IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge Shares Lessons in Olympic Legacies

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In February 2008, the RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series brought Dr. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, to British Columbia to discuss the IOC’s commitment to creating sustainable legacies within the framework of the Olympic Games.

Legacies bring life to the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect and help position sport as an agent of change, explained Rogge. For this reason, IOC regulations dictate that potential host cities must describe legacy plans in their bids.

"Vancouver’s commitment to legacy is palpable – the city is a role model of innovative legacy planning," said Rogge.

By implementing environmental, social and economic legacies, host cities have a chance to change a community and a nation forever.

The 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway were the first "green" Olympics, noted Rogge. Lillehammer’s legacy is the inclusion of environmental protection provisions in all Games. For example, Beijing – host of the 2008 Summer Games – reduced polluting traffic and planted trees to help improve air quality.

Social legacies can also be seen in Calgary, site of the 1988 Winter Games. Each year, 30,000 children and adults use Canada Olympic Park for recreational programs. Other social legacies include the first Youth Olympic Games, to be held in 2010 in Singapore, where young athletes can learn Olympic values.

Economic legacies can be seen in host cities’ infrastructure improvements that spur tourism and business development. Also, hosting Games can boost the image of a city and a country. Rogge cited how Torino, Italy, showed the world it had moved from an industrial centre to a service economy. Seoul, Korea, used the Games as an opportunity to demonstrate that it has become a new, democratic economic force.

Rogge concluded by saying the most important legacies of the 2010 Winter Games are a new way of looking at the city, region and province and a strengthened environmental conscience.

The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series hosted ten internationally-acclaimed speakers who shared their Olympic and Paralympic expertise with businesses and communities throughout BC. From 2006-2008, these speakers visited several communities to share their knowledge and experience. They also participated in an interview which was webcast live and archived online at The program was sponsored by RBC, CTV, the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Sun.