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  • IOC Opens PyeongChang Seminar


    Gunilla Lindberg and Gilbert Felli in South Korea. (ATR)
    (ATR) With the idea of getting all the actors in the preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics following the same script, a three-day seminar led by a team from the IOC is underway in PyeongChang.

    More than 150 representatives from the national, provincial and city governments, the hospitality industry, private sector, sport federations and the bid committee are at the seminar being held at the Alpensia resort.

    “We have a lot of presentations as to what is an organizing committee, how it works, who are the clients,” says Gunilla Lindberg, named IOC Coordination Commission chair in the past month.

    “That’s the whole idea of this seminar, for everybody to get the same picture,” she says.

    Led by Lindberg, the IOC group includes Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, sports director Christophe Dubi, Evan Hunt from marketing, Robert Roxburgh from communications and others.

    She and Felli traveled by bus Sunday to PyeongChang from Daegu in the south of the country where they were on hand for the open of the IAAF World Championships and last week’s IOC Executive Board meeting.

    Felli says the large group from PyeongChang is meant to make sure as many key people as possible see the big picture and the role of the IOC governing the Games.

    “We realize in the past we used to talk to a few people from some organizations and then two years later you deal with someone who does design for the city and he says ‘I didn’t know’ because they didn’t get the message passed,” says Felli.

    “It’s one thing to bid and another thing to organize. It’s completely different,” says Lindberg.

    Among the first orders of business is the formation of an organizing committee, due by early December.

    “We expect them to confirm not the persons, but the structure of the organizing committee,” said Felli about what the IOC expects to hear this week from PyeongChang during the seminar.

    Naming of a chair is one of the delicate decisions now being handled by the national government, which took the leadership role in the bid.

    “They are an important part of the whole project, so they have a big say,” says Lindberg.

    Bid chair Yang Ho Cho is hoping to get the chairmanship, but so is Yong Sung Park, president of the Korean Olympic Committee, ATR is told. Also
    The Alpensia Resort is the location for the seminar. (ATR)
    said to be under consideration are ex-Gangwon governor Jin Sun Kim and former prime minister Seung Soo Han.

    Already there have been some complaints from Gangwon Province about the dominant role of the national government, but Lindberg says all governments will have to find a way to work together.

    “There has to be a tri-partite organization, the national government, regional government and the NOC, sports,” she says.

    “Our understanding was probably the region or province would be the driving force for the construction of venues, but we have to see how those things are going,” says Felli.

    “It’s important to reassess the metrics of responsibility for the different levels of the ones who have to finance projects,” he adds. “We have to understand who is going to be the leader. That’s
    The IOC Evaluation Commission during its February visit to bid city PyeongChang. (ATR)
    something we are going to discuss with them”.

    Another point of discussion will be a location for the headquarters of the organizing committee. While Seoul is a possibility as the business center of the country, the IOC wants the offices in PyeongChang, two hours east of Seoul.

    “We want them to work in PyeongChang. No meetings in Seoul,” promises Lindberg about her commission’s work ahead.

    “At the beginning it’s not so important, but as soon as you get into operations, and people from operations, people from sport are not on the spot, always have to go and bring people…it’s ok to have marketing people in Seoul, because all the big companies are there. They probably will have two offices. This is something we have to talk about,” says Felli.

    Felli says that Sochi started off with its headquarters in Moscow, but that some staff are leaving instead of making the move to Sochi as the 2014 Winter Games approach.

    Lindberg, who made her first visit to PyeongChang earlier this year when she led the IOC Evaluation Commission during its visits to the three 2018 bids, says she has great expectations for PyeongChang.

    “For me it was a beautiful place and the concept was very attractive to me. The compactness, after having been to some previous Games, when you have distances…also I found a trust in the people. I think it can be Games with a special atmosphere”.

    Homepage photo from Getty Images. 

    Written and reported in South Korea by Ed Hula

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