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VANOC outlines plan to protect Olympic brand

Athens 2004 debriefing holds lessons for 2010 Games organizers

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TOROC is hoping the torch relay, which starts across the country in December, will get the country behind the Games.

Meanwhile both organizers of the Torino Games and Vancouver’s Games have just returned from a debriefing on the Athens 2004 Summer Games in Beijing. At the meetings the Athens Organizing Committee shared key lessons they took from their experiences.

The first was to have a compelling key message – for Athens it was bringing the Games home to the original host. The lesson must be embraced by every level of the organization and every institution involved in the Games, said Furlong.

"They also felt strongly about not forgetting, as you have heard us say before, that (the Games) are first and foremost a sporting event for the athlete and that has to be the priority," said Furlong.

Another key lesson was to stay in regular contact with all the international sport federations who have an enormous stake in the success of the Games. The Athens organizers also talked about the importance of planning flexibility.

"They reminded us that things change all the time and that if you think they won’t then you are in for a surprise," said Furlong. "So no matter how focused you are and how well you think things are going to go they are going to change, so you have to build in planing flexibility as you go along and create an organizations that is fluid and can adjust easily.

"They also made a very strong point about planning very aggressively against the time line and not letting days go by and not accepting delays at all and trying to stay right out in front of the project and really monitor your progress and not get lazy in that regard."