Is bandy too expensive for the winter olympics?
Per Hellmyrs was born in 1983, in the heart of Swedish Bandy country, in the County of Gävleborg, the municipality of Ovanåker in a city by the name of Edsbyn. Edsbyn has a population of almost 4000 people. Its small size has not, however, kept Edsbyn from being one of the greatest bandy communities in all of Sweden. Edsbyn formed their first bandy club in 1909. They have competed in the highest league of Swedish bandy from 1945-69 and now 1971 to the present. Edsbyn IF has made its 4000 citizens proud, winning 12 Swedish Championships over the decades. Edsbyn has produced many all time greats of Swedish bandy over the last 110 years. One of the greatest of all is Per Hellmyrs. Born in Edsbyn in 1983 and raised on the bandy rink with all the other boys in town, Hellmyrs has become a 5 time world champion skating for Sweden, a 5 time Swedish Champion, even a Russian Champion when he played for Dynamo Moscow and was named the Swedish “Bandy Player of the Year” in 2009.
Almost 2000 miles away from Edsbyn, 1500 miles east of Moscow, lies the Russian city of Krasnoturinsk. Founded in 1758 as a copper mining settlement on the Turya River, the city is home to 60,000 residents. Krasnoturinsk, like Edsbyn, is also a bandy town. The local bandy club is Dynamo Mayak, founded in 1948, although bandy began in Krasnoturinsk far earlier. Krasnoturinsk and Dynamo Mayak are the origins of one of the all time greatest players in Russian and world bandy history, Evgeny Ivanushkin. Born in 1979, Ivanushkin, like Hellmyrs in Edsbyn, was raised on the bandy rinks of Krasnoturinsk , one of hundreds of other Russian kids his age. He is a 7 time world bandy champion skating for Russia. In 2017 Ivanushkin became just the second player, following Sergei Lomanov Jr., to score 1000 goals in the Russian Super League.
What do Per Hellmyrs and Evgeny Ivanushkin have in common beyond the fact that they grew up in winter countries and cultures where the sport of bandy is an essential element of national and local tradition and heritage, that both come from small communities where playing bandy was not limited to those with wealth and privilege, that both became among the greatest players in the history of bandy? Here is what both have in common, not only with each other, but also with the hundreds of thousands of bandy players, from its origins to the present, men and women from across the bandy world, currently 23 countries strong. They have never had the opportunity to compete in the Winter Olympics. They have never had the opportunity to be an Olympian.
Compare bandy with Luge, Skeleton, and Bobsled
Contrast this with the three sledding sports which are currently included in the Winter Olympics – luge, skeleton and bobsled. All 3 sports were invented in the 1880s by hotels in St Moritz, Switzerland that catered to the ultra wealthy and elite as exciting hobbies and outdoor winter activities that would help keep the hotels full during the winter. 130 years later, all 3 sports are firmly entrenched in the Winter Olympic Games and defended by the IOC as hereditary and essential sports as bobsled was included in the first Winter Games in 1924, luge in 1964 and skeleton initially in 1928, then permanently in 2002
Let’s compare Per Hellmyrs and Evgeny Ivanushkin, who will never compete in the Winter Olympics, with a luge athlete from the United States. Hellmyrs and Ivanushkin are products of countries, cities, small towns, where bandy is and has been an essential element of the culture and tradition for over 100 years. They are two of among hundreds of thousands of kids who played bandy as a part of growing up in their northern winters – none of whom were limited by a lack of wealth and/or privilege. Hellmyrs and Ivanushkin began playing bandy as small children and through years of playing and practice, together of course with incredible athleticism, became among the best in the world.
