Today the Russian International Olympic University is playing host to the 2nd international research-to-practice conference ‘Olympic Legacy and Mega Events in Sports’ (SOL’2017) organised jointly by RIOU, the Russian Olympic Committee and the Vladimir Potanin Foundation.
The conference has brought together about 200 participants including acclaimed Russian and international experts and academics, renowned athletes, RIOU students and graduates, representatives of government bodies, members of the Russian State Duma and the Sochi City Assembly, organisers of international sports mega events, and journalists. The delegates come from 20 regions of Russia and 18 different countries of the world.
This year’s edition of the conference will look at a wide range of challenges faced by organisers of major sporting events such as human resources policies, drivers for the dissemination of new standards of quality of life, effective sports media strategies and tools. The conference will open with the experts’ briefing Recalling the Future: from a Bid to Steady Development. One of the keynote speakers is the IOC Head of Legacy Tania Braga, who will present to the conference participants exclusive preliminary results of the IOC’s pilot project to capture, document and analyse the legacy of past Olympic Games editions, including Sochi 2014. Tania believes that Olympic Games have left tangible and intangible benefits, such as training centres and facilities used to improve the performance of athletes, increased enthusiasm for less popular sports, enhanced professional skills and career opportunities for local people, increased global visibility for cities and national cultures.
She emphasises: “The IOC aims to establish a broader foundation for the delivery of such long-term benefits, by investing efforts in the development of a strong legacy vision, supporting effective legacy governance and being proactive in measuring legacy outcomes”.
The conference will feature three main sessions: ‘Hot. Cool. Gone: Personnel of Sporting Mega Events: What Can One Do?’, ‘Sustainability in Sports: Mega Events Legacy Development’, ‘The Kings of the Rings: Media and the World’s Major Sporting Events’. During the sessions the speakers will present their visions of using, preserving and further developing the Olympic legacy.
RIOU Rector Professor Lev Belousov said: “RIOU is a symbol of the effective legacy of the Sochi Olympics, and it’s only natural that today we are providing a venue for a comprehensive discussion of the outcomes of the past Games. It is a new attempt to analyse the legacies created and find the most efficient ways to deliver their benefits. What we want is to look into the future and identify the so-called growth areas. To achieve this we need to have an open expert dialogue on issues such as the economic impacts, HR policies, sustainable development, as well as the humanitarian aspects and the cultural impact of major sporting events”.
The general partners of the conference are the Russian Ministry of Sport and the Vladimir Potanin Foundation. The Foundation’s General Director Oksana Oracheva said: “Sports education is one of our key priorities, so each year we provide scholarships and grants for students and teachers at the Russian International Olympic University in Sochi (the Olympic Scholarships Programme). We believe that modern education involves not just accumulation of knowledge but also exchange of experience and expertise, presentation and discussion of research findings. SOL’2017 offers excellent opportunities to push the boundaries of the learning process and become acquainted with the most recent developments and best practices in the area of sports management. What is especially valuable, the conference is being attended not only by acclaimed academics but also by practitioners closely involved in the organisation of world class sporting events”.
As with the first edition, this year’s conference provides an international discussion platform for experts in the area of sustainable development, large sporting events organisers, and the growing team of up-and-coming researchers willing to develop new ideas and research projects to promote the Olympic legacy.