Dentsu acquires Asian Olympic broadcasting rights to 2024

The deal was announced at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur

Japanese media giant Dentsu has been awarded the exclusive broadcasting rights for the Olympic Games from 2018 to and 2024 in 22 Asian countries. 

World leading advertising agency Dentsu was the Asian broadcast partner for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and is the broadcast partner in the region for the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

The agreement means Dentsu will continue to distribute broadcast rights in Afghanistan Brunei, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

In a statement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) described Dentsu as the “exclusive gatekeeper for broadcast rights” in all languages and all media platforms, including television, radio and the Internet. 

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “This agreement ensures Olympic broadcast coverage for fans across the region, including on free-to-air television. Having begun our broadcast relationship with Dentsu at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, I am pleased we will continue through to 2024.”

The deal also encompasses Youth Olympic Games.

Kiyoshi Nakamura, Executive Officer of Dentsu said: "Following the acquisition of the broadcast rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, we are delighted to strengthen the ongoing relationship between the IOC and Dentsu through the distribution of the broadcast and exhibition rights for all the Olympic Games until 2024. We are dedicated to contributing to the long-term development of the Olympic Movement and to deliver the excitement of the Olympics to the fans in these Asian countries and territories.”

IOC Vice-President Zaiqing Yu, Delegate IOC Member for Broadcast Rights in Asia, said: “Dentsu has a good understanding of the region’s commercial and broadcast environment, and their expertise and insight will help the Olympic Movement develop its presence and ensure excellent Olympic broadcast coverage of future Games.”

The agreement follows the IOC’s recent awarding of 2018-2024 broadcast rights to Eurosport in Europe and beIN in the Middle East. 

 

AFC partners with ICSS to keep football safe

AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and ICSS president Mohammed Hanzab signed the MoU after the AFC Congress

The Asian Football Confederation and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) on Friday signed a wide-ranging partnership agreement to strengthen safety and security in Asian football.

The agreement will strengthen existing safety and security regulations, develop training programmes and help assess safety and security within the AFC Member Associations.

The partnership agreement was signed by the presidents of the two organisations after the AFC Congress in Bahrain. 

“Safety and security is a top priority for the AFC, a basic requirement for any football match to take place. The AFC does everything within its powers to protect players, officials, coaches and spectators across Asia,” said Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who was reelected as AFC president on Thursday.

The ICSS is at the forefront of safeguarding sport and this agreement is a significant step forward in enhancing safety and security practices within the AFC and our Member Associations.”

ICSS president Mohammed Hanzab said: “As sport and major events continue to increase in size and complexity, I would encourage other football associations and confederations to show the same proactive leadership as the AFC in sport safety and security to confront the new threats that sport now faces.

“This partnership with the AFC represents a significant milestone for the ICSS and builds on our growing portfolio with various sports organisations and other major events rights-holders around the world.

“As one of the fastest growing and most diverse football regions in the world, Asia is an important platform for the ICSS to showcase our expertise, as well as providing us with a unique opportunity to work on some of the world’s largest major sport events and venues.”

As part of the agreement, the ICSS and AFC will develop safety and security regulations within the framework of FIFA international guidelines. 

The partners will also deliver training programmes educate security officers within AFC Member Associations, including ‘Train the Trainer’ programmes.

They will also develop key requirements for the security design of sport infrastructure, security operations for clubs and international matches and tournaments taking place in AFC Member Associations

The growth of a professional network of security personnel will be supported, to ensure the appointment of qualified staff for clubs, international matches and tournaments.

Current safety and security documentation and reporting tools for clubs, international matches and tournaments taking place within the AFC will be reviewed.

ICSS will also provide safety and security assessments in collaboration with or on behalf of the AFC.

 

Soccerex postpones Asian Forum to 3 and 4 May

L-R: Osvaldo Ardiles, HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Duncan Revie and Sunando Dhar

The date of the Soccerex Asian Forum has changed from the 14 to 15 April to the 3 and 4 May, the organisers announced today.

The change was made after the decision by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) to bring forward their congress to April.

“The aim of the Soccerex Asian Forum is to promote the development of football and football business in Asia, through providing a platform for the whole world of football to gather in Jordan. The rescheduling of the CONCACAF Congress meant that it would be very difficult for many of the decision makers from this important region, and the industry worldwide, to attend the Asian Forum,” said Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie.

