Innsbruck 50th Olympic Anniversary

  • Olympic City: Innsbruck
  • Country: Austria
  • Edition of the Games: 1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games
Jan. & Feb. 2014
Locals & Visitors

Description of the Project

The Innsbruck 50th Olympic Anniversary was a series of activities held in the City to mark the 50 years since the City first hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1964.

The programme was a joint venture between Innsbruck Tirol Sports – which is a direct affiliate of the City of Innsbruck – and the Region of Tirol, with particularly heavy involvement from the relevant sports departments.

The Innsbruck 50th Olympic Anniversary took place over the months of January and February in line with the timing of the Innsbruck Games exactly half a century earlier. A host of sporting and cultural events, as well as other activities designed to engage residents and tourists alike were held across the City. These events were either connected to commemorating the City’s Olympic heritage or used as a launchpad for activations around current and future City projects.

The organisers planned the event and its various activities around incorporating as much of the venues of the 1964 Winter Games as possible. The Olympic Village and various competition sites played host to receptions, dances and theatrical performances. There was also a host of national and international snow sports events hosted in the Alpine City leading up to, during and after the official months of celebration. These spanned both elite competition and participation events open to the public, both of which extensively incorporated the Jubilee theme into their delivery.

The 50th Olympic Anniversary was also the perfect platform to announce the official inclusion of the City of Innsbruck in the World Union of Olympic Cities.

The event was remarkably well received by all those involved. Public officials, local residents and media all agreed that the event was a huge success, shining a light on the Innsbruck’s Olympic heritage and connecting this with a current vision of the City of which residents can be proud.


Celebrate Olympism and its values

One of the central aims of the 50th Olympic Anniversary was to increase awareness among the local citizens about the City’s rich Olympic heritage and to generate a sense of civic pride around this unique social asset. Activities such as the Olympic Walk were designed so as to highlight how the Games had impacted the structural landscape of the City. Other activities focused on the social impact that the Games had brought to the City, reflecting on how the Games had boosted the brand and reputation of the City as a top vacation destination for winter tourism.

Promote the City by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Movement

Innsbruck has hosted more Winter Olympic Competition than anywhere else in world. It first welcomed the Winter Olympic Games in 1964, again in 1976 and more recently in 2012 with the staging of the first ever Youth Winter Olympic Games. While the 50th anniversary celebrations were focused on the occasion of the first Games held in the City, they also strongly reflected the entire scope of its Olympic history, using this to showcase Innsbruck as a leader in world-class winter sports facilities and services. This served to mark Innsbruck as one of the foremost centres of excellence for winter sports anywhere in the world.



The evaluation process was specifically linked to the goals of the programme. Public awareness and perception was monitored via the level of media coverage received and individual feedback from the various stakeholders involved was obtained and analysed.


Key Challenges

Managing logistics and timing

The 50th Anniversary programme involved a significant amount of stakeholders, including many political bodies. This meant that gathering input, obtaining approval and collecting feedback from interested parties was often a lengthy and complicated process. On top of this, the event programme was highly ambitious with a huge number of sporting, cultural and educational events scheduled over a short period. These events were all in addition to those that take place over this peak period for the City during a normal year.

It was critical that stakeholders were engaged from the outset and that there was constant communication between them and the programme organisers. Early and meticulous planning was prioritized in order to ensure that all events went off without any conflict or issues.

Accessing information

Despite hosting the YOG as recently as 2012, it had been some time since Innsbruck hosted their first and even their second Games. Those were different times and media and other information were not as widespread as they were today. It was also not as clear back then as to who owned what rights when it came to this material. It was always the plan to include old footage of the Games in the promotional material in order to highlight the lasting power of the event as well as the transformative effect it had on the City.

In the beginning the organisers dedicated much time and effort to researching the existing information about the Games, working closely with local and international stakeholders to collect relevant material and getting approval for its use


Key Learnings & Recommendations

Have clear vision

The organisers put a lot of pressure on themselves by taking on so many events, engaging with so many stakeholders and delivering all this in a very short amount of time. It was absolutely vital in light of these factors that there was a very simple but effective communications strategy in place to ensure there was no misunderstandings at any stage. The first step in this process is to establish a clearly defined vision that all stakeholders could get behind and that can drive well-informed decision making.

Build marketing momentum

A key goal was to ensure that the public were fully aware and informed about the programme before it kicked off. The organisers also wanted to generate a level of excitement and anticipation as the celebrations drew closer. To achieve this a coordinated marketing effort was launched in the lead up to the event. 170,000 branded informational booklets were distributed with local partner newspapers and promotional stickers and posters were put up around the City in the 2 – 3 months leading up to the festival.

Bring legacy to life

The organisers were keen to enable City residents to really experience and feel the Olympic heritage of the City. Where possible, venues and facilities used during the Games were incorporated into the events programme. For example, a highlight of the festival was the Olympic Walk of Fame, where the public could take a reflective tour through the key sites of the 1964 Olympics, finishing in the Olympic Village. Olympians from the 1964, 1972 and 2012 Games were also invited as special guests and brought into different events. This helped to bring a really human touch to the living Olympic history of the City.


More information

The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:

Innsbruck – 50 Jahre Olympia Stadt