Two months after the end of the 2018 Olympic Games and the first ever Olympic Festivals (OFs), the Sport Parks project consortium was welcomed in Zagreb by the Secretary General of the NOC of Croatia Mr. Josip Cop, and by Ms. Marija Crnkovic, Representative of the State Office for Sports, for its 6th Study Visit.
An important part of the previous 5 study visits had been dedicated to the preparation of the Olympic Festivals 2018-related matters. This time, participants could finally “collect the fruit” of their long–term efforts, and debrief, evaluate and present to their colleagues the result of the Olympic Festivals they have organised in their countries. Project managers of the OFs in Rogla, Grenoble, and Brno + Ostrava did not share only number and images but also provided their evaluation of the event including both “success stories” and challenges, both of which will serve to improve the content of the forthcoming Handbook for Organisers of Olympic Festivals.
To provide an external perspective on the organisation of the OFs, the project coordinator had commissioned a pilot comparative evaluation study, the results of which complemented the organisers’ presentations and brought forward many interesting elements. Participants were also very happy to welcome to the meeting representatives of the International Olympic Committee, who underlined in their presentation, that the Olympic Festivals 2018 were a real success from the IOC’s perspective, and shared with participants an outline of the future developments of the initiative.
Besides IOC’s representatives, the Sport Parks consortium had the pleasure to welcome a special guest – Mr. Besim Hasani, president of the NOC of Kosovo - which was the 4th NOC to organise an Olympic Festival Pyeonchang 2018. Even though the Kosovo NOC is not a partner of the Sport Parks project, the aim is to cooperate closely and reflect the organiser’s experience in the Handbook.
The second day of the Study Visit was dedicated to the sharing of good practices and reviewing the content of the Handbook. Mr. Sinisa Krajac, Assistant Secretary General for Local Sport Programmes at Croatian Olympic Committee, presented the activities of its team, in particular the Preschool Olympic Festival, which has been organised for 17 years and is considered to be the most successful project of the Office. Mr. Zrinko Custonja, President of the Croatian Academic Sports Federation and Mr. Besim Aliti, Sports Manager, European University Sports Federation (EUSA), were then invited to share their experience with the organisation of the biggest sport event (in terms of the number of participants – 5 500 athletes) ever organised in Croatia – European University Games Zagreb-Rijeka 2016.
The last Study Visit of the Sport Parks project will take place in Ljubljana at the beginning of July.