“We have long enjoyed a good working relationship with CONCACAF and were delighted to welcome a significant CONCACAF delegation, led by President Jeffrey Webb, to two of our events in 2014.

“With this in mind, following discussion with our partners, we have taken the decision to move the Asian Forum to the new dates of the 3 and 4 May 2015. 

“The event will still be held at the same fantastic location on the banks of the Dead Sea and will continue to be hosted in conjunction with the Asian Football Development Project”.

Soccerex Asian Forum will now start just two days after the AFC Congress in Bahrain draws to a close. The close proximity of the Congress in both date and location – Jordan is just a short flight from Bahrain – means that a significant AFC presence is expected at the Asian Forum.

For more information contact Soccerex on +44 208 987 5522 or enquiry@soccerex.com

 

Global brands support Soccerex Asian Forum

This year's networking area will be sponsored by Austrade and the LOC of the 2015 Asian Cup

Soccerex has announced that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Royal Jordanian Airlines, PepsiCo and the Jordan Tourism Board have committed to the Soccerex Asian Forum, which takes place from 13-14 May on the banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan, in partnership with the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP).

Royal Jordanian Airlines – voted Airline of the Year by Air Finance Journal in 2007 – is now the official airline partner of the Forum. PepsiCo, the official sponsor of the AFC, and the Jordan Tourism Board have signed up as official event supporters. 

Pepsi (PepsiCo) will act as official drinks supplier of the event while the Jordan Tourism Board will sponsor a social evening taking place at the Marriott Dead Sea Spa & Resort on Tuesday 13 May.

“We are very excited to bring this impressive selection of global brands to the event,” said Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie. “These are first-class organisations that bring the sport and the community together, and we believe will help Jordan and the rest of the continent become a destination for the global industry and soccer fans alike for many years to come.”

The local organising committee of the 2015 Asian Cup will be partnering with Austrade, the Australian Trade Commission, to host Café Australia, the networking hub at the heart of the exhibition hall. 

Australia is joined by India, Korea and other Asian federations, demonstrating the Asian Forum’s status as a significant gateway to Asia for the global industry. In addition to national associations, a number of premier footballing institutions including FIFA, The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, The FA, La Liga, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, the Japan Football Association and Galatasaray, have signed up for the event.

The AFC is also involved in the content of the event, updating delegates on the delivery of the Cup in a panel dedicated to major events. AFC Vice-President Moya Dodd will provide an outlook on the issues surrounding women’s football in Asia.

The Forum, held in partnership with the AFDP founded and chaired by HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, brings together leading figures from the world of Asian football as well as other international football experts to discuss the development of the game across Asia. The conference agenda includes a review of the opportunities and challenges facing Asian football.

Soccerex Asian Forum attracts 12 FA presidents

The Soccerex Asian Forum takes place on 13-14 May on the banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan

The presidents of 12 national football associations have so far confirmed their attendance at the Soccerex Asian Forum, which takes place on 13-14 May on the banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan. 

These officials are the ultimate decision makers for football in major middle eastern, Asian and western markets. And with FIFA introducing new regulations on the selection of host cities for future world cups, they administrators will also have a say in some of the biggest decisions in world football. 

Leading the list of FA presidents will be HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, (Jordan), Sunil Gulati, (USA), H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, (Qatar) and Chung Mong-gyu, (Korea), alongside FA presidents from the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic, Papua New Guinea and the Honorary President for Norway. According to Soccerex, many more are expected to confirm shortly. 

“The quality and quantity of the attendees singing up for the Forum is truly outstanding. As the key decision makers behind commercial and development projects for their own FAs as well as international matters such as future World Cup host selection, these presidents are amongst the most important footballing administrators on the planet,” said Duncan Revie, CEO of Soccerex.

Other senior representatives from Asia attending include AFC Vice-President and Football Federation Board Member Moya Dodd, All-India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das and Singapore FA General Secretary Winston Lee, as well as their counterparts from Turkmenistan and Bangladesh. 

Other premier footballing institutions represented include FIFA, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, The FA (UK), La Liga, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, the Japan Football Association and Galatasaray. 

