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Olympics; Budapest 2024 moving ever closer?2016-11-24 source own
As the vote for the host of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games draws nearer, Budapest has now unveiled their case for why they should be chosen. As well as hosting the Olympic Games, the bid will also include the Paralympic Games and other cities have launched their bid also.
In Doha, a number of Olympic leaders attended a gathering where the bids had to explain why they think that their city is the most appropriate host for such an event. Among other points, Budapest said that they were the ‘right sized city at the right time’.
As well as the benefits of hosting the Games themselves, Budapest also explained the many advantages of awarding the Games to a mid-sized city. Cleverly, Budapest explained that they were the ‘real’ alternative to the big cities we have seen host the event in the past. Included in the bid, a number of advantages were listed which we have here;
• Travel times will be short and the distances between different events and the accommodation will make the event run smoothly. With the modern venues in place, they are close to transport services that will allow athletes and spectators alike to reach events with ease. Overall, an average travel time of 12 minutes is expected regardless of the starting point.
• In terms of finances, it would be a low-risk option since the city has the infrastructure in place and can bring the event to fruition within time and budget. Since many of the Olympic venues are already in place, there would be no rush to finish off stadiums in the years leading up to the event. If Budapest were to win the bid, only three new stadiums would be required in seven years of planning.
• Perhaps most importantly from the spectators’ point of view, Budapest is known as a safe and secure environment.
• Furthermore, Budapest is a city that loves its sport. As a result, this will bring a festive atmosphere to the city and the athletes will be heroes for the summer just as they should be. For the duration of the event, stadiums will be full and a true Olympic atmosphere can exist.
• Away from the Olympic events, Budapest has some stunning backdrops including the River Danube and a number of World Heritage Sites.
• Finally, Budapest believes that the Olympic Games would leave a much-needed legacy behind for years to come. Since the Games has never been to Central Europe, it would signal the growth of the region in recent years and show a new sense of freedom and optimism in the whole of Central Europe.
Although these were the key points, the Budapest bid went on to explain their statements further and bring up some more benefits. With the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020 reforms, Budapest believes that they would be the perfect fit for this. With the long-term infrastructure projects that have recently come to an end, the city has been transformed and is now ready to host the world’s largest sporting event. As well as holding the fundamentals, Budapest can create a Games that is sustainable and affordable to continue the overall development programme.
Furjes, the leader of the Budapest 2024 Bid, has said “The Agenda 2020 reforms make it possible for a new generation of mid-sized cities to host the Games, creating new possibilities for the Olympic Movement that will reinforce the IOC’s modern agenda. Budapest will engage the host city, nation and, for the first time, an entire new region of Europe. Thanks to the geography and urban layout of Budapest and Hungary, every person in Hungary can be involved in the Games and experience the unforgettable Olympic atmosphere. Plans are in place to ensure that 90% of the population in Hungary will be 90 minutes’ travel or less from Olympic sport. This will be made possible with a move away from the traditional host city model and alternatively featuring six nearby Olympic cities that are easily accessible from the capital, via modern four- to six-lane highways.”
Located in the centre of continental Europe, Budapest is now easily accessible by air, road, and rail. If Budapest were to win, it is thought that around 150 million people would see the benefit. After enjoying growth in recent years, holding the Olympics would bring further success to Budapest and the city would be transformed even further. Whilst some stadiums are left unused in countries after hosting the Olympics, Budapest has already planned what the venues could be used for and this legacy could be vital to the bid since this is what the IOC are looking for. Furjes added “The legacy for each of our venues is carefully considered in the context of comprehensive business plans that continue to be honed as we progress.”
Once the Games are over, Budapest would have brand new facilities for local athletes for the very first time. With facilities such as a Velodrome, local athletes will be allowed to progress better than ever before. As the European City of Sport for 2019, there is no doubting the growth in Budapest’s sporting prowess.