There is no such luge opportunity for youth in the United States, nor in most countries of the world. In the USA it is instead necessary to go out and find boys and girls, young men and women, and try to recruit them into becoming lugers. One of the main recruiting methods is the White Castle Slider Tour, which occurs in cities across the country. White Castle is an iconic hamburger chain in the US whose hamburgers are referred to as “Sliders” for how well they go down the throat into the stomach. Sponsoring the sliding sport of USA Luge is indeed clever marketing for the creator of the “Slider” hamburgers. The recruiting clinics are open to anyone between the ages of 9 to 13. Each participant simply needs to register and attend a 2 to 3 hour clinic. Then they can try a wheeled luge running downhill on concrete. If they show promise then they might be offered the opportunity to train, expenses covered, in Lake Placid, with the potential of ultimately being an Olympic luger as an achievable goal.
How much does it cost to create an Olympic luger? “That depends” and “It is difficult to calculate” are two common answers. There are no readily accessible statistics that state how much money it costs to recruit, train(including housing and feeding), transport lugers to competitions, including the cost of hotels and food, the cost of equipment including the luge sled and the clothing each luger must wear. Reasonable estimates run close to $1 million for each luger who becomes an Olympian. The same question applies to the other two sledding sports in the Winter Olympics, skeleton and bobsled. Also, in addition to the above listed costs for a luger, the estimated cost for each bobsled team includes the cost of an Olympic quality bobsled at $50 thousand dollars. This is not to say that luge, skeleton and bobsled athletes are not high level athletes who give their all to be the best at their respective sports, because they are. They are also, however, from the perspective of the bandy world the recipients of almost unimaginable monetary and support Luge, skeleton, bobsled, are thus clearly sports that retain their St Moritz origins and history of coming from wealth and privilege. And this article has yet to address the most costly aspect of the sledding sports – the cost of building and maintaining a sliding venue for luge, skeleton and bobsled.
So how much does it cost to build a sliding venue for luge, skeleton and bobsled? For the Winter Games in Pyongyang 2018 and Sochi 2014 the cost was over $110 million for each. And once the Olympics are over the yearly cost of maintaining each sliding venue is well over $1 million. These extraordinary costs can be looked at in a number of different ways. First, the cost per athlete of each sliding venue. In the 2018 South Korea Winter Olympics there were 50 skeletoners, 110 lugers and 164 bobsledders, a total of 325 athletes. Divide the estimated $114 million cost of building the sliding venue by 325 and the cost per sledding athlete was $324 thousand for the venue alone. A second way of looking at the extraordinary costs off the sliding sports is the cost per Olympic Medal. For example, Italy, which hosted the 2006 Winter Games in Turin and will be hosting the 2026 Winter Games in Milano. The estimated cost of the sliding venue in Turin was almost $50 Million dollars which when added to the projected cost of the Milano sliding venue of $80 million is a grand total of $130 million. Beginning in the 2006 Turin Olympics, up through 2018 in South Korea, Italy won a total of 3 sliding medals, all in the Luge and all by the same man, Armin Zoggeler. (It should be noted that Zoggeler is clearly an extraordinary athlete, having won Luge medals in 6 straight Winter Olympics). In skeleton and bobsled Italy has won zero Olympic medals since 2006. If no Italian wins a sliding medal in 2022 or 2026 the construction cost to Italy per Olympic sliding medal over the period from 2006 to 2026 is over $43 million per medal.
If Italy equals its sliding medal count from 2006 to 2018 with an additional 3 then the cost per medal is still an astronomical amount of over $21 million dollars. Again, none of these construction costs take into account the yearly maintenance cost of a sliding venue, well over $1 million dollars per venue, just as they do not take into account the cost of creating and maintaining a sledding athlete. It should thus come as no surprise that in January 2018 an article appeared in The Engineer on the costs of Olympic Sliding venues, which quoted Jan Anders Mansson, a Professor in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering as stating “These are enormously costly facilities and some don’t have many people using it”. Mansson further states “So, they’re built for the Olympics and then they stand unused”.
