Beijing 2008: Sport and more
Following three days of positive meetings, the IOC’s Coordination Commission successfully concluded its fifth visit to the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games, also visiting Qingdao, the coastal city that will host the sailing competitions. With three years lying ahead before the Games commence, the IOC confirmed its satisfaction with the state of preparations at this stage of the seven-year preparatory phase. In addition, the IOC emphasised its confidence that BOCOG and the Chinese authorities are tackling the Games-related issues which go beyond the purely technical sporting aspects, through, for example, their initiatives to make the Games “Green Olympic Games” and “People’s Olympic Games.”
Commenting on the meetings, Hein Verbruggen said: “With more than a thousand days remaining until the Beijing 2008 Games, we have been able to confirm the excellent efforts being made by BOCOG and the Chinese authorities to ensure the sports competitions will be held in the best possible conditions.” He continued, “Conditions for the athletes are our primary focus. With the work being done to serve the athletes progressing so well, we have also been able to carefully consider the other aspects that will make the Olympic Games here special.”
“This week, the IOC has looked at the work being done to ensure BOCOG succeeds in its initiatives to make these Green Olympic Games and People’s Olympic Games, with strong starts in the areas of environmental awareness and sports legacy,” continued Verbruggen. The Commission’s visit to Qingdao also allowed the IOC to see the impact of the Games beyond Beijing, with a visit to the sailing city of Qingdao. “It was wonderful to see how the Olympic spirit has already spread beyond Beijing. In Qingdao, the city is transforming itself, with the long-term in mind; the IOC is very pleased that Qingdao has been able to take advantage of the Olympic Games, using them as a catalyst for development. Test events start next year in Qingdao and the city is set to make a lasting contribution to China’s sailing future.”
Praising the quality of the work achieved to date, Verbruggen also stressed the importance of integration across the different working areas within the Organising Committee (BOCOG) as the organisers shift from a planning to an operational mode. “As BOCOG shifts from planning to operations, thorough integration is required to ensure all areas work together effectively. We are confident that at Games-time, BOCOG will reap the rewards of work undertaken in the coming months to ensure that integration throughout the organisation and with all Games stakeholders is complete,” he said.
Making specific reference to the successful Olympic Movement and Beijing 2008 international media seminar that took place in parallel to the IOC Coordination Commission meetings, IOC Press Commission Chairman Kevan Gosper added: “I am very happy that distinguished Olympic journalists from around the world were able to join the IOC and BOCOG in Beijing this week, to share their knowledge, experience and expectations of Olympic reporting with a Beijing-based audience. It was very encouraging to see not only a greater understanding emerging of the very high quality work being done to prepare for the Games, but also the creation of a forum for discussion and learning.”
BOCOG President Liu Qi said, “BOCOG has been very happy to welcome the IOC to Beijing and to Qingdao for very good meetings. We are also pleased to have been able to report good progress to the IOC as we aim to deliver high level Games with distinguishing features. BOCOG is very happy that the world will start to see more of those distinguishing features, starting today, with the mascot unveiling.”
The next full meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission is scheduled for May 2006. Smaller working group meetings take place on a regular basis and the IOC and BOCOG are in constant contact.