Organised in partnership with the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), the Forum is a unique platform for businesses looking to expand their network and to present themselves to these industry leaders. 

Chaired by HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the event brings together the leading figures from the world of Asian football as well as other international football experts to discuss the development of the game across Asia. The conference agenda will include a review of the opportunities for growth and the challenges facing Asian football.

For further details about the Soccerex Asian Forum please read the full conference programme or contact Soccerex on +44 208 987 5522 or enquiry@soccerex.com. 

 

SPORTELAsia ends on a high

SPORTELAsia

At the conclusion of SPORTELAsia on Wednesday, the organisers announced a 12 per cent increase in the number of registered participants as compared to 2013. A total of 603 participants, representing 299 companies of 42 countries, participated in the 2014 Asian Convention.

Ms. Amparo Di Fede, General Manager of SPORTEL said “All participants are extremely satisfied of the high quality and number of exhibitors, especially Asian. Among the new ones were SMIT, Kosmogo, LETV, PPTV, Super Sport Media and Slam Ball.

“The loyalty of the global sports media community has grown strongly over the years and shows that SPORTEL continues to be their ‘must attend’ event".

The conference and panel programme was organised in collaboration with Sports Video Group and TV Sports Markets. A symposium was hosted in partnership with local agency Oceans Marketing entitled "Insight into the Chinese Sports Media Industry".

The next SPORTEL spring convention will return to Miami, where it was hosted in 2011. "Our community has anticipated and clearly chosen America for their next spring convention. SPORTELAmerica will once again welcome the international sports media community from 17 to 19 March 2015, at the JW Marriott in Miami, Florida."

The next SPORTEL event will be the 25th anniversary of SPORTELMonaco.  “The constant success of SPORTELMonaco conventions looks back on 25 years of dedication to our industry and to you, the SPORTEL community that has shared the same dedication and loyalty to us. We very much look forward to welcoming you once again in Monaco from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 october 2014.”

Registration for SPORTELMonaco opens on 2 April 2014.

Serving big in Asia

Argentina and USA playing during the Volleyball Nations League women’s finals in Nanjing, China (Photo: FIVB)

The international volleyball federation (FIVB) has made no secret of its ambitious global growth plans by targeting Asia. In recent months, FIVB president Ary Graça spoke about the untapped potential for indoor volleyball and beach volleyball in China and other parts of the continent.

The FIVB’s inaugural Volleyball Nations League is billed as “a pivotal moment” for the sport by Graça. He has said it’s “the most important competition in the FIVB’s history and will revolutionise how volleyball is presented; making it more fan-centric and placing our fans, both inside and outside the stadium, at the very heart of the action”.

A joint project between the FIVB, IMG and 21 national federations – the Volleyball Nations League concluded with the men’s finals in Lille and the women’s finals in Nanjing in July.

Luis Alexandre Rodrigues is driving forward the FIVB’s Asian growth plans from a newly-opened office in Beijing. Setting out the goals, he says the federation is keen to maintain “the momentum that the sport is going in with the Chinese team and of course with the world championships in Japan in September and October and to try to attract more partners interested in working with us”.

“We believe that the future is here that’s why it’s our first office outside Switzerland,” he explains. “We are here to learn with the region and by the time we get more experience for sure we will be holding hands with the other federations we have and promoters as well to deliver what we know best… good events.”

China is ranked number 1 in women's volleyball. They have won a major international volleyball title in each of the last three years – 2015 FIVB World Cup winners, 2016 Rio Olympic title and 2017 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup champions.

Along with Nanjing, Asian cities involved in hosting the competition included Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok, Osaka and Melbourne.

“We hopefully can engage much more with the region and do what we do in terms of delivering the best events possible,” said Rodrigues.

The Chinese government is investing huge amounts in sport, football in particular, but volleyball is also benefiting from more funding.

“When you see that volleyball is today the only collective sport in which China has such big results, like being world and Olympic champion on the women’s side, it’s something that the government for sure is foreseeing… and they will push as much as they can to make it even better,” Rodrigues said.

“And I think it’s the time to focus as well on the men’s side and make the team shine. They have a very, very strong, tall and good generation, they have hired an international coach and I think they have a good project for the future.”

