The content of the Olympic Seminar, which was organized by the German Olympic Academy and took place from 11 to 17 September 2023 in Greece, is still reverberating four weeks after its conclusion. Students, lecturers, and multipliers from the sports world and society were invited to debate the current challenges facing the Olympic Movement using new formats designed to promote discussion. Part of the discourse included YOUR IDEAS. YOUR GAMES., the DOSB’s dialog initiative dedicated to discussing a prospective German bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In the run-up to the trip, YOUR IDEAS. YOUR GAMES. raffled off two tickets for the educational trip to Olympia. Debate topics included “All Games – All Nations”, “Values and the Future of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”, “Governance and Financing”, and “Environmental Sustainability”. Those areas were also discussed during our expert talks and dialog forums.
In addition to the debates that took place in the lecture hall, participants took the time to explore the issues in more detail each day – in small-group formats. Each group drafted a closing statement at the end of the discussion.
Olympic Requests and Requirements – the Closing Statements
Across the board, discussions that focused on a prospective Olympic and Paralympic bid for Germany revealed the participants’ desires for “The Games of the Future”. Among other things, they relate to:
… environmental sustainability:
- “If the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held in Germany in a relatively climate-neutral manner in the near future – through the implementation of realistic measures – hosting them will be justifiable.”
… social sustainability:
- “Whether it concerns the exclusion of athletes or the selection of host cities, we should strive for more equality on a social level – for the host countries of each hemisphere and for every generation.”
… the importance of sports:
- “In order to rekindle the Olympic fire, we firmly believe that linking sports plans with educational goals is necessary. That can be achieved by targeting adolescent athletes, improving the sports infrastructure, and counteracting the lack of physical activity among the young and old.”
The selected statements represent a fraction of the many concluding statements that were developed over the course of the week at the International Olympic Academy (IOA), the venue of the Olympic Seminar. All of the closing statements have been compiled into the following Instagram post shared by the German Olympic Academy: “All About Olympia. Our Opinions – Our Conclusions.”
Discussions were further deepened during the evening get-together at the “white marble staircase”, one of the IOA’s iconic locations. Gabriella Moser, German Olympic Academy intern and on-site participant from the University of Bayreuth, emphasized the eye-to-eye exchange: “Critical inquiries always fell upon receptive ears. As students, we were given the proper space to share and develop our thoughts. That also helped the lecturers, multipliers, and experts to better understand our generation, our ideas, and our concerns.”
Julia Kroth, our raffle winner, also discovered her enthusiasm for the Games as a result of her participation in the Olympic Seminar: “Not only did the week in Olympia give me an understanding of the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but it also highlighted the current challenges being faced. I never really had an opinion about whether the Games should be hosted in Germany prior to that point. Now, however, I can truly say that I think Germany is ideally suited as a venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and that the Games will trigger many positive developments throughout their staging and even further beyond.”
Jonas Nüssle, who accompanied the group, retrospectively emphasized the necessity of a German bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games under the right premises: “Should the Olympic and Paralympic Games be held in Germany? That is a legitimate question that needs to be asked. We, as Germans, should also ask ourselves the following question: If we can’t even imagine ourselves hosting the Games, who can? If we keep ourselves focused on ecological, economic, and social sustainability, and if we allow the public to participate in the process, avoiding elite decision-making, I am thoroughly convinced that we will be able to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Germany – and, more importantly, to celebrate them. In order for that to happen, a concept must be developed that does not burn billions, that sends a clear message against gigantism, and that ensures the participation of all members of society, which is long overdue.”