Chen Ping

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, 12:00am

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

Challenges always exist in organising a grand event such as the Olympic Games. But for me the biggest challenge is yet to come - I will have to meet my biggest challenge from August 10 to 15 when all three sports are to be held simultaneously. I will have to rush from one venue to the other, attending routine meetings, solving various problems that may arise in the area of media operations, managing possible risks, as well as functioning as the spokesperson for the three venues. However, I am ready for the challenges, and with great confidence.

How many media personnel do you estimate will be using the facilities?

It is really hard to estimate how many will come to use the facilities. What I can tell you is we have three venue media centres in the Olympic Green North Zone Cluster, one for each sport. We can accommodate at the same time 350 journalists in the tennis centre, 120 in the archery field and 220 in the hockey stadium. It will be phenomenal if 700 journalists turn up in the same time.

How many staff will be at each media centre?

The venue for tennis will have 19 paid staff (including five international staff) and 124 volunteers, the one for archery will have 13 paid staff (including two international staff) and 63 volunteers, and the one for hockey will have 16 paid staff (including three international staff) and 71 volunteers. The international staffers are really experienced. Some of them were from the previous Games, and some of them have worked in a sport for decades. Their expertise will surely help us a lot.

Are they experts in each of the sports?

Although good knowledge of the sport is a plus, they don't have to be experts in these sports. Their main task is to provide the best possible services to the accredited journalists who may come to use the facilities, to attend the post-match press conferences, to watch the competitions from the media stands and to interview players and coaches in the mixed zones. They have to be enthusiastic, hard-working and fluent in English.

Have you been to previous Olympic Games?

I went to the Athens Games in 2004 and the Torino Games in 2006. In both cases, I was an observer from the beginning to the end of the two Games, working in Bocog's liaison offices in the main press centre. In Athens, I was actually the de facto spokesperson to explain Beijing's progress for the 2008 Games. The experiences gained through my stays in the two Games did benefit me a lot. First of all, I experienced first hand what an Olympic Games really meant to the organisers; secondly, I learned quite a lot from my observations, especially how to cope with the media, and media from overseas in particular. I made a lot journalist friends during my stays and have continued correspondence with some of them ever since. I wish I could meet them in my own venues during our Games.

Of the three sports that you are responsible for, which one are you most looking forward to and why?

Actually, I am looking forward to all three. As the media manager for the three sports, I will have to make sure everything goes smoothly in the media operations area, to make sure the accredited media can do their job in a satisfying environment. But from a personal point of view, I like tennis best, because I simply love this game.

Will you have time to cheer on the Chinese team at the Games?

I hope I will have time to do that, not just for Chinese teams, but also for other teams I like, but I am fully aware it is not possible. I will be too busy to do that. My typical day from August 10 to 23 will be like this: Starting the day's work at 5.30am because hockey's first match in the morning session will kick off at 8.30am and end the day's routine work at 1am as hockey's last match in the evening session ends at 11pm. According to the IOC rules, the venue media centre opens to the press three hours before the first match starts and three hours after the last match ends. As for tennis, God knows when the last match will end. So you can imagine how busy I will be. Most probably, I will have to sleep in my office! This is the Olympic Games, and this is the once-in-a-lifetime chance, so I look forward to the challenge.