(Sports news) A new era for Olympic education began this Sunday: the International Olympic Academy (IOA) in ancient Olympia has been officially reopened after a two-year long renovation.
The new facilities of the interdisciplinary centre for Olympic education and studies were inaugurated during a ceremony attended by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The revolutionary work was made possible by a EUR 12.5 million investment from the IOC.
“Here at the renovated International Olympic Academy next to the birthplace of the Olympic Games in ancient Olympia, the Olympic values will be brought to a new generation of young people who are athletes, students, teachers or people active in sport,” said the IOC President.
Spyros Capralos , IOC Member and President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC), added: “The 60th birthday of the International Olympic Academy is marked by the completion of the renovation works carried out over the last one-and-a-half years, with the valuable financial support of the International Olympic Committee. Without this support, it would have been impossible to carry out a restoration project of this scale. I would like to express my sincere thanks to IOC President Thomas Bach, as well as to all the teams involved in the renovation project, for this great result. The International Olympic Academy, with its new, renewed profile, will continue its educational work unhindered, aimed at spreading Olympism.”
“The official opening of the renovated premises is now a reality, fulfilling a longstanding vision,” said IOA President Isidoros Kouvelos. “The IOA’s reform opens a new chapter. I feel very grateful that, from the very first moment, the IOC President, Thomas Bach, trusted this vision and expressed his willingness to walk with us and, in close alignment, make an important contribution to the Olympic Movement; to pave the way in order to strengthen the IOA’s role at the service of humanity.”
The decision to start the renovation of the IOA premises was taken by the HOC, as the owner of the site, with the approval of the tripartite agreement between the HOC, the IOA and the IOC, in order to revolutionize the facilities of the international centre for Olympic education and open up new possibilities for the IOA to host groups from within and beyond the Olympic Movement.
The project began in March 2020 following the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at ancient Olympia, with work including the total renovation of the accommodation facilities, conference rooms, dining hall and kitchen, library, and sports facilities. The installation of cutting-edge technology and networks, an upgrade of the external lighting, water filtering and sewerage system, plus improved accessibility for wheelchairs were also significant aspects of the modernisation.
Revamp of the educational programmes and services offering
To coincide with the re-opening, the IOA has also launched a new strategic plan, which is accompanied by organisational developments and plans to further build on its 60 years of experience and enlarge its offering for the broader Olympic Movement, as well as widening its reach by offering online programmes.
The International Olympic Academy
Located in ancient Olympia, next to the archaeological site, and supported by the IOC and the HOC, the International Olympic Academy is devoted to delivering unique Olympic educational programmes and experiences.
The IOA was established in 1961 with the mission to preserve and spread the principles of the Olympic spirit; to study and implement the educational and social principles of Olympism; and to consolidate the scientific basis of the Olympic ideal.
The IOA welcomes young people, college students, educators and Olympic athletes, as well as administrators and institutions that wish to understand, connect, study and learn about Olympism and its philosophy in a meaningful way.
Collaboration between the IOA and the IOC
The reopening of the IOA also marks the beginning of strengthened collaboration between the IOA and the IOC, namely the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) and its Olympic Studies Centre (OSC), with the common objective of strengthening Olympic education and studies.