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Date
19 Apr 2007
Tags
IOC News , Beijing 2008 , Press Release

Beijing Games preparations earn positive review


Concluding three days of crucial meetings and site visits in Beijing on Thursday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission gave the state of preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games a positive review. The eighth visit by the IOC to assess progress was considered a milestone of high importance for the Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).
 
With only 477 days left until the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Hein Verbruggen underlined that time is of the essence as anticipation grows and the eyes of the world increasingly focus on Beijing. The Coordination Commission, which has assisted BOCOG in over six years of preparations, is due to visit Beijing twice more before the Games begin.
 
“The world is watching and waiting, eager to see what Beijing and China have to offer and anticipating what can be achieved through hosting the Olympic Games,” Chairman Verbruggen said. “This puts a great responsibility on their shoulders, but I believe in them and their ability to show the world the potential of their country and their people in the 21st century.”
 
Commenting on the eighth visit of the Commission, BOCOG President Liu Qi pointed out: “2007 is a critical year in the preparations for the Olympic Games. In line with the directives of the Chinese government and President Hu Jintao, BOCOG is making great efforts to deliver more detailed and efficient preparatory work for the 2008 Games.”
 
On the first day of its visit, the Commission viewed progress made at Olympic venues in Beijing. Among sites visited were the National Stadium, the National Aquatics Centre, the Olympic Village, the National Indoor Stadium, the Main Press Centre, the fencing hall, the International Broadcast Centre and a media village. Commission members reported witnessing a true sense of the enormous efforts and ambition in work completed since their previous visit, and also an early hint of the emotion that will bring venues alive when the Games begin.
 
Verbruggen said, “The venues that we have just seen will be truly magnificent for the athletes to compete and live in, and for the media to live and work in at Games time. We can see now, as they near completion, just how impressive they are going to be. Personally, I found the visit to the National Stadium a particularly emotional experience because I can now see that the Opening Ceremony is nearly upon us, and also just how far we have come together over these past six years.”
 
The 26 test events scheduled this year will be an important tool for BOCOG to
fine-tune preparations and make improvements in advance of 2008. “Test events this summer are a crucial opportunity the organisers must use to test how operations, planned for so long, will actually work in practice,” explained Verbruggen. “There will be a year to make any refinements if necessary,” he added.
 
During review meetings held by the Coordination Commission, operational issues such as technology, medical services, transport, accommodation, human resources and the environment were addressed. Regarding human resources, Verbruggen explained, “We are encouraged to see that BOCOG plans to recruit staff with Games experience. This will complement their already existing high-quality team.” In the environment meeting, Commission members were briefed on current programmes in Beijing to host environmentally sustainable Games and on contingency plans being drawn up to ensure optimal air quality in August 2008. Chairman Verbruggen remarked that numerous completed initiatives are serving as best practices for Beijing residents.
 
“No-one can deny that the backdrop of such a rapidly developing economy has brought challenges which may need contingency plans so that top level athletic competition is not adversely affected,” Verbruggen said. “We are encouraged, therefore, to see the appropriate plans being drawn up to tackle this. It won’t be the first time such measures have been used during Olympic Games – Los Angeles and Seoul are two examples where air quality measures were successfully adopted.”
 
In addition to permanent benefits through the creation of green areas, such as the 680-hectare forestry project near the airport and Olympic venues, and strict reductions in industrial pollution emissions, Beijing government officials have also reported an initiative to reduce traffic circulation during the Games. Many of the initiatives are part of comprehensive Games bid objectives established by BOCOG and local authorities in 2001 to ensure that athletes of the world are able to compete in the best possible conditions.
 
Commission members also reviewed services for client groups, including athletes and National Olympic Committees, media, spectators, the Olympic Family, International Federations, sponsors and the Paralympics Games. The Commission learnt that the Games volunteer recruitment had attracted over 450,000 applications. In another count-down milestone, tickets for the Games went on sale this past Sunday.
 
-ENDS-
 
NOTE TO EDITORS:
 
IOC Coordination Commission
The IOC, as the guardian of the Olympic Games, assists and monitors the work of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games through the work of the Coordination Commission. The Commission visits the host city once a year until four years from the Games, when the visits become twice yearly until the Games are held. The Commission’s full meetings are supplemented by the regular visits of smaller IOC teams involving the Commission Chairman, selected members of the Commission and members of the IOC administration. The next visit of the Coordination Commission to Beijing is expected to be in October 2007.
 
 Click here for a full list of the Beijing Commission’s members
 
About the International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), created in 1894, is a non-governmental organisation with volunteer members who represent its work around the world, and an administrative staff based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC and its 203 National Olympic Committees worldwide promote the Olympic Movement, whose vision is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport. In addition to selecting the host city and coordinating the staging of the Olympic Games, the IOC and NOCs collaborate with a range of organisations and their members in the public and private sectors to place sport at the service of society. The main goal is to promote the values of Olympism, which include excellence, respect and friendship. 
 
BEIJING 2008
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008 will take place from 8 to 24 August 2008. The Games in Beijing will play host to the 28 summer sports currently on the Olympic programme. Approximately 10,500 athletes are expected to participate in the Games with around 20,000 accredited media bringing the Games to the world.
 
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For more information please contact the IOC Communications Department, Tel: +41 21 621 60 00, email: pressoffice@olympic.org.
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