The building package is nothing but a window wrap.
Literally as tall as skyscrapers and as big as office buildings, they can bend the most monolithic buildings in downtown with the resemblance of some of the most famous winter athletes in the US. But when it comes to hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, they are just good, unnecessary. So it wasn’t until carefully checking the budget five months before the opening ceremony – there was barely enough time to get the package and installed before the world turned its attention to Utah – that the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee decided to be able to request 14 commissions from them.
Two weeks later, on September 11, 2001, the world caught fire.
Suddenly, the idea of holding a large-scale global sporting event in the United States seemed unwise. Other countries are starting to suggest that they choose this one. And then there is a relatively small question but still haunts about what to do with the building wrapper? They are non-refundable and there is no place to store 500,000 square feet of mesh, perforated window film and vinyl banners if organizers postpone or cancel the Olympics.
That’s the situation in Tokyo today – 1,000 times. Friday marks the day of the 2020 Summer Olympics scheduled to open in the Japanese capital, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced their delay until 2021, with the hope that by then the virus that has killed more than 615,000 worldwide will be controlled. But rescheduling dates isn’t as simple as just looking at a calendar. This is more like reversing time, with the same results as mess.
“I think what Tokyo is facing is probably the most difficult thing any Olympics can face because all their commitments are time bound,” said Fraser Bullock, COO and CFO of the organizing committee for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. “So all commitments are time bound must now be canceled. And it is very expensive. “
How expensive? Estimated cost-delays range from an additional $ 2.7 billion to $ 5.7 billion. That’s for the Olympics which officially exceeded the 2013 bid estimate of $ 7.3 billion, more than $ 5 billion. Combined, these costs could place Tokyo 2020 with London 2012 as the most expensive Summer Olympics in history, according to a Oxford Studies 2016.
How about the cost of delaying nearly half of hosting the Olympics? Let’s just say the cost of turning back the clock.
Most are Olympic hosts, but not all – we’re looking at you, Rio de Janeiro, Sochi and Athena – building places and investing in infrastructure improvements with the hope that they will benefit the region for years to come. For Tokyo, that means the construction of eight new permanent sites, the last being completed in February, and 10 temporary places and the repair of 25 existing facilities.
Almost all of them, except temporary structures, are scheduled to start being used by other entities within a few months after the closing ceremony for the Paralympic Games in mid-August. Now the game organizers must decide whether to allow the events to take place, make the places less clean by 2021, or to find another home for them. Regardless, they have to move events scheduled at the facility between July 23-September. 5, 2021, new dates for the Olympics and Paralympics. And every relocation will definitely need some kind of compensation.
Temporary structures can actually lead to more puzzles. They should only last a little more than a month, not a full year, but the cost of bringing them down and putting them back will likely be more than sustaining them for the next 12 months. The same is true for tent cities that surround most places and are intended to function as media work spaces, conference rooms, security and medical stations and the like.
Bullock called them “overlays” and said they spent most of the budget for the Salt Lake City Olympics.
“We built these small cities, and the budget at that time was more than $ 100 million,” from a budget of $ 1.9- $ 2.5 billion, he said. “So this is a very significant effort.”
But wait, there’s more. The contract, which was signed almost a decade ago, even before the organizers submitted their bids to the International Olympic Committee in 2013, had to be renegotiated. That includes contracts for around 14,000 hotel rooms as well as buses and transportation equipment, stands and other chairs, tables, generators, warehouses and concessions.
This also includes people. Full-time staff hired for matches must be paid for an extra year or released and then be re-trained. 80,000 Tokyo volunteers must also be retrained and their number may have to be expanded to accommodate the coronavirus safety protocol.
However, that is not all bad news for Tokyo. Take the athlete’s village for example. While more than a quarter of the newly built luxury apartments that make up the village have been sold, ESPN reports that residents should not start moving until 2023. So the organizers get a little rest there.
Insurance can also help cover costs arising from delays in some circumstances (although in the case of Salt Lake, it will only kick in if the match is canceled). Plus, if the organizers can do the 2021 event by the way they market it, as a global celebration of the world moving through the COVID-19 pandemic, then they will also bring a large amount of sponsor money.
“We can, together with the organizing committee, turn this delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games into an unprecedented celebration of human unity and solidarity,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a speech last week, “made them a symbol of endurance and hope.”
