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OLYMPICS/ Spotlight

Competition managers are legacy of Games
By Lei Lei (China Daily/The Olympian)
Updated: 2008-02-22 09:38


A vast pool of sports management talent will remain in the host country after the Beijing Olympic Games, as all 28 competition managers for the event are Chinese.

"All of the 28 competition managers are Chinese, which is different from the previous two Games in Sydney and Athens," said Zhang Jilong, director of Sports Department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).

"They will become part of the sport management talent pool after the Games."

The Olympic competition managers will work at each competition venue and be in charge of communications with international sports federations (IFs) and the competition organization.

For convenient communication, all competition managers were required to speak fluent English or French.

Organizers of the Sydney and Athens Olympics in 2000 and 2004 hired foreign aid in these positions since not all the sports were popular in the host country.

"The Beijing Games is a great opportunity to leave China many sport management experts of its own, so we decided to find all the competition managers within the country," said Zhang. "With the support of sports authorities from all over the country, all the competition managers have been appointed."

Different from other BOCOG positions, competition manager appointments need approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IFs. Since some of the sports are not popular in China, capabilities of those sports officials were doubted by some IFs.

"It took longer to decide competition manager candidates in China's weak sports but we finally nailed it," said Liu Wenbin, deputy director of the department.

"Through constant communication with relevant IFs and by sending those candidates to international events to learn, those people eventually won over the IOC and relevant IFs and some of them have been tested by the test events."

According to Liu, China sent 11 people to the Athens Olympic Games organizing committee to gather experience and keep fielding officials at international events afterwards to help with organization and gain experience.

For the Beijing Games, BOCOG has set up a competition organizing team of 612 people, recruited from all over China. Another 6,507 volunteers specializing in competition organization will also serve the Games.

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