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  • London Last Report to NOCs; Sochi, Rio and PyeongChang Briefings


    The London delegation. (ATR)
    Coe Updates ANOC

    LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe, in his final report to the Association of National Olympic Committees, told delegates preparations for the Games were in "very good shape".

    Explaining that London 2012 was nearing the final straight in organizational terms, Coe said the final 100 days would partly be spent on venue overlay, building of temporary venues and more test events.

    He said London was continuing to deliver on the promises made to the IOC in Singapore where in 2005 the British capital was elected an Olympic host city. This included providing an athlete-centred Games and a lasting legacy which would not feature any white elephants.

    He revealed that 93 NOCs had signed agreements with sports facilities across the U.K. for pre-Games training camps.

    "This is not just economically important but meets our commitment to roll the Games out U.K.-wide and use it to inspire people in all communities to take up sport," he said.

    Outlining the challenges ahead, Coe referenced London's transport plans for the Games and the necessity of ensuring thousands of athletes and spectators reached competition venues on time with minimum disruption to Londoners going about their daily business during the Games.

    He called on NOC delegations and visitors to London to carefully plan their trips. "We need you to keep the information flowing. It's very important for you to alert us when your teams and dignitaries are arriving."

    Coe described London 2012 ticket sales as a "character-forming process", a reference to the huge level of demand and the associated problems with the online sales system which initially couldn't cope with the number of applications.

    Of the 11 million tickets available, the remaining four million will go on sale in the next two months.

    Coe billed the London mayoral election on May 3 as the "43rd test event" for Games organizers. Incumbent Boris Johnson faces former mayor Ken Livingstone.

    The double Olympic champion hailed the torch relay, which kicks off at 70-day trek around Britain on May 19, as "the most powerful tool of engagement [with the Games] that we have got".

    He said the torch relay would journey within 10 miles of 57 million people.

    As part of LOCOG's two-hour presentation to ANOC, sports director Debbie Jevans and head of NOC relations James Macleod also gave reports, offering critical information about NOCs services at Games-time.

    Jevans revealed that the athletes' parade leading into the opening ceremony on July 27 would be limited to 90 minutes. "We recognize that for elite athletes they need to rest at this critical time during the Games," she said.

    It also emerged today at ANOC that London 2012 VIPs and dignitaries would be treated to a reception at Buckingham Palace hours before the Games open.

    Sochi 2014 Hospitality Offer

    Sochi president Dmitry Chernyshenko gave the first glimpse of ticket prices for the 2014 Winter Games in his report to delegates.

    A slide of the ticket order form for National Olympic Committees he used in his report showed that a top tier ticket for the men's downhill, one of the blue ribbon events of the Olympics, will cost $175.

    Chernyshenko said public ticket sales will launch in September.

    Sochi 2014 president Dmitry Chernyshenko. (ATR)
    In another key announcement, he urged representatives of the 203 Olympic committees present to locate their hospitality houses in the Olympic Park in the coastal cluster and not in downtown Sochi. This appears to be a bid to generate a better atmosphere at the hub of the Games and make it easier to secure these houses.

    After giving an overview of the venues plan in which he drove home the message that construction work is on track, Chernyshenko spoke about the key differences in Russia's first Winter Olympics compared to the Vancouver Games.
    Sochi 2014 will stage 98 medal events over 18 days of competition. This is 12 more than the 2010 Olympics, thanks to the 12 new events sanctioned by the IOC at the Durban Session last July.

    ATR understands that the first ice was made at the Bolshoi Ice Palace in the past two weeks.

    He also spoke about progress in building the rail link and two roads connecting the coastal and mountain clusters.
    Commenting on the volunteer program, he said Sochi 2014 had already received over 65,000 applications in the few weeks since the organizing committee started its recruitment campaign. Only 25,000 are needed for the Games.

    For the delegates in attendance, Sochi 2014's head of NOC relations Roman Antonenko will be their key point of contact in the months before the opening of the Games.

    Rio 2016: Maracana Revamp on Tight Schedule

    Carlos Arthur Nuzman. (ATR)
    Carlos Arthur Nuzman, head of the Rio organizing committee, told the ANOC meeting that his team was rapidly expanding, with work progressing according to plan across the project.

    By year's end, the 250-member committee will rise to 377. By Games-time, it will comprise 4,000 officials.

    Amid FIFA's frustrations in accelerating 2014 World Cup preparations, Nuzman's announcement that the Maracana Stadium - venue for the Rio 2016 ceremonies and track and field - is only 50 percent ready was quite a revelation.

    He estimated that the $500 million-plus revamp would be completed in February - just a few months before the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

    On marketing issues, Nuzman claimed Rio 2016's sponsorship effort was going well; Nike was the most recent signing two weeks ago.

    A map of pre-Games training facilities was also shown to delegates; 172 venues have been chosen by the organizing committee.

    Commenting on London 2012, Nuzman praised the work of LOCOG and Sebastian Coe, saying his team had learnt much from them. He added that Rio 2016 hoped to offer a similar transfer of knowledge to the 2020 Olympic hosts.

    At this summer's Olympics, Somerset House will be used as Casa Brazil. It opens July 26.

    Venues Focus for PyeongChang 2018

    President and CEO Jin Sun Kim presented his first report to ANOC since PyeongChang won hosting rights last summer.
    He said the 2018 committee had learnt from the March visit of the IOC Coordination Commission and this would be "reflected in the Games Foundation Plan by the end of this year".

    "We will be thorough in our preparations for the Games," he said.

    Soo Hyun Yoon. (ATR)
    Soo Hyun Yoon, special director of international relations, laid out PyeongChang's vision to create a winter sports hub in East Asia.

    Speaking about the venues plan in the Alpensia and coastal clusters, she said seven of the 13 competition venues already existed.

    A sum of $22m had been allotted for design works on the six new venues, with building to start next year. She said all venues were scheduled to be competed by 2016 "setting a new standard for future Winter Games". All venue construction costs will be funded by the Korean government.

    Work was also well underway on the construction of a new highway, she confirmed, adding that construction of a high-speed rail line from Wonju, in the western side of Gangwon Province to PyeongChang, begins in May.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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