It’s a great pleasure to write an article about the attractive, mysterious and dynamic city of Buenos Aires. The city in which I was born, where I grew up, studied and worked until in the 1990s different projects and my professional profile in the sports industry made me settle down in Madrid. With double nationality, Argentinean and Spanish, also comes double sentiments, especially sportive ones, which in many occasions get mixed up depending on the circumstances in each country.
However, my vision on what’s happening in the sports industry in Latin America and especially in Europe allows me to analyse objectively the situation in each region.
I feel proud of the fact that the city of Buenos Aires has been elected to host the Youth Olympic Summer Games 2018. Argentina has always been a country with high sport participation levels. At the same time, it has also always been very successful on international level, in individual sports as well as in team sports. For example in sports like football, basketball, tennis, hockey and recently the incorporation of the rugby team in the Four Nations Rugby Championship which gives Argentina the opportunity to compete with the strongest players in the southern hemisphere.
Maybe we have to improve in obtaining more Olympic medals, but that should be analysed by sports researchers. In the last Olympic Games held in London, Finland obtained less Olympic Medals than Argentina. Does that mean that there is no developed sports culture in that country? It would be a big mistake making such an analysis since we all know that the Nordics are very advanced in using sports to improve health and quality of life.
We could ask ourselves if Buenos Aires is well prepared to host these Games, especially in a time in which many people are in favour or against this kind of events due to the current social-economical situation in the world.
The answer is yes, but it will be a long and bumpy road. Not only because of the necessary sports infrastructure, but also because of all the organisational and logistical aspects that come with the organisation of such a macro sports event. But I think Buenos Aires has one big advantage, and that is the available human capital that is able and willing to develop big international and innovative projects to attract tourism to this magical city.
I do doubt if the politicians and the professionals in the sports industry have enough knowledge and are aware of everything that is happening in the Olympics and its impact on the host cities.
In this sense, I highly recommend the future organisers of the Youth Olympic Summer Games 2018 to be present in all the international sports industry forums in order to learn from each other. Only in this way, with models of best practice, learning and modesty, the Games in Buenos Aires will have the prestige that this city deserves.
By Gerardo Bielons, Director GB Creation & Advice Consulting