Agenda 2020 Course # 101

Terrence Burns ©2015

In my most recent post, I referred to an esteemed American Professor of Economics’ podcast comments regarding the IOC Agenda 2020 reforms.

Essentially, he asserted that Agenda 2020 “lacked substance”. I politely disagreed and still do, even more so now.

Here are a few more points to consider, which I believe bolster my contention that the professor is off the mark – by a mile or so.

I recently sat through the IOC Evaluation Commission’s visit to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where a team of IOC experts and IOC members reviewed that city’s bid for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

I will state for the record that I am a paid consultant to the Almaty 2022 bid, and that this was not the first IOC Evaluation Commission visit in which I participated as a consultant to a bid city.

I will also state for the record that this was the first IOC Evaluation Commission visit where an unprecedented, extraordinary spirit of cooperation and open exchange took place, and where words gave way to actual deeds.

Agenda 2020 works.

What do I mean by that?

Item 1. After five full days of consultation and review, the Almaty 2022 bid committee revised its already excellent Games Concept - on the spot. Almaty optimized its Concept in real-time, making it even more affordable, even more efficient and even more sustainable. The changes were possible because of the new “flexibility” of Agenda 2020.

In the clearest terms, the Almaty 2022 bid is the first tangible example that represents the power and impact of Agenda 2020’s true potential.

Let me be even clearer. The IOC Evaluation Commission did not instruct or dictate any changes to Almaty’s plans; they simply listened, engaged in honest conversation and let the Almaty 2022 bid team draw its own conclusions as to how or if it should improve its bid concept. Prior to President Bach’s Agenda 2020 reforms, this would have not happened in this manner, if at all.

What was the result? Now, Almaty 2022 has a revised plan that saves over half a billion US dollars from its original plan; and, it has an even better operational plan for the most important stakeholders of the Games: the Athletes. It’s not just about money.

Agenda 2020 - 1        Economics Professor – 0

Item 2. The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee just announced sweeping changes to its Games Concept, also guided by the Agenda 2020 reforms. These changes will generate one billion US dollars in savings from the Organizing Committee’s original plan.

Again, prior to Agenda 2020, this would not have happened in this manner, if at all. I would call one billion US dollars in savings very "substantive" in any economics discussion.

Agenda 2020 – 2       Economics Professor – 0

Item 3. Remember all the angst about Rio’s preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games? Well, apparently our friends in PyeongChang are experiencing similar problems as they prepare for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. But rather than simply criticize and wring their hands, or wait until the last possible moment to offer support, the IOC just created a dedicated team of Olympic Games experts to work alongside the PyeongChang team in order to get the 2018 Winter Games back on track.

That is called “putting your money where your mouth is”, or, “having skin in the game”. This approach definitely would not have happened prior to Agenda 2020. In economic terms, professor, this is a case of the franchisor intervening to protect its master brand by assisting a struggling franchisee.

Agenda 2020 – 3       Economics Professor – 0

For those of us who work in this Movement and have dedicated our professional lives to its health and welfare, Agenda 2020 is an idea (a set of ideas, actually) that came along at the perfect time/just in time with the prefect leadership.

I only provided three recent examples (one very personal) of Agenda 2020’s impact on the Olympic Movement in the past few weeks. Two of these three examples saved Olympic Organizers (and their cities) over 1.5 billion US dollars.  How's that for "substance"? I am certain that there are many, if not dozens of other examples taking place all around the world right now.

If you love the Olympic Games, then you should educate yourself about what Agenda 2020 is doing for sport, and don’t be shy about telling the world about it. Without facts, even well-educated, esteemed professors can make up their own versions of reality; we all do, it's human to doubt what you do not understand  - or trust.

It is easy to pontificate, but it is hard to actually make things happen.

The IOC is actually making things happen.

The score is 3:0, and counting.