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Rio hopes to learn from London’s ‘brilliant job’


RIO DE JANEIRO — The official debriefing of the 2012 Olympics has started with Rio organizers saying they hope to follow in the footsteps of the London team in organizing successful games.

Rio officials will have five days to learn from the London team in the IOC event that began Saturday and will run through Wednesday.

“Seeing the work of people who’ve done a brilliant job organizing the games gives future organizers the opportunity to learn,” said Brazil sports ministry official Luis Fernandes. “We thank the British government and LOCOG for all the information exchange.”

Also present are organizers of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and 2016 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, along with the three bid cities for the 2020 Summer Games — Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo.

The event consists of plenary discussions and side meetings to discuss the seven years of London’s preparations and all aspects of the games. The sessions will also review the experiences of athletes, fans, volunteers and the media from the games just a few months ago.

IOC executive director Gilbert Felli and other IOC officials are in Rio, but president Jacques Rogge didn’t make the trip because of a recent hip replacement surgery.

IOC vice president Nawal El Moutawakel, who heads the 2016 coordination commission, said Rio has a chance to improve on London’s success by taking advantage of the information being passed on during the event.

“We are committed to sharing previous host cities’ best practices in order to help in all possible ways,” she said. “The debriefing is an extensive knowledge transfer program which guarantees that the success of previous games editions can be repeated or even enhanced in the following host cities.”

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said it will be important to adapt the lessons from London to his city’s preparations.

“The London Games brought transformation to an entire area of London and to people’s hearts,” he said. “The transformation in Rio de Janeiro has already begun. We’re learning with London’s experience, but we will do the games in the ‘Rio style.’”

London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said his team will help any way it can.

“We want to assist Rio and other future organizers with the London experience,” he said. “We will share our learning and we are willing to help out in all areas.”

The meetings come less than two months after nine Rio committee employees were fired for illegally downloading files from British organizers during the London Games, prompting heavy criticism of Rio organizers in Brazil.

“The process of knowledge transfer is continuous and transparent,” Rio committee president Carlos Nuzman said. “The debriefing event is probably the clearest example of this.”

The first official debriefing came during preparations for the 2000 Sydney Games. This is the seventh edition.


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