When it comes to major sporting events, Budapest is currently one of the fastest rising global cities and it even finished in second place for the Future Sports Cities Index 2017-2023. For the top sports cities in the world, it now has a place within the top 10. Within the brownfield areas of Budapest, new communities will be created as well as facilities, services, and opportunities for youths which is a particular focus with the Olympic Movement. For example, the Media and Olympic Villages are already planned to be converted into housing; if possible, they will become student accommodation and social housing.
When addressing the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Balazs Furjes used three key words and said that the 2024 Games in Budapest would be ‘strong, open, and safe’. Since 2004, the region has been outperforming much of the Eurozone with Budapest a key cog in this wheel. In addition to this, unemployment is incredibly low which shows that Budapest has got a model that everyone wants even during a global crisis. With the Olympics, there is often a concern regarding the budget but Hungary has already done the investment required on facilities and infrastructure. With this in mind, just 0.5% of the national yearly budget will be needed between 2017 and 2024.
Furjes said “Today, our region offers financial resilience and stability, containing the most reliable economies in the European Union – among them Hungary. Budapest is on the rise and ready to deliver – we are the right city at the right time.”
According to the plan we have seen for the Games, just three additional locations would be needed for Budapest to host the event. However, this is a small section of a rather large blueprint that has occurred in the city over the past 15 years. When it comes to major sporting and infrastructure projects, Budapest is a proven delivery partner having stuck within time constraints and budgets for many including the Budapest Aquatics Centre (BAC). After the planning phase for this project started, the building took just two years to complete and is set to host the FINA World Aquatics Championships in 2017. If the bid was to be victorious, the BAC will be the home of all Aquatics action during the Olympics.
As mentioned previously, Budapest 2024 will have fantastic travel times for spectators and athletes which will open up the Games to everyone who wishes to attend. Rather than choosing a big city, Budapest 2024 believes that this is one of the key advantages to choosing a mid-sized city. In all, Budapest has seven venue clusters and they are all within a seven kilometre radius from the city centre. For athletes, this means that it will take them an average of 12 minutes to reach their event which is a rare occurrence. With this in mind, it means that spectators will not be limited to one event per day.
Director of Sports and Venues, Attila Mizser, noted “The experience will be truly new and unique. The whole city as one single connected Olympic Park. A genuine compact games experience built into the fabric of the city and accessible to all. A city wide celebration of sport like.”
Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Deputy Mayor of Budapest, said that her city encompasses “their confidence, their identity, and their vitality” when talking about the youth of Hungary. Recently, polls backed this up from the general public after nearly two-thirds of people said that they would be ‘proud’ or ‘very proud’ to host the 2024 Olympic Games. If you shift the parameters to those aged between 18-33, this becomes a whopping three-quarters. Already, young people in Hungary feel a sense of ownership towards the Games.
Looking towards the city itself, Budapest has some stunning scenery and some beautiful World Heritage Sites which is just part of the reason why the cinema industry is thriving there. In the city centre itself, Budapest has a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Danube banks are a dream for broadcasters all around the world. In fact, many of the locations to be used will provide a stunning backdrop including the archery finals which will be held outside the Neo-Gothic Parliament Building and the beach volleyball which will see a Vajdahunyad Castle venue.
As a founding nation of the Olympic Movement back in the late 1890s, Hungary even offered to host the first ever event in 1896. Therefore, 2024 Budapest would take the Olympics back to its roots and bring the traditional values back into sport just as they were founded over a century ago. In the all-time medals lists, Hungary currently sits in eighth place whilst in second if you take into account the medals per capita throughout the years. However, it has never hosted the Olympic Games despite bidding previously.
With regards to the concerns about the size of the city, Furjes simply responded ‘We are in good company.” Of course, he was referring to the many mid-sized cities that have hosted great sporting events to this point including Stockholm, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Antwerp.
In conclusion, the Budapest bid urged the IOC to look beyond the large cities and think about the tradition of the event. Since Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Games, this will mark four mega cities in a row considering we have already had Rio, London, and Beijing.