On the spot

Georg Spazier

CEO, innsbruck-tirol sports

Executive Committee Member of the World Union of Olympic Cities

Innsbruck already hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 and 1976 as well as the 2012 Winter YOG. How does the City activate its Olympic Legacy?

Innsbruck, host of two Olympic Winter Games, the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games, Special Olympics, Universiades, National Special Olympics and the International Children’s Games in 2016, has developed a unique position in the world of Host Cities.
The City of Innsbruck still capitalises on the sports infrastructure and housing (3 Olympic Villages). The spirit of sport, which you can feel among the inhabitants, has also turned Innsbruck into a recognized sports City worldwide. We host several world cups in all kinds of sports throughout the year and have just organised 6 World Championships in the past 3 years. Now, with the Winter World Masters Games coming up in January 2020, one last puzzle piece of recognised IOC multisport events is put in place.

What does this rich Olympic past bring to the City?

The Olympic Games have really put Innsbruck on the international map for tourists, sport events and organisations alike. Meanwhile, three Olympic Villages have been built and sport facilities remain at the highest international standard. Ever since, Innsbruck has been able to host sport events of all levels (Universiade, Special Olympics, Ice Hockey World Champs, Football/Handball and Volleyball European Championships, Luge-/Bob World Championships, etc.) and the overall region of Tyrol has been host to more than 30 World Cups every year! Tirol has also heavily invested in infrastructure and is now one of the most touristic regions in the world (in terms of overnights per capita) with state-of-the-art skiing resorts and an extremely high level of quality in all service industries!

Olympic legacy management is carried out by innsbruck-tirol sport GmbH. In a nutshell, how is legacy promotion managed?

Of course, our company, innsbruck-tirol sports GmbH (ITS), stands as a legacy itself. Legally, we are still the same entity that organised the 1st Winter YOG back in 2012. Within the last four years, we have managed to build up one of the largest volunteer platforms in Central Europe, the volunteer team tirol that has just recently put in 210’000 volunteer working hours.
We have developed one of the largest kid’s winter sports projects in the country and even internationally with the Tyrolean School Sport Challenge and have also created another youth sport initiative – the freestyle days that take place every year. We work continuously on further acquisition and execution of multisport events, such as the International Children’s Games 2016 and the upcoming Winter World Masters Games 2020.

But our concepts and knowledge are also highly beneficial to hosting world class single sport events such as the largest Mountainbike Festival of Europe – Crankworx Innsbruck – or the just recently celebrated success of the UCI Road World Championships 2018. In addition, we service all kinds of federations and organisations within the region and abroad.

Our previous efforts have now grown into our own sustainability initiative called: Green Events Tirol. Delivering while adhering to high ecological standards is still the main objective with all of our projects.
Last but not least, we have been able to source young people and talents from the YOG which have also moved further up the career ladder and are now senior project managers, etc. We work closely with all universities from the region and continuously invest in research.
All in all, we have become a unique, not-for-profit organisation  that works and delivers on multiple project life cycles worldwide while at the same time developing and maintaining our own initiatives and acquiring new projects.

Unfortunately, this great vision of capturing and capitalizing all of the above and turning it into a successful Olympic bid did not happen 1.5 years ago…

Innsbruck will host the Winter World Masters Games in January 2020. How can organising “non-conventional” events also be a way to activate Innsbruck’s Olympic legacy?

The existing Olympic legacies from the ’64 and ’76 Games and the Winter YOG 2012 are extremely important for the 2020 development plans. On the one hand, we already use most of the existing venues which were built for these occasions: the Ice Hockey and Speed Skating Stadium, the Patscherkofel for all alpine skiing competitions and the Seefeld for all nordic events. We also work with the sports organisations/clubs that have gathered a vast amount of experience through these events. Of course, many of the participants make a strong connection between Innsbruck and the Olympics which we also try to push throughout our communication efforts to help tell the story.

The Winter World Masters Games will be held at the same time as the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne. How can connections be established between the two events, as one features a younger generation and the other a more senior one?

The YOG and WWMG 2020 are both international sport events connected to the Olympic values. The aim is to encourage the younger and the more senior generations to adopt and represent the positive values of sport, the sense of community, respect for others, for themselves and for our environment. The 3rd edition of both events will combine sports performance, culture and education in an authentic celebration of sport within a festive atmosphere in similar-sized cities. We are in discussion regarding various observer-programme possibilities. And, especially for people coming from overseas, there is the possibility of visiting two Olympic Cities hosting two of the largest winter multi-sport events in the world at the same time.
I personally wish for a story about parents taking part in our games while their kids compete at the Winter YOG in Lausanne 😉 To all parents out there, our registration is open. Click here for some news and sign up at www.innsbruck2020.com/registration. We are happy to welcome all of you to Innsbruck2020.