Rodrigues said the growing profile of the Volleyball Nations League and finals in Nanjing are giving the sport momentum before the world championships spread around six Japanese host cities in September and October: “It’s occupied our time in Asia this year and we are very, very happy to do so. We see this as a good opportunity and we will do much more.”

Luis Alexandre Pontes spoke at Host City Asia. This article first appeared in the Summer issue of Host City magazine 

Jordan Olympic Committee signs Tasali Jordanian Trading Institute as new partner

Nasser Majali, Secretary General of the Jordan Olympic Committee and Ihab Al Shorafa, CEO of Tasali Jordanian Trading Institute

The Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tasali Jordanian Trading Institute have agreed a partnership to support the sports movement in the Kingdom.

Tasali Jordanian Trading Institute is a trading agency in Jordan representing renowned food and drink products including Indomie Noodles, sponsors of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the upcoming 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games.

The agreement was signed at the JOC’s Olympic Preparation Centre (OPC) between CEO of Tasali Jordanian Trading Institute, Ihab Al Shorafa and JOC Secretary General, Nasser Majali.

“The Jordan Olympic Committee is delighted to welcome Tasali Jordanian Trading Institute to the JOC family,” said Nasser Majali. “Working closer with the private sector is key to developing sport in Jordan so this is another important and exciting partnership for us.”

Ihab Al Shorafa added: “As a company, it is our mission to keep supporting youth in Jordan and to encourage them to achieve more. This agreement with the JOC shows that we stand behind our young athletes who represent us worldwide.”

Tasali Jordanian Trading Institute is the latest international company to show its support for Jordan sport. The JOC’s other partners and sponsors include Samsung, Shami Eye Center, GloSante, Greater Amman Municipality and Umniah.

Gwangju promotes Korean unification and Industry 4.0 through sports

Debra Han and Dr Cho Young Teck of Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships with Ben Avison of Host City at SportAccord 2018

Host City: Why did Gwangju decide to bid for the 2019 FINA World Championships?

Dr Cho: The city of Gwangju had hosted a few major international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup quarter-final and the 2015 Universiade, so we wanted to build this image as the sports city of Korea.

As a legacy of the Universiade we had the international standard swimming pool. We wanted to utilise this venue but at the same time wanted to build further the city brand. So that’s why we decided to host this World Championships. 

 

Host City: What impact do expect hosting the Championships will have on the city?

Dr Cho: We have a bigger vision than just impact on the city itself. Gwangju is the central city and the pillar of democracy, peace and human rights of South Korea. That’s why we wanted to let the spirit of Gwangju into the championships and chose our slogan “Diving into Peace”.

Through the Championships, all the initiatives will come together to create peace-building in the Korean peninsula, in South East Asia and further.

 

Host City: To what extent will the North and South Korean teams join during the Championships?

Dr Cho: There are three phases. The first one will be the participation of North Korea.

After that we are going to seek a joint ceremony, such as maybe marching together.

And after that, if the condition allows, we will try to create a unified team. All possibilities are open at the moment.

We had a unified ice hockey team at the PyeongChang Olympics, but I think we have more favourable conditions than that because we have even more preparation time to discuss creating a unified team. And also, there is a good atmosphere building between North and South Korea; so things are working very favourably for us.

Right now, we are not thinking specifically about what events we want to host. However, we want to strongly be positioned as the sports city of Korea; that is why after this we want to open our eyes and see what events are possible for us to bring to Gwangju.

 

Host City: Why is Gwangju focusing on sports specifically for its development?

Dr Cho: Firstly, Gwangju is the central cultural hub of Asia. When you talk about culture there are two major strands: one is art, the other is sport. Because of that, we think that when we bring sports events to Gwangju it’s going to create synergy with the arts, to really promote our city as the central hub of culture in Asia.

The second point is that we want to promote the value of the city, what we are good at, through sports. Because that is one of the easiest ways for us to really promote the merits and values that the city has.

The third point is that Gwangju is really building an industrial base for the fourth industrial revolution – for example, robotics, AI and IoT. We also want to promote that idea through sports.

Gwangju has a high concentration of energy industries. We want to create a revolution in renewable energies and our industries through sport.

At the same time, we have an automotive industry base in Gwangju. This industry is moving towards the fourth industrial revolution and we want to promote this idea through sports events.

