Adam Roczek: The World Games will be a landmark
An interview with the vice-president of the Wrocław Organising Committee The World Games 2017
Did we really think everything would turn out this good – both sport-wise and organisation-wise? Because it really seems like it turned out well.
From the sport side of things, that isn’t really the role of the WOC. That belongs more to the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, the sport federations and the Polish Olympic Committee to predict the medal count. I personally don’t like to get into that, but I know that statistics play very well in the media. My own estimate gave us around 25 medals and it would seem I wasn’t far off. We ended up with a few more. From the organisational side, I’ll be brutally honest – we didn’t really know how it would go. Of course, we were prepared to carry things through logistically as best we could. But I would say that the real “genus loci” (spirit of the place) that exists during the Games, is actually formed while the Games are going on. And I think we had that here in Wrocław. The problems that we did have at the beginning – especially with the weather – seemed to bring the team together and mobilised everyone so that we really weren’t afraid of anything. I really honestly think that even though it wasn’t the most spectacular Opening Ceremony the world has ever seen, with a price tag of 300 or 400 million euro like in the Olympic Games – and maybe not the biggest venues, these were still Games which Wrocław as a whole organised very well, with an open, welcoming spirit – where people from around the world could come together.
With the largest sporting event in Poland’s history behind us, we will doubtless be much richer having had the experience of these Games?
Maybe not necessarily the biggest, because you could always say that the EURO football championships were bigger or the world volleyball championships as well. But when it comes to the logistical side of things, this is one of the biggest and most challenging events in the world. We organised 31 sport disciplines, 35 competitions in the course of 10 days – all according to the standards of the international sport federations. When you look at the number of partners, service providers and staff that we had to deal with every day, on all different levels, it was truly a huge challenge. These are the most difficult Games to organise and I think we did it perfectly.
Did your heart sink when the storms rolled in over Wrocław on the 23rd? Was that the hardest moment of the entire Games?
Maybe it didn’t sink, because I knew that we could be ready to react immediately if the need arose. At 12.00 the storm was already dying down and at 13.00 we had an emergency meeting at the Crisis Centre. Fifteen minutes later we started cleaning the venues. Really, we didn’t think it would go so fast, especially on the roller-skating track. That’s where we had the most problems. The huge TV screen tipped over and was lying on the track, but fortunately it hadn’t been damaged, so the competitions could be finished already that day. So really there was no real fear on our part, although there was some concern, because we didn’t really have any space in the programme to put the competitions off until later. Fortunately, we didn’t have to.
Now we are looking forward to the Closing Ceremony. What can we expect? It’s always a sad moment, because we have to say good-bye.
The Closing Ceremony, as usual, has a procedural part, which includes Wrocław passing the flag to the next host city. Mayor Dutkiewicz will give the flag to IWGA President Jose Perurena and he will hand it off to Birmingham Mayor William Bell. Then we will have a short artistic show featuring Wrocław artist L.U.C. and it will also be set up so that everyone in attendance can participate.
When will the last signs of The World Games disappear from Wrocław, besides, of course, those that will remain here forever?
Hopefully, never! First of all, because we have several renovated sport venues, which were intended not only for The World Games, but also for Wrocław too – and have just been „loaned” to the Games. And second of all, because of the thousands of people from Wrocław, who have been involved in organising these Games and the thousands of local fans who watched these Games. I hope that The World Games will become the same kind of landmark event in the history of Wrocław that other great events like the European Capital of Culture have been.