Meet our members – An interview series by the EOA
The EOA had the opportunity to speak with the President of the Lithuanian Olympic Academy (LOA), Asta Sarkauskiene, who provided us with a wonderful overview of their organisational structure, aims as well as current and ongoing projects.
To understand the LOA, one must begin with the history of its creation. In 1989, following the example of Western Europe, Lithuanian National Olympic Committee (LNOC) President Artūras Poviliūnas took the initiative to establish the Lithuanian Olympic Academy. On October 27, 1989, at the former Lithuanian Institute of Physical Education in Kaunas, the constituent Lithuanian Olympic Academy conference took place, attended by famous sports scientists, Olympic Games participants, veterans, and higher education lecturers.
Today, the LOA is a legal entity with limited civil liability, which can be considered an association. The LOA Council consists of 11 members: the President, 2 Vice-Presidents, the Dean, and 7 other Council members. LOA unites over 120 members, including professors, associate professors, PhDs level experts, distinguished coaches, sports organizers, teachers, sports veterans, Olympians, etc. Further, the President is responsible for making the decisions and is not bound to compliance from the LNOC. Even though the LOA also receives funding from the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee, the LOA plans and carries out its activities independently.
The LOA is heavily invested in spreading Olympic values amongst, especially geared towards youth. In 2021, the LOA strategy was prepared for 2021-2024. Four commissions have been set up: Development and Cooperation, Sports Science, Olympic Education, and Olympic Heritage.
The goal of the Olympic Education Commission is to create and implement educational programs for children, youth and adults based on the cardinal principles of Olympism.
As such, academic and scientific activities are the priorities of the LOA and activities in these areas are intertwined. The LOA organises professional development courses for various sports specialists (teachers, coaches) on a wide range of topics: training of young athletes, development of values, psychological aspects, physiological aspects, etc. Preparation is being done towards methodological books that provide information and practical assignments for 5th-8th grade pupils about the recent Olympics (2020 Tokyo, 2022 Beijing). To involve the academic youth in the Olympic movement, the LOA announced a competition for higher education students. Students have the opportunity to submit their final thesis related to Olympic topics, and the winning thesis will be posted and released in the journal “Sports Science“ (Index Copernicus), a journal that publishes research in the field of sports by young scientists
Although an extensive list of accomplishments and efforts by the LOA, they do not suffice alone. Their engagement with the IOC, EOA and various neighbouring countries allows them to effectively operate. The LOA also cooperates with the country’s universities and general education schools. They plan to expand cooperation with national sports federations soon. While the LOA, has yet to sign cooperation agreements with other international actors, the joint work is carried out. When it comes to the LOA, they are well on their way as a well-rounded NOA.
Projects of the Academy
- Scientific workshops for physical education teachers
- drawing – for preschoolers
- photography – for students
- video – for students from sports schools, clubs
- camps and sessions for students
- seminars for trainers
- We hold classes for third-age university students; mind battles at student sports festivals, schools.
- We organize and participate in international sports science conferences.
History of the NOA
In 1989, following the example of Western Europe, LNOC president Artūras Poviliūnas took the initiative to establish the Lithuanian Olympic Academy. His assembled initiative group, consisting of Prof Stanislovas Stonkus (basketball player, Melbourne Olympic Games vice-champion, former rector of the Lithuanian Institute of Physical Education and LNOC vice-president), Prof Jonas Šliažas (track and field athlete, coach, former LNOC executive committee member), Janis Grinbergas (former LNOC general secretary, member of honour of the International Handball Federation, international category handball judge), and Pranas Majauskas (weightlifter, coach, former head of the Kaunas Physical Education and Sports Committee), engaged in the tasks of the LOA constituent assembly.
On October 27, 1989, at the former Lithuanian Institute of Physical Education in Kaunas, the constituent Lithuanian Olympic Academy conference took place, attended by famous sports scientists, Olympic Games participants, veterans, higher education lecturers. Prof Valerijus Jasiūnas was elected as the first president of the Lithuania Olympic Academy, Algirdas Raslanas as Vice-President, Prof Povilas Karoblis as dean, Ramutė Daniševičienė as secretary. Council members included the heads of five newly formed commissions: Saulius Kavaliauskas (History and Sociology of the Olympic Movement Commission), Pranas Majauskas (Olympic Ideas Propaganda Commission), Albertas Skurvydas (Physical Education and Sports Scientific-Methodic Commission), Angelė Seibutienė (Sports Medicine Commission), Justinas Lagunavičius (Library and Museum director).
In 1990, LOA became a member of the International Olympic Academy. The Lithuanian Olympic Academy’s sessions and conferences have provided an opportunity for scientists, Olympic history researchers to present new work which was important for a country that had recently regained independence. On May 13, 1994, in Kaunas, a new LOA council was elected. Prof Povilas Petras Karoblis, athletics coach, head of the Sports Methodics Department at the former Vilnius Pedagogical Institute.
There were several changes of Council members during the 19 years of his leadership. P. Karoblis resigned from the presidency on May 10, 2013, in an extraordinary assembly of the Lithuanian Olympic Academy. He was granted the title of honorary president of LOA. In a unanimous vote, the leadership was passed to Dr Artūras Poviliūnas, LNOC honorary president and former leader of 24 years with excellent knowledge of the Olympic Academy’s field of work and great authority in the international Olympic community. LOA unites over 130 members, including professors, docents, (habilitated) doctors, distinguished coaches, sports organisers, teachers, sports veterans, Olympians etc.
Every year Lithuanian representatives participate in the International Olympic Academy’s sessions and conferences by reading reports, presenting their activity programs, delving into the projects of other national Olympic academies and scientific research on Olympism in various spheres. Over 30 of our country’s masters and doctoral students have participated in IOA sessions, 12 have earned a PhD degree, several have become professors.
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