The first DOSB dialog forum took place in Leipzig on Saturday, 30 September, as part of the YOUR IDEAS. YOUR GAMES. initiative. Visitors were invited to discuss a prospective German bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Alte Handelsbörse in Leipzig.
The event was officially kicked off by the Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung. During his speech, he emphasized how great the idea of uniting the public behind an all-German bid was. Jens Lehmann, a Member of the Bundestag and two-time Olympic Track Cycling Champion, and DOSB Vice President Kerstin Holze also participated in the subsequent panel discussion. The Secretary General of the Saxony Sports Federation, Christian Dahms, and the reigning Paratriathlon World Champion and two-time Paralympics Winner, Martin Schulz, rounded out the panel.
The members of the panel were in favor of Leipzig’s participation in an all-German bid. Mayor Jung referred to the city as a “junior partner”. The same support was voiced by Jens Lehmann, a member of Leipzig’s CDU party. He stressed the importance of getting people excited about the idea. Christian Dahms agreed: According to the Secretary General of the Saxony Sports Federation, an Olympic bid would provide the urgently needed impetus for recreational sports. It would also go a long way toward convincing Saxony’s skeptics. Kerstin Holze elaborated on the keyword “impetus”: She argued that the process would get Germany moving again – that the country would get fit via the Olympics, so to speak. Martin Schulz highlighted the added value the event would bring to elite sports. He noted that British sports (“Team GB”) were still benefiting from the 2012 Games that took place in London, and that Germany’s elite sports would certainly benefit from the tailwind that a bid would provide.
Additional professional information was then provided for the visitors. Stefan Klos, Managing Partner of Proprojekt, spoke about the IOC’s reform processes and provided insight into the different concepts developed for upcoming host cities, such as Paris and Milan-Cortina. Finally, Stephan Brause, Head of the DOSB’s Olympic Bid Office, explained the current process and shed some light on the ongoing dialog initiative.
What the People of Leipzig Had to Say
During the dialog sessions, visitors had the opportunity to gather information and share their ideas, suggestions, criticisms, and concerns at various booths dedicated to the areas of sports, the economy, sustainability, society, as well as the future and the past.
Numerous breakout discussions revealed that a majority of the participants were in favor of a prospective Olympic bid, provided that certain conditions were met. For many, those conditions included a transparent bidding process, at the end of which an equally transparent concept would have to be drawn up, which would, for example, clearly state how expensive the Games would be. The renunciation of new stadium construction was also a frequently mentioned issue. Last but not least, elite sports should not be the only beneficiaries of a bid for the Olympics. Recreational sports and other areas of society should also reap the benefits. In concrete terms, the participants suggested, for example, an Olympic transport ticket that would enable people to travel to and from the competitions at a low cost, as well as the expansion of the German rail network and local public transport.
The Next Steps
The suggestions and ideas presented during the dialog forum in Leipzig as well as the other forums in Hamburg (21 October), Munich (5 November), Berlin (12 November), and Düsseldorf (to be announced) will be incorporated into the Frankfurt Declaration. The declaration will serve as a guideline for a prospective German bid and will be presented at the DOSB General Assembly in Frankfurt on 2 December.