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One hundred years of Olympic Games heritage

This year the IBC Awards judging panel recognised the incredible work the International Olympic Committee has done in preserving its audiovisual archives. The Judges’ Prize is for more than simply conserving more than a hundred years of archives. The need to move from fragile and obsolete video formats and decaying film is a key challenge facing many broadcasters and content owners today, and this project – with its long list of technology partners – is a model of how it should be done.

The audiovisual archives of the Olympic movement include 2,000 hours of film, 33,000 hours of video, 8,500 hours of audio and more than 500,000 photographs. At the start of the IOC’s Patrimonial Assets Management (PAM) programme, the IOC was faced with the realisation that, within just a few years, 50% of the videos would be unplayable, 20% of the faded photographs would be unusable, and there would be no audio players available for much of the collection.

The project took seven years to complete, with a total of 100,000 hours of combined work including cataloguing, indexing, technical operations and IP rights clearance.

“The IOC’s Patrimonial Assets Management programme has helped safeguard the IOC’s rich legacy by preserving the organisation’s historical archives and bringing them into the 21st century,” said Christophe de Kepper, the IOC Director General. “It was down to us to perpetuate the cultural heritage of more than a century of Olympic history that our forebears had handed down to us.”