Beijing 2008: Good progress, spectacular venues
The IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008, led by its Chairman Hein Verbruggen, today concluded its sixth full visit to Beijing since the Chinese capital was awarded the Olympic Games in 2001. The meetings between the Commission and the Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), which took place over three days, included a venue tour that allowed the Commission members to get a first-hand look at the development of some of the iconic venues that Beijing is building for the Games The members also heard about the legacy that these venues will provide to the local communities, the city of Beijing and China as a whole, once the Olympic competitions are over. The meetings illustrated that BOCOG has now entered an important period in its journey towards the Games in 2008, as it moves from a planning focus to a more operational and client-focused phase in its lifecycle.
Speaking at the end of the Coordination Commission’s visit, Chairman Verbruggen said, “We are pleased to see that BOCOG is continuing to make good progress and this progress is obvious, as we see the spectacular Olympic venues taking shape. During the meetings over the past few days, BOCOG has demonstrated that it is making a smooth transition from planning for the Games to actually making those plans a reality. At this crucial stage in the Games preparations, the successful integration of all the entities involved in organising the Games here in Beijing is more important than ever.” He continued, “As the Beijing 2008 project comes to fruition, BOCOG will gain a lot by drawing on international expertise, as previous organising committees have done, and we can see that BOCOG has already started this process through its collaboration in fields such as the environment, the Olympic Torch Relay, ticketing, public relations and ceremonies; and with international organisations, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and individual experts, such as the international consultants for the ceremonies.”
The Commission was delighted to see the advances that BOCOG has been making since its last visit in November and following BOCOG’s participation in the IOC’s observer programme during the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, with over 200 participants attending from BOCOG. This progress could be seen in many areas including venue construction, with the spectacular National Stadium taking shape; the environment, BOCOG having received ISO 14001 certification; communications; Olympic education, with 20 Olympic model schools founded; media services; and competition organisation, with 40 test events planned to be held before the Games. During its meetings, the Commission looked in particular detail at the operations and services that BOCOG plans to provide to stakeholder groups like the athletes, the National Olympic Committees, spectators, the International Federations, the media and sponsors.
Looking forward, Verbruggen commented, “BOCOG will soon start to hold important test events, such as the International Softball Federation’s XI Women’s Fast Pitch World Championship and the International Sailing Regatta in Qingdao, at the Olympic venues, with many more to come in 2007. These competitions should be considered as a dress rehearsal for the Games themselves. During the second half of this year, BOCOG will also meet with representatives of the written press and the rights-holding broadcasters, respectively, at the World Press Briefing in September and the World Broadcasters’ Meeting in August. It is during all these events that BOCOG will be able to fine tune its planning and prepare for smooth operations in order to deliver an exceptional experience to all those who will participate at the Games.”
Liu Qi, the President of BOCOG, extended his warm thanks to Chairman Verbruggen and the other members of the Coordination Commission for their continuing support and guidance. Commenting on the Commission's visit, President Liu said, "The key preparatory work for the Beijing Olympic Games has been advancing smoothly and on schedule and BOCOG will continue to attach great importance to this year's Games preparations, as we move forward with our transition from a planning phase to a more operational focus." He continued, "We will speed up our work in areas such as the planning for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and our preparations for the upcoming test events. BOCOG will continue to improve its communications with key stakeholder groups and will enhance its work on Olympic promotion and education, particularly among the country’s 400 million youngsters. Finally, we will look to strengthen our work in the areas of the environment and construction, as we strive to create a better urban environment."
The IOC, as the guardian of the Olympic Games, will continue to assist and monitor the work of the Beijing 2008 project through the work of the Coordination Commission. The next time the full Coordination Commission will be in Beijing will be towards the end of 2006, and the Commission will continue to visit the host city on a twice yearly basis until the Games are held in 2008. The Commission’s full meetings in Beijing 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.
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For more information please contact the IOC Communications Department, Tel: +41 21 621 61 11 or Robert Roxburgh, Communications Coordinator – Olympic Games, mobile: +41 79 216 86 31