Development of Interros

Professor Lev S. Belousov, President of the Russian International Olympic University, which is underwritten by the International Olympic Committee, was walking through Hyde Park during the 2012 London Olympic Games, when he received a call from Andy Miah, a researcher on new British media and an Olympics enthusiast. Andy was calling to discuss their ongoing creation of a new book focused on the latest Olympic Games and how it was being covered by digital media, bloggers and citizen journalists. The London Olympics were in full swing and Twitter was on fire, bringing news from the stadiums faster than traditional media did. The BBC drone flew over Hyde Park, capturing the visitors strolling around, cheering and exchanging Olympic pins, demonstrating the latest technology trends in media coverage. Meanwhile, the ice show, which was a part of the Russian cultural program in London during the Games and was staged by Russian figure-skating star Ilia Averbukh, was set to start.

A few days later, Lev Belousov would deliver a terrific interactive presentation about RIOU in the Russian House to address students, friends and journalists, using an iPad in a way to create a 3D-depiction of the cutting-edge RIOU campus being built right on the shore of the Black sea, in the very heart of Sochi. In no less than two years at the Sochi Olympics in February 2014, the RIOU President was sipping tea at Chaika seaport restaurant gallery in Sochi, surrounded by RIOU partners and guests. By this time RIOU was a notable landmark on the global educational map, and the ‘Olympics New Media’ book was close to its release and would be integrated into the RIOU’s flagship ‘Master of Sports Administration’ (MSA) educational program, the Sports Communications track.


In 5 years RIOU had made amazing progress. Beyond a doubt, it is the main humanitarian legacy of the Sochi Games that we can see today. In the recent annual rankings of the prestigious British SportBusiness International magazine, the university’s ‘Master of Sports Administration’ program was named the 2nd best sports management course in Europe (in 2017 and 2018 in a row), and the 10th best in the world (2017). The RIOU team takes pride in these achievements. Outstanding academic staff from Europe, the UK, the USA and Australia is another feature that attracts top applicants from all over the world. This year students from 21 countries, ranging from France and Germany to Qatar and North Korea, were enrolled in the program. Some of them were lucky enough to receive Olympic Scholarships from the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, which is known worldwide for supporting new talent. Among RIOU graduates are Olympic and World Champions and winners of top tournaments, who turn into brilliant managers and go on to promote sports at federations, corporations, state agencies and innovative startups. “I have taught at several universities around the world and I struggle to think of another institution where I have seen such professional and dedicated staff” - says Vassil Girginov, President of the European Association for Sport Management. Professor at Brunel University of London, Vassil Girginov, who significantly contributed to the design of the RIOU MSA program, notes that ‘the quality of our students is very high given that they come from all five continents and different cultural background. The MSc approach to education is an interesting mix of Russian pedagogical traditions and innovative philosophies on education, which are promoted in the West.’

RIOU, as well as the famous Rosa Khutor mountain resort, are two major projects that Vladimir Potanin’s Interros Group – member of the RBCC – delivered for the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi. In collaboration with Interros, RIOU experts launched a highly successful ‘Sport Connect’ forum in Sochi, gathering the leading voices in the sports industry, including Yuri Dud – the Russian video blogger and ex-editor-in-chief.

As Sochi remains one of the top locations in Russia for hosting major sporting events and the Olympic Park venues are still being used to the fullest, RIOU students get amazing opportunities for internships: they acquire hands-on experience and master their skills at such sporting events as Formula 1 and FIFA 2018 this past summer and yes, some of them had a chance to meet Ronaldo.


Bulletin Online

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Date Published:

03 June 2019