“The Rules of the Game Have Changed Completely

Frankfurt, 24 October 2023 – As part of its “YOUR IDEAS. YOUR GAMES.” dialog initiative, the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) hosted a dialog forum in the Börsensaal of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce last Saturday. The objective of the public event was to discuss the opportunities and risks associated with a prospective German Olympic bid with the people of Hamburg.

New Starting Position for a Bid

During the course of the day’s first presentation, Carla Wuhrer (Proprojekt) 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. Stephan Brause (DOSB) then addressed the DOSB’s new strategy and the conditions which the umbrella organization of German sports has imposed on a prospective bid. The Head of the Olympic Bid Office emphasized the fact that the framework conditions had considerably changed since the previous failed bid. The majority of Hamburg’s citizens rejected an Olympic bid by way of a referendum in 2015.

Opponents of a prospective Olympic bid also gathered at the Chamber of Commerce. High costs and gigantism, a lack of transparency and clarity, as well as low participation in the event were among the points of criticism.

Active City is a Prime Example of What a Bid Alone Can Achieve

During the subsequent panel discussion, Hamburg sports representatives discussed the added value of an Olympic bid. Katharina von Kodolitsch, President of the Hamburg Sports Association, expressed optimism that sports would continue to inspire the masses, given the record number of members in Hamburg’s sports clubs. Mareike Miller, Paralympics wheelchair basketball champion in 2012, confirmed, from an athlete’s perspective, that the Olympics represented the greatest stage. Mareike regretted that people often say “no” straight away instead of working towards a possible joint “yes”. Ingrid Unkelbach, Head of the Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein Olympic Training Center, emphasized the added value that sports can offer younger generations. She would be delighted to see Germany “welcome the world as a fantastic host” and “present a bright future”. Boris Schmidt, Chairman of TSG Bergedorf von 1860 sports association, added that bids would always have a positive effect on recreational sports. There was a general consensus that the 2015 Olympic bid had a positive impact on Hamburg sports – despite its failure. “Active [TA1] City Hamburg is a prime example of what a bid alone can achieve in the long term,” said Stephan Brause.

From 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM, the residents of Hamburg 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: Recreational and school sports, in particular, must also be strengthened as a result of a bid. There is another important aspect: Sustainability: The visitors called for a clear commitment to and new ways of organizing sustainable Games. Flexibility, creativity, and close collaboration with the world of science are needed.

Three Additional Dialog Forums to Take Place by Mid-November

Three additional dialog forums have been scheduled to take place in Munich (05/11), Berlin (12/11), and Düsseldorf (14/11). 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.

Photos of the event and an impressions video will soon be available for viewing here.