Difficult to believe but one of the primary arguments raised by the IOC for keeping bandy out of the Winter Olympic Games is that including bandy would cost too much. We know that the cost for constructing the sliding venue in Milano for the 2026 Winter Games will be over $80 Million dollars and the cost for Turin in the 2006 Winter Games was $50 million.
How much would it cost to construct a bandy rink in Milano. The estimate obtained from the Swedish Bandy Federation is $1 million dollars. Their formula would be to install a temporary, portable ice refrigeration system on the soccer pitch of one of Milano’s many stadiums to create the ice for the bandy rink. The stadium would already have the stands and concessions for the spectators, the changing rooms for the players, the lighting for night games. Three options are The San Siro Stadium, The Arena Civica and the Maspes Vigorelli Velodrome. This infrastructure is already in place. In addition, Italy is one of the leading nations in the world in the production of refrigeration compressors for making ice so creating a bandy rink for the 2026 Winter Games that could even be an economic positive for the country. Although it is clearly stating the obvious, the cost of building the sliding venues in Milano for the 2026 Winter Games is thus 80 times times greater than the cost of construction a bandy rink. Yet bandy is considered too expensive to include in the Winter Olympic Games?
A second argument raised by the IOC to keep bandy out of the Winter Olympics, particularly in Milano 2026, is that bandy is not an existing or heritage sport in Italy. In making this statement the IOC chose not to comment on the fact that in the 2018 Pyongyang Winter Games South Korea built a sliding venue for over $100 Million even though they had never previously medaled in any of the three sliding sports, and that China, host of the 2022 Winter Games, is building their own $100 Million dollar sliding venue without having won a single sliding medal to date. Yet bandy is excluded because it is not a heritage sport?
No one in the world bandy community challenges the fact that the Olympic athletes in the 3 sledding sports, luge, skeleton, bobsled, are highly committed and highly trained. There is no movement or claim that any of these three sports should be removed from the Winter Olympics so that bandy can assume its rightful place as a Winter Olympic sport.
Still, Per Hellmyrs and Evgeny Ivanushkin, together with every other bandy player who has ever aspired to be an Olympian, as well as every bandy fan who wants to see bandy in the Olympics, must be shaking their head at the shocking amounts of money spent on the Olympic sledding sports, while bandy, a sport that arose on frozen fens, lakes and rivers across the winter lands of the northern hemisphere, a sport with deep tradition, culture and heritage that is played by boys, girls, men and women, regardless of wealth and privilege, continues to be excluded from the Olympics.
The entire bandy world should be shaking their heads, shocked and dismayed that the IOC would continue to bar bandy from the Olympics by arguing it costs too much and is not a heritage sport when clearly neither argument has merit . Actually, everyone in the entire sporting world should be shaking their heads.
Author: Chris Middlebrook
President of US Bandy
and member of FIB Olympic Committee
BANDY IN OLYMPIC GAMES – OSLO 1952
The background for the Winter Games in Oslo 1952 was quite peculiar. It was not an expressed wish from the various Norwegian winter sports federations to arrange these Games, but it was purely a political idea from the beginning and through to the final decision!
The idea came up during tragic circumstances in a Nazi-concentration camp called Sachenhausen in Germany during World War II where several Norwegian politicians had been incarcerated because of their opposition to Nazi-Germany’s occupation of Norway. Amongst them were a future Prime Minister of Norway, a future Deputy Mayor of Oslo, a future Cabinet member, and an already known architect.
Right after the war ended in 1945 these people came back to Norway and almost immediately decided to try to get the Winter Olympics 1952 to Oslo and started to promote the idea in the political system. The 1948 Games was excluded for financial reasons so early after the war. In August 1946 Oslo’s politicians decided to apply to the IOC to get the Games in 1952. The application was supported by Mr. Thomas Fearnley, then a Norwegian Board Member in IOC. As the story goes, the political process and the decision were without any real debates, but perhaps the most unusual part of it was that the application to the IOC was sent without much interest having been shown by the Norwegian winter sports’ federations! And it was decided that if Oslo got the Games, the architect from the Nazi-concentration camp’s idea sessions should get the job of designing the various arenas. And so happened!
