On Monday 14 November, the inauguration of the Brussels Olympic Research and Education Centre took place at the Atomium. The interdisciplinary centre, working with the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC), will focus on research and education related to Olympism and the Olympic movement and on the professional development of athletes, coaches, staff and entourage. VUB professor Paul Wylleman is the president of the new centre.
The launch saw speeches by VUB rector Jan Danckaert, BOIC president Jean-Michel Saive, director in charge executive board International Olympic Committee Christophe De Kepper and Professor Paul Wylleman.
Jan Danckaert: “The Brussels Olympic Research and Education Centre allows our university to position itself even more clearly in the national and international field of top-level sports. As an interface between VUB and BOIC, this interdisciplinary centre focuses on education, research and guidance in top-level sports in general and sports at Olympic level in particular. I am sure that other centres of expertise and other universities will be interested in cooperating with this brand new centre.”
On 21 July 2022, the IOC’s Olympic Studies and Research Centre and the BOIC awarded VUB the status of Brussels Olympic Research and Education Centre. VUB thus joins a select network of Olympic academic study and research centres around the world recognised by the IOC.
Danckaert: “I am also very pleased that Brussels is part of the name of the new centre. It is not only a link to VUB as a Brussels-based urban engaged university, but it also emphasises the international role our city has always played, with the European institutions, with Nato headquarters, but also in the field of sports and sports sciences. Just like the spheres of the Atomium are connected, we want to be connected with partners from all over the world.”
The official inauguration was followed by an academic session on “Excellence in education and sport: challenges, crossover and collaborations”. National and international experts and Olympic and Paralympic athletes gave their views on excellence in the fields of education, top-level sport and dual careers. There were contributions from, among others, Loïck Luypaert of Belgium’s gold medal-winning men’s hockey team, Olav Spahl of the BOIC and Maurits Hendriks, the former technical director NOC*NSF and former chef de mission of TeamNL.