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The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 wrapped up its sixth visit confident that PyeongChang 2018 is moving in the right direction as Games preparations intensify in the final two years.

 

At a closing news conference with PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG), President Yang-ho Cho, and Coordination Commission Chair, Gunilla Lindberg, expressed their satisfaction with the construction progress at competition venues and congratulated Games organisers for the success of early test events.

The first round of recent test events — the Alpine World Cup, the Snowboard World Cup and the Freestyle Ski World Cup — won praise from athletes and positive reviews from technical experts. The number of events and the workload for PyeongChang 2018 will soon increase dramatically, with 24 test events set for the next winter sports season.

The first test event, the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating, is scheduled for December at the new Gangneung Ice Arena.

Coordination Commission Chair, Ms Lindberg, said:

There is still a lot of work to do, but PyeongChang 2018 is on track to deliver great Olympic Winter Games for Korea and the world. We are pleased with what we have seen and heard during our visit.

POCOG President Cho said:

This Coordination Commission meeting has been a very productive few days for all of us, sharing constructive feedback and expertise.  As we move into the critical operational phase of the Games, I would like to thank the IOC and International Federations for their continued guidance and support. The strong partnership that we share is instrumental to our success.”

As we have seen with our first test events, our continued cooperation is essential to hosting great Games. With our close cooperation, we will ensure great Olympics and Paralympics in 2018.  

The Coordination Commission’s three-day visit (14-16 March) included a series of venue visits and discussions with POCOG on all aspects of Games preparations, including the athlete experience, legacy planning, sustainability and transport, as well as plans for the Paralympic Games.

Aware that the Rio 2016 Games are fast approaching, POCOG presented its plan to establish the PyeongChang House in Rio de Janeiro during the Games. The facility will showcase winter sports and PyeongChang’s Games preparations.

The visit confirmed that construction on the Ice Arena and other competition venues remains on schedule. The Coordination Commission also noted the strong and growing commercial support for the Games.

Before leaving PyeongChang, the Commission Chair joined a signing ceremony for the newest PyeongChang 2018 partner, Lotte, a partner for department and duty free stores. With the signing, PyeongChang 2018 has reached nearly 70 per cent of its sponsorship goals. 

The Olympic Hockey Centre has two match fields and one training pitch (Photo: Rio 2016/Alexandre Loureiro)

Work on venues at Barra and Deodoro Olympic Parks is almost complete. At Barra, the three Carioca Arenas are more than 95 per cent complete, the Future Arena  is 100 per cent, the Olympic Aquatics Stadium  is 96 per cent and International Broadcast Centre  is 100 per cent complete.

At Deodoro, the completed canoe slalom course will host the sport’s test event 29 November, and the finished BMX track hosted its test event last month. The nearby mountain bike course is also ready.

The hockey field held a test event beginning 24 November – eight teams featuring 144 players and 230 employees from 25 organising committee departments assisted by 166 volunteers at the five-day event.

Rio 2016 hockey manager Eduardo dos Santos Leonardo said:

Competition operations, results and medical services will be among the main areas tested.

The field of play, technology, sport presentation and results will be in full operation in Deodoro, working in the same way that they will during the Olympic Games.

The Rio golf  course  was unveiled on 22 November. The sport returns after a 112-year absence (St Louis 1904). Designed by American Gil Hanse, the 970,000m² course will have capacity for 15,000 fans during the Games and afterwards will help increase public participation in the sport in Brazil.

riio golf

The 280m canoe slalom course will host its test event, the Aquece Rio International Canoe Slalom, 24-29 November. The Olympic and Paralympic Village is now 97 per cent complete.

rio canoe slalom deodoro-circuito-de-canoagem-slalom-renato-sette-camara_prefeitura-do-rio_1

Rio de Janeiro’s city government has provided its monthly update on the construction of new venues for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, showing that work at Barra Olympic Park, the main competition cluster, is now 92 per cent complete (up from 89 per cent last month). The city government’s figures showed that 12 venues across the two Olympic Parks are at least 90 per cent complete, compared with six last month.

arenas_cariocas_credito_-_dhani_borges
In Barra, good progress was recorded at the Olympic Aquatics Centre (94 per cent complete, up from 89 per cent last month), Future Arena (96 per cent, up from 87 per cent), Olympic Tennis Centre (80 per cent, up from 74 per cent) and Rio Olympic Velodrome (70 per cent, up from 65 per cent). Meanwhile, work on the athletes’ village is now 97 per cent complete, up from 91 per cent last month.

