IOC: Session approves new members, refugee team and YOG to Senegal

A lot of activity during the final day of the IOC’s Session in Buenos Aires (ARG), including:

∙ Election of nine new members, including six presidents of National Olympic Committees, from Bhutan, Italy, Lithuania, Paraguay, Rwanda and Uganda, and the president of the International Gymnastics Federation, Morinari Watanbe (JPN) and the head of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons (BRA).

∙ The IOC will organize a refugee team for the 2020 Games in Tokyo as it did for the 2016 Games in Rio. IOC President Thomas Bach noted that the organization is already “supporting 51 or 52 refugee athletes already and this pool can grow.” The Rio Refugee Team had 10 members.

∙ The PyeongChang organizing committee for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games announced a surplus of at least $55 million from its Games. This, of course, does not include the billions spent by various levels of governments in Korea; the total cost of the Games was expected to be about $13 billion U.S. The IOC attributed the credit to Olympic Agenda 2020.

∙ The three candidate cities for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games were approved: Calgary (CAN), Milan-Cortina (ITA) and Stockholm (SWE). The IOC’s evaluation report (here) noted that polling was done in all three cities to gauge support for the bid last April:

○ Calgary: 54% in favor, 28% against, 19% neutral
○ Milan-Cortina: 83% in favor, 6% against, 12% neutral in Milan
○ Stockholm: 49% in favor, 25% against, 26% neutral

Because of Milan’s candidacy, the 2019 IOC Session at which the selection vote will be taken was officially moved to Lausanne (SUI), but to late June instead of the September date in Milan previously scheduled.

This means the campaigning period will be only about six months after the submittal of bid books on 11 January 2019. Noted Bach, “Shortening this period is another opportunity to cut costs of the bidding procedure and to save money for the candidature committees, and all the candidature committees agreed with this shortening of this period, so it’s not a unilateral change of the procedure.”

○ The 2022 Youth Olympic Games was officially awarded to Senegal, with the main hub of competition to be in the capital city of Dakar, to take place in May of that year. The Senegal proposal did not present a detailed budget, but estimated the organizing committee’s cost of the event at $150 million U.S., with added government funding for facilities and support. This in a country with a 2017 national GDP of $16.4 billion in 2017 and a per capita income of $1,134 a year.

The Athletes Declaration was “emotionally” approved as well; more details are here.