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Extracts from the memories and reflections of several IOA friends, included in the book, 50 years IOA Anniversary Album, Athens 2011.

Extract from the message of Dr Jacques Rogge (President of the International Olympic Committee).

"The Academy has come a long way in 50 years. Participants these days are housed on a beautiful campus replete with library, conference centres, an amphitheatre and sport facilities in the mountains of Ancient Olympia."

"The Academy has become a cornerstone in Olympic education. Members of the Olympic Family, including those from the International Olympic Committee, the International Federations and National Olympic Committees regularly meet at the Academy for exchanges on a variety of Olympic-related topics."

"The Academy is, of course, open to people outside the Olympic Movement as well. On any given day, one can see intellectuals rubbing shoulders with athletes, artists learning alongside scientists, and young people taking part in cultural and educational programmes."

Extract from the article of Sergey Bubka (Olympic champion from Ukraine, Member of the IOC, President of the NOC of Ukraine).

"The International Olympic Academy's activity is of great importance for Ukraine as it supports to implement efficiently innovative educational Olympic projects in our country. For 20 years since our NOC foundation above 100 Ukrainians – athletes and coaches, educators and scientists, journalists – were honoured to visit Olympia to attach to the IOA activities participating in its forums and programs."

IOA Anniversary Album

Extract from the article of Sam Ramsamy (IOC Executive Board Member (South Africa), FINA Vice-President) at the 50 years IOA Anniversary Album, Athens 2011.

"When any scholar of the Olympic Games makes his or her first visit to Olympia there is always excitement attached well prior to the arrival in this ancient city. Various levels of expectation enter in the mind – expectations ranging from the present physical features of the precinct to personnel one would meet.

Having been a scholar of the Olympic Games since my school-days, my excitement immediately preceding the visit was similar if not identical to that of a schoolboy who has just realised that his dream had turned to reality.

Students and researchers from all walks of life like to visit and stay at the Academy. I met historians, archaeologists, active and retired athletes and young participants from all parts of the world and people with various levels of knowledge sharing their experiences at the Academy. Everybody is eager to learn about ancient Olympia and the Games of Antiquity."

Extract from the article of Prof. Christina Koulouri (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece).

"A visit to the IOA is above all a process of discovery – an experiential discovery and a scientific discovery, an emotional discovery and an intellectual discovery. This multifaceted experience is linked to the character of this unique Olympic institution, which has succeeded in integrating modern educational activities into the timeless beauty of the landscape. At the IOA, the ancient memories that cling to the antique stadium, the Greek present as reflected in the small nearby town, and the planning of the world's future through the education of young people from every corner of the globe blend together.

The natural landscape is the first thing that makes a deep impression: the beauty of the site and its colors, as well as the clarity of the air, the scent of the bitter orange trees and the special stillness of the night. At the first place, the IOA has a visual identity. Aesthetic pleasure is not only derived from the present landscape, but also from historicity that gives symbolic dimensions to the place and to nature. Natural beauty thus operates as the ideal framework for an educational process that goes beyond the goal of conveying knowledge, focusing especially on the transmission of a value system and a life stance. The organic relationship between the landscape and the Academy's work seals the institution's history with the visitor's experience. This is why the rupture of that relationship during the fire of summer, 2007 was such a dramatic turning point. One of the most traumatic memories was when, in November 2007, with an international commission of scientists from all over the world, we visited Ancient Olympia to actively express our support for the efforts at repairing the damage caused by the fire. I shall never forget the dull, grey picture of the facilities, the wounded landscape and the violence of the destruction. I shall also never forget the little trees that survived, the shoots that were springing up here and there, reminding us of the power of life and the wonder of nature's regeneration. The message of hope, a message that the IOA seeks to convey at all times, was still present even in this darkest moment."

IOA Anniversary Album

 

Extract from the article of Laurel Brassey Iversen (Olympic athlete from the USA, Former President of the International Olympic Academy Participants' Association).

