Two United States Olympic Committee Olympism Programs: Team USA Ambassador Program and Olympic Day

The United States Olympic Committee administers a number of programs with the objective of spreading Olympism and the Olympic Ideals. Outlined below are its two most robust Olympism programs: the Team USA Ambassador Program and Olympic Day.

### Team USA Ambassador Program

The USOC considers its athletes the greatest representatives of the Olympic Movement and Olympic values. By developing the Olympic values in elite athletes, and, through sharing their stories, we aim to inspire others to seek the highest levels of excellence and to have respect for all, regardless of nationality, religion, race or background.

Started prior to Beijing 2008, the goal of the Team USA Ambassador Program is to expose U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls to the expectations, roles, and responsibilities of representing the United States at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This extensive athlete education program guides athletes through what it means to be an ambassador for their sport and country, how to embrace and maximize their role as a role model, and to consider the legacy and impact they hope to create.

The multi-phase program includes presentations, inspirational speakers and small group activities to cover such topics as:

* What it means to be an Olympian/Paralympian
* The athlete’s role as an ambassador
* The Olympic Ideals and why they matter
* Interview and media preparedness
* Leadership
* Leaving a lasting legacy through sport and Olympism
* Challenges all Olympians and Paralympians face

The 2012 program includes mandatory half-day sessions that take place at seminars conducted around the country, based on National Federation availability. The program allows for comprehensive discussions on the program objectives, including small group activities and interactive elements. A brief wrap-up session will be conducted in conjunction with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, providing a quick overview of ambassador program learnings, while focusing on inspirational activities and final tips.

The program is primarily delivered by iconic U.S. Olympians and Paralympians who have demonstrated sportsmanship and perseverance on and off the field of play in their own careers. The Olympic facilitators have included speedskaters Bonnie Blair, Eric Heiden and Dan Jansen; football player Brandi Chastain; softball player Jessica Mendoza; skier Picabo Street; decathlete Dan O’Brien; and others.

### Positive Outcomes

* The program was first administered in 2008, followed by 2010. Both Olympic and Paralympic Games resulted in better behavior and self-awareness by members of Team USA. The overall feedback from the American public was pride in the athletes’ performances on the field of play, but also their conduct off the field as good representatives of the USA and members of the Olympic Movement.
* Athlete feedback on the program has been overwhelmingly positive. All athletes who complete the program are surveyed and rank program elements on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest ranking. For the 2010 program, the average score on each question ranged from 4.0 to 4.4.
* The program has been a successful case study in bringing together cross-functional teams consisting of staff members throughout the National Olympic Committee, National Federations, alumni, coaches and athletes.

Not only have Team USA athletes represented themselves well on and off the field of play, but a nation and beyond have been inspired by their demonstration of the Olympic values. With 4 billion individuals around the world witnessing the Olympic Games, this program has the opportunity to disseminate elements of Olympism globally.

### Olympic Day

Olympic Day in the United Sates represents the pinnacle USOC-led event to educate youth on the values of Olympism by coordinating all the leaders within the U.S. Olympic Family. All constituencies within the U.S. Olympic Family work in tandem to spread the message of Olympism and plant seeds among youth about entering the athlete pipeline and pursuing their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

U.S. Olympic Day celebrations of a national magnitude occurred for the first time in 2009 thanks to the support of Chicago 2016 and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 2010, the U.S. Olympic Family rose to the challenge of surpassing the success of 2009 through increased participation among the National Federations, Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC), Multi-Sport Organizations (MSO), current athletes, athlete alumni and more.

2011 proved to be the most successful U.S. Olympic Day in history From June 19-27, the U.S. saw:

* 385 events
* 311 participating cities in all 50 United States
* 230 Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls and coaches
* 90,000 participants

At these events, athletes led discussions with youth about the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect. Sports demonstrations, fun runs and festivals helped introduce young people to Olympic and Paralympic sport.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has designed a turnkey program that assists communities across the nation in celebrating Olympic Day. The organization creates a team of account managers who work directly with a portfolio of communities to provide assistance in preparing for the events. In addition, an online toolkit is available for each event, consisting of:

* Olympic Education Materials (scripts and DVD) for one of the following topics: fair play, respect, perseverance, sportsmanship
* Recommended Olympic Day agenda
* U.S. Olympic Flag
* Certificate of Participation
* Olympic Day Mayoral Proclamation Template
* News Release Templates
* Team USA Logo and Guidelines
* User-Generated website for posting photographs

The account manager also works with the more than 5,000 Olympians and Paralympians currently living in the United States, endeavoring to have an athlete present at most Olympic Day celebration to share their experiences and the role the Olympic Ideals have played in their lives.

Thanks to the support of all participating organizations, Olympic Day is on the verge of appearing in every community across America within the next several years while continuing to expand partnerships among the U.S. Olympic Family. Olympic Day is becoming a great springboard in the United States for disseminating Olympic values across and grassroots organizations and participants.

