A measure of preparation. In recent days, one of the more pressing topics of discussion for the organisers of the second European Games set to take place in Minsk from June 21 to 30 has concerned the rules over marching in the Opening Ceremony.
The European Games has been working in terms of the Olympic model for the team parade, with places open to athletes and up to six officials from each country.
Unlike the Olympics, however, athletes in Minsk – in the interests of prudent economy – will be around for only two days before their competition and they will leave the day after. And of those athletes who will be present in the Belarus capital on the day of the Ceremony, many will be competing the next day.
This may leave certain teams rather thin on the ground on the big day in the refurbished Dinamo Stadium.
"We needed to think of adapting our policy to have a more flexible approach with regards to who can and cannot march in the Opening Ceremony," Simon Clegg, the Minsk 2019 executive director on behalf of its overseeing body, the European Olympic Committees (EOC), told insidethegames his week.
"It may be that there are more officials marching in athletes' places.
"But we're talking now about the minutiae – the big issues have been dealt with.
"The city is well dressed. The people are excited that the event is getting close.
"There's still a lot to do, but there always is at this stage of a major event. From my perspective, things are where I would hope and expect them to be at this stage before the Opening Ceremony."
Before it staged the inaugural European Games four years ago, the largest event Baku had hosted was the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. The learning curve was particularly steep, given that there had been only two-and-a-half years to prepare for a competition that is now set as quadrennial.
The biggest event Minsk has previously staged is the 2014 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships. And Minsk, too, has had less than a standard gap in which to prepare for the Games.
The Belarus capital was only named as the host by the EOC in October 2016 after the award of the second Games to Russia was rescinded in the fall-out to the Russian doping scandal that emerged to public view in 2015.
So these two Games have had much in common in dealing with the profound challenge of negotiating the step change from running a single international event to running an international multi-sports championship.
There are differences, too, however, and big ones, between the Baku 2015 and Minsk 2019 Games.
While the former had plentiful funds to bring in a lot of instant know-how in the form of experienced, expat sports administrators, Minsk – distinctly less plutocratic than Baku – has looked largely to home-grown talents.
Getting a handle on the exponential level of complexity involved in an interdependent multi-event Games is probably the biggest challenge involved – that, and reacting appropriately and efficiently.
Clegg, who had 20 years of experience with the British Olympic Association before becoming chief operating officer for the Baku 2015 Games, is well versed in such challenges.
He offered an example of the kind of apparently small occurrence which, if not well managed, can throw a multi-event Games into confusion.
"Say you have an athletes' bus that breaks down on the way to the venue," he said. "Firstly there will be an impact on your transport arrangements as you provide a back-up. Maybe that would be transport earmarked for another venue.
"The delay in the athletes reaching the venue will mean you have to postpone the start time. That is going to impact on broadcasting.
"There will also be an impact in terms of those athletes getting back late to the Athletes' Village. That might mean that the restaurant has to be open later.
"And all of this will have an effect on the volunteers involved at each point, with repercussions in terms of their travel and meals.
"If you are putting on a single sport event such a circumstance is easily manageable. It's when you have the interdependence of a multi-sport event, with different sports going on at the same time in the same city, that the challenge increases to another level. It's a different ball game."
What remains to be seen is how Minsk 2019, with its relative lack of internationally experienced operators, will cope if anything goes wrong – particularly in terms of media interaction. That will be another serious test of how well the organisers have taken on their new continental role.
Of course, the Minsk 2019 Games, with its economies and home reliance, fits more happily into the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) hybridised Agenda 2020 concept of the New Norm.
The sensible ambition of its policy in terms of venues is also just the kind of thing the IOC is now happy to see.
Of the 12 venues that will be employed, all but one – the Olympic Sport Complex – already existed. And the Complex is hardly grandiose, comprising of two neat, bespoke arenas to stage archery and beach football during the Games, with a capacity of 1,200 spectators.
There has been some significant upgrading of the shooting venue and of the Dinamo Stadium that will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the athletics.
The latter event will pioneer the new Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) format put together by European Athletics and will conclude with a final, Gundersen-style race in which teams start at different times according to the points they have collected to that point, with the first past the post being the winner.
Around 4,000 athletes from 50 countries are expected in Minsk, taking part in 15 different sports involving 23 disciplines.
Crucially, with its place in the calendar a year ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics, the European Games is well placed to offer Tokyo 2020 qualification opportunities – which this year will be present in eight sports.
