Sochi 2014 marks the first time that the Olympic Winter Games have been held in Russia and signals the first of many major sporting events being held in the country, with the inaugural Russian Grand Prix due to take place in Sochi in October 2014 and the FIFA World Cup coming to cities all over Russia – including Sochi – in 2018.
According to Jean-Claude Killy, Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014, those working or volunteering at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games will be able to transfer their skills and experience to these and other major events, creating a lasting human legacy from the Games.
“There will be tremendous synergies for the country in a number of areas as it strives to put on these great sporting events,” he says. “In particular, the Games will leave a tremendous human legacy. The highly trained professionals and volunteers from the Games will no doubt play a key role in the success of the World Cup and other major sporting events that Russia will host in the future.”
Hosting the 2014 Olympic Winter Games has also led to the establishment of the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU), which opened in Sochi earlier this year to train the next generation of sports management professionals, catering to the demand in Russia and around the world for highly qualified specialists in the international sport industry. Topics of study will include venue management, event management, media management, governance and sport diplomacy, and talent management.
“Currently, not just in Russia but all over the world, there is a lack of qualified specialists in sports management,” explains RIOU Rector Professor Lev Belousov. “RIOU's task is to set up a mechanism for leading Russian and international practising specialists to pass on practical knowledge to students and to train a new generation of highly qualified sports managers in specialisms needed by the Olympic and Paralympic movement and by the international sports industry.”
During Sochi 2014, students have been able to participate in a unique observation programme allowing them to assess in detail the complex logistical operations behind the organisation of the Winter Games.
"During the Games, our students will have the opportunity to learn and practise what they learn,” explains Aleksander Bryantsev, head of education at Sochi 2014. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
It is experiences such as these that will help create a significant human legacy from the Games, according to Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee.
“The Russian International Olympic University serves as an example of the significant lasting legacy for Russia after the Games have been hosted in Sochi,” he explains. “It will become the key centre for training a new generation of highly-qualified sports managers in Russia.”
IOC President Thomas Bach, who visited the RIOU before the Games, is also convinced by the legacy it will leave.
“There will be many lasting legacies from Sochi 2014, including the RIOU, which is committed to producing graduates of the highest calibre to work in the world of sport,” said President Bach. “The Olympic Movement as a whole will benefit from the establishment of the university, as, of course, will Russian sport.”