"We want to showcase the best we have to offer"
What is the role of the National Olympic Committees and what are your main activities with around 440 days to go before the start of the YOG?
Jérôme Rochat (JR), Head of NOC Relations and Services, Lausanne 2020 : The National Olympic Committees (NOC) oversee the participation of their athletes and team officials in the YOG. As such, their main tasks are to organise and prepare the trip of their delegation beforehand and guide and supervise the team once on-site. They are therefore a key stakeholder for Lausanne 2020 and require significant attention and assistance before and during the YOG. As the person in charge of NOC Relations and Services, my role is twofold: on one hand, I am the official point of contact for all the NOC and therefore act as an interface between the Organising Committee and the 70 or so delegations and 1880 athletes expected at Lausanne 2020. On the other hand, I also represent the interests and needs of the NOC and athletes within the Organising Committee and work closely with the other departments to define the services to be provided to delegations.
Currently, my main activity is to establish the foundation and structure of the document we will present to the chiefs of delegation (commonly called ‘chefs de mission’). This is a key reference document that will contain all the information required by the NOC to help them plan their team’s participation. . In parallel, I am also working on establishingworking relationship with the NOC as well as setting up a communication and information sharing plan to provide the NOC with assistance throughout their preparations (selection process and registration of their delegation, operational and logistical planning, etc.) and of course, during Games-time when managing their teams on-site.
You have just returned from the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 in which you participated as an observer, what are your impressions and what did you learn from this experience?
JR : The YOG in Buenos Aires were a great success marked by an incredible enthusiasm coming from the local population. But beyond these magical sporting moments, it was above all a unique learning opportunity that provided me with valuable knowledge.
In addition to the behind-the-scenes experience, I was fortunate to join and support the Argentinian team in charge of NOC Relations and Services for the Buenos Aires local organising committee. They were very welcoming and took the time to share their knowledge and know-how with me. Moreover, this allowed me to work on operations and be in the front line to exchange with the NOC Chefs de Mission and thus meet a large part of our future interlocutors. I had also the opportunity to follow some NOC through their daily lives and better understand their needs, how they organize and manage their delegation throughout the Games andthe challenges they face.
Last but not least, it has allowed me to establish many contacts and start building concrete working relationships with the different nations, something that will be extremely beneficial for the coming months and will be my daily business until January 2020!
There has not been an Olympic event in Switzerland for more than 70 years: what aspects of Swiss hospitality will you want to highlight in 2020 for the 70 or so nations that will participate in the Games?
JR : What we want is to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for athletes and their families, but also for the public and the population, authorities and partners. Switzerland's expertise in hosting will of course be put at the service of the participants to offer them a first-class experience as soon as they arrive, and make them feel at home. The excellence of Swiss hospitality will translate into an impeccable welcome and service, all with a touch of Swiss culture to make the participants' stay unforgettable. For many of them, this will be their first time in Switzerland and that is why we want to showcase the best we have to offer.