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12 Apr 2006
IOC News

Sport Accord 2006: “The Magic Of The Games”

The final “interview of the day” at this year’s Sport Accord was with the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director, Gilbert Felli, on the subject of “Where we’ve been – where we’re going: The future of the Olympic Movement”. During his hour-long intervention, Felli spoke about the magic of the Games, transfer of knowledge, legacy and the future of the Olympic Games.
“Magic Of The Games”
In response to several questions from interviewer Rick Burton, Commissioner of the Australian National Basketball League, Gilbert Felli spoke about the magic of the Games and the work the IOC is doing to keep that magic alive. He pointed out that what is available to the television viewer today, in terms of images and information about the Olympic Games, is absolutely fantastic, and that this is one form of transmitting the magic of the Games to a world-wide audience. However, Felli also pointed out that while the people watching at home will know more about what happened at the Games than someone who is actually there, the magic of being there was just as special, because the spectator on site is able to mix with people from all across the world, follow their favourite team or athlete and visit and discover a new country and culture. Felli re-emphasised that the IOC was continuing to work and study the spectators’ experience in order to ensure that this piece of the Olympic Games magic is kept alive.
“Know How To Listen”
During the course of the interview, Felli described how the IOC always learns something from each edition of the Games. In his own words, Felli said, “You have to know how to listen and to listen to different stakeholder groups. Listening to your ‘audience’ is important in order to understand what people want and what you need to offer.” It is this philosophy of continual learning that is behind the IOC’s transfer of knowledge programme, which includes a wide range of “educational” materials for the Organising Committees and bid cities, including observational visits to Olympic Games and secondee programmes, which allow these organisations to truly learn and to listen, in order to run their Games in the best possible way.
“Think About It”
A recurring theme throughout the week at Sport Accord was the topic of legacy and how important this is to staging successful events. For the IOC, this subject has long been at the forefront of its push with candidate cities and organising committees to encourage them to run sustainable Games and Games that will leave a positive legacy to the host city and country. As Felli pointed out, Olympic bid cities in the past had often thought about legacy, but had perhaps not fully integrated these thoughts into their bids. Today, however, if you want to bid for the Games, you “need to think about it in terms of both legacy and sustainability”. This message, that the IOC has been reinforcing for sometime now, is starting to get through, as we can see from the quality of the bids for the 2012 and 2014 Games. Indeed, the IOC has created a programme called Olympic Games Global Impact, which will allow the IOC to measure the full legacy benefits of host cities over a time period of 25 to 50 years.
Future Of The Olympic Games
In wrapping up, Felli was asked how he saw the future of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement in general. Felli remarked that there were “not so many groups with such a bright future”, because sport appeals to people and it also brings them together. Specifically regarding the Olympic Games, Felli spoke about the next three editions of the Games, which he said were: “going to be fantastic”. He emphasised the quality of the bid cities for 2014 and beyond and how any significant change to the Games would take well over 20 years to come into effect because there were already cities preparing to bid for 2016 and 2020 based on the current system. Felli pointed out that contracts with sponsors had been signed through to 2020 and with broadcasters until 2016, giving the Games a bright outlook for the immediate future. However, this also meant that the Games were unlikely to change dramatically in the next few years but that the IOC would continue to try and understand where it is and where it is going with the Games, in order to keep these relevant to its audience.
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