POSTED: February 18th 2015

IOC kicks off Agenda 2020 reforms by streamlining the Almaty 2022 Games plan

The IOC Evaluation Team winds up their week in Kazakhstan / SFC
The IOC Evaluation Team winds up their week in Kazakhstan / SFC

IOC Member Alexander Zhukov and the Vice-Mayor of Almaty, Madame Zauresh Amanzholova /SFC
IOC Member Alexander Zhukov and the Vice-Mayor of Almaty, Madame Zauresh Amanzholova /SFC

LAURA WALDEN at the INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL in ALMATY / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wrapped up their four day inspection of Almaty 2022's bid to host the Winter Games by making a few landmark changes. The IOC opted to scrap plans from the Kazakhstan bid impacting about a hundred million dollars of change on the overall concept.

Almaty is bidding against Beijing, china to host the Winter Games of 2022.

IOC Evaluation Commission chief, Alexander Zhukov, and the IOC Olympic Game Executive Director, Christophe Dubi, met the press to explain the outcome of the four day tour to see the venues proposed and to discuss face to face the points that the Kazakh team must deliver if they want to host the Olympics.

When have we ever listened to a wrap press conference for an evaluation tour that immediately changed venues in the plan?

The IOC, with input from the International Ski Federation (FIS), requested to change the location of the downhill and Super G event that were originally planned to take place at the Shymbulak ski resort to the Tau Park Alpine venue where other events will take place. This will make it easier to manage them all together in one place as opposed to two separate venues and reduce the costs. The original bid was submitted January 6th to the IOC.

The impressive alpine Shymbulak ski resort would be in need of about $100 million in upgrades to make it ready for the Olympics should they get the nod.

Zhukov explained, "The Almaty bid committee took full advantage of the flexibility offered by Agenda 2020 to optimize bid proposals. They advanced goals of sustainability, legacy and cost containment without comprising on the core requirements for the Olympic Games."

One other point that will be effected by this change is the idea to also scrap the plan for a mountain press center that would have served Shymbulak and another nearby venue, the Medeu speedskating oval. And to reduce the Olympic Village that will be located there.

Instead of spending funding on these upgrades the IOC wants Almaty 2022 to concentrate on using the allocations for roadwork and to protect the environment.

Andrey Kryukov, Almaty 2022 Vice-Chairman, clarified when the question was raised, "You can say yes. We can efficiently reduce the budget of the concept."

Now the IOC gives Almaty 2022 until March 4th to give the IOC further information including more guarantees and clarifications on the overall concept.

Zhukov remained completely neutral on the chances of Almaty and refused to raise any pros or cons with the bid plan.

"Almaty has spectacular mountains, some very impressive venues and a real passion for winter sports," he said and he proclaimed that Almaty 2022 was 'capable' to host the Games.
He reiterated that the job of the commission was to make a technical assessment of the bids to be submitted to the IOC assembly for them to make an informed vote.
However the Russian chairman did express his admiration for the spectacular Sunkar ski jumping venue that is part of a triple set of venues in that cluster that includes nordic combined and a sliding venue will be added.

Ironically, the IOC had a perfect head on view from the 30th floor bar straight into Sunkar adding the perk that if the Ritz Carlton were to be one of the IOC hotels, members could simple view events there from a distance in the comfort of their own bar. Actually almost all the venue areas of Almaty 2022 are viewable from the 360 luxury hotel driving home the point of the incredible accessibility.

Zhukov said, "It's a very beautiful place on the border of Almaty that we can see from our hotel.

"What has impressed me personally is that there is five different jumps, not for just the competition but for the children - 20, 40, 60 metres, 95 and 135 - so I think it's one of the best venues in the world and it's completely ready for the Olympic Games."

 Sunkar is the jewel in the Almaty crown with the famous panoramic 1700 m open air Medeu speed skating oval right behind it.

Andrey Kryukov, Almaty 2022 Vice-Chairman, met the press right after the IOC briefing with their own updates and he said relieved, "We believe we have done a great job. You have seen the satisfaction chairman Zhukov expressed.
"The impact of Agenda 2020 was beyond our expectations. It is another world... it works quite well."

The new rules of Olympic Agenda 2020 offer bidders more opportunities and flexibility to manage their plans and this new concept is proving to be a winner for the IOC. 

Now the next thing that the IOC will be focusing on is getting those clarifications from Almaty by March 4th and then the evaluation team will travel to Beijing March 24 to 28th to carry out their assessment of  the Chinese bid.

The plot thickens as has learned that the Beijing team has planned to use the Intercontinental Beijing Beichen Hotel, located near the Beijing 2008 Olympic Park surrounded by the iconic venues of the Summer Games. The Intercontinental Hotel offers an imposing view of the area and is just up the road from the Bird's Nest Stadium.

These two bids are setting a new standard for rooftop viewing of the proposed venue plans.

The IOC will meet in Kuala Lumpur on July 31st to choose their host city. 

Erratum: It was originally reported that the IOC hotel was the 7 star Pangu however they will be in the Intercontinental Beijing Beichen which is up the street.

Keywords · Olympics · Almaty 2022 · IOC

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Laura Walden ()

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