Go Search Go Contents Go to bottom site map

(Yonhap Interview) Running Olympic Games requires precision of 'Swiss clock': IOC official

2017/09/04 08:14

Article View Option

By Yoo Jee-ho

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Sept. 4 (Yonhap) -- As an International Olympic Committee (IOC) official responsible for coordinating all efforts related to the Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi has developed an understanding of what it takes to deliver a successful Olympics.

The Olympic Games Executive Director likens it to a precise Swiss clock.

In an interview with Yonhap News Agency last Wednesday, Dubi said PyeongChang, the South Korean host of the 2018 Winter Games, will be no exception.

"Imagine that you'll have about 100,000 people that will have to deliver the Games and each one of them has a very specific role and has to know exactly, down to the second, what it takes to deliver the job," he said at Alpensia Convention Centre in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul. Dubi was in town along with the IOC's Coordination Commission on PyeongChang for its ninth and final visit before next February's Winter Olympics.

"We're in that time frame where everyone will be working together to deliver something that works like a Swiss clock, down to the second," he said. "The day of the opening ceremony, at the very precise second where you go live, you are exposed to the whole world. It's the challenge that you have in every organizing committee -- to assemble this amount of resources to do one thing for one second, where you go live on screen in front of the rest of the world."

   In his current position, Dubi is in charge of running, coordination and follow-up of all Olympic Games activities, from the candidature phase to the actual holding of the Olympic Games. The post was created in 2003, and Dubi succeeded the inaugural Executive Director Gilbert Felli in September 2014.

Christophe Dubi, the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Games Executive Director, speaks in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, on Aug. 30, 2017. (Yonhap) Christophe Dubi, the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Games Executive Director, speaks in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, on Aug. 30, 2017. (Yonhap)

Dubi noted putting together an Olympics is "both fascinating and daunting because everyone faces the same challenge."

   "It's a very precise and big operation that's exposed to the rest of the world, which is incredibly challenging and immensely rewarding," he said. "You realize what PyeongChang's organizers have to do from now until the Games. It's a lot of detailed work."

   Dubi noted that unpredictable winter weather conditions can make the Winter Olympics more difficult to run than its summer cousin.

"You can't foresee (weather) and you have to be ready," he said. "That's the paradox of the Winter Games."

   Overall, Dubi likes where PyeongChang is headed. The development of infrastructure in the region, such as new highways and high-speed railway, should help turn PyeongChang a new tourism destination down the road, which will be one of the legacies of the first Winter Olympics to take place in South Korea.

Dubi also said PyeongChang has successfully reworked its venue master plans, reallocating and refurbishing some facilities, in cost-saving measures. He said the key has been "finding different ways to be creative to save costs while not impacting the experience of participants."

   Dubi addressed the absence of the National Hockey League (NHL) professionals in the men's hockey tournament in PyeongChang. NHL pros have competed in every Winter Olympics since 1998, but the league office has announced it will not send players to South Korea this year.

Dubi, whose father played for the Swiss national hockey team at the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics, said he isn't so worried about how the NHL's absence will impact PyeongChang 2018.

"We'll have a tournament of very high level, and it will be outstanding, irrespective of the absence of some players," he said. "It's disappointing that some of the players will not be able to participate. We'll nevertheless have a super tournament. Fans will see something special."