2013-11-25T16:22:09+00:00August 30th, 2011|Sports Coaching, Sports Facilities, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Two United States Olympic Committee Olympism Programs: Team USA Ambassador Program and Olympic Day

IOA President’s Closing Remarks on the 11th Joint International Session for Directors of National Olympic Academies

Dear participants, the 11th International Session for Directors of NOAs, which has just been completed, has left us a remarkably positive sense regarding the future of the Olympic Education dissemination in a global scale.

Nowadays, the meaning of globalization is totally understandable to have been identified more with a political movement and less with an effort to achieve educational uniformity in the field of promotion of the Olympic Education in different regions of the world.

Even though I didn’t have the opportunity to attend all the lectures, I have realized from their presentations that they face the special subject of the Session with great sensitivity. Through the presentations of prominent lecturers, like Dr. T.J. Rosandich, from the USA and Professor Axel Horn from Germany, we have all found out that the new forms of technology which are currently developing really fast, apart from the risks that are being involved, such as abuse of one-sided and insufficient information, they also offer unlimited potentialities of the dissemination of the Olympic Idea.

Proessor A.M. Najeeb has introduced us a new level of knowledge concerning teaching systems and methods, which have been developed recently, via globally recognized interdisciplinary strategies, while our oncologist friend, Dr. Spyros Retsas, has guided us, in an elegant way, through the medical paths of Ancient Greece and the influence of medicine in the formation of a social culture connected to nature and competitive sports.

Dr Yohan Blondel, through his presentation regarding the recent French approach to the teaching of Olympic Values, has convinced us that we will always have the hope of improving the classical methodology for the dissemination of the Olympic Values, through school programs which associate directly the sport action with the Olympic knowledge.

The IOC Vice President and Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the 1st Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010, Mr. Ser Miang Ng, has brought us close to the astonishing IOC efforts for the creation of an athletic culture, on a different basis, which combines physical exercise with the cultural education of youth and the new model athlete we have all anticipated. At this point, I would like to underline my friend’s Miang Ng’s presence in this Session, which is of great importance, since it shows the IOC’s interest for the works of the Session and the issues raised by the National Olympic Academies.

I would also like to point out Professor Margaret Talbot’s interesting approach with regard to the controversy between the educators and the sports administrators. It is a controversy which creates various side effects, ambiguous interpretations and most times, human dead ends. In an era where the phenomena don’t respond to the reality, the need to enhance the role of the Olympic educators becomes more and more significant.

The subject we have chosen this year for discussion in the Session for the National Olympic Academies has left a margin of reasoning pursuit, while at the same time, has provided an opportunity of evaluation of the course, followed until recently, towards the propagation of the Olympic Ideals.

The conclusions as well as the thoughts you have just expressed (even though they were not known to me the moment I prepared this speech) is certain that they will be further discussed by all of us. More specifically, the National Olympic Academies members are requested to examine in depth the issues that have come into question and define their stance, which we would like to record as soon as you return to your home countries.

As I have already stated in the 10th Joint International Session for Presidents or Directors of NOAs and Officials of NOCs “The contemporary societies desperately need ideas and people with vision.”

I am absolutely sure that these people are within the National Olympic Academies, and if you have not discovered them yet, search around you and especially among the young people.

Give them food for thought and action and take advantage of their anxiety before the oncoming New Era which comes along with globalization. Simultaneously, make use of the things that this New Era offers you, along with the technological evolution and innovations, so that you can form the conditions which will facilitate the work of educating and training the youth, through a global procedure.

The Olympic Values are not going to corrupt because of the globalization. On the contrary, the prefabricated ideas as well as the nihilistic dogmatic perceptions, which usually follow such movements, could be influenced by the purity included in the terms, fair play, respect, meritocracy and peace.

Dear friends, I would like to thank you, once more, for your presence here, in this sacred place of Olympia and for your efforts to attend this Session in an active way. I wish you a safe return back home, health to all of you and I promise to be always close to you and assist you in your work. Thank you.

2013-11-25T15:27:55+00:00July 1st, 2011|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Coaching, Sports Management|Comments Off on IOA President’s Closing Remarks on the 11th Joint International Session for Directors of National Olympic Academies

Closing Remarks on Behalf of the Lecturers

I know that I’m speaking on behalf of all of my colleagues who have presented over the past few days when I say that I consider it both an honor and a privilege to have been asked to come here to the birthplace of the Olympics to participate in this conference. There are very few places in the world where the conference topic spans some 3,000 years of human existence as was both the venue and lecture topics we have all enjoyed over the past few days.

Following the opening remarks of President Kouvelos which set the agenda for the conference, Dr. Retsas discussed medicine in the ancient Olympic Games. As one considers events in the ancient Games such as the Pankration, it is little wonder that medical invention was often needed. The next day as we toured the Sanctuary, I thought of Dr. Retsas’ presentation wondering about how almost 50,000 people on that site in the height of summer got by with the medical services available at the time.

