Opinion

Joël Bouzou
Peace and Sport President and Founder

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26/02/2016 par Joël Bouzou

A Legacy for the City and for Peace

The Olympic race has started in earnest for the four bidding cities for the 2024 summer Olympics. Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome presented their initial candidate files to the IOC on Wednesday 17 February. This entailed submitting a sixty-page document in which they revealed their global vision and concept for the Games. A second file sent before 7 October will address legal and financial questions. The third and final file, expected in Lausanne no later than 3 February 2017, invites the candidate cities to detail their Olympic experience and, crucially, the legacy which the Games will leave to the city and the country.

The question of legacy is key. For some, it has even became decisive within the Olympic movement. The Olympic Agenda 2020, ratified by the IOC in December 2014, is in fact a priority. Several of its resolutions single this out: the Olympic and Paralympic Games should no longer be limited to the sporting event itself – two occasions when the eyes of the entire world are fixed on the same location for only two weeks each. They must go beyond the framework of sport to affect all aspects of society: sustainably transform a city and its surrounding areas; inspire youth; alter a country’s perception of disability; modernize a territory; and expand sporting activity.

The bid teams know it. In Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome, they are already working on bids to ensure that the legacy of the Games will be sustainable, citizen-minded and indisputably innovative. Here at Peace and Sport, we’re awaiting their ideas impatiently. We will read and analyse them with the consideration of an organization that has been dedicated to peace through sport since its inception. We will not give an opinion on one or other of the candidate cities; we have neither the wish nor the legitimacy to do so. But we will allow ourselves to compare the four bids concerning the legacy which the Games could leave in terms of team spirit, respect of differences, tolerance and integration.

As the world’s foremost sporting event, the Olympic Games have the capacity to change a society. In 2024, the city which will be chosen to host the Games should make use of them to channel momentum in another dimension, to create jobs, to modernize its public transport system, to inject dynamism into its economy, and to transmit the values of sport and the Olympics to its youth. Through the Games, the country must also place great importance on the idea that sport can contribute to sustainable peace. Get athletes, politicians and citizens on board in the same magnitude. Peace and Sport is expecting new ideas and initiatives on this key issue from Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome. The consequences are serious. And the occasion is too good to be missed.

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