Today, the IOC Evaluation Commission for the 2012 Olympic Games starts its visits to the Candidates Cities. For the first time, the Commission is led by a woman, Olympic champion, IOC member and IAAF Council member Nawal El MOUTAWAKEL.
She explains her role as Chairwoman of the Commission.
What is the role of the Commission that you chair?
Above all, to study and analyse the Candidature Files. During the visits to each city, the Commission has the task of checking the facts and evaluating the risks for the IOC. Then it produces a report, which will be distributed to all the IOC members who, you may recall, no longer have the right to visit the cities or receive representatives of these cities. Its mandate will come to an end at the Singapore Session with the election of the host city for the Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012.
How do you see your role within this Commission?
As I have often said: I will work with all of my team because the one who wins alone has already lost everything. My role is that of coordinator, a conductor whose musicians, from the five continents, are recognised experts in their respective fields.
What is the main challenge?
The Commission has before it five Candidate Cities all as prestigious as each other. Today, organising the Olympic Games is a large-scale and highly complex project - not only for the city, but also for the country - which still provokes passionate debates and sometimes severe criticism. That is why there will be no ranking in our report. The IOC wants, above all, for the Games to benefit the whole Olympic Movement and for successful Games that leave a positive urban and sporting legacy to the host city and country.
You were Olympic champion in 1984. How can your experience as an athlete help you in your new function?
The athletes remain the priority of the Olympic Movement. Without them, there would be no Games. Also, the IOC attaches a great deal of importance to ensuring that the training and competition facilities, as well as the accommodation and transport facilities, are the best possible for the athletes. This also means that we need quality venues and facilities, as well as competent people. Furthermore, I fully understand the desire to surpass oneself and to win at any cost. Throughout my professional and sporting career, I have become accustomed to overcoming barriers, just like the five finalist Cities which have had to pass through several stages before finding themselves in the home straight. I know the importance of such a race towards victory. But not at any price!
Do you have a message for the current five Candidate Cities and future candidate cities?
As in any competition there will be a winner and a loser. Each candidate city must keep this in mind and prepare for the two eventualities, with fair play. But over the years of being a candidate, they will have experienced extraordinary moments together, sometimes sharing the same difficulties but always the same passion and the same dream: to offer the youth of their country and the world the desire to participate in this huge four-yearly festival. A candidature must incite enthusiasm and unite people. Whatever happens on 6 July 2005, each City must know that it has given the best of itself. A success is never definitive and a failure isn't fatal. The only thing that counts is courage.