"...I returned to Olympia 18 times in 23 years as a Coordinator and IOAPA member, each time, easily transitioning from my normal life into the idyllic surroundings of the Academy. Olympia is like a second skin, with her perfect fit. Wrapped in her embrace, we shared unforgettable experiences and formed enduring friendships.

Many of my best memories took place on the Marble Steps. A "Great Cultural Exchange" took place there every night. It was Facebook LIVE! The atmosphere was stunning with stars so thick and close you could reach up and grab a handful. Initially bonded only by sport, we grew together in respect and tolerance for each other. We shared our emotions and culture in our life's' stories. Laughing, singing, talking, we stayed until the wee hours of the morning, savoring every moment.

 

IOA Anniversary Album

Extract from the article of Prof. Hai Ren (Director of the Centre of Olympic Studies, Beijing Sport University, China).

"...when I was invited by the IOA to lecture in the 35th Session of Young Participants (1995), which forged a close tie between me and the IOA, and further the Greek culture. I have been the IOA several times since then and each time a special feeling always accompanied me, which made the visits quite different from the others. At last I realized that there are two things made the IOA so special to me.

The first is its rich and splendid cultural heritage. Greece has a unique cultural landscape, full with innumerous cultural inheritances that every piece of stone seems to have some stories to tell. The IOA is located just right at the center of Greek culture—Olympia. The IOA is fully aware of its specialty and as a result it skillfully designed and carefully carried out various programs, which provided lecturers and participants with a unique opportunity to appreciate the healthy and inspiring cultural traits conceived in the era of human beings' childhood.

... The IOA was always dynamic with all walks of people, especially the youth. They come together from great diversified social and cultural settings over the world but with the same purpose: to learn and share.

Global village is a term used widely and frequently nowadays but never shaped so clearly in the IOA. It is always emotive to see youngsters in different colors with different backgrounds, cheering, playing, singing and dancing together harmoniously. I am always wondering why cross cultural exchange and international understanding are so easy and natural in the IOA but somehow difficult elsewhere. In that sense, the IOA set up an ideal example for the rest of the world to follow."

Extract from the article of Anita DeFrantz (IOC Member, Olympic Bronze Medallist).

"Each time I visited the International Olympic Academy, I left refreshed with the knowledge that there are young people determined to experience what the ancient people experienced at Olympia...

It is tremendous to have a wonderful institution across from the fields and ruins of gymnasia where the notion of sport and the tradition of excellence have been honored for millennia. It has been a great privilege to take part at so many sessions and I truly hope that I will have opportunities to share with students from around the world again."

Extract from the article of Assoc. Prof. Benoît Séguin (School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada).

"When I think of the IOA experience a number of words seem to capture what I feel: friendship, humanity, understanding, respect, passion, education, inspiring, hope, tradition/history and magical."

Extract from the article of Prof. Ingomar Weiler (Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria).

Being an eyewitness, being physically and mentally present in Olympia is also important for the participants of the IOA. This is the first major point of my contribution. Since my first staying in Olympia in 1960 and excursions with students of several universities, and especially since many sessions and lectures with postgraduates and participants of the Master's Degree Program, organized by the University of Peloponnese and the IOA, I have learned that teaching in Olympia, visiting the Altis and the other archaeological sites, climbing up the Kronos-hill and walking along the Alpheios is the easiest, fastest and most profitable and productive way to study the history of the ancient Olympics."

"There are three well-known museums, one of ancient sports, one of the archaeological excavations and one of the modern history of the Olympic Games and of the Olympic Movement conceived by Pierre de Coubertin. All these opportunities together offer for the students the advantages of the lieu memoire."

IOA Anniversary Album

IOA Anniversary Album

 

IOA Anniversary Album

 

IOA Anniversary Album

 

IOA Anniversary Album

 

IOA Anniversary Album

 

IOA Anniversary Album