|Paul Bush - Bid Director, Glasgow 2018 Youth Olympic Games|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 21 June 2013 15:50
Paul Bush OBE is the Bid Director for the Glasgow 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) and hopes Glasgow is awarded the event ahead of rival bidders Buenos Aires and Medellin.
Paul is also Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, Scotland’s national events agency which works to promote the country as 'The Perfect Stage' by attracting, generating and sustaining a portfolio of world class events.
He is responsible for the development of Scotland’s major international sports and cultural events strategy. This has included work on Ryder Cup 2014, Commonwealth Games 2014, World Cross Country Championships, Edinburgh International Festivals, MOBO and numerous others.
Glasgow 2018 will find out if they will host the YOG on July 4 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote for their favoured city.
As Bid Director what are you main duties at Glasgow 2018?
The first thing I’d like to say is that it has been a hugely exciting and privileged job. We have a great team and many great partners, whether that be the government, the city or the British Olympic Association. With any bid the most important thing is maintaining momentum and staying ahead of the game because bids move very quickly and the time scales for this have been very tight. The technical document was less than six months to prepare and from the shortlisting to the final evaluation there has only been a further six months. It has been a fantastic experience but it is very tough. We have learned a lot on the way and enjoyed it immensely.
The election will be made next month, are you confident that Glasgow will be selected?
We are confident that we have a really fantastic offering, not only to the IOC but to the young people of the world. At the end of the day it is now up to us to convince IOC members in our final presentation that they should award us that right to host the Games in 2018. We are very confident that we have a technically robust bit and one that has strong financial support. More than anything we believe we can offer something quite unique in terms of the work that Glasgow, Scotland and the UK have done over a number of years, not only in events but in engaging young people.
What specifically is unique about your bid that makes you stand out compared to the other two applicants?
We have the fantastic track record and heritage in terms of delivery but we are also offering some very unique youth programmes, some of which you will have seen. One of which I think this is a world first in major events. We are giving the opportunity to 50 young people from around the world to work, live and learn, not only about delivering a YOG but also about living in a different country and a different culture. We have many young people working on the bid, many apprenticeships and our whole ethos from the launch has been that young people should be at the centre of it. The design of everything that we have done has been young people and I think that is really critical. Young people around the world are a pretty disenfranchised group at this time. We firmly believe that through a number of programmes that we are due to announce in the coming weeks, we can make a difference and inspire young people. They will also make a difference for Glasgow, because like every major city, Glasgow has its challenges as well.
Do you see the programme you recently announced and the future ones you talked about as ground-breaking and do you see bidders in the future using your model?
I would hope so because I think one of the great challenges and opportunities of the YOG is ensuring that the great vision the president had when he decided to go for this project and originally award it to Singapore, was that young people are at the centre of everything we do in life. They are our future. So we have tried to ensure that whether it is through our programmes or new sports, we excite young people. I think that we can then make them enthusiastic and that is a big challenge for the whole world.
The Youth Games are a relatively new venture and 2018 will be the 3rd summer games. How important is it to give younger athletes this opportunity?
Undoubtedly as soon as you make something an Olympic product it has elite performance wrapped around it, so for the National Olympic Committees it is a stepping-stone to the Games. If you look at what came out of Singapore and London, there were many athletes who were successful in Singapore who then went on to be successful at London 2012. From a UK perspective Jade Jones is the best example, achieving gold in Taekwondo in Singapore in 2010 and then achieving gold at the London Olympics.
As you rightly say this is the third YOG and we need to ensure there is development for this flourishing product. It needs to be carefully managed because it is very much in its infancy. It is continuing to mature and I think that is absolutely essential to make sure it is enshrined in the Olympic values and structures.
Another factor is the role models that appear who are absolutely important to young people and can have a catalytic effect outside of sport. So whether that is through apprenticeship schemes, health, working in the community or other areas. Our call to action in our bid is ‘be a champion in your life.’ We are saying you can be a champion at anything in your life, not just sport.