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  • London Olympics Debrief for Rio 2016


    (ATR) Experts from London 2012 have been in Rio de Janeiro since last week for the final phase of the transfer of knowledge between the two Olympic cities.
    Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman and LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton at the debrief's head table. (Getty Images)

    About 500 delegates from Rio 2016 as well as three levels of government took part in the program along with about 50 staff from London.

    IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, who has been part of the past seven debriefings, tells Around the Rings the session in Rio was meant to convey a big picture of what the Games are all about.

    “We have tried to come to fewer break-out sessions and more general sessions so everybody could get the picture of how to organize the Games,” he says.

    “We have put three themes we want to develop. One was based mainly on the vision, how do you develop and implement your vision. We could see that we could follow London on that because since 2005 they have made very good on that.

    “The second was, how do you engage in your product, how do you engage with the nation, how do you engage with cultural people, how do you engage with developing sport, so on and so on. How what makes the Games where they are today.
    Passing the Torch from London 2012 Co-Comm Chair Denis Oswald to Rio 2016 counterpart Nawal El-Moutawakel. (Getty Images)

    “The last session was mainly how do you deliver the Games, the different functions that have to be there to deliver,” said Felli.

    Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman, who took part in a symbolic baton transfer with London 2012’s Sebastian Coe, says the debrief was a success for the Brazilian team.

    “The baton has been handed to us and we will now apply the lessons learned during the past four days and add our contribution to the Olympic Movement, so that in four years’ time we can pass the baton to the next hosts having advanced the Games even further,” said Nuzman.

    While the Olympic debrief ended Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, it has been immediately followed by a two-day debrief on the London Paralympics.

    Rio Making Progress

    Felli says Rio organizers appear to be making progress on issues flagged in a July report to the IOC. That report raised concerns about the management of Rio 2016, the coordination between governments and the need to meet deadlines.
    The site of the Olympic Village as seen Tuesday. (Getty Images)

    Felli and the IOC team met with Rio 2016 last Saturday prior to the debrief for the latest in a series of project reviews.

    “We had response to some of the concerns we had. First of all, the observation of the Games by Rio was an excellent lesson for them. To first understand the scope and the reality of deadlines.

    “They are reinforcing the governance of the organizing committee by adding a new CEO. We believe that with the concerns we had, we have got some response. We were able to witness the advance of some projects. Yes, we have seen progress,” says Felli.

    He says the IOC has been assured that launch of construction for a golf course is set to begin, despite last-minute legal questions over the ownership of the site.

    “Yes, they need to start the work soon,” Felli acknowledges.

    The hockey venue is also a concern with the International Hockey Federation opposed to current plans for the pitch to be located in the Diadoro cluster of venues, not the Olympic Park as first planned.

    Responding to a question at the debrief press conference, Felli said the federation, IOC and Rio are working together to find a solution. He said he is confident an agreement will be reached soon.

    Debrief Not Just for Rio

    Both Sochi 2014 and the Madrid 2020 bid committee say they are drawing “inspiration” from the London 2012 debriefing.
    Monday's tour of the Maravilha Port area. (Getty Images)

    Sochi 2014 President and CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko led the delegation of the next Olympics organizing committee.
    “The debriefing was an excellent opportunity to learn directly from London 2012 about how to deliver a brilliant Games that is enjoyed and remembered fondly by everyone involved,” Chernyshekno said.

    “Our own London 2012 observer program has already been hugely beneficial to my team, with over 200 Sochi 2014 staff and 100 volunteers gaining first first-hand experience of taking part in an Olympic Games. It has been an invaluable experience and will play a key role in helping us to deliver an inspirational Games in just over a year’s time.”

    While all three 2020 bid cities, including Istanbul and Tokyo, attended the debriefing, only Madrid had issued a statement regarding their experience at the time of writing.

    Madrid 2020 International Relations CEO Theresa Zabell thanked London 2012 for the “open manner” they used to share information.

    “They haven’t hidden anything. In fact, they have gone even further, telling us how they would do things if faced with hosting the Games all over again.

    “The talks from Lord Coe, Paul Deighton and Gilbert Felli were as inspiring as we expected. The cultural education, the torch relay, protocol, ticketing and many other areas in London were of the highest level. Without a doubt one of the main reasons for the success of this year’s games was the organizing team.”

    Written and reported by Ed Hula.

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