The inauguration of the International Olympic Academy’s renovated premises took place on Sunday, October 17 in the presence of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
The IOC President, Thomas Bach cut the ribbon accompanied by the HOC President, IOC member for Greece and President of the European Olympic Committees, Spyros Capralos and the IOA President, Isidoros Kouvelos.
The IOC Vice-Presidents Zaiqing Yu, Ser Miang NG, John Coates and Nicole Hoevertsz as well as the members of the IOC’s Executive Board, the Mayor of Ancient Olympia, Georgios Georgiopoulos and other personalities of the sports and Olympic family were present at the event.
After the renovation, the IOA has new functional accommodation rooms, new restaurants, new teaching rooms and new sport facilities. Moreover, all subterranean and surficial water and sewerage systems were replaced with biological treatment plant; all these with no interventions to the external appearance of the premises which maintained their historical, original appearance.
H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou stated: “I would like to express the gratitude of all of us to the IOC President, Thomas Bach who generously responded to the IOA President’s request regarding the funding of the renovation. The International Olympic Academy, situated on a land that follows the steps of antiquity, combines the national with the international element and embodies the educational aspect of the Olympic Games. I would like to wish to this institution which celebrates this year 60 years of function to continue dynamically their great work”.
The IOC President, Thomas Bach, said: “The founder of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin, said that the Olympic Games are a pilgrimage to the past and an act of faith in the future. These words take on a special significance today with regards to the International Olympic Academy. Simply put, the Academy is the bridge that connects us to our past and that carries the Olympic spirit into the future. The Academy lays the intellectual foundation for preserving our heritage and for the Olympic spirit to inspire new generations of leaders to sports and society. In this way, the Academy supports the IOC to better pursue our overarching mission to put sport at the service of humanity. This is why when the proposal to renovate the Academy was first brought up, it took me not even one second to agree. With this renovation, we are reinvigorating the mission of the Academy, giving a boost to Olympic education and setting the course for a bright future of our Olympic Movement”.
The IOA President, Isidoros Kouvelos, said: “The official opening of the renovated premises, is now a reality, fulfilling a long-standing vision! The IOA’s reform opens a new chapter of its course in the Olympic Movement. The landscape of Olympia sets a point of reference for the IOA as an institution, being placed in the contemporary context of Olympic Movement with a clear perception of the roots of Olympism.
When I first conceived the idea of the IOA’s reform, I was strongly driven by the recognition that the world is evolving rapidly and the IOA should keep pace with the contemporary reality and move towards! I have always supported that all members and staff of the IOC and the institutions related with the Olympic Movement as well as the Olympic sponsors have to live this unique experience in Olympia.
And I feel very grateful that from the very first moment, the IOC President, Thomas Bach, trusted this vision and expressed his willingness to walk with us and in close alignment to make an important contribution to the Olympic Movement! To pave the way in order to strengthen the IOA’s role at the service of humanity; to provide the conditions in order for the IOA to remain and evolve as the leading institution of Olympic Education worldwide.”
The HOC President, Spyros Capralos, said: “Today marks the entry of the International Olympic Academy with a new, renewed profile, but also with new educational dynamics, in an era in which I am confident that it will continue unhindered, its educational role, with a view to the dissemination of Olympism and its international promotion.
I would like, once again, to express a warm and big thank you to the International Olympic Committee and personally President Thomas Bach for their great contribution to the renovation of the facilities that you will see.
Finally, I would like to highlight that the Hellenic Olympic Committee owner of these facilities will always continue to assist the IOA. The common path and responsibility towards the heritage of the ancient and modern Olympic Games has always been the culmination of our relationship. A relationship that has always been strong and creative and one that I hope will continue into the future”.