An Olympic-Sized Task: Interview with CISB Alum Joyce Ardies

Joyce Ardies We are excited to introduce Joyce Ardies, a valued member of the CISB community! She is one of our incredible CISB alumni and is currently the International Games and Operations Manager for the Brazilian Olympic Committee. We are so lucky that she was able to share some of her valuable experiences with us for this blog post.

1. Can you talk a little about what you do in your current position? What are your responsibilities in this role?

I am the manager of International Games and Operations at the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC). Our department is in charge of taking the delegation to all games: South American, Pan-American and Olympic. In each four-year cycle we have about ten events, so we never stop, as planning for each of them can start one to five years in advance. My team and I are responsible for accreditation, logistics: travel, lodging, accommodation, uniforms, special needs for food, training, transportation, international transportation of boats, horses, gym equipment and so on.

2. How was it working on the ground at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

Very intense. Historically, Brazilians did not perform well in Asia, mainly because of the time difference (12 hours) as well as cultural impacts such as food. Being aware of this, we invested heavily in balancing out those disadvantages, which meant preparing different bases for high performance training for at least seven days with gyms, court flooring, physical therapy, medical support, and Brazilian food, before entering the official venue provided by the organizing committee. This meant over four years of planning, partnership with host towns, preparing 17 containers of materials, 24 thousand meals, managing over 30 vehicles a day, setting up two volleyball courts, one handball court, three gyms and a lot of backstage work.

Our job is to orchestrate the backstage without impacting the focus of the athletes and to provide conditions for optimal performance. In the context of a pandemic, getting to the Games safely was already a challenge itself. Our goal was to arrive there and have no cases of COVID in our delegation. We worked very closely with our medical department and staff who were guiding operations. The fact that we were able to finish with zero cases, plus have the best performance in Brazil’s history of the Games, was phenomenal (21 medals as a record, 12th in the medal board).

3. How did your CISB experience help you along the way?

The Games cannot be more international. The CISB experience emphasizes the need to experience, accept, and understand different cultures, and that is a fundamental prerequisite for my job.

4. Do you have any advice for CISB students?

I work very closely with high performance athletes and notice their daily search for excellence. It is very inspirational. I tell my staff that if they are training, working hard in pursuit of excellence on the field and on the court, we should be doing the same at our job. The concept should be applied in anything you do.