Presentation of the international Olympic Festivals project concept, which is based on the Olympic Parks pioneered by the Czech Olympic Committee, was one of the themes of the XXII General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees that took place in Prague in early November.
“The Czech example is something we want to replicate across the world and as such the IOC Executive Board with support of ANOC agreed on creating a new concept, a new asset that is available to the National Olympic Committees, which is called Olympic Festivals. The idea here is really to support you as NOCs to be able to celebrate the Games at the local level,” stated James MacLeod of the International Olympic Committee when presenting the concept.
Olympic activities of individual countries will be connected by a unified graphic motif and the title Olympic Festival in the appropriate language. During the Olympic Games in PyeongChang South Korea the pilot project Sport Parks Inspired by the Olympics will take place, supported by the European Union. At least three countries will join in, and originating from this will be a manual for the organisation of Olympic Festivals. This manual will subsequently be available to national Olympic committees for the preparation of Olympic Festivals.
“I am very happy about this. It shows that if a project works in the Czech Republic there is no reason why it can’t work elsewhere in Europe. More and more people are contacting us from other continents and I very much hope that the expansion will continue,“ said Jiří Kejval, President of the Czech Olympic Committee.
Organisational success: praise from all sides
Announcement of the Olympic Festivals project was not the only Czech success at the ANOC General Assembly. “We have received praise and thanks for a well organised assembly; the participants were satisfied,“ said Jiří Kejval. “This praise belongs to the organisation team, our co-workers and also volunteers, who did a great job. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to organisation of the assembly, and in particular to director of the international section, Veronika Zemanová, and Roman Kumpošt, Vice-President for Foreign Affairs.”
This year’s ANOC General Assembly was a record event attended by 1,300 delegates. During the gala ANOC Awards Ceremony, which was directed by Michal Caban, awards were received by, for example, gymnastics legend Nadia Comăneci, Austrian alpine ski racer Marcel Hirscher, Olympic swimming champions Chad Le Clos and Sarah Sjöström, and high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim. In addition to the ANOC General Assembly several other meetings also took place in Prague – various committees and working groups, and continental associations. The organisation team had to manage hundreds of arrivals and departures, transport, security measures and many other aspects.
“The ANOC General Assembly was the largest event we have ever organised. Our team did an excellent job. It was a superb experience for everyone that moves us all forward. The organisers and volunteers had the opportunity get a close-up look at the world of sports diplomacy and the organisation of such a large-scale event. This experience can be further applied when working in sports organisations or on international sports events,” added Roman Kumpošt, Vice-President of the Czech Olympic Committee.
It wouldn`t be possible to organize this event without support of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, as well as other institutions, partners and suppliers.
“It has been an excellent week here in the beautiful city of Prague. We have had a number of productive discussions with the NOCs, IFs and other important stakeholders from throughout the Olympic Movement. I would like to thank the Czech National Olympic Committee for the warm hospitality and excellent organisation and cooperation,” said ANOC President, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.