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25 Feb 2010
Vancouver 2010 , IOC News

Learning About The Games Through Observation

As part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM) programme, around 300 people from current Organising Committees (OCOGs) and applicant cities have been participating in the Vancouver 2010 Observer Programme. As an integral part of the OGKM platform, the programme provides a unique opportunity to live, learn and experience real Olympic Games operations. The programme is organised by the IOC in conjunction with the host OCOG and it gives each future organiser the opportunity not only to see how things are done, but also to study specific areas, so that they can learn and improve upon them within their own organisational and cultural context.

“Never Plan Too Much”

The value of the Observer Programme for future organisers cannot be overstated, as this may be the only chance some members of the OCOGs’ teams get to see how the Games work before they have to execute their own edition. As Sebastian Coe, the Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee recently said: “We are here to look and learn, and soak up every last piece of knowledge to help us with our planning - and the golden rule of staging an Olympic and Paralympic Games is that you can never plan too much.”


The Vancouver 2010 Observer Programme consists of four round tables and 40 visits that are being held over the space of 21 days. The programme begins before the opening of the Games and concludes after the Games are over, allowing the observers to look at both the arrivals and departures processes, which are crucial to any Olympic Games. The visits cover Games-related themes and the work of different functional areas.

Client Focus

The programme is designed in consultation with the OCOGs in order to ensure that it meets their specific needs. This time round, for example, visits have been added to look at the athlete and spectator experience, in order to respond to the new client-oriented Games management approach. The topics for the Vancouver programme look at areas such as ceremonies, sport, Olympic Village operations, sustainability, transport and technology. There are also trips to some nine competition venues and 10 non-competition venues and sites as part of the observation.

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