Thursday, August 14, 2008

2034 for Kamloops is still a long way off.......

As an intermediate step towards a 2034 Winter Games in Kamloops, how about hosting the Winter Youth Olympic Games?

The Youth Olympic Games are a new set of games from the IOC. They summer youth games will be held every four years starting in 2010 and the winter ones will be held every four years starting in 2012.

The Winter Youth Olympic Games will have be less than 1000 athletes. The host city is supposed to have all the infrastructure it needs and not have to build a lot. The sliding events may not be in the youth winter games because so few places have sliding centres and building them is a big infrastructure cost.

One thing Kamloops could consider doing sooner rather than later is developing a plan for a sliding centre in the region. A sliding centre that could host world cup events would be in major use as soon as it was built. North America only has four sliding centres at the moment, Calgary, Whistler, Lake Placid and Park City in Utah. The addition of another one in BC makes it possible to have a reasonable North American circuit for luge, bobsleigh and skeleton and with three in the west of Canada, a Canadian regional competition could happen.

If Kamloops has the sliding centre and attracts world cup luge, skeleton and bobsleigh, any bid for the 2034 Olympics will be easier. It also makes a bid for the youth winter Olympic games very plausible.

The Youth Winter Olympics will have to come to North America on a regular basis, at least once every 16 years (+-4 years). This means that 2016, 2020 or 2024 will have to be in North America. Kamloops could step up for this now. Costs for the games are supposed to be in the range of $15 to 20 million.

One of the bid cities for the 2012 games is Kuopio in Finland. Kuopio is about the size of Kamloops and is not close to any larger centre. If they can do it, Kamloops should be able to do it. The decision on the 2012 games will not happen till late this year and Kuopio is in competition with Innsbruck, Lillihammer and Harbin. Maybe someone from the Kamloops council should visit Kuopio - maybe a sister city thing would be a good thing to start.

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