Meet our members – An interview series by the EOA
In an animated discussion which covered topics from Olympic history to Olympic board games, the EOA was joined by Director of the Estonian Olympic Academy (EOA), Reele Remmelkoor. Circumstances meant that she spoke to us online as the pandemic made it difficult to visit picturesque Tartu in November 2021. The EOA is otherwise located at the Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum and so this time she only showed us a few photos of the office room.
The director took us through the beginnings of the Estonian Olympic Academy that was formed on 18th April 1989 as a collection of professors in the sports field who congregated to discuss the promotion of sports science and Olympism. Since 2009, an independent non-profit organisation has become formally registered. The Academy is a membership organisation, who meet in a Plenary Session, the Academy’s main governing body, and decide on basic matters and the composition of the Board. The President Neinar Seli, Vice President Merike Kull, General Secretary Kalle Voolaid and Director Reele Remmelkoor are the most notable of the board members, all of whom hold their positions on a voluntary basis and meet monthly to organise various projects. Neinar Seli has already served as President of the Estonian Olympic Committee, and usually one of the Academy’s board members doubles as an NOC board member. Statutes determine the functioning of the Academy, which is orientated towards the Olympic Charter and the Estonian Sports Charter.
The main project run by the Estonian Olympic Academy is the School Olympic Games, where school-based educational sports festivals are hosted and the focus is for children of all sporting abilities to participate. Reele Remmelkoor let us know that in a country like Estonia, which has a small population, it is a huge achievement to be able to send an athlete to the Olympic Games and that such individuals are widely celebrated and visit schools as part of the School Olympic Games. The success of the School Olympic Games project has also been extended internationally, since joint events have been held with Latvia and conferences were also held with the NOA of Finland in Olympia – these enabled teachers responsible for School Olympic Games projects to share ideas with each other even culminated in the initiation of a school exchange between the two countries. The Academy finances its projects through Olympic Solidarity and other foundations (e.g. Cultural Endowment of Estonia) and receives an additional small fund from the NOC.
Beyond the school-oriented projects, the NOA of Estonia also cooperates with the universities in Tallinn and Tartu to host events on sports science. Since 1992, a conference has been held after the Olympic Games to enable various parties including athletes, coaches, sports scientists and media to evaluate the performance of Estonian team in Olympic competitions.
The Estonian Olympic Academy is always open for future cooperation with others NOAs and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A short summary of the NOA of Estonia
The Estonian Olympic Academy (EOA) was founded in Tartu on 18 April 1989. Since 2009, it operates as an independent non-governmental organization, being at the same time a member of the Estonian Olympic Committee.
Projects of the Academy
The main programs of the EOA for different target groups are the following.
1. Public programs
- Annual Conferences
- Summer Sessions
- Annual Award for the best sports publication named Georg Hackenschmidt since 2011 (in cooperation with the Estonian Sports Museum)
- Olympic Education Website olympiaharidus.eu
2. Programs for the athletes and coaches
- Traditional scientific sessions for analyzing performance of Estonian Olympic athletes since 1992
- Involvement of Olympic sportsmen into educational activities (School Olympic Games, Summer Sessions, Integration projects)
- Educational materials for the Estonian Olympic team
3. Programs for the universities
- Integration of Olympic topic into the curriculum of Tartu University
- Essay contest for choosing participants to the IOA sessions
- Annual scholarship named Prof Atko-Meeme Viru for the best young sports scientists since 2009
- Conferences and seminars (in cooperation with the Tartu University)
4. Programs for the schools
- Project “School Olympic Games” since 1997 – to explaining Olympism and the idea of Fair Play, raising interest to the sport and physical activity, bringing Olympic Games to every student
- Project “Fair Play in Youth Sport” since 1997 – to valuating the honesty and respect in youth sport by annual contests and special awards (FP medal, T-shirts, books)
- IOA Young participants sessions since 2011 – to educating young participants, promoting Olympic values through sports and motivating participants’ activity, creativity and voluntary work; to compiling new educational material (board game)