From the ancient to the modern, there were presentations on the Information Age and digital revolution. The presentations given by Professor Horn and myself complimented each other well. I provided an overview of the information evolution wrought by the advent of the internet and described some of the pros and cons of Web 2.0 technology. With this overview as a backdrop, Professor Horn did an admirable job in describing some of the societal effects of the digital age, especially in the younger generation. Whatever your personal attitude toward technology, it is important to recognize that the society-wide changes being brought about by the digital revolution are here to stay and we all need master the skills of using these tools.

Speaking of Games, the presentation by IOC Vice President Ng who served as the Chairman of the Singapore Organizing Committee of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games was superb. An outstanding multi-media presentation on the Games set the stage for earnest questioning from the delegates on the event and raised our expectation for the Games yet to come.

A common theme throughout the program was the primacy of education as a means for the dissemination of the Olympic ideals and values. Dr. Najeeb described how he was able to get the National Institute of Technology-Calicut to include a course on Olympic Values as a requirement in that institution’s curriculum. Given that the world-class bureaucracy that is India, to do so is a testament to perseverance and determination. Dr. Blondel also presented a similar success story on getting the OVEP into France’s national educational curriculum and their strategies to insure it is actually carried out. Last, and certainly not least, Ms. Talbot, President of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education did an outstanding presentation on the role of Olympic education in today’s world of sports which closed out the presentations of the 11th NOA Session.

Speaking on behalf of the lecturers, I’m sure that we too have all been enriched by our participation in the program. I, for one, feel I’m taking away from the program far more than I contributed. Watching the presentations of the NOAs over the past few days was for me both inspiring and educational. I was continually impressed with the untiring efforts being put forth by the NOAs to spread the message and ideals of the Olympic movement and the philosophy of Olympism across the globe. I also found the creativity of the NOAs in the undertaking of these tasks to be a marvelous learning experience given the wide divergence of resources available and the difference in cultures where this work is being done.

But more than that was the exchange between colleagues that took place outside of the auditorium. This gathering afforded us the opportunity to make new acquaintances from different corners of the globe and much of our discussion over a meal or a beverage went far beyond “shop talk” into topics that provided insights into who and what we are. This person-to-person exchange is every bit as important as the formal exchange in the lecture hall in making the Olympic values a reality.

I would like to take a moment to thank the administration and staff of the IOA for all their efforts to make this program a success. From the very beginning with the invitation to speak, the secretariat responded in a timely, helpful and professional way to requests for information or other administrative details. The technology staff has done a marvelous job on making sure that all of the presentations received the support they needed. Having observed Mr. Voggelis race up and down the stairs as a regular occurrence, I think he is faster than some Olympic sprinters and has about worn out the carpet. And last, but certainly not least, is the work of the translators, those unseen voices over the earphones without whose intervention the conference would have been greatly diminished. I believe that they all deserve a round of applause.

I hope that all of the participants are leaving here energized with new ideas to make your programs more vital and how to reach more of your constituents. Good Luck in your endeavors and thank you.

2013-11-25T15:25:57+00:00July 1st, 2011|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Coaching, Sports Management|Comments Off on Closing Remarks on Behalf of the Lecturers

Youth Olympic Games: From Vision to Success

### Introduction

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. When Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games in 1894, he sought to do more than just create a modern sporting competition. He founded the Olympic Movement as an education movement, believing that sport would contribute to the harmonious and well-balanced development of the body, mind and character, and helped create a more peaceful and better world. It is the convergence of sport, culture and education that defines the concept of Olympism and the modern Olympic Movement. It is therefore my pleasure and privilege to share with you the Youth Olympic Games, a new creation that truly epitomize the spirit of the modern Olympic Movement.

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is the brainchild of Dr. Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The vision and the concept of the YOG were deliberated in great length by the IOC Executive Board and the IOC members. The 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala in 2007 unanimously approved the creation of the YOG.

### Vision

It is the vision of the IOC that the YOG will inspire the youths of the world to take part in sports and adopt and live the Olympic Values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.

IOC President Jacque Rogge envisaged that the YOG, and I quote, “…is the flagship of the IOC’s determination to reach out to young people. These games will not only be about competition. They will also be the platform through which youngsters will learn about the Olympic values and the benefits of sport, and will share their experiences with other communities around the globe.”

### The Concept

The concept of the YOG called for the participation of the world’s top young athletes in a Games with equal emphasis on sports, culture and education. For the Summer Youth Olympic Games, 3,600 athletes would compete in 26 Olympic sports, stay together for a full 12 days and take part in culture and education programs created especially for them. The host city would make use of existing sports facilities and accommodation. The standard and service level would be different from that of the standard Olympic Games.

### The Inaugural Games

The Inaugural Games attracted a lot of interests from around the world. On Sept. 3, 2007, the IOC announced that 11 cities (1), including Singapore, had indicated their intention to bid for the first YOG.

