Organising the Olympic Winter Games is a huge feat, which requires close collaboration, a large amount of planning and coordination, and a strong management structure. To help ensure that the Games run smoothly, each Organising Committee operates a Main Operations Centre (MOC), while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) offers support and coordinates its own activities through its Games Coordination Office (GCO). These two structures work closely together to ensure that the Games run smoothly and that any issues that may arise are quickly resolved.
The Sochi 2014 MOC has been up and running since the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay in October and has been the principle management structure for all of its Games operations since the opening of the Main Press Centre at the start of January. The MOC brings together all of the different departments of the Organising Committee including spectator experience, transportation, accommodation, media services, sport, technology, logistics, and cleaning and waste, as well as acting as the entry point for all the external agencies involved in the Games like the city authorities, transport directorate, police and customs agencies. The MOC ensures that each department works with each other in order to deliver an outstanding Olympic experience to the people attending the Games, such as the athletes and the fans.
When problems arise that can’t be resolved at the venue, it is the MOC that coordinates with each of the relevant departments and shares the available information in order to ensure that solutions are found quickly and efficiently.
The GCO is the IOC’s equivalent of the MOC. Under the direct supervision of the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director, the GCO oversees the IOC’s operations during the Games and provides a singular point of contact with the Organising Committee to ensure that information is shared and any major issues discussed and solutions found.
“The GCO does not just operate during the Games,” explains Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director. “It also operates in the lead-up to the Games, for example, during the Olympic Torch Relay. We have daily conference calls with the Main Operations Centre and discuss any issues, then we see where we stand with these issues, what progress is being made and what we do to move forward. That’s how we work with the Organising Committee. Plus, each of the different functions of the IOC will have bilateral discussions with their counterpart in the Organising Committee, and any issues are reported to them through our Games Coordination Office.”
The GCO helps the IOC fulfil its role of monitoring and guiding the Organising Committee during the Games, while it is also the administrative arm of the daily Games coordination meetings, which are chaired by the IOC President.