Interview with Juan Camilo Quintero, the CEO of the Medellin 2018 Youth Olympic Games bid. Medellin faces competition from Buenos Aires and Glasgow in their attempts to host the Games. The IOC will make their decision on July 4.
Here is a snippet from his recent Featured Profile interview. Read the full interview here >>
The decision for the YOG will be made next month. What are you doing before that date to promote your bid and make sure the IOC select you?
The IOC doesn’t allow us to advertise or do any international promotion so the bid is focused on the preparation of the final presentation and the video production. We are also leading promotional activities to spread the Olympic spirit and values to all of Colombia.
The city has had past problems with drugs and gang violence. What has been done over the past 20-25 years to change this view?
Let me tell you that violence is a subject of the past. Medellin has gone through an incredible metamorphosis in recent years thanks to investments in education, culture and sports. We have brought the best to the poorest, and we have implemented innovative security strategies, that altogether, have greatly contributed to improving safety. During the 80’s Medellin was ranked the most violent city in the world but today we don’t make the list of the top 20. The YOG in 2018 comes as a great opportunity for us to show the world the new Medellin, to confirm the metamorphosis of the city and above all to show the youth the meaning of sport in their lives.
How would you describe Medellin to people who have never been before, who may be put off by the past reputation?
Medellin is located in a valley, it has an ideal spring climate all year long of between 24-26ºC. It is a green city with lots of nature and very friendly and entrepreneurial people. The city is known for its sport venues, very unique in the region for being environmentally friendly and accessible to everyone. An average of one million people practice sports in the city every month.
Our people are enthusiastic and thrilled about having the entire world get to experience first hand the transformation, we also want to leave behind the violence and drug images of the past. We dream about the opportunity to get to show the world what Medellin really is.
It is a very young city as well with 25% of the population under 18.
Medellin is also known to be the entrepreneurial capital of Colombia. We are home to the most powerful economic conglomerates of the country.
A recent IOC report applauded your progress in regenerating urban areas and introducing innovative safety measures. Can you explain what has been done and what safety measures will be taken?
On urban development, we have made major investments in the poorest neighbourhoods, we have made urban renovations, building public libraries, day-care centres, 57 Sport Schools Centres to learn to play 37 different sport disciplines for free. The city provides public transport and schools of the highest quality for the poorest people of the city.
We have also increased the number of police in the city, we implemented a technological monitoring centre that displays the most critical areas of the city, also we implemented a plan called ‘quadrants’, where police control specific zones and they are more easily and swiftly accessible by the population. On top of this we have developed a mobile phone app for people to contact the closest police stations for better emergency control and we have implemented surveillance cameras becoming the city with the most cameras in Colombia. These are some of the security strategies implemented. These investments in security and urban development have resulted in a major reduction of crime in the city.