That was the message delivered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, which today concluded its third inspection visit to the 2018 host city (29 April – 1 May).
“We have had three excellent days of meetings and I’d like to congratulate President Kim of POCOG and his team for the quality of their work”, said IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg. “We were able to see that a large amount has been accomplished by POCOG and its partners since our last visit in June 2013. The participation of the International Federations, the Korean Olympic and Paralympic Committees, and the Korean national winter sports federations was also very beneficial and allowed POCOG to engage in in-depth discussions on all topics related to the venues and sport. The 2018 Games are on the right track but it is clear that much work remains. We are confident that POCOG and Korea will deliver great Games for the athletes in 2018.”
The meetings in PyeongChang were attended by all levels of government including Vice- Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Jong Kim and the Governor of Gangwon Province, Moon-soon Choi. The high-level presence of the authorities was appreciated by the Commission and demonstrated the continued support of the Korean authorities for the PyeongChang 2018 Games.
On Wednesday, the Coordination Commission toured the Mountain and Coastal Clusters, visiting a number of the venues, including both Olympic Villages; the sliding centre; International Broadcast Centre; Main Press Centre; the venues for speed skating, figure skating, short track, ice hockey, and curling; as well as two media villages.
The Commission identified a number of key areas that require POCOG’s focus over the next six months. These include marketing, venue construction, test events and Games services. In the area of marketing, the IOC noted with satisfaction that POCOG is in the process of finalising its first domestic partnership contract. The Commission was informed that construction companies were being appointed for venues and that some construction was underway. It underlined the need for timelines to be carefully defined and adhered to, so as to avoid any impacts on test events. Test event preparations beyond venues were also highlighted, as the hiring and training of staff and volunteers should also begin in the near future. Finally, with timelines tight for the completion of accommodation contracting, the development of the Mountain Olympic Village and the transport management plan, the Coordination Commission encouraged POCOG to ensure that the appropriate focus and resources were dedicated to these important areas.
POCOG President and CEO Jin-sun Kim commented, “The 3rd Coordination Commission meeting was the first one after Sochi, and it was especially meaningful because we had the high-level representatives of the international winter sports federations with us this time. We reconfirmed the fact that ‘Now is PyeongChang’ and that the eyes of the world are now on PyeongChang. We had very practical and detailed discussions. With what came out of these discussions, we will ensure seamless preparation of ‘Best Games’ in order to make the PyeongChang 2018 Games something special, something different and something unique. This year is a big turning point for us. We must establish a solid framework. As I always stress, we have no time to practise and no time for trial and error. We will streamline our Master Schedule and set our priorities straight so that everything runs smoothly according to the timeline.”
The Commission also noted a number of areas where progress had been made since its last visit. The new highway and high-speed train connections from Seoul to the Olympic region are progressing well. These initiatives will leave a great legacy for Korea, its athletes and the citizens of Seoul and Gangwon Province.
The appointment of three Vice-Presidents by POCOG and an associated reorganisation were received positively, as this will better enable the organisation to handle the increasing demands of organising the Games over the next four years.
Finally, the awareness of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games has been strengthened by the success of PyeongChang House in Sochi, and the very innovative Closing Ceremony segment, which presented the 2018 Games to a worldwide audience of millions. The Commission encouraged the local organisers to continue to engage and promote their Games at this high level over the next four years both at home and abroad.
Other topics discussed during the Coordination Commission meetings included athlete services, sport, National Olympic Committee services, International Federation services, people management, finance, venues and infrastructure, accommodation, transport, test events, engagement, marketing, media services and the Paralympic Games.
The fourth Coordination Commission visit to PyeongChang will take place at the end of November 2014, while in June, PyeongChang will play host to the official IOC Debriefing of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games with the participation of all the principal Games stakeholders.
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