Switzerland aspires to "return Olympics to its roots" with its 2022 Winter Games bid
Sunday, 05 August 2012
August 5 - After several disappointments, Switzerland are pushing ahead with a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics from St. Moritz and Davos, leaving nothing to chance in terms of convincing the public that the Games will leave a proper credible legacy.
Surprisingly given their geographical position and a passion for winter sports, the last time the Alpine nation hosted the Games were at St. Moritz in 1948.
Since then they have suffered a number of failed bids but David Dellea, a senior sports consultant who leads PriceWaterhouseCooper's Swiss practice, says that if successful, the 2022 campaign – based around two of the best-known winter resorts in Europe – will return the Olympics to its roots.
"St Moritz and Davos are two very strong brands," said Dellea who nevertheless concedes that the country has perhaps stood still in terms of development compared with others in the region, with what he described as an ageing sports infrastructure especially when it comes to accessibility and providing for future generations.
"Switzerland has perhaps been lagging a little bit behind," added Dellea, addressing the recent Global Sports Industry Congress where he outlined the challenges facing the 2022 bid.
"Many ski resorts actually drive their own promotion.
"We need a quantum leap in terms of infrastructure with a tangible legacy and sustainability.
"We want to be able to give more access to winter sports to the youth.
"We have to give inspiration and motivation to the entire country."
Although Switzerland has failed with three bids since the turn of the century, granting 2022 to St Moritz and Davos would, Dellea said, "return the Oympics to its roots."
"The idea is to stage a snow-white Olympics in one cluster to ensure short distances amongst most of the venues," he said.
Arguably the biggest challenge, as so often with Olympic bids, is the balance between costs and legacy.
Estimates put the operating costs for a Swiss bid for 2022 at 2.8 billion Swiss francs (£1.8billion/$2.9billion/€2.3billion), a considerable sum when it comes to convincing the public the Games are a worthwhile investment.
"We have estimated the financials, now it's about convincing our people that the Games are the way forward for the future," admitted Dellea.
Asked why Switzerland, jointly with Austria, managed to get the 2008 European Football Championship when the ski-mad nation had less luck bidding for the Winter Games, Dellea said the make-up of the Government, with so many regional authorities, made it tough to achieve a national consensus.
"Switzerland is a country where these types of mega-events are complicated to get approval," he explained.
"We have a very strong democratic system that is very regional.
"You have to make sure all the stakeholders are having their needs met.
"Only through transparency and very concrete arguments are they able to be convinced.
"That's why within the current candidature we have not been scared to be extremely transparent in terms of where the path is going.
"We are convinced the Swiss Government wants to have this project."
January 2012: Switzerland appoints top official to investigate 2022 Olympic bid
January 2011: "Switzerland is a country of winter sports" so let's bid for 2022 Olympics
November 2010: Swiss bid for 2022 could hit Annecy and Munich 2018 Olympic chances