POSTED: February 20th 2015

Almaty 2022: The IOC Evaluation Commission experienced the potential and sustainability of the Kazakh bid

When you can spot almost all of the Almaty 2022 proposed venues from the Ritz Carlton 360 view lounge that makes a big clear statement / SFC
When you can spot almost all of the Almaty 2022 proposed venues from the Ritz Carlton 360 view lounge that makes a big clear statement / SFC

DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ / Sports Features Communications   

(SFC)  It was a "Real" week to remember for Almaty, Kazakhstan as they recently concluded welcoming the IOC Evaluation Commission to review their bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.  This is the first time the IOC Evaluation Commission visited a bid from Kazakhstan, as well as the first visit conducted under the new guidelines of Agenda 2020. 

In comments about being the first bid city to be reviewed under these new guidelines, Vice Chairman of the Almaty 2022 Bid Andrey Kryukov said "A lot has been written about Agenda 2020.  I can tell you one thing about Agenda 2020 from our perspective - the impact of Agenda 2020 on this week's meetings was beyond our expectation. The Agenda 2020 works, and it works quite well." 

Over the five day visit, the discussions with the IOC were open and collaborative.  The IOC Evaluation Commission made it clear that the goal for the host city is to offer a bid that is in the best interest of the city and region of Almaty, and for the 2022 Winter Games, over the long-term.  

As noted by Andrey Kryukov, "This represents a new era in the IOC's bidding process, and we are very proud to be the first "test case".  Together, we focused a great deal on sustainability, Olympic legacy and controlling costs while at the same time maintaining the highest standards for Olympic sport."  

In addition, based on comments and suggestions provided by the IOC, the Bid committee was able to review plans and optimize the original quality concept into an even better one.   

Timur Dossymbetov, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan, thoughtful reflected about the entire process:  "I have dedicated my life to my country through the practice of Sport. Over many Olympic Games, I have seen the power of sport change lives, and move entire nations towards a better future. I have observed how crucial the values of sport are in the development of young people's character, their health and outlook on life. That is why I am so pleased with this week's meetings with the IOC.  

"Hosting a Winter Games in Almaty has been a dream of mine, and many in our country, for a long time. After this week with the IOC, I have a renewed faith that this is no longer just a dream - it is a REAL possibility. Almaty 2022's slogan is "Keeping it Real". The beauty of that phrase is that it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  To me, it means staying true to who we are as the people of Kazakhstan; and it means showcasing the beauty of our city and our culture to the world, in the greatest Winter Sports event on earth - the Winter Games." 

The importance of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Almaty is not lost on government officials as well.  Vice Mayor Zauresh Amanzholova added "This has been an extraordinary week for our city, Almaty. In addition to sharing our plans for Almaty 2022 with the IOC Evaluation Commission, we were also able to inspire our city and indeed the entire nation.  During their visit, the Evaluation Commission members also enjoyed a flavor of our city's culture. They also toured our magnificent snow covered mountains, and of course they saw with their own eyes our beautiful venues that already exist and are already in use. 

"As Vice Mayor, I was very impressed by the EC's insistence that our Games preparations also be linked with the existing long-term development plans of the City.  This is in direct agreement with Almaty 2022's message: "we are adapting the Winter Games plan to fit our City - we are not adapting our City to fit the Winter Games". 85 percent of the people of Almaty support our bid, as does 87 percent of the nation. This will guarantee full stadia with engaged fans and a fantastic atmosphere." 

Almaty is one of two finalists being considered for hosting the 2022 Games.  Once the IOC evaluation commission completes all their visits, they will produce a written report in time for the IOC technical briefing on June 9-10.  The final selection of the host city will be voted on by the full IOC membership on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

**DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ is a tenured Senior Lecturer of Sport Management at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.  He has been an academician for 15 years in the areas of sport business management, international tourism, and hospitality management - with special focus on the areas of sport marketing, sport finance, tourism, and facility/event management.  He speaks globally and is the author of numerous publications in these areas, as well as been actively involved in consulting projects working with a multitude of sport and community organizations ranging from grassroots efforts to hallmark events.  

Keywords · Olympics · Almaty 2022 · IOC · Winter Olympics

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