Chef de Mission seminar a success but some issue highlighted by NOC's

February 20, 2009

OCI’s Stephen Martin said ” Whilst everyone has been impressed with progress to date , delegates did raise issues that need resolution. For example, its VANOC’s intention to have as many athletes at the first ever indoor Opening Ceremony, but concerns about travel time for athletes living in the mountain Whistler Olympic Village may feel that the journey and ceremony is too time consuming.”

He explained ” Unlike the Summer Games athletes will be allowed to parade and be seated at the start of the Ceremony. They will also have the option to leave the ceremony early. However journey time from Whistler is at least 2 -3hours long, so it may be that the main bulk of athletes and officials will be those residing in the city Olympic Village Vancouver”. 

He continued “This will be an issue for Irish athletes if they qualify in Bobsleigh, Skeleton Bob, and Cross Country Skiing. Its not a major issue for Skier Cross athletes as they will reside in Vancouver, 10 mins from the BC Opening Ceremony Stadium.

VANOC are still to finalise their transportation plans and are aware that both mountain venues and city venues will be problematic, as schools and businesses will still be open as normal during the Olympic Games period. 

One other major concern for NOC’s was the fact that the sliding sports have been recording record speeds on the new bobsleigh, sleleton and luge track. VANOC made some slight adjustments to the track for the recent test events,but following lobbying by delegates, they have agreed to allow extra practice time on the track in the lead up to the Olympic Games. This will reduce any safety fears.

Overall though with just under one year to go, VANOC are in great shape to deliver a wonderful Olympic Winter Games and having spoken to VANOC Chief Executive , John Furlong,  he’s delighted with the feedback his staff have recieved from the 72 Nations present in Vancouver this week”

Footnote:

What’s the role of a Chef?
Chefs de Mission lead their NOC’s delegation, and are responsible for all their athletes and team officials during Games time. At the moment, they are getting familiar with the venues, city layout, transport, and all the detailed operations which VANOC is arranging for their athletes and team officials during the Games.

Complex operations
The variety of subjects covered during the seminar – such as Olympic Villages, athletes’ food, ticketing, accreditation and sport entries, medical services and doping control, support grants and protocol, to name but a few – reflects the meticulous operational management needed to welcome about 2,600 athletes to the 2010 Olympic Games. Accordingly, the variety of the questions posed by the Chefs de Mission from all over the world shows the diverse needs of the NOCs, depending on their differing size, structure, means and location.

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