still applies. After the preferred hosts finalize for the IOC session, the countries and members of the IOC will get the chance to question the host, hear presentations from them and also offer their suggestions and comments before voting on the final host. IOC members always stand as leaders of the decision-making process of the hosting country.
Benefits of the New Approach
The IOC aspires with the new strategy with a solid commitment to flexibility, sustainability, legacies, and optimizing all areas of the Olympic Games. It seeks to keep pace with a fast-changing world by delivering Olympic activities linked with the long-term development goals of future hosts and the Olympic Agenda 2020 and Olympic Agenda 2020+5. It also ensures to maintain the magic of the Olympic Games and offer the best possible experience to all athletes.
Targeted Dialogue Brisbane 2032
The IOC is proactively collaborating with Brisbane 2032 and the prestigious Australian Olympic Committee on the possibility of successfully hosting the XXXV Olympiad and bringing the Olympic host country. The first Targeted Dialogue process came into being since implementing the new method of selecting Olympic hosts.
Subsequently, the future Host Commission will brief the IOC Executive Board (EB) about the talks and decisions. If all the talks suffice, the EB may recommend the IOC Session the selection of the Preferred Host of the Games of the XXXV Olympiad. On the other hand, if the talks do not end satisfactorily, Brisbane 2032 will re-join Continuous Dialogue.
Continuous dialogue with the remaining interested parties is a continuous process to enhance their development projects. It is to keep them ready as a backup venue for any unforeseen situation if the Targeted Dialogue with Brisbane 2032 or the AOC turns out unsuccessful. They also feature a consideration list of future editions of the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games, and associated Olympic events.
Holding the title of the Olympic Host country is crucial and the most prestigious title any country could ever have. Being the venue of the biggest show on earth equals standing out as bagging gold in the event!! Is your country on the list of Olympic Host Countries yet!?