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Calgary Games still paying dividends

Planning for legacies key to long-term success after Olympics, VANOC finds

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By Clare Ogilvie

There are many recipes for Olympic success as each Games held is unique.

But a new report commissioned by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games on Calgary’s 1988 Games suggest that without key ingredients being in place success will be measured.

Near the top of the list is to make sure your legacies are in order and funded. And organizers should capitalize on volunteers and offer outstanding cultural and arts programs to ensure that the event can be enjoyed by and participated in by as many people as possible.

“(The Games) are all about fiscal responsibility and legacy, those words belong in the same sentence together,” said Frank King, former president and CEO of the Calgary Olympic Organizing Committee, from Calgary this week.

“It’s the Games themselves, and the after use of the facilities, and the financing that surrounds all of that that is key.

“One of the things that comes to a Games is an after use plan for everything, the real things that have been built to stay, and then the big question: who is going to pay for the use of them?”

King, who also authored a book about the Games experience, It’s How You Play The Game , said Calgary started off small at bid time with a legacy toward sport of just $5 million. Even though the amount was small it was a big step as no other organizing committee had ever put an item like this in its budget.

By the end of the Games that amount had grown substantially, with a final tally of $70.5 million in legacy endowments for the facilities, $40 million to the Canadian Olympic Committee and $110 million to the IOC, which was almost bankrupt at the time.

Those legacy funds have been grown substantially over the years.

The COC had grown its $40 million to $110 million by last year.

The money, said Chris Rudge, CEO of the COC, allows the organization to be self sustaining and part of it is given each year to sport federations to make sure Canadian athletes get to competitions around the world.

“It was a huge benefit from Calgary,” said Rudge. “Nearly 20 years later, the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary continue to impact the development of high performance sport in Canada.

“The legacy of world class facilities and a multi-million dollar endowment fund has contributed significantly to Canada’s increase in podium results at the Olympic Winter Games over the years,”

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