The two week annual session, traditionally held in June or July, is designed as an introduction to Olympism and the Olympic Movement. The IOA brings together a large international group of young people who are primarily students, Olympic athletes, people active in sport, teaching or active in their respective NOCs or NOAs.

The aim of the IOA is to educate, but more importantly, to motivate young people to use their experiences and knowledge gained from the Session productively in promoting the Olympic Ideals and educating others in their own countries.

Up to 2012, the main topic of this Session was Olympism. Every year however, a special subtopic that was chosen by the Ephoria of the IOA was then developed by university professors, Olympic champions, IOC members and sports experts, who are invited to lecture in the Academy. Since 2013, however, the Ephoria chooses a basic topic for all the sessions of this year and one special topic for each one separately.

The Session is structured so as to include lectures, question and answer sessions, group discussion meetings, presentations by the participants, field trips to archaeological sites and museums, and research in the library. The conclusions of the group discussions form a consolidated report at the end of the Session.

Each year, the IOA publishes the Session's report together with the lectures, and a summary of the proceedings is presented to the annual session of the IOC by the Dean or the President of the IOA.

An integral and invaluable part of this Session are the extracurricular activities, which include sports tournaments, games, art, song, dance, poetry and literature workshops and numerous social events and activities.

This structure allows the participants to be introduced to Olympism and its Ideals and increase their knowledge of Olympic issues not through stagnant learning, but through the dynamic interaction and the dialogue with others in the culturally diverse community of participants, staff and Group Discussion Coordinators of this Session.

The IOA provides an international forum for free expression and exchange of ideas, as well as a stimulating academic environment, where Olympic Ideals can be nurtured. Participants gain the invaluable experience of living in a multicultural environment, which enhances international understanding and acceptance and forges lifelong friendships among the participants.

Participation in the International Session for Young Participants

Participants in this Session are chosen by their NOCs and are accepted by the IOA according to the following criteria:

  • Participants must be aged between 20-35
  • Participants must be fluent in one of the three official languages of the IOA i.e. English, French or Greek
  • Participants must have shown interest in Olympic matters
  • Each NOC can nominate up to 3 participants

50% of the airfare cost for one male and/or one female participant per NOC, is met by Olympic Solidarity. The participation fees for one male and/or one female participant per NOC, are also subsidized by the IOA.

Short Papers or Presentations

Participants are invited to send short papers and presentations on their Olympic experiences to the IOA, prior to the Session. Each year, the Ephoria of the IOA selects a number of the papers sent and they are presented by the participants during the Session.

Special subjects of IOA Sessions for Young Participants (1961 - to date)

  • Olympism, Track and Field Coaching
  • Foundation of the Olympic Idea from Ancient sources. Analysis of the work of Pierre de Coubertin. Philosophical, social and moral aspects of the Modern Olympic Games. Sports psychology
  • Physical education in antiquity. Olympic Movement and Olympic Idea. Information on actual problems of sport and sciences
  • Olympism and Fine Arts, Women and Sports
  • The Olympic Idea. History of Ancient and Modern Olympic Games. Psychological problems in competitive sports
  • Drawing the youth's attention to the Olympic Idea and its dissemination
  • The Athlete
  • Competition and Education
  • Modern Olympic Games
  • Olympic preparation
  • Future perspectives of the Olympic Movement as well as sports in general
  • The environment of Olympic Standard Athletes
  • Contribution of the intellectual world to the Olympic Movement
  • The history of the Modern Olympic Games
  • Younger generations and Olympism
  • The problems of Olympism
  • Olympism and Society
  • Olympism and Civilisation
  • From the Olympic Games to Olympism
  • Contribution of Olympism to international understanding
  • The ethics of the Olympic Athlete
  • Olympism against Violence
  • The Past, Present and Future of the Olympic Games
  • Olympism and Art
  • Youth and the future of Olympism
  • Olympism at the beginning and the end of the 20th century.
  • The concept of the IOC on doping as a counter point to the Olympic Spirit
  • Women in the Olympic Movement
  • "Sport for all" and the Olympic Philosophy
  • Commercialisation in sport and the Olympic Movement
  • The different applications of Olympism in the major cultural zones of the World
  • 100 years from the Foundation of the IOC. The Commitment of the International Olympic Movement towards the modern society of the 21st century
  • The IOC Centennial Congress - The Congress of Unity. Analysis and Reflections
  • Athens 1896 - Atlanta 1996
  • The Olympic Movement today, following the Centennial Olympic Games.
  • Some aspects of the Olympic Games
  • The Olympic Ideal and Culture in the Global Age.
  • Olympic Games: Athletes and Spectators.
  • Olympic Games: An Overview of the Sydney Olympic Games and "Athens 2004".
  • The Cultural Olympiads and the Olympic Movement.
  • Education through Sport.
  • Olympic Games: Cultural and Ethical Parameters.
  • The Olympic and Paralympic Games of Athens 2004.
  • Sports and Ethics.
  • From Athens to Beijing.
  • Humanism and Olympic Movement.
  • The Olympic Games as a celebration: Evaluation of the Olympic Games of Beijing and the Course towards the Olympic Games of Vancouver.
  • The Olympic Movement as a platform for Peace
  • International Olympic Academy: 50 Years of Olympic Education
  • The enhancement of the principles of democracy throughout the course of the Olympic Movement
  • Olympic legacy: the reinforcement of olympism through youth
  • Olympic Values: Respect for Diversity
  • The Olympic Movement: The process of renewal and adaption
  • Olympic Values-based learning as an effective tool for environmental protection
  • Ethics, Education and Governance in the Olympic Mouvement
  • Challenges an Olympic Athlete faces as a role model
  • Olympic Diplomacy: How can Olympic Sports play a positive role in International Diplomacy.
For a fortnight you will have the privilege of living here at the Mecca of the Olympic Movement, in the sacred precincts where Pindar and the other great Hellenic poets, orators, sculptors and artists gained inspiration.

Avery BRUNDAGE, President of the IOC (1952-1972)