Olympic Academy of Serbia


Country Serbia
Name of AcademyOlympic Committee of Serbia
Olimpijski Komitet Srbije
https://olimpijskimuzej.rs/ (Olympic Museum)
Name of PresidentNatasa JANKOVIC
Contact PersonNatasa JANKOVIC (Chairperson of NOC Olympic Values Commission)
Foundation date9 February 1985
Year of accession to EOA2018 (founding member)
Social media links

Meet our members – An interview series by the EOA

See all interviews here

For the “Meet Our Members” interview with the NOA of Serbia, Natasa Jankovic spent some time with EOA in a video interview in late 2021, familiarising the Association with the structure, scope and functioning of our Serbian member.

Initially, we are told that the NOA is integrated into the Olympic Committee of Serbia (OKS) and does not form a separate institution in Serbia. The Olympic Values Commission within the OKS (which used to be called the Commission of Culture and Olympic Education) is subordinate to the Executive Board. It places a strong emphasis on promoting sports participation, recreational sports, fair play and tolerance in sports and beyond, and social impact through sport and Olympic education.

Natasa Jankovic herself works at the Committee as Olympic Values Promotion Manager, which implies her role as Chairperson of the Olympic Values Commission and thus can be seen as the “Acting Director” of the NOA. The graduate of the first cohort of the IOA Masters in Olympic Education works together with 7-8 honorary commission members, who are selected by the OKS Executive Board every four years, and three part-time staff on various projects. The commission usually consists of individuals from sports federations, retired athletes and a diverse range of representatives from different sports backgrounds.

With some pride, the Acting Director explains that a heavy focus is placed on digital assets in the education and dissemination of Olympic values. An example might be the Olympic Museum website, which shows information about past Summer and Winter Olympic Games, history, medal records, and stories from Olympians. In addition, there is a database of museum items available online, newspaper archives, memorabilia, and virtual exhibitions are also featured “On the right track” prior to Tokyo 2020.

In the wake of the pandemic lockdown, the OKS launched a new version of a mobile app called TreninGO to encourage physical activity through open-air gyms, running routes and video training with Olympians.

The NOA is working with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia on a Primary School Sport Strategy, which integrates Olympic Education into additional school programmes under IOC guidance. The OKS runs a number of other projects, such as an Olympic Class established ten years ago or the DDOR-Olympic Track Project.

The OKS has carried out a variety of publications and exhibitions and collaborates with the Faculties of Sport and Physical Education and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and so is involved at the academic level.

Projects of the Academy

The first fundamental principle of the Olympic Movement says that “Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.“ The statement emphasizes the fact that Olympism is a life experience and educational movement that uses sport, along with culture and education to promote the Olympic ideals and to educate youth. To further develop the Olympic Movement in Serbia several programs have been created with the main aim to spread Olympic ideas and promote Olympic values:

  • Olympic Day
  • Traditional Sports Games
  • EcOlympics Serbia
  • Olympic Class Olympic Day

Traditionally each year NOC Serbia together with its Olympic Academy is celebrating Olympic Day. To promote Olympism, healthy lifestyles, outdoor physical activity, family values and environmental protection, the traditional running event is held every year. Apart from “Children Race” on 200m and 400m, “Joy Run” on 3600m, “Family run” and “Sponsor Relay Run” are organized every year. Each participant who finishes the race gets Olympic Day t-shirts, while the biggest running family receives special award. Traditional Sports Games The main goal of this program is to attract both younger and older generations to become physically active in their daily life and improve their general physical condition. Another objective is to preserve traditional sports games, remind older generations, and teach youngsters how to play these, somewhat forgotten games. Also, it is very important to teach participants about fair play and that the usage of the simplest tools and equipment can lead to a fun time spent playing sports. Some of the games that children take part in are: long jump from a steady position; throwing the rock from the shoulder; jumping with a stick over the sand/water pit; rope/tree climbing; throwing a horseshoe; carrying the girl; run over natural bars and throwing horseshoes. In 2011, 4000 children were competing in traditional sports games in five different Serbian cities. EcOlympics Serbia The project’s goal is to inform and educate school children about ecology and Olympic values through sports and entertainment. The project “EcOlympics” is realized through three separate activities: EcOlympics Playground, Fair Play Football and ARCTOS workshop. Within EcOlympics Playground children learn how to recycle and make medals and cups from the cans and special materials, as well as how to keep and protect nature. Also, they learn about the unity, Olympic and Serbian flag, appropriate cheering, fair play and how to sing the anthem. At the end of the activity, they present what they have learned through the closing ceremony with special choreography. Fair play football activity is designed for school children, both males and females. Regardless of flexibility, there are approximate rules that should ensure the matches are held fairly and correctly. In addition to the basic rules, all other rules are decided on the spot by the players to be stimulated to think about fair play and fairness. Rules can be changed or modified, but only if all members of both teams agree upon that. ARCTOS program (Anti-Racism Tools in Sport) is a program that relates to the education of children in the fight against discrimination of any kind. The program is very interactive and applicable to various types of discrimination (racial, religious, ethnic, gender, etc.), considering the used video materials. The designed program is very dynamic. Formed groups of 30 participants initially meet each other through interactive discussions and explore the terms of discrimination and fair play. From 2010 to 2016 around 9000 children took part in EcOlympics from 35 different cities in Serbia. Olympic Class The main objective of the project “Olympic Class” is to educate young school children through sport in a spirit of five educational values: the joy of effort, fair play, respect for others, the pursuit of excellence and balance between body, will and mind. The project is realized in local schools’ gyms which are transformed into a modern interactive classroom with polygons. Each of the five Olympic values is presented by one Olympic circle colour, one continent and one workshop station where children can learn something new related to Olympism. One part of the class is led by famous athletes who are considered as role models and who tell unique stories to children about their sports careers and educate them about proper values. For the youngest kids the book “Olympic Tale” has been published. An “Olympic Tale” is a fiction book with elements of a classic fairy tale. Twelve chapters deal with basic human, ethic universal and Olympic principles through various magical and real-life adventures and issues. Olympic Class was successfully led since 2011. Until 2020 more than 13.000 children from 44 cities across Serbia have been actively involved in the program. So far, all program have been accepted very well among youth. Great results have been achieved in terms of spreading the Olympic ideas and promoting Olympic Values.

