The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 has wrapped up its fourth visit to Korea, satisfied with progress but clear with the organisers that multiple areas require their focus if the first test events taking place early next year are to be delivered successfully.
Staying for the first time in Gangneung – site of the venues for three of the seven Olympic winter sports in 2018 – the Commission’s trip coincided with the signing of PyeongChang 2018’s latest official Tier 1 partner and the first meeting of the Integration Working Group, following its creation last month at the IOC’s Executive Board meeting in Rio de Janeiro.
Speaking after the meeting, IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg said, “The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG), led by President Yang-ho Cho, and its partners have taken a solid step forward this week in their Games’ preparations. We have seen significant advances in the development of the venues, a major new partner joining POCOG, and a successful first meeting of the Integration Working Group, with all parties working hand-in-hand for the benefit of the 2018 Games. We are satisfied with progress, particularly on construction, but this positive momentum now needs to be continued to allow POCOG and Korea to deliver on their vision and commitments.”
She continued, “With the first test events less than one year away, POCOG and its partners will need to focus simultaneously on multiple objectives over the next year in order to deliver them successfully. The creation of the ‘PyeongChang Winter Series Foundation’ to help organise the events is a step in the right direction, but preparing the delivery team, getting the venues ready, advancing the operational planning, refining budgets and raising the profile of PyeongChang 2018 are all key areas that will require POCOG’s full attention. The Government partners will also have a crucial role to play in the success of the test events, and this is why the strong support for the Games from President Park and Governor Choi is greatly appreciated.”
Each of the different areas mentioned above were covered in depth by the organisers during the meetings, and the Commission used its knowledge and experience of the Games to help provide guidance to POCOG and its partners in each domain. The Commission was clear though that, three years out, rapid progress in each area of preparation would be required if POCOG planned to reach its objectives for this year.
With this in mind, the Commission was informed about the evolution of POCOG’s management structure, which has a strong focus on integration, blending together resources from various stakeholders in Korea. There will also be a number of internationally recognised experts contracted in key areas like sport and operations.
The Commission also congratulated the POCOG team on a number of its recent initiatives, like its three years-to-go event, which engaged all of the national stakeholders together in a celebration of the Games; its first Paralympic Day, which brought Paralympic sport to the citizens of Seoul; and its involvement in the 2015 Dream Programme, which brought young people from around the world to experience winter sports in an educational context in PyeongChang. POCOG was encouraged by the Commission to continue engaging with people from across the country and around the world in order to help spread the PyeongChang 2018 Games’ vision and the Olympic values.
PyeongChang 2018 President and CEO Yang-ho Cho commented, “This is a turning point for PyeongChang 2018. Based on the feedback that we have received over this past week, we will move forward aggressively and with momentum; and our main focus will now be on operations. By working together as a team, we will deliver successful Winter Games.”
The first meeting of the Integration Working Group, which was set up following discussions between the IOC and POCOG in Rio to facilitate decision-making processes and improve integration between all stakeholders, was also successfully held yesterday. Meetings will be held monthly and involve representatives from the IOC, POCOG, the Winter Olympic International Federations, the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Province of Gangwon. This initial gathering outlined how the group will operate, and saw the different parties all commit to enhance their cooperation for the successful delivery of the Games, and already take some important decisions. It was attended by IOC Coordination Commission Chair Lindberg, IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi, POCOG President Cho, POCOG Secretary General Young-jin Kwak, Vice-Minister of Sport Chong Kim, Gangwon Governor Moon-soon Choi, and Gian-Franco Kasper representing the International Federations.
During its three day visit, the Coordination Commission received updates from the organisers and their partners about areas as diverse as athlete and National Olympic Committee (NOC) services, sport and International Federation services, media operations, governance, legacy, spectators, transport, marketing, technology and the Paralympic Games. The Commission’s venue tour took it to Gangneung Ice Arena, Gangneung Oval, Ice Hockey 1 and 2, Gangneung Media Village and Olympic Village, and the Alpensia sliding centre.
The next visit of the Commission’s Chair to the Republic of Korea will be for a project review visit in July. Monthly Integration Working Group meetings will ensure that the close collaboration between POCOG and the IOC’s Coordination Commission continues apace in the interim.
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