Of course, this meant making sacrifices. One
subway extension didn’t open until days before the
games began—and one station had to be removed
from the plan entirely. This decision forced tourists
to bus the last 8 miles to some venues, “but it was
the best solution to avoid the risk that all four subway lines wouldn’t be done,” Ms. Detoie says.
Despite extensive efforts to rein in spending, the
Rio Olympics’ sports-related costs ran US$1.6 billion over budget, with a price tag of US$4.6 billion.
When all Olympics-related infrastructure projects
are factored in, the cost was an estimated $12
billion—a huge price tag for a struggling city, and
one that could rise yet higher as all costs are tallied.
But compared to other host cities this century,
the cost was fairly low. London, England spent
US$15 billion on sports-related projects alone for
the 2012 Summer Games (going 76 percent over
budget), and Russia spent nearly US$22 billion on
the same for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games (going
289 percent over budget). (See “The Cost of Glory,”
page 34.) In this sense, the IOC and Olympic boosters in prospective host cities can point to Rio de
Janeiro as proof that the games don’t have to cost
more every four years.
From Ms. Dias’ perspective, robust dependency
and risk management were crucial. “If your program
management approach includes strong dependency
and risk management,” she says, “you’ll be able to
identify opportunities to reduce scope and budget
and mitigate the risk of incurring additional costs.”
PASSING THE BATON
The Rio teams’ success in reining in spending reflects lessons learned from earlier games.
The Olympic Games Knowledge Management
(OGKM) program, the IOC’s knowledge-sharing
practice included in host city contracts, provides
hosts with Olympic Games guides, workshops and
seminars on how to plan and execute projects. It
also helps project teams close knowledge gaps and
What are POCOG’s top priorities in
preparation for the Olympics?
We need to be ready for the games in
two ways. One is hardware, meaning
venues and infrastructure. The other
is software, meaning operational
know-how and experience. Right now,
our biggest and most important assignment is to prepare and operate 26
test events this winter season, so that
every member of POCOG can acquire
Are you on track to meet
Yes, the average construction rate of
the competition venues is 95 percent
as of November 2016. They will be
completed in time for the scheduled
test events. Construction of noncom-petition venues such as the Olympic
Plaza, media villages and International
Broadcasting Center are also on target
for completion in 2017 as planned.
The construction of the high-speed
railway, expressways and other road
networks is also progressing on
South Korea previously hosted
the Summer Games. What unique
challenges come with hosting the
Winter Olympics require more contingency plans for various weather
conditions, and that adds new risks to
project planning. In previous Winter
Games, there have been problems
with not enough snow.
In the case of Pyeongchang snow
venues, the slopes’ curvatures are quite
leveled without sharp cliffs, which means
artificial snow can be prepared more
easily. Pyeongchang Mountain Cluster
is also in the coldest region in Korea.
However, the International Olympics
Committee (IOC) recommended
POCOG mitigate the risk of snow shortages during one of its project reviews.
In response, POCOG made a plan last
winter, in cooperation with IOC-recom-mended experts, to store 50,000 cubic
meters ( 65,398 cubic yards) of snow for
emergency use. The contingency plan
has already paid off: Stored snow was
used during the FIS Snowboard World
Cup in November 2016.
South Korea Gears Up
In February 2018, South Korea will host its first Winter Olympic Games. Jihye
Lee, head of international media relations, Pyeongchang Organizing Committee (POCOG), Pyeongchang, South Korea, says the country is now at a “crucial
stage,” transitioning from planning to implementation. PM Network talked to
her about how project delivery is taking shape.
Gangneung Ice Arena