Host City conference wraps up with an eye towards Paris, Milano Cortina and Los Angeles

Over 500 people took part in the virtual conference with the Olympic community well represented

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Head of Paris 2024 Tony Estanguet shows French President Emmanuel Macron where to put a plaque he just signed after his visit at the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee, in Saint Denis, outside Paris, France October 14, 2021. Francois Mori/Pool via REUTERS
Head of Paris 2024 Tony Estanguet shows French President Emmanuel Macron where to put a plaque he just signed after his visit at the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee, in Saint Denis, outside Paris, France October 14, 2021. Francois Mori/Pool via REUTERS

The annual Host City conference concluded this week from Glasgow, Scotland and was attended by a host of big names from the Olympic world.

Held virtually, the conference, called “Refresh, Regenerate and Reconnect,” brought 85 speakers to a global audience of over 500 attendees, with many topics of discussion, including the ongoing pandemic, planning events in uncertain times, meeting the demand for live events and staying resilient.

Several IOC members, as well as the CEOs of the organizing committees for the upcoming Paris, Milan Cortina and Los Angeles Olympic Games, attended the two day conference.

During his keynote presentation, Etienne Thobois, the CEO of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee said, “Our vision is a mix of the Olympic agenda, where the new norm provides cities with an increased flexibility in designing the Games to meet long term development goals. For Paris, it’s very important these Games become a unique opportunity to enhance the role of sport in society.”

Naturally one of the main topics was the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the sports world is dealing with a constantly in flux set of circumstances when hosting a major live sporting event. Tokyo received high marks from the panel for how they dealt with the postponement of the 2020 Summer Games, and then the staging of the Games this past summer.

Imagen de la ceremonia de clausura de los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio 2020. EFE/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON
Imagen de la ceremonia de clausura de los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio 2020. EFE/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

“The greatest challenge going into Tokyo 2020 Games was trust,” said Anita DeFrantz, IOC member and LA28 board member. “We needed the trust of the athletes, the organizing committee and the Japanese people because there was great fear being in a pandemic. The trust was well placed as the Olympic movement did not create a super spreader.”

Other panel members were hopeful the sporting world will take a lot of positives from Tokyo and how they reacted in the face of adversity.

“In the past members were approaching cities with the same model, now there is much more of a willingness to take an innovative approach,” said Andrew Ryan, Executive Director of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.

“International federations have been slow to adapt but one of the few positives from the pandemic has been the way it’s accelerated the way these federations should be placed for the future.”

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