Almaty 2022: A New Direction for
the Winter Games
2022 executive board member Zauresh Amanzholova)
Almaty, March 25: Almaty is
the largest city in Kazakhstan. It is also the nation’s former capital and
remains the major commercial and cultural centre of our country. Almaty’s
location, nestled at the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountain Range, also makes
our city the natural home of winter sports in Kazakhstan, and indeed the
surrounding central Asian region.
Almaty 2022 represents our second bid for the Olympic
and Paralympic Winter Games and, similar to all aspiring champions, we refuse
to give up on our dream.
Vision is the driving force for each Candidate City's
concepts and differentiation, and eventually, that vision also helps define
each edition of the Olympic Games. Agenda 2020 finely articulates the future
goals of the Olympic Movement, and Almaty 2022’s vision is based on Agenda
2020’s far-reaching recommendations.
So the real question is, how well does a Candidate
City’s vision to host an Olympic Games truly align with the long-term vision of
the Olympic Movement?
Almaty 2022’s vision is crucial to defining Kazakhstan
as a nation going forward, who we are as a people and as a 2022 Candidate City.
We hope that our visionwill be well received by the International Olympic
We call our vision "Keeping it Real."
Simply put, Almaty 2022 is determined to provide the
Olympic Movement with an extraordinary new concept for the Winter Games that is
sensible, affordable and sustainable.
Keeping it Real means:
• Making the 2022 Winter Games Intimate - with a plan
that is easy to use and ideally suited for athletes and all members of the
Olympic Family. Almaty 2022 is one of the most efficient Games Concepts in 30
years. No venue is more than a 30 km radius from the Olympic Village. Almaty is
a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with 4,000-metre mountains bursting with natural
snow flowing gently into the city, providing perfect geographic, climatic and
cultural conditions for a memorable festival of winter sports;
• Making the 2022 Winter Games an excellent Investment
- by proposing a Games Concept based on sensible expenditures and rational
budgets, which are in turn based on the real needs of our city and nation;
• Making the 2022 Winter Games a Real Legacy - by
hosting them for the first time in Kazakhstan, and by proposing a Games Concept
fully supported by the existing national development policy, the “Kazakhstan
• Making the 2022 Winter Games Sustainable - almost 60
percent of the needed facilities already exist, a great example for future
concepts. By 2017, almost 80 percent of our venues will exist due to the 2017
Almaty Winter Universiade;
• Making the 2022 Winter Games Green - due to the
minimal need for new venues or unneeded transport construction, the
environmental impact will be negligible for Almaty 2022;
• Making the 2022 Winter Games Fun. The people of
Kazakhstan represent one of the most diverse cultures on earth due to our
location on The Silk Road, the crossroads of ideas for millennia. Over 100
ethnicities and 40 religious denominations live in Almaty, peacefully.
All Candidate Cities’ visions must address the needs
of the aspiring Host City and nation. Almaty 2022 is no exception. We based our
planning and Games Concept on the following:
• A venue concept tailored to setting the stage for
its most important participants: the athletes;
• An existing, visionary strategy for wide spread
economic and social reforms to develop our country;
• An unprecedented geographical setting with a natural
combination of beautiful nature – both winter and summer – and urban life;
• A master plan focused on a profound legacy for
sports, tourism and urban development;
• A young and dynamic nation that is keen to share its
passion for winter sports and showcase its culture to the world.
We will achieve this goal by matching the most important
needs of the athletes and the Olympic Movement with the most appropriate
resources and needs of our city and region.
This is simple, yet profound difference is another
example of Keeping it Real.
Agenda 2020 stresses that the key component of every
Olympic bid should be a demonstrable legacy both for the city and for sport. In
fact, according to President Bach’s new vision, a tangible Olympic legacy must
be the foundational principle for any city aspiring to host the Games. This
means no more white elephants – either for sports venues or non-Games
We understand that. That is also what we mean by
Keeping it Real.
Every level of our governmentis fully committed to and
strongly supports Almaty 2022. The legacy of Almaty 2022 and sport, in general,
is precisely linked to the long-term development of Kazakhstan through the
existing “Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy." This far-reaching national
development plan is focused on seven distinct objectives, and each of these is
directly linked to the Almaty 2022 plan.
While it is true that Kazakhstan possesses enormous
fossil fuel reserves and minerals, it also has a large agricultural sector. In
2002, Kazakhstan became the first country from the former Soviet Union to
receive an investment-grade credit rating.
The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal
produce a yearly “Index of Economic Freedom." In the 2014 edition,
Kazakhstan ranked 17th out of 42 countries in the Asian Pacific Region, and we
have one of the 20 best improvement records of all countries over the 17 years
of the study.
Our total GDP is almost $ 240 billion, which
represents 5 percent growth over 2013, and we have a 5-year projected GDP
growth rate of 4.8 percent.
In many ways, we are one of the most robust, growing
economies you’ve probably never heard of. One thing is for certain; Kazakhstan
is financially capable of hosting an excellent Olympic and Paralympic Winter
In 1991, Kazakhstan woke up as an entirely new nation.
Imagine the impact that reality had on our sporting infrastructure, from top to
bottom, from grassroots to elite. We realized that we had to start from scratch
to rebuild sport in Kazakhstan. Almaty 2022 is part of that plan.
One only needs to look at the Olympic Games’ impact on
recent host countries such as Canada, China, Russia and the UK to understand
why countries yearn to host the Olympic Games. The positive effects on these
former host countries’ populations are incalculable.
We also understand that sport improves lives at every
level of society. That is why we hosted the Asian Winter Games in 2011, why we
are hosting the Winter Universiade in 2017, and it is why we are bidding again,
for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Our Bid’s vision also reinforces the true potential of
an Olympic legacy – using it where it is needed most. As a new nation,
Kazakhstan needs the power of the Winter Games to serve as a continuing
catalyst for progress. Moreover, given our location sitting at the heart of
Central Asia, the potential of an Almaty 2022 Olympic legacy becomes even more
powerful and enduring for millions of people.
The culture of Kazakhstan is a mosaic that not only
reflects thousands of years of human interaction, but thousands of years of
integrating different ideas and ways of life. This diversity is the source of
our strength and a true example of Olympism at its core.
This is the new face of Kazakhstan that we want to
share with the world, for the first time as an Olympic Host City.
I believe Almaty 2022 not only presents a fresh, new
perspective on the Winter Games, but also offers the world the best choice for
the 2022 Winter Games.
We have one of the most efficient and affordable Games
Concepts in 30 years, we have the total commitment of all levels of government,
we have the perfect winter sports climate, we have an ideally sized city
situated next to majestic mountains laden with fresh, natural snow and we have
a tolerant, welcoming and diverse population, experienced in hosting winter
sports events and eager to showcase their new nation to the world.
We look forward to seeing all of you in Almaty in
Keeping it Intimate
Keeping it Sustainable
Keeping it Green
Keeping it Fun
Keeping it Real
This article was first published in the Around the
Rings web portal.