In November 2007, after the preliminary evaluation of the IOC, the competition was narrowed down to five cities—Singapore, Turin, Moscow, Bangkok and Athens—from nine cities. In January 2008, this was further reduced to Singapore and Moscow, following a video conference between the cities and the IOC Evaluation Commission.

On February 21, 2008, the IOC President declared Singapore as the winning city to host the inaugural YOG in 2010. Singapore beat Moscow by 53 to 44 votes.

### Co-constructing the Inaugural Games

Singapore had just about two and half years to organize the Inaugural Games. The Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee (SYOGOC) had worked hand in glove with the IOC, the 26 International Sports Federations, 205 National Olympic Committees and different stakeholders to co-construct this very first Games. In particular, it was a special challenge in designing the Culture and Education program, which was the defining element of this Games.

SYOGOC’s mission was to create an inspiring and memorable experience for all participants, while establishing an enduring legacy for Singapore and the Olympic movement.

In the two and a half years leading up to the YOG, and during the YOG, Singapore implemented a series of programs (2) with integrated sports and educational and cultural elements to connect the young people with the Olympic values and one another. SYOGOC saw this engagement important before, during and after the Games.

YOG participants experienced Singapore 2010’s programs in four ways:

1. Learning through workshops, forums, events and taking part in various projects;
2. Contributing to causes and communities to appreciate how the Olympic values can help improve the lives of others;
3. Interacting through competition that is friendly and mutually respectful, living in the Youth Olympic Village, encountering new cultures, sports and communities and making new friends; and
4. Celebrating together the diversity of the Olympic Movement, in which many cultures are united through their common adherence to the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

### Olympic Education

As an important legacy of the YOG, the Ministry of Education in Singapore and the Singapore Olympic Academy produced and launched the Olympic Education Resource Package in December 2008 for all the schools in Singapore. Henceforth, Olympic education became entrenched in Singapore’s education system.

### Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame

For this very first Games, the IOC Executive Board had given approval for the Flame of the YOG to travel across the five continents, stopping at one continent where athletes and young people of the continent will gather for a celebration and herald the arrival of the Youth Olympic Games. To me, it was an important proposal of SYOGOC to promote YOG and the Games in Singapore. Hundreds of thousands of the youth and people around the world participated in the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame and there were many magical moments.

### Sizzling Performances During the Games

Through the 12 days of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, from Aug. 14-26, 2010, we witnessed sizzling sports performances from the young athletes, not only in their events, but also in mixed team events comprising boys and girls of mixed nationalities within the teams. The bold call for the Games to go beyond sports did not in any way dilute the quality of the sporting competition. In fact, in some instances the Games have brought to the fore some of the world’s biggest young stars, many of whom are expected to achieve even greater marks in sport in the future. Despite the competition, the athletes embraced the Olympic ideals of Excellence, Friendship and Respect. As an athlete from Trinidad put it, and I quote, “at the starting line everyone wished each other good luck, it was like one big family.”

The sport competition also taught the athletes valuable lessons, which they will remember for life, as an athlete from Gabon, Jessica Oyane, said: “Through this competition, I have seen my weaknesses and what I need to improve. I will work harder to show the people of Gabon that I am doing my best, and make them proud.”

### Culture and Education Program

For the first time in Olympic history, all athletes remained for the entire period of the Games where an extensive range of activities were organized for them to live together, and learn and understand one another through the Culture and Education Program (CEP). The CEP focused on 5 key themes of Olympism, Skills Development, Well-Being and Healthy Lifestyle, Social Responsibility and Expression. Singapore 2010 produced the world’s first batch of Young Olympians influenced with the belief that sport is not just about winning, but being a champion in life.

As Dr Jacque Rogge, IOC President put it, and I quote, “You will learn the difference between winning and being a champion. To win, you merely have to cross the finish line first. To be a champion, you have to inspire admiration for your character, as well as for your physical talent.”

### Making History

The IOC President has said that the Inaugural YOG was a huge success and beyond his highest expectations. The Young Olympians, the National Olympic Committees and the International Federations were all extremely happy and satisfied with the Games. Young people from around the world were actively involved in making the Games a great success whether working in the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee, as Chef De Mission, as coaches or team officials, as contributors to the Culture and Education, or as Young Ambassadors or simply as spectators. There were many innovations and new ideas in sports, such as the 3-on-3 basketball, mixed and continental teams that went beyond sport competitions to promote Olympic Values and understanding. The Young Olympians competed head-on against one another in their sport and came together as teammates and friends in the CEP, discussing issues critical to them, such as the fight against doping, health and the environment.

These are the significant successes for sport, the Organizing Committee and the IOC.

This is just the beginning. This YOG will be an inspiration for generations to come. Connected through sports and by bonds of friendship, these young people will help to build a more peaceful and harmonious world. We are all part of this legacy, by living the Olympic values in our lives.

Please watch a three-minute music video with highlights of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, titled [“A New Story,”]( on YouTube.

