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Gerhard Heiberg: Winter Olympics must go "back to basics"


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Looking at the big picture, if a host can save 10% of the costs by getting away without building a venue or two, would that make a difference in getting the public behind a bid? The ones that are backing out of bidding (Munich, St. Moritz, Stockholm) are the ones that can already host it cheaper than anyone else. I feel that the naysayers who don't want an Olympics for $ X billion also wouldn't want to host it for $ X minus-1 billion. They want it for free.

I think you're overstating it a bit, but you do have a point.

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Maybe Heiberg was also aiming at his compatriots to actually stay in, he might be worried of an Oslo pull out too in face of the megalomania discussions.

That was one of the things I liked about Pyeongchang was ceremonies in ski jumping venue.

Heiberg is marketing director for the IOC. Sounds like he is getting the message that Sochi is "too much." http://www.themalaymailonline.com/sports/article/winter-olympics-must-reduce-cost-says-ioc-m

I think they could potentially eliminate the snowboarding and freeskiing events without causing too much anger. Many of the freeskiiers in particular are not all that thrilled to have their sport in the Olympics, and a lot of snowboarders and freeskiiers still view the X Games as equal if not superior to the Olympics. If their sports were eliminated, those athletes would still have another venue for a major title that predates the inclusion of snowboarding in the Winter Olympics. Hockey also has the world championships in which more countries could participate if the field at the Olympics were to be made smaller.

In the end, though, the IOC has made its bed by expanding the Winter Games, and it's unlikely that there will be a signficant downsizing in the future. Probably the best we can hope for is that the IOC realizes that the Winter Games can't get any larger, and we don't see another expansion of the Winter program going forward.

Tell that to Shaun White, who skipped an X-Games event to prepare for the upcoming Olympics.

The hockey world championships are a joke.

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I think reducing an arena or two could help. Why cant figure skating, short track and ice hockey finals all be in one venue with moveable seating configurations? Short track has 5 sessions in Sochi as does Figure Skating. Leaves that venue empty for the last 2 odd days as well as one or two days mid Games. Slot some hockey sessions in there leaving only one dedicated temp hockey rink for everything else - even start the hockey tournee two days before the OC like football in the summer Games. In this day and age the ice can be resurfaced/repaired overnight

I can see the speed skating oval being a temporary sheet in an existing convention centre kind of venue. Like a Darling Harbour Convention Centre in Sydney - which could in theory host it by utilising adjoining halls. Curling can be staged in an existing venue quite easily. Even mdum sized cities have a small arena these days. Ceremonies should always be in an existing stadium or like Albertville/Pyeongchang in a temp venue that the IOC could own and rent. Surely a fibreglass based temp sliding track is not outside the realm of possibility? Must it be a permanent fixture? Snowboarding halfpipes are pretty much at every popular snow field these days anyway. Why cut it? The IOC wants the yooooooof watchers.

At least with this scenario an Innsbruck could host again as they have the mountain venues in pretty much in place or a relatively easy fix. Clever time use of existing venues could take care of most of the indoor sports. Or for fuckks sake - take speed skating outdoors again! Put a tent over it!

For me the issue is the athletes village/media village.

Edited by thatsnotmypuppy
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Why not go one better & have the outdoor speed skating venue in an existing athletics stadium, & have it host ceremonies too, sort of like how the athletics venue hosts the summer ceremonies (except Rio). The Bislett stadium in Oslo could do that with expansion for 2022.

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Why not go one better & have the outdoor speed skating venue in an existing athletics stadium, & have it host ceremonies too, sort of like how the athletics venue hosts the summer ceremonies (except Rio). The Bislett stadium in Oslo could do that with expansion for 2022.

A Bislett-sized stadium is found in the larger, capital cities...not in the mountain towns of 200-300,000 pops.

Or for fuckks sake - take speed skating outdoors again! Put a tent over it!

Agree with that.

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A Bislett-sized stadium is found in the larger, capital cities...not in the mountain towns of 200-300,000 pops.

