Team Blog

Olympic Scholars Unite! Australia playing a leading role in this field!

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Our International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport in Glasgow ended on a high note with a great closing keynote address by US medico Robert Sallis, former President of the prestigious American College on Sports Medicine. His talk on “Exercise is Medicine” was excellent and his recommendation for the IOC to have a broader outlook beyond high performance sport was well received. Now to get the IOC to act on this will be the big challenge.

Next cross country stop was a far more intimate style of satellite conference for Olympic scholars at Loughborough University in the East Midlands. The Olympic hype and security was everywhere as this uni is the official Olympic Training Centre for Team GB. With about 50 conference attendees from around the world topics ranged from Olympic education, collaborative research projects, the role of Olympic Study Centres to the establishment of the new Russian Inernational Olympic University being set up in Sochi in time for the 2014 Winter Games.

It was a great academic event with only plenary sessions and keynotes (no parallel sessions), several outstanding workshops and of course the obligatory networking. Great to see the volunteer grad student force who were extremely adept at running a very smooth event hosted by Professor Ian Henry of Loughborough. Cheers to the many discussions we had with this next generation of researchers at the bar until the wee hours of the morning.

A key contact I made was Maria Bogner and Nuria Puig of the IOC’s Olympic Studies Centre in Lausanne as well as Dr Ian Culpan from Canterbury in Christchurch. Amazing to hear his story about the earthquakes - his family was fine - but not so several of his properties and Canterbury. His uni wil now will now undergo a major revamp with a stronger sport and exercise science focus.

As I was the lone official representative of the Australian Centre for Olympic Studies - run by Dr. Richard Cashman at UTS - it was great to see that Australia is one of the most advanced and progressive nations with respect to research and academic matters associated with the Olympic Games. We do not take a back seat to anyone in this field!

The next step may be the setting up of a formal body and group unifying Olympic scholars and Olympic Study Centres. It would also be good to see a stronger official connection between Olympic scholars and the IOC without interference in academic integrity!