### References

1. The 10 other cities were Algiers (Algeria), Athens (Greece), Bangkok (Thailand), Belgrade (Serbia), Debrecen (Hungary), Guatemala City (Guatemala), Kulau Lumper (Malaysia), Moscow (Russian Federation), Poznan (Poland) and Turin (Italy).
2. These programs fall within five groups: Pre-Games Engagement Program (involving twinning of all Singapore schools to some 200 National Olympic Committees), Sports Program (featuring all 26 Summer Olympic sports), Culture and Education Program (special modules designed for the young athletes in the areas of Sports Issues, Global Issues, World Culture, Community Involvement, Adventure); Youth Olympic Village (with lively exhibition and performance spaces for the young athletes); New Media (wide use of new media platforms to promote connectivity among the youth of the world before, during and after the YOG.

2013-11-25T15:24:04+00:00June 30th, 2011|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Coaching, Sports Management|Comments Off on Youth Olympic Games: From Vision to Success

Teaching the Olympic Values within the Educational System

### Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of National Olympic Academies, dear Professor Kostas Georgiadis and my friends, I am deeply moved as I stand today on the rostrum in order to talk to you about a special Olympic education experience. I sincerely wish to thank the International Olympic Academy and, in particular, Professor Kostas Georgiadis for this invitation.

The objective of this lecture is to present to you a case study from France, within a special administrative framework and environment. Teaching Olympic values in the educational system means that you need to be aware of the system’s strengths, as well as its limitations. Despite France’s seemingly privileged situation as the birthplace of Pierre de Coubertin, it appears that the connection to Olympism and its values is very particular in our educational system. At the core of our educational system, therefore, when dealing with values that are closely related to those of the Republic, the pillar of French society, you need to develop a whole strategy in order to teach the Olympic ideals to French youth.

In fact, the French Olympic Committee has been developing for many years now an educational program that focuses on the Olympic Games and Olympism, which cannot, however, become fully integrated in the school curriculum.

So, the question that arises today is why, since about one year now, the French Minister who is responsible for Education wishes to build a program around the Olympic values? A number of answers, at different levels could be given:

a. An important and inescapable triggering factor was the city of Annecy’s bid for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2018. Unquestionably, this candidature that was presented at the highest national level, meant that different actors met, discussed and finalized an original educational project.
b. The choice of putting “a pilot in the plane.” Over and above the candidature, there was the issue of the project’s sustainability. So, who should be the interlocutor, the coordinator to be chosen among the various stakeholders (the Bidding Committee Annecy 2018, the French National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education)? The National School Sports Union (UNSS) that I represent today was entrusted with the coordination and development of the activities and you will see later why.
c. Original initiatives aimed at all French students, from earlier on until university, from the local to the international level.

As a result, I will be talking to you about all the problems related to a particular system and ambitious projects. I shall divide my presentation into four big areas. In the first, I will briefly present the French educational model and UNSS’ original position between the French administration (State) and Sport.

The second part will cover the general concept of the UNSS’ program, its concrete implementation, tools and educational projects.

The third will deal with the international aspects and strategies for reaching out to the French school students abroad (French schools abroad).

Finally, I will talk about the evaluation of the teaching Olympic values program.

### A Special Kind of Administration Between Sport and School

In order to help you understand the particularities of the French model, I will focus for a few moments on the administrative structure that manages educational issues. To reach French youth, you need to take into acccount an important element, the school. The vast majority of young people, 6-to-18 years old, attend school. Most of them—15 million—go to public schools. Therefore it seems quite logical that if you want to succeed in your teaching of Olympic values, the school is the primary institution on which you should rely.

Even though identifying the target is a rather easy task, reaching that same target is a rather complex matter. Indeed, the administration of the French scool system that dates back to 150 years ago, is governed by the republican principle of equal opportunities. As a result, this leads to a formalization of teaching programs at national level and to a recruitment process at national and very high academic level (master degree) for teachers. A civil service examination completes this complex procedure for the educator, also at a very high level—even for physical education and sports teachers.

Although, in the last 10 years, local management of school establishments has become a reality, centralized developmeent of the curricula and teaching material remains an important aspect of public policies in the field of education.

It is therefore difficult to imagine direct access through the curricula or the teachers’ initial training.

On the other hand, we have developed our program, building on sports practice, a special period of the student’s school life. Using this privileged opportunity of school sport, we can develop a reference framework linked to the Olympic values.

I should make it clear that school sport also has its own particularities. You will therefore easily understand why the UNSS is the main actor regarding all issues related to the teaching of Olympic values.

A student who attends lower or upper secondary school has two opportinities to practice sports: 1) during physical education classes; or 2) by joining the school’s sports association. This is the activity that is managed by UNSS. It involves organizing more than 100 sports every year, 200 national and local directors, 9,500 sports associations, 35,000 trainers who are all physical education teachers (civil servants) for a total of 1 million students under the same sports license.

Another important point is that every sport association is chaired by the head of the school and the UNSS by the Minister of Education, who also directly appoints the Directors.

