IOC PRAISES PROGRESS IN ATHENS
Lausanne, 24 November 2000 - Challenges Remain, but Significant Actions Clear the Path Toward Progress -
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad expressed renewed confidence in the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games today in Athens. The Coordination Commission spent the past three days reviewing the plans of the Athens Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (ATHOC) and came away reassured with the amount of progress in key areas that has been achieved since the IOC expressed its concerns earlier in the year.
“The 2004 Olympic Games will be in Athens. The biggest challenge ATHOC faces today in terms of delivering a top-quality edition of the Olympic Games will be staying the course it has charted for itself. There is pressure in a number of areas – construction and renovation of venues and infrastructure, transportation planning, and accommodation, for example – but these are the types of challenges most host cities have had to overcome in the past. What the IOC sees now are the right ingredients – commitment of the highest levels of the Government, a strong ATHOC leadership team and staff, the coordination between the relevant government ministries and ATHOC departments, and sound fundamental planning – to continue to meet their own ambitious objectives,” said Dr. Jacques Rogge, chairman of the Coordination Commission.
The Coordination Commission noted progress in critical areas of Olympic Games preparation as a result of significant decisions and actions taken by both the Greek Government and the Organizing Committee. These key decisions include those facilitating the renovation of the Faliron and Hellinikon facilities and bringing forward completion dates for some sports venues. ATHOC also moved forward in its strategic planning in areas such as security and transportation, local marketing, and accommodation. In marketing, ATHOC recently announced a major US$50 million national sponsorship deal with OTE, the Greek telecommunications company, to add to the nine worldwide sponsorship agreements arranged by the IOC. In accommodation, ATHOC has contracted 11,000 rooms from local hoteliers. In construction, the land is being prepared for building the Olympic Village.
While acknowledging ATHOC has made progress, the Coordination Commission also identified key challenges the Organizing Committee will face in 2001. These include the timely initiation of infrastructure and venue construction and renovation, the start-up of its Olympic broadcasting support operations, and the finalization of strategic and functional plans in all areas of Olympic Games management. 2001 also will require ATHOC’s continued progress in all key areas, including enhancing its communications with its constituencies and resolving the accommodation needs.
This meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission for Athens is the fifth time the Commission has met with ATHOC to work toward the common goal of organizing top quality Olympic Games in Athens. As it does with the other Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the Commission reviewed ATHOC’s plans and offered advice based on the decades of experience in Olympic Games management held by its members. This meeting of the entire Commission follows a number of working group meetings held since May during which smaller numbers of Commission members met with their ATHOC counterparts in an effort to explore options in key areas.
This week’s meetings will be followed immediately by a five-day transfer of knowledge seminar arranged by the IOC that will allow a delegation of more than 30 representatives from the Sydney organizing committee to debrief their counterparts within ATHOC on the lessons learned from the successful Olympic Games in Sydney. This will help ATHOC build on the expertise developed in Sydney in core areas of Games management.
In the coming months, working groups of the Coordination Commission will continue to meet periodically with their ATHOC counterparts, and the entire Commission will officially reconvene in Athens in May 2001.
The IOC Coordination Commission includes external experts in the various areas of Olympic Games management; former organizing committee executives; representatives of the athletes, the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the International Olympic Sports Federations (IFs), and the IOC; and the directors of the IOC administration who manage functions relevant to the organization of the Olympic Games. An advisory panel to the IOC Executive Board, the Commission meets at least twice a year with the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) in order to assist and in some cases recommend approval of the OCOG’s planning.