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Jagerboy
03-14-2011, 01:52 PM
I'm not starting this thread to criticize the ISU or anyone else involved. I keep hearing about the amount of volunteers it takes to pull this off, the hotel rooms, the rink availability etc. While I love figure skating, I don't ever attend the events, as my schedule is always crazy and never seems to allow me to attend. I have done event planning before and know what goes into weddings and corporate parties, as that was my main business, so I know it is a big undertaking.

However, I would love to hear some input from those that have volunteered at past events as to what goes on. Like when you volunteer, what type of jobs do you do, how many volunteers does it take? Approximately how many rooms does it take to house the athletes and those traveling with them? Roughly how many different judges are there total?

I know that I am not the only one that doesn't know all these things, so I think it would do good that we all see what exactly goes on. It might give some that seem to think it is nothing at all to get this together, more appreciation of those that handle this task.

If anyone else has any questions about the behind the scene things that need to be arranged, add your questions.

Again, I don't want this to be a slam feast for the organizers and sponsors.

GarrAarghHrumph
03-14-2011, 02:33 PM
I can't claim to understand every factor, but one is the availability of judges. I'm sure that, for Worlds, judges would try to make themselves available, but remember that the judges are all volunteers. In many cases, they have outside careers and other committments that may/may not be able to be put aside on short notice. They, like the fans, have planned to, for example, take vacation time for Worlds - and either they'd need to reschedule that time for the new dates, or else a new judge would need to be found.

Even for local competitions and tests, those events are sometimes scheduled around judge's schedules, especially when you need gold and higher level judges. My club has, more than once, rescheduled a specific person's test, and once moved an entire test date because they couldn't get a certain level of judge, and this is with months of notice, in a region with a wealth of judges.

I have no doubt that the ISU could overcome this, but it is a factor. They need a certain number of judges who are qualified to judge at this level. They need technical specialists.

Debbie S
03-14-2011, 02:52 PM
I remember that for DC Worlds (2003), there was a large hotel completely booked for athletes, officials, and others with the comp. And there was some overflow at some other hotels. Media stayed at a separate hotel. Listing the names of all the volunteers took several pages (in small print) in the program. And of course, committee chairs were required in each area (hospitality, competition services, transportation, media, etc) to coordinate and schedule volunteers. All of these people are lined up and assigned months in advance.

Transportation needs to be arranged between the venues and official hotel(s) for the athletes, coaches, officials, anyone with a credential. LOCs use tour bus companies, and you can imagine, esp in the spring, how quickly they book up.

At least one other ice surface outside the comp surface needs to be available for practices. That means using another rink nearby or setting up a temp surface in a convention center or similar facility. So a second facility has to be available for the whole week, in addition to the main arena. It takes about 2 days to lay down the ice before the comp starts.

And then there are travel arrangements - depending on the country, some need visas. And there needs to be transportation from the airport to the hotel, and back.

At every comp, there are organization (USFSA, ISU, etc) sponsors and there are a fair number of local sponsors. A big part of the LOC's job is to secure these local sponsors to cover event costs via donations or goods/services (like food at the arena for officials, skaters, coaches, media....yeah, there's another thing that has to be taken care of). It takes a lot of lead time (like a year or more) to line up event sponsors.

That's what came to me off the top of my head. I'm sure I've missed plenty.

Ajax
03-14-2011, 02:59 PM
Not related to volunteering, but another organizational biggie is broadcasting. Every channel around the world which broadcasts the championships needs to set aside a chunk of time for the fs coverage, and line up ads for that time as well. Sponsors need to be found - those companies whose names you see on the rink boards pay tons of money and I'm sure lengthy negotiations are involved in that.
On a lesser note, I'm sure medals/trophies would need to be remade if a venue was changed. A WC medal usually has the name of the organizing city on it.

Yazmeen
03-14-2011, 03:04 PM
And add in practice venues, plenty of hotel rooms for the skaters, officials, families and attendees, and TONS of volunteers. Having volunteered at Nationals 98 in Philly, I can tell you that many, many volunteers are needed to keep everything going.

And having worked much smaller competitions, it is a huge headache to make major changes to any competition at the last minute. Not that this is comparable, but it is an example of how late change can be difficult: One of the rinks in the Delaware Valley used to hold a popular adult competition every fall. Then they decided to disband the organizing committee within the in-house skate club and the rink opted to combine the adult comp with a pro-am dance competition they also held annually and a test session over 4 days. (this was just prior to the Olympic year, and they had become a big ice dance center with famous coaches and teams and appeared to be opting to put the spotlight on their dance prowess). They sent out the announcement but weren't forthcoming on what events would be held when. They realized that they weren't getting registrations for the adult comp and sent out a late change notice that all the adult events would be held on the weekend so that adult skaters would not have to take off from work. However, by that time it was too late, very few adults were signing up, and they ended up having to cancel the whole thing because of low interest overall. They lost a lot of good will among the adult skating community and the event has since died completely. And the changes came too late to salvage the event in any form.

