Led by the IOC and attended by IOC President Thomas Bach, the eighth edition of the Games Debriefing was a week-long (25 June – 2 July) transfer of knowledge between the Sochi 2014 organisers and the future host cities of PyeongChang 2018, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Representatives from each of the 2022 Winter Games Applicant Cities were also in attendance.
In total, over 360 representatives of future host cities heard invaluable advice about Games management best practices, as well as the real-life Sochi experiences of 65 top leaders of February’s highly successful edition of the Olympic Winter Games. President Bach described Sochi as “the athletes’ Games” following the positive feedback he had received from his fellow Olympians this winter and having witnessed their great sporting performances. Indeed, high marks have been given for the Sochi Games by all of the stakeholder groups that the IOC has debriefed with since February, underlining the success of Sochi’s delivery of the Games.
Speaking at the event, President Bach said, “The Olympic Winter Games have been going from strength to strength with each passing edition, and Sochi has continued that trend. For example, television audiences broke all records with a broadcast audience growth of 11 per cent from Vancouver 2010, while here in Korea, over 38 million people tuned in to watch Sochi 2014.” He continued, “This growth is down to an ever-improving product, which is being delivered by ever-more knowledgeable organisers, with better resources at their disposal. This is thanks to the support provided by the IOC, as we help Games organisers through events like the official Debriefing, services like Olympic Games knowledge management, and also financially, as we have contributed around USD 750 million to support the organisation of the Sochi Games.”
The exchanges also focused on Games legacy, with the Sochi 2014 delegation describing how the city’s new world-class sports venues would be used by elite and grassroots athletes, giving Russia the ability to host international championships in all the Olympic winter sports, while new utilities infrastructure built around the Games would help to improve the lives of the local community. However, perhaps more than this, the Debriefing showed clearly the depth of the human legacy that the Games have left to Russia, with thousands of young Russians who worked or volunteered in Sochi now using their Games knowledge to benefit other areas of society, and demonstrating Russia’s ability to deliver international projects.
The Debriefing featured plenary and breakout sessions, as well as one-to-one meetings and a specific three-day seminar on Games technology, which helped to advance the knowledge of the future Games organisers and strengthened the relationships between them. The participants looked at a number of key themes, in particular how to create an attractive product; how to establish a strong governance model; how to engage with the Olympic Movement stakeholders; how to prepare the team for delivery; and how to deliver the event. There will be a specific Paralympic debrief held from 4 to 5 July.
“The IOC’s Debrief is an integral part of our overall Olympic Games Knowledge Management programme,” said IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli. “We feel it is our responsibility to help educate future host cities about how to best deliver the Games, based on the experience of those that have been there before. This should help the cities to avoid mistakes, maximise legacy, reduce costs and produce the best possible Olympic Games for all stakeholders, especially the athletes and the local population. Thanks to the openness of the Sochi team, PyeongChang, Rio, Tokyo and the 2022 Applicant Cities have had a golden opportunity this week to take advantage of an outstanding educational opportunity.”
The Debrief is a key tool for the PyeongChang 2018 organisers, as they prepare to host the Olympic Winter Games in less than four years’ time. A recurring theme of the meetings was that, even years ahead of the Games, there is no time for complacency, as there is always a great deal of work to be done and no time to lose.
“This Debrief has been of crucial importance for the future host cities and, in particular, for PyeongChang, as it is hosting the corresponding edition of the Games. I’d especially like to thank my fellow Commission Chair Jean-Claude Killy for his outstanding work,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chair for PyeongChang 2018 Gunilla Lindberg. “The PyeongChang organisers can now take away what they have learnt here and apply it to their own unique circumstances. This will allow them to forge ahead with a greater sense of clarity about their own Olympic project, confident in the knowledge that they have had access to the latest knowledge about how to organise the Games and provide the best conditions for the athletes.”
PyeongChang 2018 President Kim Jin-sun commented: “The Sochi Debriefing was a truly unique and important opportunity for us to learn and share. It motivated us to work hard in order to deliver a successful Games in PyeongChang. I hope that we’ll be able to present a great story when it’s our turn to debrief four years from now.”
Sochi 2014 President and CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko said: “I am proud that the IOC has outlined, at its official Debrief in PyeongChang, that Sochi 2014 delivered on its promises to the IOC, the wider Olympic family and the public around the world. Not only has Russia once again succeeded in hosting a major international event but we’ve also set a blueprint for others to follow and introduced new high standards for future hosts of the Olympic Games. A recent poll showed that 94 per cent of people praised the impeccable organisation of the Games in Sochi, and 84 per cent are proud of the result.”
He continued, “It has been an honour for us to share our expertise, knowledge and observations with the next Games’ makers. I believe that the lessons of Sochi 2014 will help to ensure that PyeongChang 2018 will be a great success. I would like to thank the IOC President, Thomas Bach, for his guidance and support in helping Russia deliver such successful Games.”
The IOC’s knowledge management programme (OGKM) was created during preparations for the Sydney 2000 Games and, since then, has evolved into an integrated platform of services and documentation, which assists organisers in their Games preparations, lets them evaluate their progress and success, and helps to define the future of the Games. Among the activities offered by OGKM are a Games-time observer programme, technical manuals, workshops, an extranet, secondee programme, Games evaluation programme and the Games Debriefing, which was first held 13 years ago.
A factsheet on OGKM and the Sochi 2014 Debriefing can be found here.
More information on Sochi 2014 legacies is available here.
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