Written by Dr Geoffery Kohe and Dr Niki Koutrou.
森肯特大学运动管理和政策ior Lecturer, Dr Geoffery Z. Kohe, along with Dr Niki Koutrou (Honorary Academic in Sport Management), have had a substantive new report published on the development and sustainability of sport and volunteer cultures within post-Olympic city spaces. Entitled ‘Reawakening sport and community engagement in a previous Olympic host city: Capitalising on the Athens 2004 Olympic Volunteer Legacy 17 years on’, the report has been produced as part of the International Olympic Committee Olympic Studies Centre’s Advanced Research Programme.
Following from Dr Kohe and Dr Koutrou’s expertise and research in Olympic Games legacies, sport organisation politics and volunteer management, the report contributes a critical examination of how sport, volunteer and wider third-sector organisations are currently positioned to service the city’s diverse contemporary needs. Offering the most recent critical interrogation of stakeholders’ experiences of the sport mega-event’s frequently lauded positive legacy, the work also provides original insights into the realities of sector work and civic development in post-Olympic Games environments.
The project has been based on extensive archival and documentary research, qualitative surveys, and extensive interviews carried out with 19 sport, civil society and third sector professionals and organisations in Athens, Greece, and Europe. Interviews included former and current national and civic political figures, sustainability and volunteer sector professionals, organisational leaders within the Athens 2004 Organising Committee or the wider Olympic movement and sport, and large charitable/philanthropic organisations who held or were currently responsible for sector delivery and resourcing.
The data led to several key findings and recommendations, including the significance of human resource investments, landscape and stakeholder mapping, development of strong leadership structures, effective resource management, good governance, contextual responsiveness, and capacity building. In immediate and post-Olympic/sport mega-event planning, the findings underscore the need for more specific long-term planning, consultation, and involvement of the existing volunteer sector in community engagement beyond the event, and resourcing to sustain sector interest and momentum. Beyond sport, the research contributes to modelling how more sustainable cross-sector partnerships can be built and maintained to support a wider array of humanitarian needs and concerns.
With the project carried out during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, the findings also now hold extra resonance in affording insights in how sport and volunteer sector resilience could be established, and sustainability fostered among organisational networks. As Dr Kohe and Dr Koutrou note: ‘the experiences of cities such as Athens in finding ways to support third-sector work in times of increased adversity and uncertainty are shared across the world. Of particular importance we found in our research was the ability of organisations to remain optimistic, engage in collaboration, mobilise and share human, social capital and resource and build capacity to strategically mitigate and ameliorate a whole variety of local and global challenges’.
Following recognition of their work by the IOC and regional sport and sustainability stakeholder Dr Kohe and Dr Koutrou are now continuing their collaborations and research across wider Europe.
The report is freely available via the link below.
Olympic World Library – Reawakening sport and community engagement in a previous Olympic Host City : capitalising on the Athens 2004 Olympic volunteer legacy 17 years on / Niki Koutrou, Geoffery Z. Kohe – Detail (olympics.com)
Dr Geoffery Z. Kohe is Senior Lecturer in Sport Management & Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Working with Olympic and professional sport bodies, his recent work on the Olympic movement and the professional sport industry has examined sport museums and heritage production, sport mega-event legacies, organisational cultures, and sport workers’ experiences.
Based at the University of Bournemouth, Dr Niki Koutrou is an Honorary Academic in Sport Management at the University of Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.Working with global and regional sport and third-sector stakeholders, her work covers sport mega-event legacies, sport volunteering and volunteer cultures within the United Kingdom and wider Europe.