At the time the IOC required that a sport that wanted to participate in the Olympics had an international federation behind it. Bandy did not have that until the International Bandy Federation, IBF, (later changed to Federation of International Bandy, FIB) was established in 1955. However, an international bandy rules committee was put together in 1949 by Sweden, Finland and Norway. Bandy was a big sport in the Soviet Union, but they did not participate in international bandy until they arranged a four-nation tournament in Moscow 1954. An exception for this were a few bandy games in 1928 in the first Winter Spartakiade ever which took place in Oslo between socialist teams from Norway, Sweden and Soviet.
After Oslo was awarded the Games at the IOC Congress in Stockholm in 1947, the Organization for the 1952 Olympics was established under the chairmanship of Mr. Olaf Ditlev-Simonsen, who had replaced Mr. Fearnley as the Norwegian delegate to the IOC. Mr. Ditlev-Simonsen was amongst a lot of things, a former bandy player with several Norwegian championships and national team appearances in his CV. It is undoubtedly due to his efforts, possibly in good cooperation with the IOC’s Chairman Mr. Sigfrid Edstrøm from Sweden, that bandy was elected to be a Demonstration Sport in the 1952 Olympics, for the first and so far only time on senior level (later Youth Olympics 2016 Lillehammer/Gjøvik and Lausanne 2020).
The Games were opened on Friday, February 15, 1952, at the then famous speed-skating arena Bislett by Mr. Ditlev-Simonsen and HRH Princess Ragnhild, a substitute for her grandfather King Haakon VII and her father Crown Prince Olav who were in London for the funeral of King George VI.
The bandy demonstration games were to be played in three games between Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The Soviet Union, which had at the time participated in some sporting events abroad, had been invited to participate in the bandy demonstration games, but did not for administrative reasons. An interesting explanation has come from a Russian historian, Sergey Shapovalov:
– “Soviet athletes had been preparing for the Oslo Olympic Games because Stalin had made a political decision to firmly and clearly get out of sports isolation. The participation later in 1952 in the Summer Olympics in Helsinki confirms this. However, the Soviet sports officials forgot to apply for participation in the Oslo games in time. At that time, the Russians did not have any experience in protocol matters, but they took a lesson and did it in time for the Summer Games”.
Norway-Finland 2-3 in the first game on Wednesday February 20 at Dælenengen Arena in Oslo. In the middle of the day around 500 people attended, amongst them the IOC Vice-chairman Mr. Avery Brundage. After 13 minutes Norway had scored 2 goals, and it took the Finns 35 minutes to hit the goal’s net. However, they followed up with an equalizer three minutes later, and added a third goal in the second half to win 3-2. According to the newspapers the Norwegian team should have won this game, and the headline in the largest daily read: How long was Adam in Paradise? Pentti Hämäläinen scored all three goals for Finland, and Arne Johansen and Ole Martinsen netted for Norway.
Goalie: Hans Petter «Bosse» Halla (Bestum), defense: Arne Bakker (Stabæk), Leif Eriksen (Bestum), Tore Frisholm (Frigg), David Eriksen (Drafn), Rolf Person (Stabæk), forwards: Arne Johansen (Frigg), Gunnar Fossum (Drafn), Cato Helgerud (Drafn), Einar «Bror» Andersen (Drafn), Ole Martinsen (Sagene). Substitutes: Goalie: Gudmund Nordengen (Gjøvik), defense: Harald Aalerud (Stabæk), Harry Dahl (Bestum) and Martin Olsen (Lyn).
