At the Closing Ceremony of the Turin Olympic Winter Games, the IOC President, Jacques Rogge, described Torino 2006 as “truly magnificent Games”: Games that saw the participation of a record 80 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), a successful blend of sport and culture, tremendous sporting competitions involving the world’s top winter athletes, excellent event organisation, top quality television images and a sustainable legacy, which has been left to Turin and its region. With the official debriefing of the Turin Games now less than one week away, this will be an ideal opportunity for the Organising Committee of Vancouver 2010, as well as the other current OCOGs and candidate cities, to learn from the Torino 2006 experience.
The Torino 2006 Games were successful on many fronts. Most notably, there was the record number of NOCs competing at the Games, including, for the first time, Albania, Ethiopia and Madagascar. Out of the 80, 26 were medal winners – spread across four of the five continents, thus showing the universality of the Olympic Games. There was also success on the TV front with a total coverage of 16,311 hours, an increase of 57 per cent over Salt Lake City, and a global audience up 2.5 percent to 3.1 billion people, thanks to an increase in the number of countries broadcasting the Games, up from 160 in Salt Lake City to 200 for Turin. About 900,000 tickets were sold for the Games, showing that not only the local population but also winter sports fans from across the globe were able to come to Turin and experience the Olympic Winter Games first hand. Torino 2006 also had great success with its sustainable management of the Games, and was commended by UNEP on its work.
Torino 2006 In Figures
Organising an Olympic Games is no small feat due to the complex nature of the event. The Torino 2006 Organising Committee (TOROC) rose to this challenge with aplomb. An idea of the task that Games organisers have to deal with, and another reason why the transfer of knowledge is so important, can be gleaned from the following selection of figures. The human factor that contributes to the success of the Games is crucial, and in Turin, there were 18,000 volunteers (in addition to the 3,000 volunteers for the Paralympics and the 6,000 volunteers just for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies) and 2,500 staff members, who all worked together to make the event a success. There were 2,508 athletes, of whom around 38 per cent were women, who took part in the events over the 16 days of competitions. In all, 930,000 spectators used the 1,200 buses, which made an average of 5,550 trips per day, to get to and from the different competition and training venues. Some 710,845,000 pages were viewed in just 16 days on the Games official website, and 540,000 licensed products were sold from the Games.
Vancouver has the honour of being the next Winter Games host. Already, the Canadian organisers have learnt a number of things from their Italian counterparts, most notably through the secondment of staff to work in Turin in the final months of preparation and through attending the Torino 2006 Games themselves. Some of the VANOC staff participated in a Games-time observers’ programme. The final piece of this comprehensive learning puzzle will of course be next week’s official debrief, which will see a combination of plenary discussions and side meetings on the topic of the Turin Games, separated into three parts: what was the Turin Olympic “product”; the managerial challenges of organising the Games; and the experience of the various Olympic stakeholders in Turin, such as athletes, partners, spectators, the media, the International Federations and the NOlCs. This forum will allow the future Games hosts to interact with the people who have the freshest experience of organising the Games, and to glean the knowledge they need to help make their edition of the Games as successful as possible.