Construction of the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) began today in Sochi in the presence of a high-profile delegation including Russian Prime Minister Putin and International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge. The senior figures observed as the first bricks were laid in the construction of the unique Olympic educational facility.
At the ceremony to mark the start of construction, a time capsule was laid in the foundations of the RIOU. The time capsule includes a letter to future generations of graduates from the RIOU about the spirit of Olympism.
The event was also witnessed by many other high profile figures from the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, the Olympic Movement, the Russian Government and business investors. This included Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Kozak; Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Russian Olympic Committee President, Alexander Zhukov; Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of Sochi 2014; Jean-Claude Killy, Chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014; Gilbert Felli,the IOC’s Executive Director for the Olympic Games; and Vladimir Potanin, Head of Interros.
Jacques Rogge, IOC President, said:
“The RIOU will be a fantastic flagship for all the educational projects and programmes of Sochi 2014. I am fully convinced that this university will be one of the main elements of Sochi’s legacy and that it will help to spread the Olympic spirit through the work of all of the students that attend this Olympic centre of learning.”
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of Sochi 2014, said:
“Once constructed, the RIOU will play a major role in delivering a legacy for future generations that Sochi 2014 is committed to providing. The RIOU will be a unique institution that combines world-leading education in sports management with a commitment to promote the ideals of Olympism.”
The concept of the RIOU was agreed during Beijing 2008, its first students will take part in workshops ahead of London 2012 and its first cohort will graduate in time to work at Russia’s first Winter Games in 2014.
Each year the University will have an intake of approximately 1,000 students, 205 of whom will be students from National Olympic Committees and will receive scholarships. The RIOU will have three faculties: an international relations in sport faculty; a communications in sport faculty; and an international management in sport and entertainment faculty.
The teaching staff at the RIOU will be both internationally renowned sports experts and leading Russian academics – including several from Sochi and the Krasnodar Region. In the first phase of its operation, the teaching staff will be approximately 40-50 academics.