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SBD Global/July 21, 2014/Olympics

Olympic Leaders Back Int'l Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach's Reforms

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Moving forward on IOC President Thomas Bach's reform process, Olympic leaders "backed his proposals Saturday for setting up an Olympic television channel, reshaping the bid city procedure, and adding more flexibility to the sports program," according to the AP. Bach "convened a summit of 16 key IOC and sports officials in Lausanne, Switzerland, to press ahead with Olympic Agenda 2020, his strategic blueprint for the future." The leaders "supported the platform of changes" that Bach will put to a vote at a special IOC session in Monaco from Dec. 8-9. Creation of an Olympic TV channel "that would promote Olympic sports in the years between the games and help connect with younger people is one of Bach's main projects." The IOC said in a statement that the officials at Saturday's meeting backed the idea, "recognizing the potential to greatly increase the presence of sports and the promotion of the Olympic values year round and worldwide." Details of the project have yet to be announced, although the IOC has said it would act as a "curator or moderator" to develop digital content, using the National Geographic Channel as a model. Sports federations, national Olympic committees, broadcasters, and sponsors "would be asked to take part." The summit "also produced agreement on a new procedure for cities bidding to host the Olympics." The IOC said the new process would give "more flexibility" to bid cities, allowing them to focus from the start on the long-term benefits the games can bring to the area and how the Olympics could "fit into their development plans." The IOC and sports federations should also be "flexible and open to reasonable adaptation" to the bid concept (AP, 7/20). The EVENING HERALD reported four European National Olympic Committees have called on the IOC "for a thorough revision of the Olympic bidding process." In a joint paper released, the national committees of Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland asked the IOC for "more support in bidding, more certainty in process, more partnership in risk, more flexibility in scale." All four nations "backtracked recently from bidding plans to host the 2022 Winter Olympics" or the 2028 Olympic Games (EVENING HERALD, 7/16).
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