However, in the grand scheme of things, the majority of talks are happy. When or, more precisely, if the last fireworks erupt at the closing ceremony, Japanese taxpayers will still be on hand for billions of dollars.
Bullock’s experience overseeing the 2002 Olympics gave him unique insights into the problems that triggered the headaches held by the current Tokyo Games organizers. He remembers how it all stopped – ticket sales, sponsor interests, construction of tent cities around each place – in the weeks after the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell.
However, within a few months, the balance has been restored. The event’s quick rebound was a tribute to the organizing committee’s overall planning, which included preparing contingency plans for around 800 unexpected disturbances, including terrorist attacks.
“If you have a class-based plan, then contingency planning is built on that and your team gets to the point where they say, ‘We are ready for anything,'” Bullock said. “They really have their confidence.”
But while they have some things in common, the threat of terrorist attacks and the threat of deadly viruses is clearly a different animal. Working with the Secret Service, the Salt Lake City group increased security. These efforts helped countries that were hesitant to attend the Olympics finally decided to send their athletes.
But even the Secret Service cannot stop Coronavirus.
For that reason, even with the extra-year grace, nothing about the Tokyo Games is certain. Will fans be able to attend? Should athletes, coaches, media and personnel from 206 National Olympic Committees around the world be quarantined for two weeks before entering the country? If they do, will the Games be held in bubbles, similar to those established by the NBA in Florida, with strict penalties for those who leave it? Can the Games be held?
Last week, Bach said that the Olympics without fans was the last resort. Still, it’s better to postpone the Tokyo Olympics further, which according to him is not an option. The match or not, after next summer the IOC’s attention will turn to the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022 and the Summer Games in Paris in 2024.
But if the Tokyo Olympics fall, maybe the Beijing Olympics, scheduled for six months later. Richard Pound, one of the IOC members who sat the longest, said during an interview with Reuters last week that the threat of missing both events because of the virus was real, especially if there was no vaccine.
“Taking the political side of it for now, let’s say there is a COVID problem in July and August next year in Tokyo,” Pound said. “It’s hard to imagine there won’t be a knock-on effect in the same area five months later.”
Bullock called the Pound “very honest and very obedient,” but did not agree with his assessment. He said postponing the match would be more likely.
The postponement of an Event has no effect on the Olympic schedule or the date or venue of the upcoming winter or summer event, such as Milano Cortina 2026 or Los Angeles 2028. After a proper window for passing the Olympics, the IOC has explained it will cut the tie and proceed to the next event.
That does not mean these actions pose no threat to the Olympic movement as a whole.
Bullock said that the IOC and potential hosts need to start a detailed conversation about the risks of hosting the Olympics, who will shoulder them and how. If that doesn’t happen, he hopes to see fewer sites that are willing to host. That could end the revival of enthusiasm that has just begun to be seen by the IOC after changing its approach to the bidding process last year – treating it unlike competition, which invited bribery and corruption, and more as a consultation.
And what is the future of the Olympics if no one wants to host them?
“That certainly can block the city,” he said. “I think it is in the best interest of the entire Olympic movement, whether it is the IOC or the NOC or the organizing committee or the international federation to gather together for some comprehensive planning on risk.
“This is a risk to the movement as a whole and all of these parties need to come together to overcome it so that cities that want to be considered as hosts in the future have an answer to this problem.”
Bullock said SLOC took a very cost-effective approach to wearing the 2002 Olympics, and building wrappers were a prime example of that. They are not ordered until the organizer knows for sure that they can afford it.
“Six months out of the game, everything seems to be going well. So we started decorating the city, “he said.
The aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy eliminated part of the budget, but Salt Lake City 2002 is still one of the few Olympics in history that has not lost money at the event.
Because of that experience Bullock said he felt comfortable chasing another Olympics in Utah in 2030 or 2034. He said he saw considerable value in hosting the Olympics if handled properly.
Among the benefits he listed were cash income to the state for economic development, which he estimated would reach $ 6 billion the next time Utah hosted the Olympics. The reach of marketing, and economic shocks, also cannot be underestimated, he said. In addition, he considered this the most compelling reason to bring the Olympics back, holding the Olympics gave the locals an incomparable international experience.
“I think that [benefits] so extraordinary that let’s make it work, let’s find out, “he said. “Every game has challenges, but we have great people in this state. Let’s work through whatever challenges we face and let’s welcome the world again. “
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