On March 9-16, during the staging of 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, RIOU's inaugural intake of students on the MSA (Master of Sport Administration) course will take part in special practice programmes organised jointly by the International Paralympic Committee Academy and the World Academy of Sport (UK).
RIOU students will be divided into two groups to take part in either Observers Programme or Games Experience Programme focusing on different aspects of the planning and operations behind the organisation of the Paralympic Games. The first programme is designed to ensure the transfer of the unique knowledge acquired by the organisers of the current Games to future Organising Committees. The Games Experience Programme aims to deliver a multi-stakeholder perspective of Games management and provide an understanding of the business potential of sporting events. Both learning programmes include lectures, seminars and roundtable discussions involving key officials responsible for the staging of the Games and the development of the Paralympic movement. All the delegates will be offered privileged access to Sochi's Olympic venues to observe the core operating functions.
Besides taking part in the IPC Observers and Games Experience programmes, the MSA students will conduct a detailed survey of over 200 athletes and media representatives, which will allow them to collect valuable feedback on how athletes and journalists perceive different aspects of the planning and staging of the Paralympic Games. In particular, the survey will cover such areas as competition and training venues, Paralympic villages, transport, spectators' engagement and many others. The information received will be used in further research and will provide a basis for a comprehensive analysis of the Games perception.
Rector of the Russian International Olympic University, Professor Lev Belousov, said: «Our students had an excellent chance to get a behind-the-scenes view of the organisation of the Olympic Games, and now they have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the Paralympic event operations. The organisation of the Paralympic Games is a very complex and subtle logistical process requiring tailored skills and expertise. Learning programmes delivered by the IPC Academy ensure direct transfer of such knowledge and provide deep insights into the most important aspects of the Paralympic movement. RIOU students will familiarise themselves with such functional areas of Paralympics as broadcasting, spectators' involvement, the effective use of Paralympic brands, and others. That's why we feel it is important to incorporate practical training at the Sochi Paralympic Games into the MSA course."