The Rio 2016 operation is up and running, designs are completed and tenders are going out for venue construction and operation post-Games. Meanwhile, the management team of the local organising committee is hard at work. In one of a series of staff profiles, we meet Venue Management Director for Rio 2016 Christopher Crowley.
Crowley faces one of his career’s greatest challenges. With solid experience in big events, he has been through two Winter Olympic Games editions (Salt Lake City 2002 and Vancouver 2010), always working in venue management. In Rio 2016, however, the challenge is even greater. A team member since November 2012, Crowley is responsible for the management of more than 50 Olympic and Paralympic Games competition and non-competition venues.
One of his team’s most important deliveries has just completed. The project called “Model Venue Exercise” started on 13 June and lasted for 15 weeks. Rio Olympic Arena served as model to the other venues that will host all the competitions, events as well as further Games services. Led by Crowley, the Venue Management team is responsible for integrating the operations of almost all functional areas in each venue. Crowley explained:
It’s a very challenging task but, on our side, we have a very receptive and motivated team to make it all happen. The whole team working in the Model Venue is doing a great job. Our main goal is to create a more integrated, consistent and effective operations planning method.
The numbers are impressive. In the Olympic Games alone, there will be 45 world championships in only 17 days. In the Paralympic Games, there will be another 23. And 36 competition venues will host all that. Another 14 will host other events, the case of the Main Press Centre for example.
Ensuring all these venues are ready to host not only competitions but also offer quality services to spectators, athletes, press people as well as employees and volunteers themselves, who will be present at each site, is a job for various hands. Model Venue Exercise was aimed at mapping all services, equipment, workforce and any other requirements applied to a specific venue in order to serve each one of these clients. Crowley added:
Until now, functional areas were responsible for their own planning and did it according to their own specific needs, without taking into consideration everything else that will happen around them. Since Model Venue, we will have all this planning in our hands but now we also invest in a global vision, identifying connecting points between the areas, anticipating everything that needs to be synchronised and the way this integration will happen.
This initiative’s final product will show, in a series of documents, all the resources, services and other operations that will take place in Rio Olympic Arena, including equipment, services, workforce and security aspects among other things. Once this operational planning is ready, the same methodology will be applied to the other venues, always respecting the specific characteristics of each.
Crowley’s experience adds some important knowledge in operating these venues according to high quality standards. Crowley was Ski and Snowboard Venues General Manager in Salt Lake City 2002 and Whistler Medals Plaza and Media Centre General Manager in Vancouver 2010. Besides his Games experience, he also worked in municipal venues management in Salt Lake City and San Francisco during international sporting and music events.