IOC Mumbai meet set sustainability tone


IOC discusses next Winter Olympics announcement Image: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Atos International, CC BY-SA 2.0

The preliminary findings of a report looking at a sustainable future for the Olympic Winter Games were presented on October 13th to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) during the 140th IOC session held in Mumbai, India.

The 140th IOC Session was held in the Indian City of Mumbai from October 15th-17th, 2023. An IOC Executive Board (EB) meeting was held from October 12th-13th, prior to the IOC Session, while the Opening Ceremony of the IOC Session was held on October 14th.

‘Olympics’ stated that the above findings were delivered by the Chair of the IOC’s Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games, Karl Stoss, and included preliminary results from two studies.

The Winter Olympic Games is a major international multisport event held once every four years for sports practiced on snow and ice.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the supreme authority of the modern Olympic Movement. The IOC organizes the modern Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which are held every four years in Summer and Winter. The IOC is a non-Governmental sports organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an association under the Swiss Civil Code.

Preliminary Results

‘Olympics’ further stated that at its December 2022 meeting, the IOC EB approved the introduction of two criteria for hosting the future Olympic Winter Games:

  • For sustainability reasons, the future Olympic Winter Games hosts should have a target of using only existing or temporary venues; and
  • Proposed snow competition venues should be climate reliable until at least the middle of the century.

Following these recommendations, two studies were commissioned by the Future Host Commission:

  • One to identify the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) with the most existing venues that meet the requirements of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (IFs); and
  • Another one to check if these existing venues would be climate reliable until at least the middle of the century.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Future Host Commission (FHC) explores, creates and oversees interest in the future Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games. The FHC also advises the IOC Executive Board.

A National Olympic Committee (NOC) is a national constituent of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, the NOCs are responsible for organizing their people’s participation in the Olympic Games.

Zürich (Switzerland)-based the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations is an association of Winter Sports Federations recognized by the International Olympic Committee that compete in the Olympic Winter Games.
The preliminary results of these two studies, presented to the IOC Executive Board, show that:

  • There are currently 15 NOCs on three continents that already have at least 80 percent of the venues needed, which means having at least nine out of the 11 venues required for the Olympic Winter Games; and
  • Ten out of the 15 NOCs have either recently hosted the Games or are interested in hosting the Games in the future.

By 2040, two of these 15 NOCs will no longer have the necessary reliability for the Olympic Winter Games held in February and five will not for the Paralympic Winter Games held in March, which means a pool of potential hosts reduced to around 10 NOCs.

Due to the impact of climate change, this number will be further reduced by the middle of the century.

Informed Thomas Bach, IOC President, “The Future Host Commission reported that the studies are works-in-progress and the final results will be presented in due course, but the preliminary results already show that we need to adapt the Olympic Winter Games given the impact of climate change. In collaboration with the Winter sports community, we need to look for solutions for the future.”

The Future Host Commission has already started to work on how to address this very concerning situation.

This implies deliberations on a potential rotation, the composition of the program, the different needs for sports on ice and snow, and many other elements.

Double Allocation

As more time is needed to address the complexity of this issue, the Future Host Commission has proposed to the IOC EB to consider a double allocation of the 2030 and 2034 Olympic Winter Games, should the appropriate conditions exist. The IOC EB gave the green light for this proposal, which has been supported by the Presidents of all seven Olympic IFs.

In terms of the timeline, the Future Host Commission will come back to the IOC EB in November with respect to opening a Targeted Dialog, with a view to an IOC Session election in 2024.

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