Goalie: Herbert Lundstrøm (IFK Helsingfors), defense: Juhani Halme (Reipas), Yrjö Jussila (WP 35), Arvo Raitavuo (Veiterä), Marti Nyyssönen (WP 35), Olof Stolpe (VIFK), forwards: Kauko Tukiainen (WP35), Heikki Ollikainen (OPS), Sakari Salo (Sudet), Pentti Immonen (Veiterä), Pentti Hämäläinen (JMP). Substitutes: Goalie: Kullervo Murinen (YVPS), Kauko Korpela (KUV) and Per-Erik Lindquist (Akilles) who replaced an injured Juhani Halme during the match.
Referee was O. Gyhlén from Sweden.
Norway-Sweden 2-1 already the day after in the same arena. After that game the headline in the biggest Norwegian daily read: «Norwegian bandy’s greatest day» as they defeated the more famous Swedes 2-1. Norway’s first win in history over Sweden. 3000 people were in the audience, and with the Swedish Prince Bertil in one of the VIP-chairs. Cato Helgerud scored for Norway already after 8 minutes on a corner stroke, the only goal in the first half, after very good play by the Norwegian defense, especially goalie “Bosse” Halla and centerback Tore Frisholm. The spectators, among them many Swedes, asked themselves after the first half whether the Norwegians could keep up the good play in the second half. They did! Martin Olsen, a great soccer player in the summer and famous from some of the actions he had participated in as part of the Norwegian resistance movement during World War II, had replaced Gunnar Fossum after the game against Finland. He made a spectacular lob with the ball above the Swedish defense towards Einar «Bror» Andersen who netted. 2-0 to Norway until Ernst Håård reduced for Sweden some minutes before the end of the game. Norway’s first win over Sweden since they started to match each other 25 years earlier. Norway listed the same team that played Finland, except that Martin Olsen as said had replaced Gunnar Fossum.
Goalie: Yngve «Yppe» Palmquist (Bollnäs), defense: Orvar Bergmark (Örebro), Olle Lindgren (AIK), Karl-Erik «Klicken» Sjøberg (Bollnäs), Herbert Swartswe (Edsbyn), Sven Olof Landar (Edsbyn), forwards: Martin «Lillen» Johansson (Bollnäs), Olle Sääw (Örebro), Sven-Erik Broberg (Västanfors), Ernst Håård (Forsbacka), Agard Magnusson (Sandviken). Substitutes: Goalie: Rune Eriksson (Karlstad-Gøta), Inge Cahlman (Skutskär), Henry Ohlsson, Västerås, Tore Olsson (Karlstad-Gøta).
Referee was Johan Alho from Finland.
Sweden-Finland 4-0 played on Saturday, February 23, the last and decisive game of the Olympic Demonstration Bandy Tournament in the Olympic Main Arena, Bislett Stadium in the city center, with around 1500 people in the stands. To win the tournament, the Swedes had to beat the Finns with at least two goals. The Swedes had made a few changes among the 11 players on the ice.
Inge Cahlman, Henry Ohlsson and Tore Olsson replaced Sven Olof Landar, Sven-Erik Broberg and Agard Magnusson. Compared with the team against Norway, the Finns started with Lindquist instead of the injured Halme, and Erik Åberg replaced Ollikainen. Åberg got, however, injured during the game and Ollikainen replaced him. Although the first half of the match was pretty even, Sweden scored three goals, Finland none. If the first half had been pretty even, the second was not, but the Swedes scored only one goal to win the game 4-0 and thus the olympic tournament. The Swedish players Ernst Håård and Olle Sääw scored two goals each.
Referee was Thorvald Lindstad from Norway.
Final standings Olympic Bandy Games 1952
Sweden 2p – 5-2
Norway 2p – 4-4
Finland 2p – 3-6
The bandy demonstration games got relatively good coverage in the newspapers, especially in the Oslo papers, although the competition for the newspapers’ space and the journalists’ time were of course tremendous from the ordinary Olympic events. Anyway, the biggest Norwegian daily, Aftenposten, nominated an All Star Team after the games as follows:
All Star Team from goalie to the left wing:
Yngve «Yppe» Palmquist, Sweden, Orvar Bergmark, Sweden, Herbert Swartswe, Sweden, Olof Stolpe, Finland, Tore Frisholm, Norway, Arne Bakker, Norway, Erik Åberg, Finland, Olle Sääw, Sweden. Martin Johansson, Sweden, Martin Olsen, Norway and Pentti Hämäläinen, Finland.
