December 12 - With the 26th Winter Universiade well into its stride, Paolo Bouquet, vice-President of Trentino 2013, has claimed a successful Games does not have to cost a fortune and that it should be measured on how true you are to yourself.
Bouquet claimed that despite only having around 18 months to prepare for the Games and with a limited budget, Trentino 2013 will be a success because athletes and officials will enjoy the natural beauty of the region and hospitality of the hosts.
He revealed that, following an official observing mission to the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade, Trentino come to the conclusion they could not compete with the extravagant spectacle in Russia so focussed on making the Winter Universiade a more personal affair.
"I think when you try to organise the Games, you should be yourself," Bouquet, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Trento, told insidethegames.
"When we were in Kazan for the Summer Universiade, we immediately realised that there was no way we could compete with Kazan and Russia in terms of resources.
"So, if we compared ourselves to them, and said that, 'This is never going to work because we don't have the same amount of time or resources or whatever so this will not be a good Universiade', I think this wrong.
"You should never betray yourself.
"You should try to offer the best things that you have and what we are trying to offer is our history, our culture, our food and our people.
"We are trying to organise the Universiade like this."
Tasked with staging the Universiade in March 2012 following the International University Sports Federation's (FISU) decision to strip original hosts Maribor of the event, Trentino 2013 organisers had a tight time-frame to work with in order to ensure the event was delivered on schedule.
Bouquet claimed Trento region has the natural environment and the experience of organising big winter sports events – including this year's Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme – but said he was proud of the way the Organising Committee, officials and volunteers recognised the need for a cohesive and organised plan in order to deliver the Universiade on time.
"I think having a short time was obviously going to be a problem but we also saw it as an opportunity," he told insidethegames.
"I have met Organising Committees of other Universiades and when you have five years in front of you, you tend to think that you can go at a very slow pace and I am pretty sure that at the end of the day, that in the last few months and weeks they are in the same situations [as us].
"Our main problem at the very beginning was to quickly find people with the right professional skills to work with the Organising Committee because some could be very busy doing other things and working on other [projects].
"That took about six months to put together the key people to take organisational charge.
"Then I think, we found a way to somehow work very fast mostly because we are in Trentino and have experience of organising big competitions and in this sense, the sports side was more or less safe from the beginning except for one or two locations.
"So a lot of the skills and the knowledge were already there.
"On that side we were lucky and this is a reason why FISU turned to Trento to ask us to organise the Games in one year.
"I think the main challenge for us was to create an organisation [structure] and a system that would go across different valleys, different cities, different sectors of our province and work together for a single event."
The Autonomous Province of Trento has five regions, including Trento, Arco, Rovereto, Pergine Valsuguna and Riva del Garda.
Events at this year's Universiade are taking place in 10 venues across the five regions, and Bouquet says that the focus of ensuring the delivery of the Games has resulted in greater cooperation between the regions.
"This has never happened before and I think this is going to be an important legacy for the future," he said.
"I know people say small is not good, but if you can have an event like this and learn to work together and put it into a single machine then it's possible."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
December 2013: Trentino 2013 Opening Ceremony mixes old and new
December 2013: Trentino Winter Universiade gets underway with head of delegates meeting
November 2013: Pope Francis lights Torch for 2013 Trentino Winter Universiade
September 2013: One hundred days and counting until Trentino 2013
March 2012: Trentino replaces Maribor as host of 2013 Winter Universiade