Tokyo 2020 is the third Summer Olympics where the continent of Oceania is showcasing the true Pacific way of friendship and cooperation through its signature Shared Services Programme, where the pooling of resources and skills support athletes at competition.
This is critical for Pacific island countries that are challenged by remoteness, isolation and distance across the world’s largest ocean; the Pacific.
It is also the first Olympic Games where Oceania has converted this programme into a hybrid on-ground and online Shared Services Programme for athletes, Chefs de Mission, officials and leadership in Tokyo.
Conceptualised by the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) President Robin Mitchell for the 2012 London Olympic Games, it mirrors indigenous communal cultures found in all Pacific island countries, including First Nations Australia and Maori.
Tokyo 2020 is a milestone for ONOC given its rapid response through the design and delivery of a Games Management System (GMS) over a matter of about two weeks to complement its on-ground staff in Japan.
The Tokyo 2020 Shared Services Programme offers a portfolio of services which will be provided, shared, and facilitated through cooperation.
Pre-Games the programme offers training camps, and at Games time the portfolio of services comprise meeting rooms, transportation, an internet lounge, a recovery hub and an entertainment and breakout lounge.
One of the core parts of the Programme has been shared medical services which offer physiotherapy and clinical services under a roster of medical professionals from member countries.
The remote services team in Fiji and Palau
For the first time in its 40-year history, ONOC had an on-ground staff of three supported by 17 administrative and specialist staff and consultants linking in online from Palau and Fiji.
The on-ground staff in Tokyo are supported by a media partner, the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA), that provides news support and access to its distribution network to media organisations and development partners throughout the region and globally.
NOC leadership and Chefs de Mission have been taken through a brief training on how to use the GMS through an online form which activates first level support in Tokyo.
Where there is a need, this is then activated to a remote team which provides services in four areas; Finance and NOC Services; Information and Digital Communications; Travel and Logistics; and Accreditation and Sports.
Given the current containment of Suva, the ONOC Secretariat is considered a non-essential service under COVID-19 definitions and all staff are providing normal services from home.
The transition to an online GMS was a rapid response to the reformatting of the Tokyo Olympics and the exacerbated challenges of isolation, distance and communications unique to the islands of Oceania.
The GMS was completed in one week and trialled over a second week before going live.
Communications and media services for NOCs
Under communications and media services, ONOC offers a joint Oceania Awareness Media Campaign, pool content for NOCs, pool content for in-country media and provide facilitation for accredited media.
This has been strengthened with the development of the new ONOC website in 2020 and a review and consolidation of all its social media handles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in preparation for Tokyo 2020. It features a Tokyo 2020 page with the Games schedule and results widgets, information on athlete listings, flag bearers, shared services, Chefs de Mission, pre-Games training camps, qualifications and other background information are shared.
In its second phase, ONOC has embarked on development of websites for its NOCs. The Fiji Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) and the Guam National Olympic Committee (GNOC) were completed on time for Tokyo 2020.
ONOC has the National Olympic Committee of the Solomon Islands (NOCSI) and the Tonga Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (TASNOC) websites lined up for completion this year.
With consideration to the Olympic Agenda 2020 and now Agenda 2020+5, ONOC has also led in prioritisation of athletes through a focus on digitalisation by the development and delivery of the ONOC Athletes’ Commission microsite, a project completed under the guidance of Chair, Karo Lelai.
Based in Papua New Guinea, Lelai has worked with the ONOC Communications and Technology Services teams to have the microsite ready well before the Tokyo Olympics.