Senior figures in the Olympic Movement, including IOC members Patrick Hickey and Denis Oswald, went back to class today during the Russian International Olympic University's (RIOU) Olympic Family Open Day to find out what life is like for students and professors at the University, located in the heart of Sochi at the centre of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
IOC members, their senior staff and representatives of International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and members of national delegations, were all given a tour of RIOU's state-of-the-art campus and attended open lectures, exhibitions and presentations about the University's education and research programmes.
Adding to the importance of the day for RIOU was the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the World Curling Federation (WCF). Curling featured at the first ever Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924 and this MoC is the third RIOU has signed with an International Federation since it was founded in 2009.
WCF President Kate Caithness said:
"I am delighted to have signed this MoC with the Russian International Olympic University. The curling venue in Sochi, the "Ice Cube" Curling Centre in the Olympic Park, is world-class and it is my hope that the sport really takes off here after the Games. RIOU is the custodian of the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games archive and I know our signing will ensure a strong working relationship as RIOU continues to promote Olympic values and best-practice long after the Games have finished."
RIOU Rector, Professor Lev Belousov, speaking after the Open Day, said:
"I would like to thank World Curling Federation President Kate Caithness for signing this MoC today with RIOU. Curling is one of the oldest winter sports and I am very pleased RIOU has forged strong, new links with such an important federation. I am very much looking forward to working with the WCF in the near future.
"The Open Day has been a great success as we have shown many senior figures in the Olympic Movement how RIOU is not only training the next generation of sport managers, but also instilling Olympic values in them. I am very grateful to all RIOU's students, professors and administrators involved in organising today's special event. We have shown that a significant part of Sochi 2014's legacy, the establishment of a Russian International Olympic University, is already up and running."
RIOU's flagship educational course: the Master of Sport Administration (MSA), has 27 students from 14 different countries who were all on hand during the day to answer questions and guide guests around the campus.
European Olympic Committees President, Patrick Hickey, who is also an IOC Executive Board member, said:
"Sochi 2014 has been a fantastic Games so far and it's great to visit one of the pillars of its legacy. RIOU's campus is fully equipped for a sports university and students here want for nothing in terms of facilities. I think RIOU's academic approach will prepare students very well for a career in sport administration, particularly within the Olympic world. One of the students said she was currently doing a work placement with the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee during the Games – that really impressed me and it will be great for her personal development."