Future sport leaders studying at the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) today started a unique observation programme allowing them to assess in detail the complex logistical operations behind the organisation of the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The seven-year delivery period of an Olympic and Paralympic Games is predicted to involve coordinating with more than 200 different stakeholders including communities local to the host city, the Olympic Family, national and global sponsors and the world's media.
This period is divided into three distinct phases – planning, implementation and closing down. RIOU's inaugural intake of MSA students are privy to the implementation phase and will attend Olympic venues to observe operational activities and participate in roundtable discussions to exchange knowledge and ideas with Games operations leaders on topics such as venue operations, technology operations, brand identity, press operations, and sustainability and legacy.
One of RIOU's MSA students, who is also an Olympic gold medallist for Poland in swimming, Otylia Jędrzejczak, said:
"In the past few months at RIOU we have been learning a lot about the Olympic Movement, the Olympic spirit and the organisation of the Olympic Games, so this observation programme is a great opportunity to see how all these parts merge together to create a truly special event such as Sochi 2014.
"As an Olympian I know how an Olympic Games looks from an athlete's perspective. I took part in four editions in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London and I was naturally more focused on the performance and results aspect of these Games, rather than the overall experience and excitement. So for me, learning about how the magic is created for athletes and fans is even more interesting.
"One of the things I am particularly keen to understand is the logistics behind catering for athletes of different religions who eat different foods, because nutrition is such an important part of an athlete's preparation and it must be exactly right. It is also really important for me to understand as much detail as possible about the marketing, management and human resources aspects to organising the Games. Poland is bidding for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 so I am determined to gain as much knowledge as possible and feed it back to our National Olympic Committee to help their bid."