Unique  experience at Ancient Olympia

By Andrew Hunter | Posted: Wednesday May 18, 2016

I was lucky enough to represent the NZ Olympic committee at the International Olympic Academy Director's sessions in Greece.

I have recently returned from Greece, where representatives from 77 countries gathered in Ancient Olympia to discuss and explore Olympic Values Education.

The Academy is the philosophical and education arm of the Olympic movement. It relates back to the instigation of the modern Olympics as envisaged by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.

Olympism is about blending sport with culture and education and promotes a way of life based on: the balanced development of body, will and mind, the joy found in effort, the educational value of being a good role model, respect for universal ethics including tolerance, generosity, unity, friendship, non discrimination and respect for others.

The week was filled with lectures and discussions relating to Olympic values and the development and sustainability of Olympic programmes. It was a unique and inspiring experience meeting so many people from around the world who all contribute to sporting and values based initiatives in their own countries.

It certainly made me reflect on the culture and philosophy of sport in New Zealand and especially at Balmacewen Intermediate. Our school values of Perseverance, Excellence, Respect and Kindness sit very easily within the Olympic ideals. 

The high participation rates of our students in sport and the high involvement of Balmacewen  teachers in coaching makes for a great environment in which to promote these values. 

I feel very fortunate to have had this experience and know that it has reinforced my beliefs around the importance of sport and values-based education.