Sochi, Russian Federation, 31 October 2013.
Less than two months following his election as the 9th President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach took the opportunity to give the opening address at the 10th World Conference on Sport and Environment. While environment may be the title, sustainability was his theme.
His central message was how Olympic ideals and sustainability make a good match. He referenced the Olympic Charter principle of “Sport at the heart of harmonious development of human society” and how important it is to achieve environmentally sound and sustainable Olympic Games.
He cited the “all encompassing” sustainability programme of London 2012 as the latest example in a line tracing back to Barcelona 1992, and mentioned Lillehammer 1994 and Vancouver 2010 as notable benchmarks on this journey.
It is clear that he sees environmental protection alongside economic feasibility and strong legacy as the key elements of a sustainable Games. How this will manifest in new policies, procedures and organisational structures will become clear in the months after the Sochi Winter Olympic Games next February (2014), but already we can see he has been thinking deeply about this theme. While he is open to ideas and even asked the conference to give him feedback on the subject, it is evident he is keen to find practical ways to achieve better delivery.