 

Host City is Event Development Partner of SportAccord 2018

Ten ways to create winter sports hubs

Yoshinori Otsuki, International Director of Nagano-ken County Culture Department proposes that  Beijing, Hebei prefecture, PyeongChang, Sapporo and Nagano join together to host a new international tournament – the Asian Series of Skiing and Skating

1: Jiang Xiaoyu, Vice President, Beijing Olympic City Development Association

“In China, the popularity of ice and snow activities needs to be improved.

“In order to make China an ice and snow power we should not only focus on competitive events. Meanwhile we should also focus on cultivating the ice and snow culture, the popularity of ice and snow activities among the normal people. That’s the solid basis for the sustainable development of the ice and snow industry in China.

“So I really hope everyone can pay special attention to our 2022 Olympic Games but meanwhile focus on the ice and snow activities among the citizens to further spread the Olympic spirit.

“Tourism, sports, culture and health are regarded as the industries of happiness.”

 

2: Nasima Razmyar, Deputy Mayor, Helsinki

“Helsinki is sister city of Beijing and recently an action plan was signed between the two cities, extending the bond between the cities to include winter sports. 

“We were very honoured to have President Xi visit Finland and meet our President in April 2017. The two Presidents made the joint declaration where both sides can cooperate in several areas. I was extremely happy that both presidents promoted the exchange in winter sports and cooperation in the organisation of the Olympic Games.

“This gives a very good basis to share also the urban city development between Beijing and Helsinki to support Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. We know that you will have a great Games in China in Beijing, but we are very happy of the friendship that Helsinki and Beijing has built over the years.

“Finland is world renowned for education. clean tech and winter sport. Finland ranks first in quality of primary education and has some of the cleanest air in the world. Education and clean technology are very important when discussing winter sports.

“Most Finns learn skiing, ice hockey, skating and other forms of winter sports in their childhood.

“I moved to Finland when I was eight years old. My first touch with winter was holding snow in my hand. When holding the snow, I asked my parents why does this feel like holding diamonds in my hand? It felt so pure and so unique.

“There are also special programmes like Schools on the Move which encourage students to have more physical activity during school and support learning during activity based methods.”

 

3: Mattis Raustøl, Minister Counsellor, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beijing

“We take pride in our Olympic history; it’s a strong spirit in Norway. We are the country that has the most number of gold medals in [winter] Olympic history.

“Building a winter sports culture takes devotion, it takes time. It requires a broad-based perspective; you need to focus on the top elite athletes but you also need the base and grass roots level. The Norwegian sports model is based on a very strong volunteer culture; it’s focussed on education and sport in schools.

“It also reflects the connection we have with the outdoors, and particularly with snow and ice. Norway tops the happiness index – we are top of that happiness interest. We are able to make use of the outdoors all year, and have the equipment and infrastructure to experience outdoor living.”

 

4: Ingunn Trosholmen, Vice Mayor of Lillehammer, Norway

“We are a very small city in a very small country, yet we have hosted two Olympic Games – one in 1994 and the Youth Olympic Games in 2016.

“One thing that was very important was that we had snow every winter. In addition, we had the technology to produce snow and the knowledge of how to store it from one season to the next.

“Another crucial thing is the narratives that they bring from one generation to the next: we are skiers.

“Lillehammer’s coat of arms consists of a skier and alongside this beautiful picture of a skier is a courageous story of skiers saving our future king in 1206. Narratives like this create identity and fosters ski culture. The saying goes like this: we are born with skis attached to our feet.

“And I know for a fact that China has also a cultural heritage in skiing, because when we were looking for a cultural heritage in the glaciers up north in our county we found wooden skis from China. So we have been exchanging ski heritage for many years now.

“The nature surrounding our history of skiing is the foundation of Lillehammer’s identity as a winter destination.”

 

5: Peter Hirvell, CEO, Austria AST Eis-und Solartechnik

“It’s not enough to have the technology, it’s also important to get the people in there, especially children and families.

“The Vienna Ice Rink has 600,000 visitors per year. All children in Vienna from first grade in school or final year of kindergarten are invited one day to go free of charge to go skating. They then come back at the weekend with the whole family. So out of one child we have made four to five people experience ice skating and curling.

