Theodore Oben was one of the pioneers of environmental considerations in the Olympic Games and other sports and mass spectator events. As Chief of Sport and the Environment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), he helped Organizing Committees of Olympic Games to design their environment and sustainability programmes and monitored the implementation of those programmes. From the Athens 2004 Games; to the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games; the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games; the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games; the London 2012 Olympic Games; and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. He worked more closely with the organizers of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. For Beijing, he coordinated two environmental reviews of efforts by the organizers to incorporate environmental issues in the preparations and staging of the Games. For the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, he coordinated several reviews of the implementation of the greening programme for the Games; held several roundtables with stakeholders and released regular reviews on efforts of the organizers to green the Games. He coordinated expert work on GAP Analysis and action plans for the restoration of the Mzymta Basin – an area that was heavily affected by the infrastructure for and access to the Games.

Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony 26
during the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium

Oben was a member of the Sport and Environment Commission of the International Olympic Committee for several years. The Commission advises the Executive Board of the Olympic Movement on ways of integrating environmental issues in the Olympic Games.