(ATR) The head of Innsbruck 2012 YOG organizers tells Around the Rings
he is satisfied with the fast-track timetable for completion of the
athletes’ village, the biggest challenge in Games preparations.
“I’m very happy we can start construction of the YOG village. That was something which was still one of the concerns of our partners. So we know we are perfectly on time,” said Peter Bayer, CEO of the Innsbruck YOG organizing committee.
Plans for the $121 million village with 2,000-plus beds have come under intense scrutiny since the Austrian city was awarded the Games last December. The IOC had initially cited it as a major issue. But building work began Thursday, alleviating concerns over the timeline for completion – at least for the time being.
The project’s completion date comes just a few months before the start of the first ever winter YOG, staged from Jan. 13-23 in 2012; interior fit-out of the village is earmarked to take place from October to December in 2011.
The village, located 10 minutes from the city center of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games host, is funded by the State of Tyrol and the city. Post-YOG, it will be converted into residential housing.
Bayer told ATR
that “everything was running well and smoothly” in preparations for the Games.
His team is currently finalizing the YOG marketing plan and digital media communications plan with the IOC. A new logo for Innsbruck 2012 was sent to the IOC for approval this week. Bayer hopes to launch the YOG emblem in conjunction with the Austrian Olympic Committee at Austria House during the Vancouver Games.
Last week, Bayer updated the European Olympic Committees general assembly on the YOG 2012 project. Bayer was appointed chief executive in September, replacing Martin Schnitzer who was forced to quit in the summer over
Peter Bayer succeeded Martin Schnitzer as CEO in September (ATR)
a financial scandal linked to Innsbruck’s role in the UEFA Euro 2008 football championships.
Innsbruck’s early YOG preparations were hit in the first half of the year by a series of financial scandals involving the Austrian Olympic Committee that ultimately led to the resignation of AOC president Leo Wallner. He had run the organization for 19 years. Karl Stoss succeeded Wallner as president of the AOC in October.
"All the scandals about the AOC ... it was not easy for us," Bayer said. He said he was reassured about the AOC’s support for the Youth Olympics following a recent meeting with Stoss.
"We are sharing the vision for the YOG, which was great to hear. We will continue to cooperate and put things on a new level," he added.
Milestones ahead for YOG 2012 organizers include: finalizing the masterplan for venues in the two major zones in Innsbruck and Seefeld; finishing the post-bid budget; mapping out the culture and education strategy; and confirmation of qualification and competition formats.
After its October inspection, the IOC Coordination Commission for Innsbruck will next visit the city for a check-up in June.
More than 1,000 athletes aged 14-18 years will participate in the inaugural Winter YOG. The seven sports on the program mirror those of the Vancouver Olympics, but there will be a limited number of disciplines and events.
With reporting from Mark Bisson.
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