centro-de-tenis

Work is also progressing well at Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest competition cluster, where work on two venues – the BMX and mountain bike courses – is complete, while the canoe slalom course is now 98 per cent finished, up from 85 per cent last month.

estadio-aquatico

The Rio de Janeiro city government, which is managing the construction works, provided the venue-by-venue percentages and photos below:
BARRA OLYMPIC PARK:
Carioca Arena 1 – 94%
Carioca Arena 2 – 96%
Carioca Arena 3 – 97%
Rio Olympic Velodromo – 70%
Olympic Tennis Centre – 80%
Future Arena – 96%
Olympic Aquatics Stadium – 94%
International Broadcast Centre – 97%
Main Press Centre – 90%
Hotel – 84%

BARRA, BUT NOT IN PARK:
Olympic and Paralympic Village – 97%
Olympic Golf Course – 98%

DEODORO OLYMPIC PARK:
Mountain Bike Centre – 100%
Olympic BMX Centre – 100%
Whitewater Stadium – 98%
Youth Arena – 68%

velodromo

All photos except Carioca Arenas: Rio City Government/Renato Sette Camara
Carioca Arenas photo – Rio City Government/Dhani Borges

The team of directors creating the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony have been discussing their approach. It will be a thrilling fusion of Brazilian culture set to the rhythms of the country’s vigorous musical styles, produced by some of the nation’s best creative talent, and at a tenth of the cost of the London Games. 

Oscar-nominated film director Fernando Meirelles, whose back catalogue includes City of God and The Constant Gardener, said:

We have listened to specialists, like anthropologist Hermano Vianna, who have different visions of what Brazil is. It will be a synthesis of our popular culture.

Meirelles is part of a team including fellow film directors Andrucha Waddington and Daniela Thomas, production executive Abel Gomes and samba school creative director Rosa Magalhães, one of the most famous figures of Rio Carnival.

About 12,000 volunteers will join the casts for the Olympic and Paralympic Games opening and closing ceremonies. While more than 15,000 people have already applied to be part of the shows watched by a global audience of many millions, it is still possible for budding performers from all over the world to get involved.  Rehearsals begin in April next year and continue until the ceremonies (August for the Olympic Games and September for the Paralympic Games).

The vision of the team of directors will be brought to life by Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker and American live-event director Steve Boyd, who has contributed to 13 consecutive Olympic Games. Waddington explained:

We create something on a smaller scale and afterwards it is amplified. We saw last week the incredible moves that Deborah has created with this small group. We have already started to visualise how each movement will work after it’s been multiplied by a thousand people.

Meirelles said the budget would be sensible:

It will be 10 times smaller than for the London 2012 opening ceremony. It does not make sense to be extravagant in this moment that the country is facing. It will not be a high-tech ceremony, it will be high-concept.

Caetano added:

The strength of our ceremony will be working with more people and less things, less props. Because when the party is over, those things create rubbish.

Gomes, a set designer and producer of mega-events such as the huge New Year’s Eve celebrations on Copacabana beach and the Rock in Rio festival, leads Cerimônias Cariocas, the company that will deliver the Rio 2016 ceremonies. Looking ahead to the Olympic Games opening ceremony on 5 August 2016 at the Maracanã Stadium, he said:

It will be the biggest event in all of our lives.

Photo: Fernando Meirelles gained international critical acclaim for his 2002 film City of God. (Photo: Rio 2016/Daniel Ramalho)

Rio 2016 hockey tournament to be played on world-class artificial turf

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Worldwide Olympic Partner, Dow, works with strategic customer, Polytan, to supply the high-performing playing surface for the Olympic hockey pitches.

Building on the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games experience, the innovative artificial turf solution based on The Dow Chemical Company’s (NYSE: DOW) polyethylene (PE) and polyurethane (PU) technologies will be the official playing surface for hockey competitions during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, at the Deodoro Olympic Park.

Dow, the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games, is working once again with Polytan STI, a global leading manufacturer and supplier for outdoor and indoor sports surfaces, to deliver a higher-performing, more reliable and faster artificial turf for the world’s best hockey players in Rio.

The companies worked together on London 2012’s Riverbank Arena, which helped set the new standard for hockey’s most important competitions.

Game-changing features

Two pitches and one warm-up area at Deodoro, as well as two additional pitches to be built at the Federal University of Rio, will benefit from a comprehensive playing surface that consists of specific high-performing materials formulated together in multiple layers. The surface system is designed to deliver enhanced durability for increased pitch life, and a consistent field-of-play throughout the busy Olympic competition schedule.