“Even at larger schools, it is very common to have an ice rink there.

“In Europe we have a tradition of sports clubs, where in every city there will be ski clubs and skate clubs who have programmes for children and also top athletes and retired people.”

 

6: Takatoshi Machida, Vice Mayor of Sapporo

“We were the first Olympic Games held in Asia in 1972. The Games aimed to make Sapporo into an international city. It is precisely because of the Games that we created the city.

“We developed a subway line that went from the city centre to the athletes’ village and the stadium, and the runway was extended to turn the airport into an international airport.

“There have been a lot of changes in terms of our environment as well. Until the 1960 the snow was black with pollution. However due to the Olympic Games we began to aim for a city free of pollution.”

 

7: Urs Eberhard, Deputy Director, Switzerland Tourism

“There is no other experience that feels so great as gliding on snow. It’s like flying without wings.”

 

8: Nick Sargent, President of SnowSports Industries USA

“Winter sports more than just a passion – it’s a lifestyle and culture that sits within everyone. We want to develop this culture beyond competitive sport, into the heart and soul of the people of China and here in Beijing.”

 

9: Yoshinori Otsuki, International Director of Nagano-ken County Culture Department

“The prefecture of Nagano is in the centre of Japan and close to the three major cities – Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

“With a population about 2.1m, Nagano has the longest life expectancy for men and women in Japan and the world. For those wishing to live a long a happy retirement, by all means come to Nagano – you are welcome.

“In 1998 Nagano hosted the Winter Olympic Games. During the opening ceremony the president of the IOC Samaranch declared, you have presented to the world the best organisation in the history of the Winter Olympic Games.

“Some aspects of the legacy of the Games can be presented in financial terms. From an economical perspective, the infrastructure developments were of great benefit for Nagano. The bullet train, which opened in October 1997, shortly before the Nagano Olympics began, cut journey times from 180 minutes to as little as 80 minutes. The upgrade of the highway network progressed quickly and it is now accessible to almost all areas of Nagano within just 30 minutes

“Regarding the economic effect of the Nagano Olympics, 1.43 trillion yen was the cost of the freight train and highway network and event facilities came from public investment. This equates to roughly 10 times the prefecture’s annual public investment budget.

“But the benefits cannot all be expressed in financial terms. Our visibility has risen. Local pride and appreciation have increased and through the actions of the 32,000 volunteers present at the Olympics are volunteer culture has taken root.

“Hosting the Winter Olympic Games rapidly increased the number of people participating in winter sports in north east Asia and also developed businesses in this industry.

“The number of people participating in snow sports in Nagano reached its peak in 1998 during the Olympics at 18 million people and sharply dropped over the following years to just 40 per cent of that figure in 2013, decreasing to 7.7 million. However, in recent years this decrease has stopped and, thanks to an increase in the number of international visitors, it has begun to show signs of recovery.

“I would suggest that Beijing, Hebei prefecture, PyeongChang, Sapporo and Nagano join together to host a new international tournament – the Asian Series of Skiing and Skating.”

 

10: Irina Gladkikh, Winter Sports Director, IOC

“At the IOC Sport Department, we have a very good tradition of receiving others who come to talk about their experience of the Olympic Games, on and off the field of play. They talk to us about their participation in the Games and shared with us their magical moments.

“Early this year we have the honour to receive Olympic medallists from China and world legends gymnast Li Ning and Chen Yongyan. Li Ning talked to us about the pride of being chosen to carry the torch during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2008. We watched a video of his performance and we all felt his emotions and excitement at this unforgettable moment. And we of course felt a pinch of insight to think what surprises the Opening Ceremony 2022 will bring to us.

“In June this year, Beijing’s commitment to support athletes was further underlined when it hosted the 8th athletes career programme forum with over 85 participants from more than 30 countries. The event was held successfully and our links with Chinese Olympic Committee got stronger.

“Beijing is also a truly unique Olympic city. In just four and half years it will become the first city to have hosted both summer and winter Olympic Games. This is very much supported by your incredible vision for 300 million people to be practicing winter sports in China. I personally find it incredible; these are amazing plans.”

 

This article, based on comments made at World Winter Sports Expo (WWSE) 2017 in Beijing,  first appeared in the Winter issue of Host City magazine. 

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