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Volume 7 No. 130
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Hangin' With ... Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi

Christophe Dubi expects the Olympism in Action forum to elicit a range of opinions.
Photo: IOC

CHRISTOPHE DUBI is the Olympic Games' exec director. He is responsible for overseeing the management and coordination of the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games. In '14, the IOC adopted Olympic Agenda 2020 as a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. Ahead of this year's Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Buenos Aires from Saturday through Oct. 18, the IOC is hosting an Olympism in Action forum in the Argentine capital to discuss ways to build upon Agenda 2020. The two-day event, which begins Friday, will convene a host of representatives from around the world to address various sport and social topics as they relate to the Olympics. Dubi spoke with SBD Global about the forum, how Agenda 2020 has affected the Olympic candidature process and the upcoming Youth Olympic Games.

On what is expected from this week's Olympism in Action forum ...
Christope Dubi: We want views, opinions, recommendations, do's and don'ts, creative ideas -- we're putting a lot of expectations in there. In Agenda 2020, the [IOC] president [THOMAS BACH] said that we have to be more open to civil society and listen to everyone. Now, there's a continuation, where you can get all sorts of opinions. This is what is needed because in the end, diversity of opinions is what will make us stronger.

On perceived obstacles to hosting the Olympics ...
Dubi: There is one element that dominates the discussion. It's the cost of hosting the Games. There is a perception that has been created that hosting the Games has a cost to communities. What we have demonstrated, and this is one of the very clear messages that's going to surface during the Buenos Aires forum, is that hosting the Games, from an operational standpoint when it comes to the organizing committee side of things, is profitable.

On construction costs associated with hosting ...
Dubi: In 2014, when adopting the Olympic Agenda 2020, we turned the page. We don't want any infrastructure not used. So, as a result, you see projects for 2026 that are based on this very model. ... In Beijing [2022], it's a mix of using the existing venues but also building what needs to be built for winter sport in China. When you have a clear legacy plan that is demonstrated, we can live with it. But if that is not the case, no venues will be built.

On the candidature process ...
Dubi: We want Games to contribute to the long-term development of a city, a region, a country. That's the starting point. The very first question is: How will the Games contribute to this development? Then, you have different value propositions and the interest of the Agenda 2020. The new bidding process is that we have this dialogue stage during which we really exchange with the cities because we need the best value proposition for a given context. ... The kind of conversations we are having now with interested cities are far away from a few years ago, when we were applying some form of a template and measuring cities by the same count. This is more of a partnership.

On the IOC's connection to host cities beyond the Games ...
Dubi: We will continue to engage for a long time after the Games. In the past, when we left town, we were taking a pulse now and then. But nothing as formal as when we are in Games organization. Now, especially in the context of PyeongChang -- where we still have concerns for three of the venues -- we will continue to engage with the NOCs [National Olympic Committee] and the relevant government parties until we have a solution in place. And that will involve, in some cases, international federations. ... This is a position that we have to have for PyeongChang, but in the future, we would already like to have a really firm and secured situation at the time of the bid.

On the value of the Youth Olympic Games ...
Dubi: The Youth Games are an incubator, a lab where we can test a number of things, but also where we can train and coach. ... You want to have your future Olympians or future sports administrators or future volunteers to have gone through this experience of being in an Olympic context with the Olympic values -- living all together in a village doing activities together around key themes like the fight against doping, prevention of harassment and so on.

On how the Youth Olympic Games influence the Olympics ...
Dubi: We can test a number of things, starting with events -- new events and new disciplines. This has been done in the past quite successfully. For example, 3-by-3 [basketball], which will be contested for the first time in Tokyo, was tested for the first time in the context of the Youth Games. We have tested mixed-gender relays. We see more and more of this in the context of the Games and the Winter Games as well. In organizational matters, also, we give ourselves possibilities to do things differently.

On broadcasting efforts for the Youth Olympic Games ...
Dubi: Broadcasting will be done partly remotely out of Madrid, where we have our HQ for OBS [Olympic Broadcasting Services]. A number of the core operations will be done in Madrid remotely rather than in the city. This is something that could help reduce the footprint in the future and be a great solution for organizing committees as well.

On sponsorship activation at Youth Olympic Games ...
Dubi: A majority of the sponsors will activate their sponsorship in Buenos Aires, although it was only a couple when we started [in Singapore in 2010]. We've seen a pickup from sponsors that have the Youth Games as part of the commercial deal they have with us. But they're not obliged to activate. What we see is that with the interest growing in the Youth Games, more and more are contributing actively.

Hangin' With runs every Friday in SBD Global.