By Duncan Mackay at the Alpensia Convention Centre in Pyeongchang

Sochi 2014 have been praised for the width and quality of its technology programme at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics ©Sochi 2014Sochi 2014 has been hailed as "truly groundbreaking for technology" by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) technology director Jean-Benoît Gauthier as a debrief into the controversial Games started here today.


The Winter Olympics and Paralympics were overshadowed by reports that the event cost a record $51 billion (£31 billion/€37 billion) and then by Russia's annexation of Crimea following Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych being forced out of office by protests in Kiev.

But the Gauthier had nothing but praise for Russian officials who oversaw a massive technological operation. 

"The Sochi 2014 Games were truly groundbreaking for technology," he said.

"For example, the Games preparations saw record online engagement by spectators, the creation of an electronic traffic management system, and the large scale development of the mobile and fibre optic networks in the Games region, all of which will deliver a great legacy for the citizens of the region.

"It was therefore important for us to bring together the experts that delivered and used this technology with those that will need to deliver the solutions for future Games."

The three-day technology seminar is an integral part of the debrief now held after every Olympics and Paralympics in the next host city. 

"Knowledge transfer from Games to Games is part of our DNA at the IOC," said Gauthier.

"Particularly in a field, where the need to ensure that our services are delivered flawlessly for the sake of the athletes and the spectators both in the stadiums and around the world is of paramount importance.

"We have been very pleased with the quality of the information that our Games hosts have been able to exchange, as well as the integration of the different stakeholders that will need to collaborate to deliver a flawless Games in a country that is at the cutting edge of technological innovation."

Pyeongchang's preperations for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be under the spotlight during the Sochi 2014 debrief ©Alpensia Sports ParkPyeongchang's preperations for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be under the spotlight during the Sochi 2014 debrief ©Alpensia Sports Park

The technology seminar is one of three sections of the debrief. 

The second part, which is due to start tomorrow and finish on Wednesday (July 2) , will look at all other aspects of the Games organisation and will include a combination of plenary and breakout sessions, organised around five themes, as well as one-to-one meetings on specific topics.

IOC President Thomas Bach is due to arrive here on Tuesday (July 1) to take part in the debrief. 

The third and final element of the Debriefing is specifically dedicated to the Paralympic Games, and will be held next Friday and Saturday (July 4 and 5). 

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