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  • Sportaccord 2009 Kicks Off in Denver


    Credentials for 1,500 delegates are ready at the Sportaccord registration desk in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency hotel. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    Delegates for the seventh edition of Sportaccord are gathering for the start of the global sports convention in Denver.

    Some 1,500 delegates from 500 organizations are attending the convention of more than 100 international sports federations at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. The most important annual international sports business event runs from March 23-27.

    Today, private meetings of the councils of the General Association of International Sports Federations, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations Council and Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations take place.

    The Sportaccord opening ceremony Tuesday officially launches the convention. The ASOIF and AIOWF general assemblies are also held tomorrow.

    The IOC’s lack of progress in arriving at a new revenue-sharing agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee will be one of the main topics of debate at the ASOIF meeting. IOC member from Switzerland Denis Oswald is also hoping to be re-elected ASOIF president at elections Tuesday. Controversial International Handball Federation President Hassan Moustafa is running against him.

    The ASOIF elections will also include votes for four new council members.

    Preparations for the Vancouver Olympics will dominate discussions at the AIOWF general assembly.

    John Hickenlooper, mayor of Denver, opens the conference Wednesday. Tennis legend Andre Agassi and Dick Ebersol, chair of Universal Sports & Olympics, are among the high-profile speakers appearing.

    Sportaccord’s Denver hosts have invited all delegates to be guests at the NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on the evening of March 25.

    Ted Turner, chairman of Turner Enterprises, is one of the highlights of Thursday’s program.

    But the main focus March 26 is the presentations by the candidate cities for the 2016 Olympics; delegations from Chicago, Tokyo,
    It takes a giant sign to include the 100+ international sports federations taking part in the Denver Sportaccord. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    Rio de Janeiro and Madrid will deliver their pitches in an afternoon session.

    The IOC Executive Board holds its spring meeting Thursday and Friday.

    An exhibition incorporating the 2016 Olympic candidate cities, major games organizing committees, international bidding cities, IFs and global sports companies will run alongside the conference.

    Sportaccord Notebook Monday

    Windy, cold weather is on tap for today with good chances of rain and snow. With many delegates arriving Monday, delays flying into Denver International Airport are possible. Cold weather continues for the week.

    Within a few hours Sunday, the lobby of the Hyatt Regency was transformed into a headquarters for Sportaccord. A massive registration desk was assembled, posters and signs were hung and early arrivals for the convention are milling about.

    Included in the early arrivals are a clutch of European journalists: Morley Myers of the U.K. and German reporters Jens Weinrich and Markus Kecht.

    "It might just be the biggest international conference that you've never heard of," is how Sportaccord is described by one Denver TV station.

    Denver media note the past international trajectory for Sportaccord and suggest that this first time in the U.S. could bode well for another attempt to bring the Olympics to this city. Denver backed out of hosting the 1976 Winter Games after a state referendum rejected financial guarantees.

    Around the Rings will provide extensive, in-depth coverage of Sportaccord 2009.

    Access to Sportaccord news at will be free and available to the public for the duration of the convention. Coverage is sponsored by Rio 2016, organizers of Rio de Janeiro's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson and Ed Hula.
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