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  • Bid Experts Team Up; Senator Wants End to USOC-IOC Dispute; All-Africa Games


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    Bid Consultants Rejoin Forces

    Olympic bidding expert Terrence Burns tells Around the Rings his new partnership with fellow consultant George Hirthler feels like “getting the band back together” again.
    Terrence Burns and George Hirthler together at the Durban IOC Session. (Helios)

    The longtime friends and former business partners worked as lead communications strategists for Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010 under the moniker Helikon Media.

    After years apart at the helms of separate consultancies both based in Atlanta, the two revealed exclusively to ATR on Friday that they will again team up for a series of projects, including a 2020 Olympic bid.

    “Before this announcement, no one has the track record that we have,” says Burns, president of Helios Partners.

    “We have four Olympic bid wins, we have a World Cup win, we have University Games, we have a sport on the Olympic program.

    “This will only add another notch to our winning record.”

    After wins with Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 as well as Russia's bid for the 2018 World Cup, Burns says Helios has yet to take on any of the six 2020 candidates confirmed Friday by the IOC.

    He and Hirthler have spoken to four of the six either informally or formally, he said, and are hoping to approach the other two before picking a horse in the next Olympic race.

    Hirthler, who wrote the bid book for Atlanta 1996 and has since consulted for 10 total campaigns (most recently Munich 2018) – will continue to operate Hirthler & Partners on the side.

    His focus, though, is on Helios and on 2020 – in more ways than one.

    A bid from Yekaterinburg, Russia to stage Expo 2020 is actually what brought Hirthler back to Burns. For now, that's his only project with Helios, but expect him to soon be at work on his 11th Olympic bid now that the race for 2020 is officially underway.

    Senator Weighs in on USOC-IOC Feud

    Colorado Senator Michael Bennet wants the United States Olympic Committee to resolve its revenue-sharing dispute with the IOC.

    Currently, the U.S. receives the largest share of Olympic revenues. Some in the Olympic Movement feel the deal no longer represents the Olympic political landscape. The lack of a resolution is a major roadblock for an Olympic bid from the United States.

    In a letter to Larry
    Senator Michael Bennet
    Probst, chairman of the USOC’s board, Bennet asks the NOC to solve the impasse, so Denver can move forward with its 2022 bid.

    “State and local officials in Colorado will find it difficult to advance preparations for a possible bid without a sense of certainty that the USOC would be willing to move forward,” Bennet wrote.

    “A timely resolution to this matter would only serve to benefit American cities considering a bid to serve as a host city to a future Olympic Games,” he added.

    Bennet says that the city would benefit economically from hosting the Games.

    “With much of the infrastructure needed to host an event of this magnitude already in place, a city like Denver would stand to reap those benefits several times over if it were chosen as a host city.

    “As an example, about $6 million was infused into the local economy when Broomfield played host to the U.S. Olympic trials for curling in 2009. I’m hopeful that bringing the Olympics to the region would boost these totals exponentially,” said Bennet.

    Praise for All Africa Games

    Africa’s largest sporting event starts Saturday and is receiving some early praise.

    Speaking to news agency AFP, Senegalese team chief Omar Diagne said the organizers of the All-Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique have thus far done a good job.

    "The organization was immense to accomplish what they have done in two years," he said.

    "The accommodation is excellent. It's even up to the standards of (the Olympic Games in) Beijing."

    Lusaka, Zambia was originally supposed to stage the Games but withdrew in 2008 due to a lack of funds. Maputo volunteered to stage the event in 2009 with hopes the event would boost the country’s international profile. Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries.

    Three key venues were built for the Games: an international stadium, a new international airport terminal and the athlete’s village.

    Nearly 5,000 athletes from 48 countries will compete in 24 events from Sept. 3 to 18.

    The Games are recognized by the IOC as one of the official continental sport competitions.

    2020 Fact Files

    In case you missed them, Around the Rings featured fact files on each of the six 2020 candidates confirmed earlier Friday by the IOC. For your convenience, we'll compiled links to all six below.

    Baku 2020

    Doha 2020

    Istanbul 2020

    Madrid 2020

    Rome 2020

    Tokyo 2020

    Written by Matthew Grayson and Ann Cantrell.

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