Introduction to the International Olympic Academy

International Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece

### IOA Today

The International Olympic Academy (IOA) established in Olympia, Greece, serves a multi-national community as an International Academic Centre for Olympic Studies. It is an outstanding academic resource for students and researchers around the globe. Run by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Greek government, the IOA makes available a broad spectrum of educational programs and studies aimed at disseminating the vision of Olympism.

In February 2010, in collaboration with the Department of Sports Organization and Management of the University of Peloponnese (UOP) in Sparta, the IOA announced their new Master’s Degree Program titled, Olympic Studies, Olympic Education, Organization, and Management of Olympic Events. The program is constructed on the three pillars of Olympism, Education, Sports, and Culture. Prospective students can access information on the programs through the National Olympic Academy (NOA) of their home country. Students may also contact the Secretary of the IOA Master Program by telephone at 30-210-6878952, or by email at ioa-ms@uop.gr. Applications may be sent directly to the following address: Dr. K. Georgiadis, Program Director; Postgraduate Studies Program U.O.P. 52; Dimitrios Vikelas Avenue 152 33 Halandri; Athens, Greece.

Participants in the 10th Joint International Session for Presidents or Directors of National Olympic Academies and Officials of National Olympic Committees gather in front of the International Olympic Academy.

International conferences on topics related to Olympism are often held on the idyllic grounds at Ancient Olympia. The Olympic Solidarity organization in Lausanne, Switzerland, offers a variety of scholarship funds for many IOA studies and projects. The new Master’s Degree Program, limited to 30 students, is privately funded by the John S. Latsis Foundation, and no costs are charged to the students for its course fees and accommodations. The duration of the program is three semesters, two of which take place in Greece at the International Olympic Academy. Participants in IOA seminars must be fluent in at least one of the three official languages, Greek, French, and English.

Based on Olympic ideals, IOA educational programs not only benefit individual students, but also have the potential to help raise the standards of global interaction among countries for years to come. In May 2010, at the 10th Joint International Session, the presenters basked in the historic power of Ancient Olympia and added their words and hopes to the distinguished voices of the ages. You are invited to share the information and join the international dialogue on the spread of Olympism through education. Authorized by the IOC, the presentations are offered for public study in this unique edition of _The Sport Journal_.

### IOA History

Officially inaugurated on 14 June 1961, the IOA initially limited its function to organizing the International Session for Young Participants. In 1967, an IOC commission was created to coordinate relations among the IOA, the Olympic Movement, and Olympic Solidarity. This same year, the first permanent premises for the IOA were constructed at the site of Ancient Olympia.

The Temple of Hera is one of the oldest monumental temples in Ancient Greece.  The modern day Olympic torch is lit just as it was in ancient times, at the Temple of Hera.

By 1970, the educational programs of the IOA had expanded to cover all aspects of the Olympic Movement. Special sessions for institutions involved with Olympism were established, including National Olympic Committees (NOC), National Olympic Academies (NOA), International Sport Federations (FIEP), Sport Medical Societies, Unions of Coaches, Sports Administrators, and Teachers.

Growing out of ancient Greek civilization, Olympism is a philosophy of life that blends sport, culture, and education to produce a balanced character strong in body, mind, and will. Convening at Ancient Olympia infused with this dramatic lineage is important to the spirit of the conferences, and the campus exerts a profound effect on all who visit and study there.

> “We are in a haven of peace and balance, where centuries remain engraved on the stones… the beauty of the vegetation, and the serenity which pervades this unique place, Olympia, where sport started on its most glorious and finest course.”
> Juan Antonio Samaranch, Former Honorary President of the IOC and IOA; International Olympic Academy, 2009; p. 52

Many of these ancient traditions continue today. Two of the most powerful ceremonies are the laying of wreaths at the monument where Pierre de Coubertin’s heart is buried to honor the man who revived the Ancient Games, and the Lighting of the Olympic Flame to inaugurate the official Olympic Games.

In Ancient Greece, a person needed well-rounded training to be considered cultured. Sport was part of man’s education that aimed at cultivating harmonious intellectual, mental, and physical faculties. Young students were taught art, philosophy, and music, as well as sports, based on the spirit of fair competition and high ethics.

An actress dressed as a ceremonial priestess, in the robes of the ancient Greeks, lights the Olympic torch via the same technique used in the original Games.

Held every four years, the Ancient Olympic Games were an integral part of the balanced way of life. With its origins in the mists of Greek mythological tales of gods and goddesses, the honor of victory at the Olympic Games carried sacred blessings and immense prestige. The Olympic Games went through many reversals of fortune due to political changes over the long history. From circa 400 AD to the late 1800s, no organized Olympic Games existed. Then in 1896, Pierre de Coubertin succeeded in reviving the tradition, and the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens.

In 1927, Coubertin originated the idea for adding an international Olympic academy in his efforts to spread Olympic values. In the IOA, the realization of his vision continues to grow as a result of the dedicated contributions of many people over decades. Now overseen by the IOC, the International Olympic Movement (IOM) has been formed to functionally implement Olympic ideals through a conglomeration of organizations and individuals. Recognizing education as the backbone of the Olympic Movement, the IOC supports the IOA and other institutions devoted to Olympic education.

The current IOA houses many priceless resources, such as an archeological museum, a modern Olympic Games museum, a research library, the Coubertin Grove, and the excavated ruins of Ancient Olympia’s temples, gymnasium, and Sanctuary constructed by Alexander the Great in 338 B.C. These exalted settings, sacred to the Greek god, Zeus, offer a cornucopia of contemporary sports media conferences, research studies, special sessions for dignitaries, gatherings of Olympic medalists, the Olympic Studies Master’s Degree Program, and other courses for international students of the IOA.

> “The Olympic Games are… the only competition in the world… transcending cultural, religious, and political differences, an Image of fraternity and universality.”
> Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC; International Olympic Academy, 2009; p. 68

From left: Professor Konstantino Georgiadis, IOA Honorary Dean; Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, United States Sports Academy President; Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos, IOA President; and Professor Dionyssis Gangas, IOA Director, were among the many Olympic experts who attended the 10th Joint International Session for Presidents or Directors of National Olympic Academies and Officials of National Olympic Committees.


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