Frankfurt, 13 November 2023 – 600 guests took part in the DOSB’s dialog forum at the Futurium in Berlin on Sunday. During the dialog rounds and the talk, a clear picture was painted by both the citizens as well as the invited guests from the worlds of sports and politics: Berlin is prepared for a national bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Broad Support for a Bid
The official welcome address was given by Kai Wegner, the Governing Mayor of Berlin. During his opening speech, he said: “We strongly support the idea and think the plan to submit a national bid is terrific.” A bid for the 2036 Games would give us an “outstanding opportunity” to present a new image of Germany to a global audience.
Representatives from the worlds of sports and politics discussed the added value and risks of an Olympic bid for Berlin, and the country as a whole, during the subsequent panel discussion. Iris Spranger, Senator of the Interior and Sports, emphasized: “Berliners are sports enthusiasts, and Berlin is more than capable of hosting major sports events.” Thomas Härtel, President of the Berlin State Sports Association, added: “The State Sports Association is clearly in favor of a bid. A sports development strategy that ensures that the citizens of Berlin benefit in the long term must be part of any prospective bid.” During the panel discussion, Klara Schedlich, Spokesperson for Sports Policy, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Berlin, stressed that a bid concept must, first and foremost, ensure that Berlin and its population benefit from it. Ronald Rauhe, Olympic Canoeing Champion, spoke out in clear favor of Germany potentially hosting the Games: “The Olympic Games are more than mere sports competitions. They are a means of conveying the Olympic values that move and shape entire generations.” Verena Schott, a para-swimmer from Berlin, pointed out that the Games should primarily be used to narrow the gap between people with and without disabilities.
The dialog forum guests
A Thing of Importance to Berliners
The official program also featured presentations by Stefan Klos (Proprojekt) and Stephan Brause (DOSB). Stefan Klos presented the IOC’s reform processes and the resulting opportunities to design and stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a more sustainable and cost-effective way. Stefan Klos explained: “Changing the rules to allow for new processes will restore confidence in the Olympic idea.” Stephan Brause, Head of the DOSB’s Olympic Bid Office, then walked the attendees through the DOSB’s new strategy and presented the conditions that would be attached to a prospective bid.
From 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM and from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM, the residents of Berlin had the opportunity to take part in moderated discussion rounds, during which they could share their specific ideas, criticisms, and reservations. One of the requests: If the Olympic and Paralympic Games are to be hosted in Berlin, the existing infrastructure should be used and no new sports facilities should be built. Instead, money should be invested in the refurbishment of existing sports facilities and in making them more accessible.
“Today, the takeaway for me is that the pulling power of a project such as a bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Germany is needed for social transformation,” said Gabi Freytag, Head of the Department of the Interior and Sports in the Berlin Senate, during her closing remarks. Friedhard Teuffel, Director of the Berlin State Sports Association, added: “Berlin has presented a colorful picture to us today. Many families with children, young people, seasoned sports officials, as well as people with and without disabilities were all in attendance.” Stephan Brause summed the day up with the following words: “The first successful step has been taken here in Berlin today. The depth of detail that I encountered during the discussions has inspired me.”
Wrap-Up in Düsseldorf
The final dialog forum is scheduled to take place in Düsseldorf (13/11). The results of the various dialog formats will be bundled in the Frankfurt Declaration and will serve as the societal guidelines for a prospective Olympic bid. The Frankfurt Declaration will be presented at the DOSB General Assembly on 2 December 2023.