The Olympic Alphabet

Aug. 14, 2008, 3:59 a.m. (ET)

Even those who are a part of what is called the “Olympic Movement” can be easily bewildered by the array of initials and acronyms used as a common element of the Olympic language. Here’s a very quick primer.

The movement’s mother ship is the IOC (International Olympic Committee). While it is an actual committee of 105 individuals, each accountable to no one and run by a large staff in Lausanne, Switzerland, its movement is made up of two basic constituent groups: 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->The National Olympic Committees (NOC) of each country. There were 204 of these that had teams marching into the Opening Ceremony. Ours is the US Olympic Committee (USOC).

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->The International Federations (IF) for each of the Olympic Sports. There are 28 of these that are in the summer Games and 7 in the winter Games. The one that governs our sports is the International Canoe Federation (ICF).

Each Olympic Games is put together by an organizing committee. Those of you who were involved with Atlanta in 1996 will remember ACOG. Here we deal, usually not very satisfactorily with BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee for Olympic Games). 

This only scratches the surface, but you get the idea. My personal favorite here in China is BOB.  It’s not uncommon to hear a comment from one of our NBC partners (there’s another one!) along of the lines of “BOB screwed up again” or “BOB failed to get a good shot of that one”.

BOB is Beijing Olympic Broadcasting. BOB provides all the video of the Olympic events to NBC and the other national broadcast rights holders, who then edit and add their own commentary. BOB, like many of us here in Beijing, is a very busy fellow.