Future Organising Committees observe and experience the Games in Sochi
During the course of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, more than 360 people will take part in the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Observer Programme, which is an integral element of the Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OKGM) platform, and provides participants with a unique opportunity to live, learn about and observe the daily operational demands of hosting Olympic Games.
From 4 to 24 February, participants from the three current Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020) and five Applicant Cities for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 (Krakow, Oslo, Almaty, Lviv and Beijing), will take part in 65 visit sessions, including 10 round tables, visiting competition, training and leisure venues with the main purpose to experience the Games-time operations and activities of different function areas.
To gain further insight into how the Observer Programme benefits host cities, we caught up with Sochi 2014’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Alexander Bryantsev, who, with his team, have been observers at the London 2012 and Vancouver 2010 Games, and are now coordinating the programme in Sochi, in conjunction with the IOC.
How did the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee benefit from participating in the IOC Observer Programme?
Being observers at London 2012 and Vancouver 2010 was vital in providing us with lots of knowledge and expertise. For us, this experience was a unique and priceless opportunity to see the Games-making from the inside, and to learn how to deliver the best results in the preparations for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. We very much appreciate all the opportunities and support that the IOC and respective Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) provided us with. Now it is our turn to share the knowledge with future OCOGs, and we are very proud of having such an occasion to contribute to the success of the coming Games.
How are you involved in the organisation of IOC Observer Programme in Sochi?
It is actually the largest Observer Programme of all the Olympic Winter Games. All of the functional areas of Sochi 2014 are involved, and are providing experts and content to the 360 or so participants throughout the 65 sessions. The programme itself is managed by the IOC in cooperation with Sochi 2014’s Department of Education and Knowledge Management, who then provides all necessary support to the IOC in terms of coordination and communication with the different functional areas involved, with external parties and with various organisational issues.
What will those taking part in the programme do or see in Sochi?
There are different types of visits planned, from operational ones to working tours and spectator experience. The visits are held both in the coastal and mountain clusters, observing all the competition and non-competition venues in addition to visiting the city of Sochi, the new airport and transport hubs, and the Main Operation Centre. In the framework of a special IOC Shadowing Programme, we are also providing participants with an opportunity to spend a couple of days shadowing their respective Sochi 2014 colleagues, learning first-hand how the Games are being operated and managed. This allows people from various function areas to understand how Sochi 2014 deals with the challenges that we face, and what are the best practices and the lessons learnt.
What do you hope future organisers will gain from this experience in Sochi?
Sochi 2014 is a unique example of preparing and staging the Games starting from zero. It can be an example of how the Games can boost development of a big region. We hope that the intensive Observer Programme at the Games will help the next generation of Games-makers not only find wise and efficient solutions in terms of planning and execution, but we hope that our experience will make OCOGs think about the sustainable Games legacy from the very beginning. We also hope that future organisers will not only gain a lot of knowledge during these Games, but also enjoy them as spectators and guests of the city of Sochi.