It is perhaps worth noting that some of these players were not exactly nominated in the place they played on their teams, although no one is placed in a forward position if he played defense, or vice versa.
Bandy and football players
Also worth noting is the fact that of the above players, Orvar Bergmark, Olof Stolpe, Arne Bakker and Martin Olsen, all were excellent football players and played on their respective National Teams. Orvar Bergmark even became a professional football player in Italy and played in the Final Game between Sweden and Brasil in the World Football Championship in Sweden in 1958, where Sweden lost but “won” silver medals. Three years later, he played for Sweden against Soviet in the Bandy World Championship Final in Oslo, but lost again. And if these achievements alone were not enough, Orvar Bergmark got nominated in both tournament’s All Star Teams! Only one other person in the world has played a world championship final game in two different sports, and again in football and bandy: The Swede Sigvard Parling, football in 1958 and bandy in 1961, on the teams with Bergmark.
The newspapers at the time covered the various events broadly, with results and glimpses from the arenas and around, and interviews with people in the streets and in the stands. It turned out that not only Norwegians, Swedes and Finns had been to the Olympic bandy games, but that tourists from far away countries like Japan and the United States had also been there. And one Hungarian, emigrated to Britain, claimed that he even had played bandy for Hungary, including the last bandy match for Hungary in 1914 before the Great War started.
Article written by Tor Audun Sørensen, Norway
Translated into English by Johnny Johnsen, Norway
WE SUPPORT “BANDY TO THE OLYMPICS”!
USA MIRACLE ON ICE HOCKEY TEAM
«The players on the 1980 USA Gold Medal Ice Hockey Team strongly support that Bandy becomes a Winter Olympic sport. We all know about Bandy and some of us have even played it, including Eric Strobel on the US National Bandy Team and Steve Christoff in the United States Elite League. The origins of many of the hockey teams we competed against in Lake Placid, especially The Soviet Union, come from Bandy. Bandy, the only other team ice sport on skates, should be a Winter Olympic sport»
The «Miracle on Ice» is generally accepted as the most spectacular achievement i Winter Olympic History. The very young American college skaters won the semi finals over the USSR – filled with seasoned superstars. The USSR team was the best ice hockey team ever assembled. Hollywood soon produced films. The film «Miracle» from 2004 use the star’s sons as a skating actor. Eric Strobel and Steve Christoff skated bandy. Eric Strobel impressed the Swedish bandy Club Villa Lidköping and offered him a contract. The legacy is that everything is possible. It will last forever and an inspiration for all to never give up. The legacy value for the bandy: New Bandy nations can excel in bandy. Despite the overwhelming strength and star filled teams of incumbent bandy nations.
Join the stars by signing the petition at: www.bandyinolympics.com
The Chinese Women’s professional ice hockey team, The Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays, strongly support that the team ice sport of Bandy becomes a Winter Olympic Sport! The Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays play in the CWHL (Canadian Women’s Hockey League).
The Minnesota Whitecaps professional women’s hockey team strongly supports that Bandy become a Winter Olympic Sport. All our players are very familiar with the magnificent sport of Bandy and many have played Bandy. This includes Whitecaps players, past and present, who have played for the USA Women’s National Bandy Team.
The Whitecaps play in the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League)
BANDY DESTINED FOR THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
Bandy compares well to the 15 current Olympic Winter Game sports!
A report “Benchmarking as a Cutterbolt into the Olympic Wall” shows that bandy is the #2 winter sport in participation based on data from international federations. The report demonstrates that bandy command greater Universality, compared to most incumbent Olympic Disciplines.