The production of synthetic turf is a highly elaborated process. The system begins with the production of the master batch and the yarn for the turf. The subsequent tufting and backing process provide a strong turf bind, even when the surface is wet. For the upper surface layer, the polymer yarn provides wear resistance and energy absorption, combined with softness and speed. The complete turf system, including embedded shock pad properties, provides stability, durability, shock absorption and force reduction properties for the benefit of the players and the game.

The internationally-certified artificial turf system offers colorability, enabling customised aesthetics and design for the playing surface. London 2012 marked the first Olympic hockey competition in history to be played on blue and pink turf. The blue colour enabled players, officials, spectators and the media to keep their eyes on the ball more easily, because it provided a high level of contrast against the yellow ball and white lines.

Ana Carolina Haracemiv, Global Marketing Director, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics, said:

Our unique position as the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games and a global leader in the plastics industry, combined with our customer’s experience in artificial playing surfaces, enables us to deliver the best turf conditions for the world’s greatest athletes – in hockey and other sports. The solution we developed together is durable, low maintenance, stays consistently flat and fast from game to game, and requires no watering – compared to natural grass.

Contributing to the Olympic Legacy in Rio

Beyond the Olympic athletes, citizens of Rio will largely benefit from the innovative playing surfaces to be installed in Deodoro, as the Park will remain as one of the main legacy projects for the city after the Games have concluded. Dow and its customer plan to donate material to support the construction of the Deodoro pitches and enable the long-term use of the fields.

Sidney Levy, Chief Executive Officer of Rio 2016, said:

The contribution we are receiving from Dow and its customer is an extraordinary example of how the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are changing – for the better – our city and communities. It takes true Olympic spirit, strong partnerships and great corporate citizenship to help us deliver this unique legacy for the future of Rio.

 

Image: Dow/Polytan hockey pitch at London 2012

The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games successfully concluded its first visit to the 2020 Olympic host city of Tokyo (25-27 June).

IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said:

We are very pleased with Tokyo 2020’s progress under the leadership of President Yoshiro Mori. The Organising Committee and its government partners have got off to a quick start and are putting in place solid foundations for the next six years of preparations.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori commented:

With regard to the review of our venue plan, I informed the Coordination Commission that, based on such aspects as the kind of legacy we will leave, the impact of the Games on the lives of Tokyo residents and the cost of construction and maintenance of the venues, the Organising Committee will examine all issues closely and collaborate with the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and both domestic and international sports federations, to ensure the success of the Games.

As part of the visit, the Commission toured a number of the venues in the “Bay Zone” including the Velodrome, Gymnastic Centre, Tennis Park, Olympic Village, Tokyo Big Sight, Aquatics Centre, Wakasu Olympic Arena and Sea Forest venues. Four of Tokyo 2020’s venues are legacies from the 1964 Olympic Games, and another eight venues in Tokyo already exist.

The local organisers also took this opportunity to update the IOC on their on-going review of their bid plans, including the venues. This is based on a number of observations made in the IOC Evaluation Commission’s report. The review will not affect the core principles of the bid. The objective is to refine the legacy and operational assumptions of Tokyo’s plans. The Tokyo organisers are looking to ensure that their Games leave a sustainable long-term legacy to the host city and its citizens. The review is being carried out in cooperation with all the key national and international stakeholders.

Yoshihiro Kazawa from the Japan Sports Council will speak at Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific in September.

2020 Games in Istanbul would benefit from 48.5 million international tourists

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A huge visitor increase is set to enhance an Istanbul Games through increased ticket, licensed product and merchandising sales, and increased attendance at live sites and other events such as the Opening Ceremony, claims the Istanbul 2020 bid team.

The Opening Ceremony would already have the largest live audience in Olympic history with 70,000 people in the Bosphorus Stadium and half a million people along the banks of the strait.

The latest update to Turkey’s 2023 Master Plan anticipates a rise in international tourism from 33 million in 2012 to approximately 48.5 million by 2020.

Istanbul 2020 partner Turkish Airlines is already feeling the effect of the tourist boom through a 26% increase in passengers carried in the first half of this year. The company aims to expand its fleet from 228 aircraft today to 415 aircraft by the 2020 Games.

Ali Kiremitçioğlu, Istanbul 2020 CEO, said:

These latest figures on tourism and from Turkish Airlines prove that Turkey continues to be a growth market ready to welcome the world for an extraordinary Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

Istanbul has the infrastructure and the capacity to ensure that the Olympic Family and the millions of international visitors will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience during the Games in 2020.

Istanbul offers the Olympics an established tourist destination.

Istanbul offers the Olympics an established tourist destination.