Exactly one month out from the start of the 2008 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave its assessment from the Chinese capital on how the organizers are faring.
At the close of a two-day meeting between the IOC and the Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee (BOCOG), Hein Verbruggen, Chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for Beijing 2008, heading up this week’s visiting 12-person IOC delegation said, “Here in the Chinese capital you can now really sense the excitement and anticipation. The city feels ready; it looks ready, with the stunning venues all completed. The quality of preparation, the readiness of the venues and the attention to operational detail for these Games have set a gold standard for the future. What our hosts have achieved is exceptional. For the Games to be an overriding success – and the IOC has an underlying confidence this will unquestionably be the case - the organizers need now to deliver the services pledged for, and therefore expected by, the various stakeholders who have begun to arrive for the Games. A very small number of open issues remain – such as some matters with broadcasters and our need to see how temporary measures in the city will make an impact on air quality. But across the board, for the number of areas we went through this week with BOCOG, we are satisfied. When athletes, sports officials, spectators and media arrive in this city over the coming weeks, I have no doubt they will be impressed when they see things with their own eyes; and they will be touched by the warmth of the welcome the Chinese people will show them.”
Verbruggen joined the Beijing hosts to officially inaugurate the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC), which are now operational and have begun welcoming media from around the world. With an unprecedented interest in these Olympic Games, the IBC and MPC are the biggest built for any Games. Over 20,000 accredited media personnel will call these venues home over the coming weeks. As Verbruggen explained, “These magnificent buildings (IBC and MPC) are perhaps two of the most important venues of the Games. Because it is from here that the stories of Beijing 2008 will be told; stories of sporting spectacles, victories and defeats, stories of friendships forged between athletes from different nations who are brought together by these Games, and stories of how China and its people got to be better known and understood through the spotlight, which this amazing event - the Olympic Games - will shine.”
Some 20 areas of operations were covered between the IOC and BOCOG on Monday and Tuesday including: sport, venues, Olympic Green, media, ceremonies, technology and ticketing. Organizers gave an update on the clean-up operation taking place in Qingdao which has suffered from an invasion of algae. “We feel for the organizers,” said Verbruggen. “They really didn’t need this on top of all the other work they have, but they demonstrated to us today they will manage to remove the algae in time.”