Which is where temp ceremony stadiums come into play. The Kazan Universiade/U2 360 tour has shown how utilising a large temporary canopy can work for a major event,,,

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Frankly, one the biggest deterrents to any potential host is the sliding venue. Stockholm cited it specifically. The world just doesn't need more sliding tracks.

That said, could anyone conceive of cutting bobsled, luge and skeleton? No.

I would have thought that would be one of the assets to come out of the games. Obviously the start up costs are high, but the fact there are so few means it will get used for top class international events, and I'd have thought have great appeal for tourists too.

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I would have thought that would be one of the assets to come out of the games. Obviously the start up costs are high, but the fact there are so few means it will get used for top class international events, and I'd have thought have great appeal for tourists too.

The fact that torinos had to permanently close only 7 years after opening would suggest otherwise.

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Totally different capacities required. Figure skating needs a much smaller venue and ceremonies need a much larger venue.

So you insert a curtain in the middle of the ceremony stadium, & you have yourself a figure skating venue in one half, & an ice hockey venue in the other half too.
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The fact that torinos had to permanently close only 7 years after opening would suggest otherwise.

Apart from the Sarajevo venue (because war) all other sliding tracks since Sapporo are still in operation.

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The fact that torinos had to permanently close only 7 years after opening would suggest otherwise.

It was poorly managed.

Previous good planning examples.

Albertville: temporary ceremonies venue

Lillehammer: Use of close by cities to locate venues (Hamar) to spread out the legacy, Vancouver also did this by locating speed skating in Richmond

Salt Lake City: Good use of existing venues

Torino: The speed skating venue was good planning and post-legacy

Vancouver: Good placement of venues for post game use (a university and under-serviced community)

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Apart from the Sarajevo venue (because war) all other sliding tracks since Sapporo are still in operation.

Sarajevo and Torino are both closed.

It was poorly managed.

Previous good planning examples.

Albertville: temporary ceremonies venue

Lillehammer: Use of close by cities to locate venues (Hamar) to spread out the legacy, Vancouver also did this by locating speed skating in Richmond

Salt Lake City: Good use of existing venues

Torino: The speed skating venue was good planning and post-legacy

Vancouver: Good placement of venues for post game use (a university and under-serviced community)

Yep agree with this. Salt lake and vancouver both planned well for the most part. Of course with any olympic city you may end up with one venue which you just don't need, but its hard to get round that when some countries just don't do ski jumping for instance. At least ski jumping isn't too expensive to maintain compared to a sliding track.

Nagano also seemed to have legacy options - think their speed skating rink became a swimming pool, their ceremonies stadium was a baseball stadium.

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I think bid organizers and planners need to ask themselves a few critical questions, and it doesn't always seem like they do.

What do we 'need' to host an OWG?

What do we 'need' after we host an OWG?

How do we go from needs for the Games to needs after the Games?

This is why I am such a staunch supporter of a Denver OWGs. A sliding track and a speed skating oval are the only major pieces of construction needed. Just doing a bit of research, I had liked the idea of Lyon, but it would appear that distance to existing venues is an issue (being 2 to 3 hours to existing ski jump, internationally regarded skiing and la plange). It is also why I am such a supporter of a Norwegian Games, Oslo would require renovations and improvements not new.

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This is why I am such a staunch supporter of a Denver OWGs. A sliding track and a speed skating oval are the only major pieces of construction needed. Just doing a bit of research, I had liked the idea of Lyon, but it would appear that distance to existing venues is an issue (being 2 to 3 hours to existing ski jump, internationally regarded skiing and la plange). It is also why I am such a supporter of a Norwegian Games, Oslo would require renovations and improvements not new.

Denver has a curling venue? Biathlon? Ski jumping?

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Nagano also seemed to have legacy options - think their speed skating rink became a swimming pool, their ceremonies stadium was a baseball stadium.

Isn't the Nagano rink still regularly used for competition? World Cups/World Champs?

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Isn't the Nagano rink still regularly used for competition? World Cups/World Champs?

