POSTED: July 29th 2015
NewsUpdate

Positive experiences for athletes and proximity of venues for a compact Olympic Games central to Almaty 2022 bid

From left to right... Zhuldyz Baimagambet, Media Relations Director for Almaty 2022; Vice-Chairman Andrey Kryukov; Athlete Ambassadors Denis Ten, Karina Uzurova, and Zhanyl Baltabayeva; and President of the National Paralympic Committee Kairat Boranbayev
From left to right... Zhuldyz Baimagambet, Media Relations Director for Almaty 2022; Vice-Chairman Andrey Kryukov; Athlete Ambassadors Denis Ten, Karina Uzurova, and Zhanyl Baltabayeva; and President of the National Paralympic Committee Kairat Boranbayev

DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ at the Grand Hyatt in KUALA LUMPUR / Sports Features Communications

(SFC)  The Almaty 2022 bid committee hosted their first press conference earlier today to discuss a number of topics ahead of the vote this Friday to select the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The session was moderated by Zhuldyz Baimagambet, Media Relations Director for Almaty 2022.  Speakers included Almaty 2022 Vice-Chairman Andrey Kryukov; figure skater and Sochi 2014 bronze medalist Denis Ten; Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympian pairs figure skater Karina Uzurova; Paralympic cross country skier and 2022 bid ambassador Zhanyl Baltabayeva; and President of the National Paralympic Committee Kairat Boranbayev.

The press conference started with an impressive video about Almaty, known as the 'city of apples'.  The video reiterated the Almaty 2022 mantra of having real snow and real winter weather, real winter sports venues, and real winter sports hosting experiences.

Opening remarks were provided by Kryukov, which focused on the highlights of the bid.  In a separate interview, he said "Our sensible, affordable and sustainable Games Plan is based on real venues, real winter sports hosting experience and real snow and winter ambience. Almaty can prove that a nation does not need to be a superpower or spend tens of billions of dollars to host a Winter Games. Consistent with the goals of IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, Almaty 2022's planning for the Winter Games utilizes our existing resources and is directly linked to our city's long-term goals. Rather than changing our city to fit the Games, we adapted the Games plan to fit our city's needs. This is real change of the Winter Games and exactly what we mean by 'Keeping it Real'."

Ten added depth about the importance of winter sports to the nation of Kazakhstan.  He discussed growing up in Almaty and skating in the local shopping mall - but now Almaty now has this beautiful skating facility called Medeu where numerous world records have been set.  He reiterated the opportunity for Almaty to become the first Eurasia nation to host an Olympic and to showcase for the entire world to see, quoting Lao Tzu by saying "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

Numerous questions focused on the appeal of Almaty as a host city, but a key question was posed to Kryukov about human rights in Kazakhstan.  He explained that since independence in 1991, their human rights record has significantly improved.  He added that "we always move forward to work hard and improve as an integrated part of the international community - and we do not have any law limiting human rights, which will guarantee the freedom and security of all visitors."

Comments were made regarding the comparison of the Almaty bid to Beijing, specifically related to natural vs. artificial snow.  While not specifically comparing the two bids, Kryukov said "we have plenty of water and plenty of snow."

A final statement by Kruykov focused on the relative anonymity of Almaty as compared to the well-known city of Beijing.  He addressed this concern by explaining that the bidding procedure had allowed them to make the city of Almaty more well-known globally.  The world will get to known Almaty even better should they secure the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games this Friday evening. 

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 · Almaty 2022; Olympics; 128th IOC Session


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