I can't imagine making significant late changes to something as huge as Worlds, it boggles the mind! :eek:

Bev Johnston
03-14-2011, 03:09 PM
I can't claim to understand every factor, but one is the availability of judges. I'm sure that, for Worlds, judges would try to make themselves available, but remember that the judges are all volunteers. In many cases, they have outside careers and other committments that may/may not be able to be put aside on short notice. They, like the fans, have planned to, for example, take vacation time for Worlds - and either they'd need to reschedule that time for the new dates, or else a new judge would need to be found.


And really, these competitions run on volunteers. I've volunteered for two US Nationals, and I took vacation time to do it. Volunteers have to be trained and get security clearance well in advance. There aren't too many people being paid for their work at these competitions. They are a huge undertaking and their success depends on an army of people who are doing it on their own time mostly for the love of the sport. People on the other thread who have said that this can be whipped together in no time simply have no idea what all goes into a competition of this magnitude.

Another thing that the LOC needs time to do is gather sponsors. The USFS buys very little for these competitions, and it takes time to secure donations of everything from Kleenex to skate sharpening services to food to feed the judges and other volunteers. Years of planning go into these major events.

minx
03-14-2011, 03:15 PM
I could write a big list if you want, but one of the things that takes time is security, and that means vetting the media who apply for accreditation as well as each and every volunteer.

Debbie S
03-14-2011, 03:18 PM
One of the rinks in the Delaware Valley used to hold a popular adult competition every fall. Then they decided to disband the organizing committee within the in-house skate club and the rink opted to combine the adult comp with a pro-am dance competition they also held annually and a test session over 4 days. And scheduling that dance comp right after Regionals was the ultimate in stupidity. I wish UD or another club in the area would bring the adult comp back, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Getting back on topic....I'll note that my club hosts an annual comp that draws a couple hundred skaters, usually all within a 3-hour or so drive (typical club comp scene). Compared to Worlds, it's nothing.....and we start working on it 5 months in advance. A few years ago, we did have to change the venue about 3 months in advance (long story) and it was a scramble to get everything in place.

Remembering that, there is also the issue with vendor contracts - that would be the retail and other companies that set up merchandise booths at the arena, and also those that provide official event photography and video (I think Worlds has vendors that do that....for the competitors, feds, etc?). Displacing those to another country at another time is not simple, and those contracts are a source of income for the LOC.

And maybe a bit more trivial, but still an important income source, is the event merchandise. If you move the event, you need new merchandise and since most stuff is made locally b/c of shipping costs, you'll need a new vendor to do that. And I guess a new event logo? And that's not as easy as it sounds.

flowerpower
03-14-2011, 03:20 PM
I could write a big list if you want, but one of the things that takes time is security, and that means vetting the media who apply for accreditation as well as each and every volunteer.

This is one of the reasons they should choose a site which has a large, established volunteer base and which has held a major event fairly recently.

ETA: Although there's no guarantee those people could step up on short notice. And there are many other logistical factors to consider.

Yazmeen
03-14-2011, 03:28 PM
This is one of the reasons they should choose a site which has a large, established volunteer base and which has held a major event fairly recently.

ETA: Although there's no guarantee those people could step up on short notice. And there are many other logistical factors to consider.

However, if they have volunteered recently, they might not be able to get the time off from work or family to volunteer again so soon, so this is not necessarily a good idea. Experience does not mean availability especially on short notice.

4rkidz
03-14-2011, 03:52 PM
I have been involved in planning national sporting events in various summer and winter sports including figure skating.. we started the planning typically 2-3 years prior to the event with the logistics and planning, funding and starting the individual committee's the year prior. The volunteer aspect is the last part of the planning and I think you need at least 3-6 months and that's pushing it. Even the police clearences and legal paperwork for volunteers takes time.. obviously some federations are more ready than others - like Canada where the have an updated database of volunteers so can process very quickly, but not possible to do in weeks. IMHO

Blair
03-14-2011, 08:49 PM
This is my experience volunteering at a couple of Cdn nationals, so I imagine it would just be bigger for a World Championships.

For every area of volunteer service, there are typically dozens of people who are required do the necessary planning and committee work as well as to cover all the shifts during the practices and the events.

These areas would invlude:
music
announcers
tech set up/tear down
security
first aid
acceditation/registration
transportation
hospitality
media

+booking officials, reservations (hotels/sites/equipment), security clearance for all these areas

An event this big would require several hundred volunteers + hundreds of paid service people.

victoriajh
03-14-2011, 09:31 PM
I dont understand why speedy cant just SAY- not in toyko then not at all- OR we are looking into options elsewhere- why would that be such a big deal?

BittyBug
03-14-2011, 09:47 PM
For every area of volunteer service, there are typically dozens of people who are required do the necessary planning and committee work as well as to cover all the shifts during the practices and the events.This. It's not enough to simply have an army of volunteers - there needs to be a carefully orchestrated plan for those volunteers and that type of logistics requires a lot of work and preparation.

Judy
03-14-2011, 10:07 PM
I dont understand why speedy cant just SAY- not in toyko then not at all- OR we are looking into options elsewhere- why would that be such a big deal?

I would think that they want to assess what's happening in Japan and looking at different options but I suspect it can be nothing but cancellation.

I would also think that would and banquets would also be required for the athletes?