Sarajevo and Torino are both closed.

Yep agree with this. Salt lake and vancouver both planned well for the most part. Of course with any olympic city you may end up with one venue which you just don't need, but its hard to get round that when some countries just don't do ski jumping for instance. At least ski jumping isn't too expensive to maintain compared to a sliding track.

Nagano also seemed to have legacy options - think their speed skating rink became a swimming pool, their ceremonies stadium was a baseball stadium.

You're thinking of their secondary ice hockey venue. The M-Wave is still used as a speed skating venue.

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So you couldn't add temporary seating for the skating events to make it work?

Ha! No. No way.

So you insert a curtain in the middle of the ceremony stadium, & you have yourself a figure skating venue in one half, & an ice hockey venue in the other half too.

I think that Yoshi, Mr. Bernham and Tony should be anointed official Games-planners in perpetuity. They've got it all figured out! Gold Coast Lions can join the team too.

For the record, Sochi will have a capacity of 40,000 for the OC and 12,000 for figure skating. The two venues are NOT compatible.

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Isn't the Nagano rink still regularly used for competition? World Cups/World Champs?

Yes, the M Wave is still used for speed skating, and it has also hosted figure skating events. The secondary hockey venue, Aqua Wing, is a swimming pool, and the figure skating/short-track venue, White Ring, is an all-purpose recreational facility. Both M Wave and Big Hat are still used as ice venues.

Apart from the Sarajevo venue (because war) all other sliding tracks since Sapporo are still in operation.

Sort of, but some are rarely used as competitive/training venues:

1976 Igls--Still used yearly for competition and as a training venue for athletes from many countries without a track

1980 Lake Placid--The separate luge and bobsled tracks used for the 1980 Games were replaced by a new combination track for the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games. By 2000, the old bobsled track was no longer safe for 4-man boblsed, and I'm not sure Lake Placid would still have a usable track if Ted Turner hadn't paid for the new track to be built.

1984 Mt. Trebevic--Destroyed

1988 Calgary--Still used yearly for competition and as the main training site for the Canadian bobsled/skeleton and luge teams

1992 La Plagne--Used primarily as a tourist attraction since the 1992 Games. The track didn't host a single World Cup bobsled/skeleton event from 2002-2012, when the track was brought back into use after the closing of both the Cesana and Cortina tracks in Italy. France currently has almost no presence in the sliding sports.

1994 Hunderfossen--Used primarily as a tourist attraction and a training site for a few luge and skeleton athletes since the 1994 Games. The luge World Cup stops there fairly regularly, but I don't think the bobsled/skeleton World Cup has been there in at least 15 years.

1998 Iizuna Kogen--Virtually unused since the 1998 Games. The 2003 skeleton World Championships were held there, but there have been no major competitive events on the track since a World Cup skeleton stop about 8 years ago. The FIBT World Cup doesn't go there because it's too expensive to ship all of the sleds to Japan. Perhaps the track will be used again once the PyeongChang track is built and the World Cup can have an "Asian swing" in Japan and Korea.

2002 Park City--Used yearly as a training and competition venue, home track for most of the U.S. bobsled team

2006 Cesana--Closed in 2012-13

2010 Whistler--Used yearly for competition but not the primary training site of the Canadian team

So really, of the last 10 Winter Olympic tracks, only 5 are still used regularly for training and competition, and that includes the Lake Placid track, which is not the same track that was used for the Olympics. Two of the tracks are completely closed/gone which, for Torino, was a $300 million investment gone within six years. The sliding track is likely to be an issue for the next North American host city as there really is no need for a third track in the U.S. or Canada and a fifth track in North America overall. If the IOC is truly interested in going "back to basics" for the Winter Games, then it would make the most sense for Calgary and Salt Lake to be the next Canadian and U.S. bids in order to take advantage of existing facilities that can be renovated and upgraded at minimal cost for the Olympics.

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If they did have the Olympics in a large city would they let the host city use a baseball or football stadium for the ceremonies even if they weren't going to have any actual competitive events in them?

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