On the following graph you will see that the UNSS’ administration is directly related to the administration of Education and Sports (ministry or sports movement). We are therefore in a special position that allows us to develop our own programs that simply have to follow the Minister’s guidelines and we do not have to go through the same barriers as the school curricula.

As a result, the Minister of Education has entrusted the UNSS with the coordination of educational activities that are linked to the promotion of Olympic values. More important, he has stated, through the UNSS, that the school wished to develop a comprehensive project around the ideals of the Olympic Games.

Between the School and Sport, I shall now present the strategy that allows us to efectively teach the Olympic values to school children 6-to-18 years old.

### The Olympic Values: From the Classroom to the Sports Fields, A Local and National Vision

This second part will focus on our program for teaching Olympic values. Which was the concept around which we are developing all our educational curricula? The UNSS, which is determined to develop an original educational program, obviously wishes to follow a sustainable approach in promoting the Olympic values. Its purpose is to revive the Olympic spirit and share the values it carries. In this sense, we wish to go beyond “incantations” and allow French youth to build Olympism in action.

What is “Olympism in action?” How did we develop a special methodology around this central concept? What were the requirements regarding the tools and implementation? These are the questions I shall try to answer.

It is always very difficult to formalize a very precise definition when dealing with a concept as global as Olympism. Nevertheless, this concept of “Olympism in action” refers directly to the students’ experience. To live the values of Olympism by different means contributes to a rather effective integration of these values. Sport and values thus become part of the individual’s general education. In this sense, since it is important to formalize a program in order to allow each teacher to draw from it the important elements to be included in the learning process, our methodology focused on the development of multidisciplinary educational projects that really require the student to act.

You understand that this allowed us to circumvent the difficult issue of school curricula. Indeed, every teacher, in the context of his discipline, as well as every institution is given the possibility to develop projects outside their class teaching in order to create openings in apprentice-training. To allow teachers to take such initiatives and before I present the most significant projects to you, I must tell you that a guide on the developoment of these projects is absolutely essential. In other words, we must give them the means to propose a new pedagogical approach by using Olympic values as a vehicle for education.

### The Educational Book, “Education and Olympism,” From One Pole to the Other

We had the idea of creating an educational tool that would allow us, through an interdisciplinary approach, to suggest a thought process to teachers. This book that was written and published by the Ministry of National Education, or to be specific by the Grenoble Academy (the Minister’s regional services) is aimed directly at teachers. Alongside IOC member Jean-Claude Killy, the Rector of the Grenoble Academy prefaced the book. This means that there is a clear link between the IOC’s expectations and the action at local, national and international level of the Education Ministry. This book was published in a hard copy version but what is important is that it can be downloaded free of charge. Here is the address: <>.

From nursery school to higher education, the purpose is to highlight the numerous educational projects in this restricted area (a region), publicize them and make them known to other educational teams. In other words, to allow the exchange of best practices arising from local experiences and initiatives in order to extend them to all teaching teams. The involvement of school principals and teachers allowed a coherent multidisciplinary approach.

What are the book’s contents? Approximately 20 thematic data sheets designed by and for teachers. They contain a lot of illustrations thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education.

On the basis of the curricula of primary, lower and upper secondary schools, each data sheet focuses on a specific aspect of the programs. Their content remains open-ended in order to mobilize teachers as much as possible. It’s like a kind of “databank” if you will, a rather large documentary material that will allow teachers to initiate a great variety of pedagogical projects together with the students, depending on their choices, in order to raise their students’ awareness of Olympic values. I shall not go into the details. I am officially handing over this book to Professor Georgiadis and to the documentation center of the International Olympic Academy. You can either download it or consult it here.

In addition to the hard copy version, an audiovisual support has also been created consisting of films, historic pictures and animated films connected to the Olympic Games.

### The Most Important Local Projects

As the outcome of this book, here are a few original projects that I would like to present to you:

* The meeting of students with champions. 2,500 students welcomed in their classroom Olympic medalists in 2010. The athletes shared their experience and showed them their sports path. Before the visit, students worked on the champion’s discipline, the Olympic Games where he obtained his medal and prepared, down to the smallest detail, this meeting which clearly was the culmination of their work. After that, 1,500 young people went to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in order to continue their work of discovering the champion.

* For the younger students, Olympic Youth Camps continue to be organized. This activity launched in 2006 and led by the Olympic committee that was originally intended for primary schools has gained a central role in the long term development of a comprehensive program on Olympism. Based on the principle of «mini-Olympics», several local classes are given the opportunity to build an interdisciplinary program based on sport (the practice of sports, as well as its history, physical sciences. The end-result is the staging of these games, with all the symbolic elements of the real Olympic Games (flame, opening ceremony, sports challenge, performance measurement, historic exhibition). The Olympic Youth Camps were held in March of this year in the mountain area of Carreaux d’Arraches (Haute Savoie).

* Promotion of existing events. Each year, the UNSS organizes more than 100 different sports. Our regional and departmental directors are invited to highlight sports meets using cross-cutting themes such as sports and disabled students or sports and sustainable development.