Delegates at the 40th EOC Seminar in Vienna heard on May 19 that preparations were complete for the staging of the Games.
Standing alongside three members of the Games Organising Committee, Spyros Capralos, chair of the EOC Coordination Commission for Minsk 2019, said: "Minsk is ready to host the Games and I'm confident your athletes and yourselves will have a great experience in Belarus.
"All venues are ready and operational and are waiting for the best European athletes.
"The overlay setting as well as the look of the Games in the venues has already started.
"The Athletes' Village will be excellent. Many of the issues that we raised during the visits of the Coordination Committee have been addressed.
"For example, there has been refurbishing in all the bathrooms in the apartments and new mattresses and bed extensions have been put in place, so your athletes will be really comfortable there.
"As far as the athletics competition goes, there have been some changes to the DNA programme.
"We held a test event 10 days ago and are confident it's going to be an excellent competition.
"Twenty-four teams will be involved, with the agreement of the European Athletics Federation."
Capralos brought to the Seminar's attention the fact that, on June 23, the IOC will be inviting Presidents of all European NOCs to celebrate the opening of its new headquarters in Lausanne.
"What we have done in order to facilitate this is to charter a flight," he said.
"It will leave Minsk very early in the morning and take the Presidents of the NOCs to Lausanne, and come back in the evening."
Returning to other arrangements for the Games, he added: "The TV production in Minsk will be of high quality. I think we will have great images from the Games.
"A total of 43 European countries will be broadcasting the Games on a daily basis.
"Another seven European countries that do not have TV rights will be getting daily highlights.
"So the whole of Europe will be getting the Games.
"Around the world there are 83 other countries that have shown interest and acquired the rights.
"So the rest of the world is showing a big interest and of course it's normal because it's only one year before Tokyo 2020 and they know that European athletes are very strong and they want to know how they are doing.
"Finally, we are making efforts with the Olympic Channel so that for the territories where broadcasting and TV rights are not sold, the Olympic Channel can broadcast to those countries.
"I would like to remind everybody here that the European Games is our Games.
"We need to do our best so that this project becomes a big success, so that for the third edition we will have the best lessons so that we have even better Games going forward."
Siarhei Shablyka, deputy chief executive of the Minsk European Games Organising Committee (MEGOC), echoed the earlier announcement by Capralos that Minsk would be ready to stage the second European Games.
"Construction of all 15 competition venues is complete," he said.
His fellow MEGOC deputy chief executive, Anatol Kotau, said the second stage of development at Minsk International Airport had also been completed.
He added: "We are about to put on sale 190,000 tickets.
"At the moment karate, athletics, beach soccer and gymnastics look like making the biggest sales."
From having, anomalously, no continental multi-sport Games, something which Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas have long enjoyed, Europe now finds itself with two.
One is the classic model, in the form of the EOC's Games, and the second, which emerged last year as a planned quadrennial event, is the European Championships.
For 2018, the European Championships were more of a loosely-linked combination of competitions that were nevertheless as one in terms of branding, with the achieved ambition of leveraging more advantageous marketing and TV rights.
With Berlin already contracted and committed to hosting what turned out to be a superb version of the European Athletics Championships – the "best ever" according to EA President Svein Arne Hansen – the responsibility for staging the other sports involved, namely aquatics, cycling, rowing, triathlon, golf and gymnastics, fell to Scotland.
Other than golf, which took place at Gleneagles, and the diving, which was hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, all other events were staged in Glasgow, which had hosted the Commonwealth Games four years earlier.
On the back of what was universally acknowledged as a highly successful event, there have been numerous expressions of interest in hosting the next version in 2022.
In March, Munich's city councillors voted to prepare a bid that would be coordinated with, and jointly funded by, the German Federal Government and the state of Bavaria.
Germany has been strongly linked with the 2022 event since the athletics closed in Berlin's 1936 Olympic Stadium, with Hamburg and the region of North Rhine-Westphalia also expressing strong interest.
Berlin could also be interested again while the Swedish cities of Gothenburg and Malmö are others reportedly interested.
It remains possible that more than one city could again share the sports.
Organisers of the Baku 2015 Games pointed out before competition got under way that the European percentage of medals at the Olympics between 1988 and 2008 had fallen from 74 to 38.
While that figure was ameliorated by efforts at the Rio 2016 Games, one of the most enduring virtues of the impending Games in Minsk is that they will offer athletes, and in particular young athletes, an invaluable experience of what an Olympics feels like.
At least, that is, until the Olympics starts to spread itself around different cities and regions…