iSportConnectTV recently screened a panel discussion that reviewed the Sochi Winter Olympics, chaired by Michael Pirrie, formerly of London 2012 and well-known in Sydney Olympics circles. The two panellists were Jim Sloman, adviser to London 2012, and Andy Amery, a security expert who was engaged in London. Michael Pirrie is now a consultant with Good relations, London.
The salient points made were that Sochi was indeed a very well run Games and in that sense a lesson for future organisers. A most successful Games. Much was due to a major emphasis on coordination and integration – with much applied experience from London 2012.
Security was based on an intelligence and risks approach. The security regime was designed together with by the organisers and the IOC. The wider security blanket was well-coordinated. The panel believed the newly introduced spectators pass, a form of official accreditation instead of having ticket-holder photos on tickets, was valuable – albeit that this is not likely to be needed at planned future Games.
Sochi presented new challenges to the IOC, much associated with the nature of the territory, Sochi/Russia. Brazil will in turn present more new challenges and the IOC needs to become more adept at perceiving and dealing with these new environments.
The panel seemed to almost concur with the clampdown on protests and human rights by the Sochi organisers and the government, with a smoothly run Games being the justification. The panel praised the IOC’s transfer of knowledge programs, and the careful use of outside experts.
While the legacy of Sochi 2014 is there to see – a new city, a major resort, with state of the art sports facilities plus a good tourism infrastructure, the issue of whether this really constitutes success at any price….remember that around $55 billion was spent…and whether that spending valid, was carefully skirted.
Sochi 2014’s president and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko, has proudly commended Sochi 2014’s use of a ‘fan passport’ system for 640,000 visitors, stating that the initiative resulted in the Games being completely free from ticket forgery. The fan passport collected personal information about an individual for security purposes and was a requirement for ticket-holders. It just may be that the concept promoted a feeling of exclusivity among the holders who were happy to use it.