The Torino 2006 Olympic experience comes to a close
“A dream came true”, says TOROC President
The official debriefing of the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games – The Torino 2006 Olympic Experience - came to a close today in Vancouver, Canada. The five-day event, which ran from 10 to 14 July, brought together representatives of the current Olympic Games Organising Committees (OCOGs) of Vancouver 2010, Beijing 2008 and London 2012, as well as the three Candidate Cities for 2014 (Sochi, Salzburg and PyeongChang) and many other members of the Olympic family to hear from the Torino 2006 Organising Committee about its experience of hosting the XX Olympic Winter Games earlier this year.
The event, hosted by the IOC, also saw the participation of all of the Chairmen of the IOC’s Coordination Commissions for the different editions of the Games that have Organising Committees currently operating, notably three-time Olympic gold medallist and Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Torino 2006 Jean-Claude Killy; Hein Verbruggen, Chairman for Beijing 2008; René Fasel, Chairman for Vancouver 2010; and Denis Oswald, Olympic medallist and Chairman for London 2012. Chaired by IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, the debrief programme was split into three parts, examining the Turin Olympic “product”, the managerial challenges experienced during the Torino 2006 journey and the experience of the different stakeholders, such as athletes, spectators, partners and the media, during the Games.
There were five key elements that came out of the debrief this week:
“Vision must be at the centre of everything you do”: The first key element was the importance for each OCOG to have a vision for its edition of the Games and to make sure that the organisers take a holistic approach to implementing that vision across everything that they undertake when organising the Games. The vision must remain consistent across the board and be applied to all facets of the organisations work from ticketing to the field of play.
“People are at the heart of the Games”: A clear message delivered throughout the week is that it is vital, from the bid phase of the Olympic Games journey, to focus upon the needs of the different stakeholder groups that will live through the Olympic experience. Groups such as the athletes, the spectators, the media and the partners, to name but a few, all have different needs that must be met in order to ensure an optimum experience. The sooner that this approach and these needs are understood, the more effective the planning and operations for the Games will be.
“Leadership and unity are primordial”: The Olympic Games draw upon the experience and knowledge of a large number of independent but interrelated actors, such as local authorities, governments and local partners, and it is primordial that the Organising Committee, from an early point in its lifecycle, is able to lead and coordinate all these different groups, who each have the responsibility to deliver different operational elements, in order to create a coherent and well-run Olympic Games. Moreover, an ability to pull together and tap into the global Olympic network of International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the IOC TOP sponsors and world-wide rights-holding broadcast partners is central to successful Games hosting. While seven years may seem a long time, the operational impact of this early unity cannot be underestimated.
“You can never test enough”: With an operation as large and as complex as the Olympic Games, it is important that all the members of the Olympic network: partners, IFs, NOCs, local authorities, etc. are practised and knowledgeable about their relationship with each other and with the OCOG. It is therefore of the greatest importance for the OCOG to test and simulate, as much as possible, its operations before the Games get underway, in order to provide reliable and flawless services for all the participants during the Games period and create a unified team that can operate seamlessly.
“Without a positive legacy, good operations don’t mean much”: For many years now, the IOC has emphasised the importance of legacy and sustainability to every city that starts out to bid for the Olympic Games. A mindset change and true understanding of this concept is now evident, with the Torino 2006 Organising Committee stressing that, ultimately, it is the legacy left to a city that will determine the true success of the Games. Moreover, a Games legacy is both “hard”, such as the one Turin now has in sports facilities with the construction and renovation of the Olympic venues, and “soft”, as can be seen in the improved image of the city and the social and educational programmes put in place thanks to the Games.
Speaking about the quality of the Turin debrief and the success of Torino 2006, Jean-Claude Killy said, “In Turin this February, we saw magnificent Olympic Winter Games, full of passion and the Olympic spirit, that have left an important legacy to the city of Turin and to the Piedmont region in general. These magnificent Games have now widened that legacy to the world, through the quality of the presentations and information exchange that we have seen this week in Vancouver. Cities across the globe from Beijing to Vancouver and London will now be able to learn form Turin’s example and move more surely towards hosting their own top quality Olympic Games.”
The Chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for Vancouver 2010, René Fasel, commented on the meetings, “The information that Vancouver 2010 has been able to take away from this event has not only been important in terms of quantity but it has also been of the highest quality.” He continued, “This type of event, organised by the IOC, fits perfectly into the wider scope of the IOC’s Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM) programme. Vancouver 2010 has been using this to its full advantage and I’m sure that we will see the fruits of this detailed knowledge transfer in 2010 when Vancouver hosts its Olympic Winter Games.”
Talking about the IOC’s role in the transfer of knowledge between OCOGs, Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s Executive Director for the Olympic Games, said, “The IOC has been delighted to facilitate this transfer of knowledge and experience from Torino 2006 to the future Olympic Games organisers. This debrief is an important element of the IOC’s Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM) programme, which aims to provide future host cities with the information that they need to succeed.” He added,”It has been a little bit like being back at university this week for many of us, but thanks to the openness and quality of the presentations that the Torino 2006 delegation has given, I’m sure that all of the ‘students’ at this Olympic university feel more confident about passing their final exams.”
Valentino Castellani, the President of Torino 2006, noted, “During this debrief, we have been able to pass on to our colleagues from around the world how our Olympic and Paralympic dreams came true. Our Games were ultimately a success, but there were things which with hindsight we would do differently. The forum of the debrief allowed us to share these experiences in an honest and open way with future Olympic hosts.” He added, “I think it is a testament to the success of the Torino Games that people have been touched emotionally by the Games, that the spirit of “passion lives here” continues to be felt across the city and region, and that many young people are now considering taking up sports that they had never considered before.”
Vancouver 2010 CEO John Furlong said, “"Every Olympic and Paralympic Games look different, but in one critical way are all similar: They are all organised by people with vision, skill and passion.” He continued, "The experiences and knowledge acquired on the journey to stage the Games are of vital importance to future Organising Committees. Much like athletes, Games organisers strive to give the performance of a lifetime and, in doing so, inspire people around the world. Against this measure, this Torino Games and this week's debrief will have a huge impact and lasting value for Vancouver 2010.”
Wang Wei, Executive Vice-President of Beijing 2008, spoke about the usefulness of the debrief for his organisation, “While Torino 2006 was an Olympic Winter Games, the transfer of knowledge that the Turin Organising Committee has been able to provide us with is of the highest quality, and I am sure that there are many lessons that we will be able to apply to our own Games in Beijing in 2008.”
The CEO of London 2012, Paul Deighton, said, “This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from those who have staged the Games before. TOROC has been very candid about its successes and challenges, and we have been able to meet and discuss ideas with other Games organisers that are two and four years ahead of us in their planning.” He continued, “This has been a very fruitful week for the whole team.”
Note To Editors And Broadcasters:
Video images of this week’s meetings and several short sound bites from some of the key participants at this event, notably three-time Olympic gold medallist and Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Torino 2006 Jean-Claude Killy; René Fasel and Hein Verbruggen, Chairmen of the IOC’s Coordination Commissions for Vancouver and Beijing; Gilbert Felli, IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games; the CEOs of Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, John Furlong and Paul Deighton respectively; and Wang Wei, Executive Vice-President of Beijing 2008, can be found at http://www.thenewsmarket.com/ioc. These images are offered free of charge to the media by the IOC.