With high attendance at world championships bandy is the #2 winter sport in tickets sold per day of competitions. In addition, probability analysis suggest that bandy will facilitate higher than average spectatorship at stadiums.
Bandy is the only major heritage sport, not in the Olympics, despite being the Continental heritage sport of North-Asia and National Heritage and Legacy Sport of Russia, Kazakhstan, Finland, and Sweden. The report highlighted that the OWG is concentrated in Europe, or Europe plus North America in terms of heritage sport on the Programme, athletes base and concentration of medals. This contrast the Olympic Charter that embrace five Continents recognized by the five interlaced rings.
Bandy scores 3rd on the Continental spread of athletes and command better Continental spread of excellence than many Disciplines that essentially are Western European only.
The Olympic Charter explicitly promotes women in sport implementing equality of women and men. Bandy scores 4th on gender equality.
HEILONGJIANG PROVINCE PROMOTES BANDY AS OLYMPIC SPORT!
The Information Office of the Government of Heilongjiang Provincial held a news conference for the 2018 Bandy World Championship Men’s Group B Championships. Mr. Xing Aiguo, Deputy Secretary – General of the People ‘ s Government of Heilongjiang Province, Yang Tao, Secretary for Sport of Heilongjiang Province and Zhu Zhiqiang, President of Harbin Sport University, attended the conference.
“In order to cooperate with Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, to promote the popularity, reputation and influence of Heilongjiang and Harbin, as well as to promote the development of the Bandy project in Heilongjiang Province and even the whole country, Heilongjiang Province puts forward to bid for the 2018 World Bandy Championships Men’s Group B event, and was approved by the Federation of International Bandy. The event will be held in Harbin from January 27th to February 5th. At that time, there will be nearly 200 athletes from eight participating countries, including China, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Estonia and other countries. The annual FIB Congress and Executive Committee Meeting will also be held there. The venue of the competition is Harbin Sports University.
As a strong province of winter sports in China, Heilongjiang, owning to its advantages of “ice and snow”, is at the forefront of promoting winter sports and winter-featured sports industry in China. Winter sports events are the media for the inheritance and development of ice and snow culture, the catalyst for promoting ice and snow tourism and the development of ice and snow industry, and the important activities for building the “ice and snow” brand of Longjiang River and the business card of the city. The successful holding of the World Bandy Championships in Heilongjiang for the first time will be conducive to the expansion of the influence and the implementation of the slogan, “300 million people participating in ice and snow sports”, which helps to push Bandy into a formal event of the Winter Olympic Games and add more brilliance to the history of the Winter Olympics. This event being held in Heilongjiang Province, helps to promote the far-reaching influence of the bandy movement in Harbin and even the whole country. It is a rather important bandy movement being also an international event in Heilongjiang province this year to carry out “a series of activities to enjoy the winter sports and share ice and snow”.
According to Professor Zhu Zhiqiang, president of Harbin Sport University, in order to make more people know and participate in Bandy, the project will be widely popularized and promoted in Heilongjiang Province and the whole country. Besides, to attract more people to participate in winter sports, the provincial government, relies on the advantages of ice and snow resources in Heilongjiang Province, becomes the first province in China to host the Bandy World Championships Men’s Group B event. And at the same time, it got the approval of the State Administration of Sports Management Center for Winter Sports and the Federation of International Bandy. What’s more, FIB approved the establishment of the International Bandy Sports Institute in Harbin Sports University in order to better develop Bandy.
FIB ON THE OLYMPIC CHANNEL!
The Olympic Channel announced on March 1, 2017 that it has reached ageement with the governing body for bandy to collaborate on content for the Olympic Channel. The new cooperation agreement brings the number of the global platform’s federation partners to 49. Federation of International Bandy (FIB), together with other 7 organizations joins the 41 federations and sport organisations who have previously announced similar agreements with the Olympic Channel.
