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Reflecting on outstanding sport, a unique journey and a strong legacy for the city and country, the Rio 2016 team generously shared their knowledge and experience of an event that will allow the Olympic Movement to build on its momentum. Tokyo 2020 organisers were able to benefit from this significant exchange of information to clarify their plans, as they look to the future and 2020.
The three-day (28-30 November) International Olympic Committee (IOC) Debriefing Olympic Games Rio 2016 gathered together some 600 participants, including a Brazilian delegation led by Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, and Rio 2016 Organising Committee President Carlos Arthur Nuzman. Numerous constructive discussions and exchanges of good practices between participants were generated both inside and outside the meetings by the successes and legacy of Rio 2016.
“The IOC Debriefing event closes a journey of more than nine years that led Rio to not only host superb Olympic Games, but also transform itself completely,” said the IOC Coordination Commission Chair, Nawal El Moutawakel.
She continued: “The Olympic Games Rio 2016 became a catalyst for urban development, which has spurred investment in Rio that would otherwise not have happened. The improvements in the city's infrastructure are a good example. In just seven years, the number of people with access to good quality public transport increased from just 18 per cent in 2009, when Rio was elected, to 63 per cent in 2016. There are now four new rapid bus lines, a better rail service and a new light rail system, as well as improved airports. And as Mayor Paes pointed out to the delegates this week, this happened on time and on budget, as expected.”
El Moutawakel continued: “This transformation goes beyond infrastructure. The Games have prompted a number of sporting and social development projects that the IOC is still actively supporting as part of its overall engagement and as part of the Olympic legacy. One example of a great social programme was Rio 2016’s Transforma education programme, which took sport to more than 12,000 schools across Brazil, and encouraged more than six million young people to lead healthier lifestyles.”
Commenting on the debrief experience, Rio 2016 President Carlos Arthur Nuzman said: “To come back to Tokyo as the President of an Organising Committee is a very special emotion. I hope that we could assist our friends of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee with the lessons we learned. I'm confident that Japan will host great Games.”
For most organisers, staging the Olympic Games is a one-time experience, something that they start without having delivered one before. The goal of the IOC Debriefing Olympic Games Rio 2016 was to share knowledge just a few months after the Games, when the contributors have had the chance to reflect on their experience. This format has proven to be immensely valuable, as cities are able to hear about the experiences of their peers and relate it back to their own context – gaining in the process a valuable point of view from colleagues who have been through the same process and faced similar challenges. The process doesn’t stop here though, as these three days will be followed up with specialised workshops over the course of 2017, which will give future organisers the opportunity to go more into the technical details relevant to them.
“Learning from the Olympic Games Rio 2016 will undoubtedly inspire and drive the Tokyo organisers to pursue their already well designed and ambitious Olympic project,” said the Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission, John Coates. “Despite the different contexts, there have been numerous discussions this week about how Tokyo 2020 can refine their plans based on the experience of the Rio 2016 team. This will be a huge help for them come 2020.”
Bookended by opening and closing plenaries, which included high-level overviews of the Rio 2016 Games from different perspectives and the key outcomes of the three days respectively, the event had 13 principal sessions looking at the subjects of vision; good governance; security; venue delivery; venue management; showcasing athletes and sport; (re)defining services; energy and power supply; sustainability; budget management and procurement; ticketing and hospitality; communication and engagement; and people management. There was also a specific Paralympic debrief, organised by the IPC Academy as part of the Paralympic Excellence Programme, held in conjunction with the Olympic event, which had nine Paralympic specific sessions.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said that the Japanese capital would certainly draw inspiration from the 2016 Games: “The three days of the IOC Debriefing of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 were a great opportunity for all of the participants to learn from everyone’s knowledge and experience acquired through the Rio 2016 Games. It was also a valuable opportunity for us at the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to discuss key learnings of the Games with our counterparts from Rio 2016 and everyone involved. I am very happy with the high level of engagement that was seen throughout the panel sessions, as well as individual meetings. I’d like to thank the IOC, the IPC, the international sport community and all the other participants for travelling to Japan and contributing to the success of the event,” he said.
President Mori continued: “We received great inspiration and advice from members of the international sport community. Learning from this Debriefing will help us contribute to the development of the Olympic Movement in the best way.
“The baton has now been handed over to Tokyo from Rio. From here on, we will continue preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Games, together with the IOC and the IPC, more united than ever.”
The final outcomes of the Debrief revolved around five main themes: vision, communication, transformation, governance and engagement. While each session produced a number of specific conclusions that will be taken away by the participants to be applied depending on their own context, these overarching themes were present in all of the 13 sessions.
The IOC’s knowledge management journey began in 1999 with the creation of documentation on the technical aspects of the organisation of the Games. The programme has evolved over the last 17 years to go beyond documentation into areas such as video reports, secondment of future organising committees’ employees to the next OCOG, observation programmes at Games time, and a Games debrief.
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