IOC Observer Programme invaluable to future host

The eyes of the world will move to Rio de Janeiro at the Closing Ceremony this weekend, when it officially becomes the next host city for the Olympic Games.

In preparation, a team of representatives from the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee has been in London for the duration of the Games as part of the IOC Observer Programme. Ricardo Prado, President of the Rio 2016 Athletes’ Advisory Committee and Olympic silver medalist, shares his experience of the Programme so far.

Q. What aspect of the Games have you come to observe?
A. As head of sport competition, I have come to observe sport operations both inside and outside the field of play, but also to exchange experiences with people from LOCOG and the International Federations.

Q. How useful have you found the Programme?
A. It has been extremely helpful. As well as gaining access to all aspects of the Games, the Observer Programme has included seminars specifically about sport operations. These involve people from different areas of LOCOG talking about specialist areas such as publications, the sports information centre, training venues and about sport presentation, which will really help guide our planning from now on.

Q. What are your main learnings from your time in London?
A. That integration really is the key. It is vital to communicate and integrate your specific planning with the other areas of your organizing committee to ensure everyone knows what you are doing – we really have to be in tune with the venues, with transport, with security.

Q. What do you think London has done particularly well?
A. My focus is on the field of play and they have done a wonderful job – I would give them a gold medal right now. The athletes always come first.. Another thing London is doing really well is managing the huge crowds. There are hardly any queues on the underground and they are doing an excellent job of moving people into and out of the venues without any hassle.

Q. What is the next stage of the Programme?
A. All the participants will reconvene in Rio to consolidate their experiences. From now on the focus is going to be on Rio so a lot of International Federations will be coming to visit and help us plan, so we have to be ready for that. Being here has really helped to focus me for the next stage of my planning.

Q. What advice would you give to future participants of the Programme?
A. Work closely with the host organising committee to plan each activity for each day in advance. We worked with LOCOG for over a year to decide what each person would be doing each day, and what activity. Being able to plan this with LOCOG really has made all the difference to what we have taken from the experience.
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