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Preserving the IOC heritage

Dating back to the first Olympics of modern times, in 1896, the International Olympic Committee has a vast archive: 2,000 hours of film, 33,000 hours of video, 8,500 hours of audio and more than 500,000 photographs, as well as 2,000 archive documents and 22,000 pictures of Olympic Museum artefacts.

Given the age of many of these assets, not to mention the obsolete video formats, conserving them has become a priority.

The IOC has recently completed a seven year project, the Patrimonial Assets Management programme, and IBC is to mark its achievement with an award.
Michael Lumley, chair of the IBC Awards panel, said “This project is very important for two reasons.

First, it ensures that more than a century of Olympic history is preserved for the future. But perhaps even more important it draws the industry’s focus on a subject which it is all too easy to ignore.

“Archives are at risk of becoming inaccessible, not just because of deterioration of assets but also because the hardware to play them is obsolete and virtually impossible to replicate,” Lumley stated. “Broadcasters, production companies and anyone with an audiovisual archive can look to the IOC’s Patrimonial Assets Management project to see a model of conservation
and access.”

At the start of the project, IOC’s archivists found 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.

On the films, “vinegar syndrome” chemical deterioration was gaining ground, risking complete destruction.

“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,” said Christophe de Kepper, the IOC director general. “The IOC patrimony can now withstand the test of time.”

The award will be presented as part of the IBC2015 Awards Ceremony, which takes place at 18:30 on Sunday 13 September, in the Auditorium in the RAI Centre. The Awards Ceremony is a free event to which all IBC visitors are welcome.

Free registration for IBC2015 is now open at