History of the Academy

Olympic Academy of Serbia continues the tradition of Yugoslav Olympic Academy (YOA) which was established on February 9th 1985 with main tasks:

  • to cherish and spread the idea of Olympism and its ideals
  • to cherish and spread principles of Olympism and Olympic philosophy
  • to cherish and respect principles of fair play
  • to preserve and spread knowledge about equality, solidarity, tolerance and mutual respect in sport and everyday life regardless of sex, race, religion or nationality
  • to realize programmes of Olympic education for kids and youth in the scope of Yugoslav educational system
  • to cooperate with the International Olympic Academy (IOA) and other National Olympic Academies (NOA).

During the foundation of YOA it was also decided that the tasks should be accomplished through thematic meetings, research scientific works and projects, journals, informative activities, exhibitions, etc. YOA also helped the organization of sports competitions for children and youth with the main goal of acquiring and improving Olympic Education. The first meeting of YOA was held in Sarajevo, on the mountain Igman from March 23 to 26, 1986. This meeting had an international character because 90 participants were coming from 12 countries. The themes of the first meeting were: “Mission and goals of YOA“, “Olympic movement in world and Yugoslavia“ and “Physical education in Yugoslavia“. The second meeting of YOA was held in Sarajevo, on the mountain Bjelasnica from March 23 to 27, 1987. The topics were devoted to winter sports in Yugoslavia and its programs for development and advancement. The third meeting was again in Sarajevo, on the mountain Igman from June 17 to 19, 1988. Participants were discussing the XV Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, the Olympic movement, and problems of amateurism and professionalism in sport. The fourth meeting of YOA had an international character with 85 participants from different countries. The meeting took place in Belgrade on April 25, 1990. President of IOC, Huan Antonio Samaranch and president of IOA, Nikos Filaretos, attended the meeting together with members of IOC and members of International Sports Federations. The main topics were: “80 years of activity in Olympic movement“ and “Tradition as a factor of sport development in Yugoslavia“. In addition to the meeting, an exhibition on the theme: “Yugoslavs on Olympic Games from 1986 to 1992“ has been set up. The fifth meeting of YOA had also the international character and was held in Belgrade on August 31, 1991. Representatives from Balkan Association for the history of sport and physical education attended the meeting. Discussions were conducted on the following topics: “Participation of athletes from the Kingdom of Serbia during the V Olympic Games and appointment of captain Svetomir Djukic as IOC member – its significance for the development of Olympic movement in Serbia and Yugoslavia“ and “Traditional sport folk games and chivalry competitions as one of the bases for the development of Olympic ideas in Serbia“. During the period from 1991 to 1996 due to the breakdown of Yugoslavia and applied sanctions, Yugoslav Olympic Academy ceased its activities. In 1997 Academy continued with its work as a body within the Yugoslav Olympic Committee. Since 2006 Olympic Academy of Serbia is the body within the NOC of Serbia. All activities related to Olympic education, Olympic history, promotion of sports activities and healthy lifestyle were planned and performed jointly by the NOC, NOA, Commission for Culture and Education of NOC of Serbia (today Olympic Values Commission) and Foundation of Sports and Olympism. The main tasks are:

  • to cherish and spread the idea of Olympism and its ideals
  • to link sport with education, culture and science
  • to research, present and use culture-historical goods for education about the ideas and goals of sport, Olympism and the Olympic Movement
  • to present culture-historical goods by organizing exhibitions at home and abroad, to present the history of Olympism, to organize educational lectures, exhibitions and innovation of knowledge
  • to strengthen sports spirit and morals, ethical principles of Olympism and tolerance
  • to participate in the projects and activities of International Olympic Academy, Olympic Solidarity of the International Olympic Committee, European Olympic Committees and others
  • to establish and improve cooperation with sports, scientific, educational, cultural and other organizations and associations from the country, region and abroad within the goals of the Olympic Academy of Serbia.

Olympic Academy of Serbia is an active participant at the conferences and sessions of International Olympic Academy and Association of European Olympic Academies.

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