“FIB is particularly enthusiastic about this historical step, bringing our Olympic dream one step closer by implementing the AGENDA 2020. Being part of the Olympic Movement, we believe that this new platform will increase the fan experience and attract more fans, especially youth to this new way of watching and following sports. We are happy to collaborate with the IOC in achieving greater visibility for Bandy” said Attila Adamfi, FIB Vice President and Olympic Committee Chairman.
“The Olympic Channel provides a platform for the promotion of all sports and athletes within the Olympic Movement,” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the Olympic Channel. “We are excited to work together in our collective efforts to help expand the reach of these sports through the creation and distribution of content to audiences worldwide.”
The Olympic Channel, which has announced the availability of multiple languages on the global digital platform, was scheduled to present nearly 500 competitions across nearly 200 events in 2017. The Channel provides an ancillary platform to distribute content and collaborations to broadcast live events are complementary to current broadcast and distribution arrangements.
In addition, the Olympic Channel is working with International Federations, Recognised Sport Federations and Recognised Organisations create innovative partnerships encompassing live event streaming, event coverage, highlights, magazine shows, news coverage and original programming as well as technical business solutions.
The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform destination where fans can experience the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round, and is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices.
BANDY A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE OLYMPICS?
The sport of bandy has now appeared in the Chinese capital Beijing through participation in the “Beijing Winter Expo” fair. Beside the fair, the delegates from FIB participated in many meetings with decision makers in the Olympic Games in general and the Olympics in China 2022 in particular. The goal is to be included as additional sport in the future.
FIB was represented by President Boris Skrynnik, Secretary General Bo Nyman and Knut Sorensen, FIB Olympic Committee. Knut is the man behind the great investigation of the position of bandy among all winter sports. Various criteria have been used to compare the sports, such as number of performers, audience sizes, etc. Bandy is ranked second next to ice hockey when all criteria are combined. An important ingredient at all meetings conducted in Beijing was therefore to present Knut Sorensen’s survey showing the breadth of bandy in relation to almost all other winter sports. For example, FIB has 27 member nations today. The result was presented to the Organization Committee for Olympics 2022 and the China Olympic Committee among others. Bandy is well worth a place among the sports in the Olympic Games. Our delegation therefore held a number of meetings with the Olympic committees, China’s Political Sports Board and the Organization Committee for the Olympics in 2022. Bandy also showed up with a stand at the Beijing Winter Expo Fair. Among other things, visitors were able to watch bandy on a small flared ice surface with Chinese bandy players.
The delegation also visited the cities of Chengde and Harbin. Women’s World Championship is held in Chengde, China January 11-14 and World Championship, Group B is played in Harbin, China January 28-February 4. The plan for these championships are currently underway.
The visit from the FIB and all meetings with various Chinese decision makers attracted great interest and the Chinese were very impressed by the presentations of bandy that were made. Each meeting was planned and implemented in about the same way. First, a film was shown that gave the audience a first picture of what bandy is, after which Knut Sorensen made a review of his investigation of the position of bandy in relation to other winter sports. The meetings ended with the participants asking questions and a general discussion.
A first recognition has already been achieved by bandy attending the Winter Universiade of Krasnoyarsk in 2019. There are participants aged 18 to 28, enrolled in College or University. Bandy will attend 6 men’s teams and 4 women teams.
IOC – International Federation Development Programme!
“The success of the recent Olympic Games underscored the strength of the Olympic Movement and the continued attractiveness of the Olympic Games. With the role of sport in society more relevant than ever, strengthening the support for sport and athletes worldwide is a key commitment of Olympic Agenda 2020. It is therefore my pleasure to confirm that this year the IOC will allocate a total of USD 25’000 to FIB for your development programme. We trust that this funding will contribute greatly to supporting your chosen project with a goal of further developing your sport and supporting your athletes.
Wishing you every success in the implementation of your project.”
With best regards,