PRESS RELEASE 13 June 2013


Halandri, 13 June 2013


The proceedings of the 53rd International Session for Young Participants were officially opened by the President of the International Olympic Academy Mr Isidoros Kouvelos at the Athens Megaron on Wednesday, 12 June.

The Opening Ceremony was attended by the Deputy Minister for Sports Yannis Ioannidis, the Honorary Chairman of the New Democracy Party Constantinos Mitsotakis, IOC member Lambis Nikolaou, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos, members of the Ephoria of the IOA and of course by the 173 participants from 89 countries who will be discovering, until the 25th of June, in the facilities of the IOA the history of the Olympic Movement, the Olympic values and realize how important their implementation is in today’s society.

During the Opening Ceremony, IOC member and President of the IOC’s Commission for Culture and Olympic Education Lambis Nikolaou, read the message of the President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge who emphasized in his address to the Young Participants: “Over the next few days, you will be taking an in-depth look at various themes linked to Olympism and its values. We want you to tell us what you think, what you want and what you suggest, in order to ensure that the Olympic Games continue to inspire the world’s young people and remain an opportunity to imagine a better world. And once you return to your respective countries, pass on and spread these values. Be ambassadors for them with strength and conviction”.

The Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sport Constantinos Arvanitopoulos sent a message while the President of the IOA Isidoros Kouvelos noted, inter alia: “The subject we have chosen for this year, dear young friends, as you have certainly realized was not fortuitous. We have referred many times to Olympism’s contribution to our daily life and to the legacy which Coubertin and the other researchers of the phenomenon have left us. The question that arises, however, is: what can the Olympic Movement, whose development was underpinned by the legacy of the Olympic Games and the principles of Olympism that have nurtured whole generations of young people, expect today from modern youth in order to become stronger?

In other words how could the legacy of Olympism  be strengthened, enriched and empowered through youth, meaning through the special elements of the young generation, such as idealism, free spirit, innovative will etc. We are all counting on the young generation for making our world better. Obviously Olympism and Olympic values need inspired and well trained ambassadors in order to be disseminated all over the world and the youngsters could be the best ambassadors for this task.

Ancient Olympia, the place where it all started, more than 2500 years ago and where you will be staying for 12 days, is the ideal place to come to and find inspiration in the history, the perfume and the magic it emanates. All young people like you and others who are older who have visited Olympia until now, will never forget this experience”.

The President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos also addressed the audience: “The Session for Young Participants of the International Olympic Academy is a long-established institution, an annual gathering of tomorrow’s ambassadors of the Olympic Movement, of the people that is who wish to serve the lofty ideals of Olympism and learn the history of the Olympic Games and find inspiration in their principles and values.

This place that gave birth to the Olympic Games still has a surplus of energy nowadays and the positive thing is that this energy will not stay in Ancient Olympia but will be carried by you who attend the annual Session for Young Participants to all the corners of the planet!”

The honorary distinction “OLYMPIA” was awarded to Mr Tomas G. Sithole (Zimbabwe), Director of the Department for International Cooperation and Development of the International Olympic Committee.

The honorary distinction “ATHINA” was also awarded to the Hellenic Red Cross Volunteer Corps of Samaritans, Rescuers and Lifeguards, Patras Regional Branch.

OPAP SA, the Ioannis S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Emporiki Bank are the sponsors of the International Olympic Academy.