“Without the press, the stories of the Games would be restricted to those witnessing them first-hand in the venues,” explains Gosper. “Television obviously gives a wonderful presentation of the events, but the real stories behind the Games would be contained within the host city. We need to have the written press and photographers there to present the story factually and share the excitement and the drama of the Games, such as the ecstasy of winning and the disappointment of losing.
“The IOC is a universal organisation – we have 204 National Olympic Committees– and if it wasn’t for the written press and photographers, we wouldn’t be able to share these stories of the Games with people around the world.”
According to Gosper, the IOC Press Commission plays an integral role in ensuring that the written press and photographers have everything they need to report on the Games.
“The commission is essentially a technical advisory group,” he explains. “Its task is to advise Organising Committees on the technical needs of the written press and photographers. Our responsibilities are as wide ranging as assisting and advising on the design, layout and presentation of the main media centre, right down to the details of where photographers can position themselves within the competition venues, the technology being used, and the media transport and accommodation.
“Everything we do is aimed at giving the written media and photographers the best possible conditions for them to report fully on the Games.”
Gosper says the Press Commission has been working closely with the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee to ensure that the best facilities and services are in place for media and photographers during the Games.
“There’s been a very close liaison between the Press Commission and the Organising Committee,” he says. “There have been many visits to Sochi over the seven years of preparations and they’ve had to put an extraordinary infrastructure in place.
“We’re always at the forefront of technology and Sochi will be no different. What’s vitally important is the speed at which the media can get their messages and images out and share them with the world. We’ve got state-of-the-art equipment in Sochi, such as the latest broadband, to ensure they’re able to do that. The press centre in Sochi is also absolutely first-class – it’s as good as we’ve ever seen at a Games. I think the press will be working under excellent conditions.”
Australian Gosper, who has been an IOC member since 1977, was appointed chairman of IOC Press Commission in 1989 and believes everything is in place for Sochi 2014 to be a Games to remember, with the media playing an integral role.
“This is obviously the first time that the Winter Games have been held in Russia and expectations are very high,” he says. “We’re looking forward to a spectacular Winter Games in Sochi and the press will be a key part of it – delivering the stories across the world.”