* Opening to new communication media. Through the introduction of new communication modes, the challenge is to create a social network around the Olympic Games. Called OLYNK, this network will allow young people to connect around Olympism using their communication mode and providing them with the diversity, the directness and the interactivity they expect from modern media.

### The Agreement Between the French NOC and the Ministry of Education: National Cooperation Framework

Beyond the massive distribution of the educational book throughout France, the question of its promotion at national level needs to be considered. Indeed, if we are looking for original educational projects that will contribute to the development of Olympism in action and if we wish to give regions sufficient freedom of movement for focusing essentially on local issues, the fact remains that a national framework needs to be set up in order to convey a clear message to all the parties involved.

On May 25, 2010, for the first time in the history of the French Olympic Movement and the Ministry of Education, a framework agreement was signed between the President of the French NOC and the Minister of education. Concluded for a three-year period, this agreement states in its article 1: Through this agreement, the parties shall seek to attain the following objectives: _…promote the educational and social values conveyed by sport and Olympism._ Article 2 further provides: _To this end, the parties undertake to cooperate in order (to encourage) the promotion of behaviors and values that reflect the Olympic spirit (and) contribute to the acquisition of knowledge and behavioral skills that enhance the values of Olympism._

I believe that the contents of this agreement clearly state the objectives to be attained.

Several concrete actions, directly related to this agreement were implemented, in less than a year, in many areas:

* Training young people to take on responsibilities. The UNSS has created a program called “Towards a responsible generation.” In cooperation with the French Olympic Committee, we train young people for the role of vice-president of school sport associations. At the side of the headmasters of the schools who are by right the presidents of the sport association, these students  are directly involved in the governance of the association, the choices to be made regarding sports practice, projects, future development. A national commission, composed of about twenty young members, has just been created in order to lead this program.

* Agreements have been signed between certain sport federations and the Ministry of Education. This was the case, in particular, for rowing, tennis, badminton and wrestling, which have placed their know-how and their values at the service of the school. The UNSS was an important actor in this closer relationship between sport federations and the Ministry of Education.

* The creation of an Agenda 21 for school sport in connection with the challenges of sustainable development. The “classical” Agenda 21 was presented to the school world thanks to the support of the Olympic Commitee and of the Sports Ministry.

* The presence of a member of the Olympic Committee on the UNSS’ Scientific Committee who is responsible for evaluating implemented policies. I will come back to this point in the last part of my presentation on the evaluation of the educational program.

We have looked at the methodology, the agreements and concrete projects. The signing of the agreement between the French National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education was a real driver for us. For history’s sake, I want to underline that the UNSS’ role was pivotal in finalizing this agreement. However, Olympism in action cannot forget that a large portion of French youth lives outside the territory of France. This is why it is important to adapt the program to other countries and I will talk about that in the third part of my presentation.

### French Youth Abroad: A Priority for Our Education

In addition to local and national actions, one of our priorities is to extend this educational program to the French youth that attends school abroad. More precisely, this will allow us to promote our vision in the context of the education provided by French schools abroad, which also welcome native students of the countries.

A memorandum of understanding will be signed in the very near future between the UNSS and the Agency for French education abroad (AEFE), which is a public institution of the Foreign Ministry, for the distribution of the educational book I have presented to you. Moreover, several presentations of the book have and will be organized until the end of the year 2011 in order to mobilize the students of this network to our teaching of Olympic values.

Our international vision aims at two major directions:

* The first is to establish an international link between AEFE’s world zones and the UNSS coordinators. To put it simply, the administration of French schools abrod is divided in 16 zones around the world. Opposite these zones, we have identified 16 territories in Metropolitan France in order to animate the network at local level and so each French zone is in direct contact with its reference world zone.

What are the offers betwen the UNSS and AEFE zones?

There are three types of offer: 1) A sports practice offer, i.e. French schools abroad will be allowed to take part in the sports competitions of French schools. 2) A training offer aimed at teachers and school principals who are sometimes very far away from France. In this way we can offer expertise and generate dynamism and connections around the Olympic values. 3) A communication offer, because sport often is an important argument that determines the quality of an institution’s teaching.
* At another level, faithful to our project strategy aimed at teaching youth to live the Olympic values, we have ceated a special event, always within the framework of the MOU beween the UNSS and the AEFE, that brings together these young people and part of the students living in France. We have called it the “International Youth Games.” You understand that, on a smaller scale, these Games are directly inspired by the Youth Olympic Games. They combine sporting and cultural challenge and are open to young people 15-to-16 years old. We have chosen this age group because at this level there are no important exams at the end of the year. These International Youth Games will be held for the first time on May 25-29, 2011 in Arcachon, near the city of Bordeaux (South-West France). For this first edition we expect 400 students from the whole world [comments on the countries table].

What will these International Youth Games be like?

The week is organized in two major types of activities.

