Bidding Profile: Almaty

Andrey Kryukov (2022 Bid Vice-Chairman)

How would Almaty 2022 further Agenda 2020?
Almaty 2022’s slogan is ‘Keeping it Real’ and so to put it simply, we are determined to provide the Olympic Movement with a new concept for the winter Games: one that is sensible, affordable and sustainable.

‘Keeping it Real’ means making the winter Games intimate again, with a plan that is easy to use and ideally suited, first and foremost, for the athlete experience. No venue, for instance, is more than a 30-kilometre radius from the Olympic Village.

In terms of sustainability, almost 70 per cent of the facilities are in place and by 2017 almost 80 per cent of the venues will exist thanks to the 2017 Almaty winter Universiade.

Our Games concept is based on adapting the winter Games to fit the city and its resources, not changing the city or incurring costs for unneeded facilities to fit the winter Games. We believe this is a real change and an example for future aspiring host cities.

How would Almaty 2022 add value to the Olympic brand?
By showcasing a city that is technically prepared to host the Games, which is the perfect case study to demonstrate the power of the Olympic legacy. The world needs to see again how transformative the Olympic Games can and should be for a nation.

Kazakhstan is aiming to be one of the world’s top 30 economies by 2050 and the Olympic Games will be a great partner to help the country achieve that goal. That is good for the Olympic brand because it serves as a validation of its promise, and Almaty 2022 will stimulate greater interest in hosting the Games by showing cities they do not come at a huge cost. And what they do cost can be a significant investment in a country’s future.

What legacy would Almaty 2022 bring to Kazakhstan?
For us, the ‘Olympic legacy’ of Almaty 2022 is a very clear concept, and is based on the city’s real need for the Games.

The physical legacy is crucial and construction will provide new sports venues, residential housing, hotels and enhanced public transport.

The world needs to see again how transformative the Olympic Games can and should be for a nation

The economic legacy is an investment of around $4.5 billion in preparation for the Games – which creates jobs and improves the GDP of the country – while there is an emotional legacy, and by that I am referring to the tremendous impact the Games would have on our nation’s young people’s aspirations both within and outside of sport.

There is also a legacy for sport in the country which is focused on the next generation of athletes; the existing and new venues will provide modern training facilities for years to come.

What would the Games do for winter sports worldwide and, specifically, in Kazakhstan?
Due to global warming, fewer cities have the climate and geography suitable for hosting the winter Games. Almaty wants to be another city on the world winter sports circuit that is capable of hosting world championships, world cups and, of course, the biggest winter sport event in the Olympic Games.

We also want Almaty’s winter sports infrastructure to enable the central Asian region to participate more in winter sport; central Asia is a region that is largely underserved in winter sports infrastructure and Almaty will help fill that void.

Demand for winter sport is growing at more than 10 per cent a year in the Almaty region; Almaty 2022 will serve as a catalyst to upgrade existing infrastructure, and high-performance winter sports in Kazakhstan will be boosted in the lead-up to the Games, meaning more national role-models to inspire future generations.

What backing do you anticipate from domestic commercial sponsors?
Our model is more government-driven than market-driven, but this is similar to the early stages of the marketing programmes for both Beijing 2008 and Sochi 2014. In Kazakhstan, sports marketing is perhaps different from most developed sports markets. Generally, sport is supported financially by the state, and corporate sponsorship of teams, athletes and events is still relatively rare. However, the sponsorship landscape is evolving in Kazakhstan, and Almaty 2022 will help speed it up.

The domestic sponsorship programme for Almaty 2022 aims to optimise overall revenue potential in the Kazakhstani marketplace, and the government of Kazakhstan will make every effort to encourage participation in it.

Revenues of $600 million generated from the domestic sponsorship programme are included in the organising committee budget. This sum will be generated by targeting a total of 24 companies at three different tiers of sponsorship rights and benefits.

Tier-one sponsors, some of which will be owned by the Kazakhstani Sovereign Wealth Fund, will generate a total of $400 million in sponsorship revenues; tier-two sponsors will generate $150 million; and tier-three sponsors are targeted to generate $50 million.

What new facilities will be required to stage the Games, and what plans have been made for their post-Games use?
New sports venues will include the Almaty Olympic Arena, a 12,000-seater ice venue that will host figure skating and short-track speed skating at the Olympic Games and ice sledge hockey during the Paralympic Games. It will feature a training hall and a competition-sized ice sheet. In legacy mode it will be a multi-functional sports and event facility that will be reduced to 8,000 seats.

The Olympic Arena, meanwhile, will be situated next to the standalone 3,000-seater Curling Arena currently under construction and at the centre of the ‘Olympic City’ – a new development in the north-east of Almaty that will include retail and office facilities, residential housing and convention and hotel facilities. In Games-time it will be home to the 5,500-bed Olympic Village, IBC (International Broadcast Centre), MPC (Main Press Centre), a 4,500-room Media Village and two Olympic Family hotels. There will also be 2,125-rooms in serviced apartments for national Olympic committees and international federations.

The Olympic City is conveniently located and is easily accessed from the airport, the city centre and all venues. Its post-Games legacy is focused on urban development and is much-needed, fitting in well with the city of Almaty’s long-term development. The site will be complemented by dining, shopping and entertainment options.

The Sliding Centre is also worth mentioning, as it will be purpose-built for the Games and Games-time capacity will stand at 11,000 for bobsleigh, skeleton and luge competitions. The venue will downsize to 1,000 seats in legacy mode.

Give three reasons why the IOC should vote for an Almaty winter Games in 2022.
Firstly, Almaty 2022 offers real change for the Olympic and Paralympic winter Games and the Agenda 2020 movement. Almaty 2022 provides the most sustainable and efficient Games plan in 30 years, and promises a return to a responsible, sensible and intimate winter Games model that fits a city and its long-term needs.

Secondly, Olympic legacy is at its most powerful when it is used where it is needed the most, and Kazakhstan needs the winter Games. The people of Kazakhstan are avid winter sports fans and have experienced first-hand how sport improves lives at every level of society. That is why the country hosted the 2011 Asian winter Games, why we are excited about the upcoming 2017 winter Universiade and why Almaty is bidding for the 2022 winter Games. Our plan is designed to harness the true power of Olympic legacy.

Lastly, Almaty has the perfect climate, geography and city size to help return the winter Games to an authentic, intimate winter setting. As climate change reduces the number of cities able to host an authentic winter Games, Almaty 2022 will offer a new option in a part of the world – central Asia – that is underserved by winter sports infrastructure.

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