First, sports activities which we shall evaluate on the basis of Olympism. Since it is difficult to judge beforehand what will be the level of students coming from al over the world and to create a festive atmosphere that is clearly desired, the events will be held on sand. For this first edition of the Games, collective sports will be on the program. To allow teams to meet, the mini-championships will be organized at the beginning of the Games to encourage contacts. Beach handball, beach volley, beach football and beach rugby will be top of the list. After that, another period will be devoted to the presentation of the Olympic symbols. A relay race with the participation of all schools will be an opportunity to become acquainted with the itinerary of the Olympic flame during the Games. Finally, to make their stay even more pleasant, students will discover the local sports (surfing, sport rescue, as Arcachon is situated on the Atlantic coast).

Secondly, a cultural part with three activities:

* Country evenings. Each school will bring an object, food or a poster and present it to the others. In a small stand, delegations will taste the products of the region that hosts the International Youth Games. This country evening will be staged on the day of participants’ arrival who will thus have an opportunity to meet.
* Conference-debate on Olympism and international exchanges. All participants will gather in one large hall where they can interact with great French athletes, specialists of Olympism and ecology.
* Visit to the major sites of the region (tour to the aquaculture area by boat, climb of the Pyla dune and folk dances).

These Games, which represent today a very important contribution to the teaching of Olympic values within our complex system, aim to become a permanent institution. Next year, they will be staged in Nice, marking the starting point for the educational program of the Games of the Francophonie (French-speaking countries) in 2013. Following that, we shall be holding these games every two years to allow more remote schools to meet travel costs.

Regarding the prospects of the International Youth Games, we shall follow three directions:

* Extend the sports practice offer. Although team beach sports are more joyful competitions, it is true that they do not reflect the whole the essence of sport. For the next edition we shall be proposing individual activities like mini tennis for example.
* We want to enhance sports practice for girls and their commitment. For this purpose, both for the sports part and cultural activities, we shall propose special workshops focusing, in particular, on empowerment in school sports associations.
* Finally, we are aiming at establishing a link between the geographical distribution of AEFE and UNSS members. In this way, opposite to each «world zone», one or more departmental or regional directors of the UNSS will be responsible for animating, in cooperation with their AEFE counterpart, a network of cooperation and partnership. We hope in this way to be able to increase the diversity of countries attending the International Youth Games.

From the local to the international level, from the classroom to the sports field, this is our vision of an Olympism in action through the students’ life experiences.

### Evaluation of the Program

The setting up of such a complex and extensive progam as the one I have just presented to you requires an in-depth consideration of the system’s evaluation. Without going into technical details, three major evaluation modules have been implemented and they will give us their first results during 2012.

The qualitative aspect is, to a large extent, the outcome of dynamic statistical tools. Teachers feed data directly to a database throughout the year. This allows us to know how many students have been involved, the type of actions that are implemented and identify the areas that are most prominent. Combined with the cross-cutting thematic areas (sport and girls, sport and sustainable development, sport and international…), this allows us to consider a more qualitative approach to the program’s evaluation.

However, to achieve a good qualitative evaluation, we have created an independent scientific committee that monitors from outside the implementation of our policies. It is composed of 6 people who represent, in the best possible way, all he stakeholders of French school sport. In this way, academics, high level sports officials and local elected representatives are able to issue calls for projects aimed at universities, in particular. This allows us to set up high level teams that will be focusing for one year or more on the evaluation of an aspect of the teaching program seen as a priority.

Finally, the last evaluation tool for dealing, specifically, with the complex issues of French schools abroad, is the setting up of a mixed group of UNSS and AEFE people which, on the model of the scientific committee, shall evaluate in detail the activities of the world zones.

### Conclusion

In conclusion, a few important points need to be noted as they could help in the transposition of this French program on the teaching of Olympic values at school:

* Find and use an important triggering factor. In our case, we shouldn’t deny it, the candidature of Annecy 2018 is a great opportunity to convince people.
* Find and formalize a concept. In our case, taking into account the specificities of the French model, we have clearly opted for capitalizing on experience. Educational projects that involve students from the local to the international level allow me to defend this concept of Olympism in action.
* Take into account the increased diversity of the target audience. It is true that we remained focused mainly on school youths. This choice was dictated by our status as a sports Federation of National Education and the number of young people we want to reach. However, the inclusion of French schools abroad had never been attempted, until then, by any program for the teaching of Olympic values.
* Develop a sustainable program that will continue for many years. In this way, integration at local level (teachers, departmental and regional directors) will allow a broad variety of initiatives and ongoing activities.

Finally, the few reactions we received from the IOC clearly indicated that we had responded to most of their expectations. Regarding this last point, you understand of course that UNSS is ready to assist Olympic Academies, National Olympic Committees and the countries to develop programs for teaching Olympic values in a system as complex as the French system.

2013-11-25T15:22:10+00:00June 30th, 2011|Sports Coaching, Sports Exercise Science, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Teaching the Olympic Values within the Educational System