To mark this year’s Knowledge Day, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, in conjunction with the Russian Olympic Committee (the ROC) and the telecommunications partner for the Games, OAO "Rostelecom", held an Olympic lesson for Russia's schoolchildren entitled "London 2012 - Sochi 2014". The lesson took an unusual format: in Moscow, groups of schoolchildren were welcomed into the offices of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee; in Sochi, Krasnodar and Saransk, schools linked up to the Organizing Committee's Moscow office remotely; and in Kazan and Rostov, pupils were able to watch the event being broadcast live on the Games portal, www.sochi2014.com
. Hosting the lesson were the TV presenter and Sochi 2014 Ambassador, Yuri Vyazemsky, and the President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko. They were helped by athletes from Russia's Olympic and Paralympic teams and cultural and art workers. The Olympic lesson confirmed once again how seriously the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee is taking the issue of giving schoolchildren and young people an Olympic Education.
The lesson was broadcast for all to see on the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee's website. And in the near future a video version of the lesson will be uploaded to the websites of the Organizing Committee, the ROC and Rostelecom, available to be downloaded for free.
On Knowledge Day, which is celebrated throughout Russia and beyond, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee threw open the doors of its head office to Moscow's schoolchildren. The lesson began with some authentic Olympic warm-up exercises, led by the synchronized swimmer and three-time Olympic champion Svetlana Romashina. The lesson, which was jam-packed with activities for the children, was led by Yuri Vyazemsky and featured two other Sochi 2014 Ambassadors: Paralympic champion Sergei Shilov and jazz musician Igor Butman. During the lesson, the pupils heard first-hand accounts of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, and also found out about the preparations for the Games in Sochi. They watched a video message from London, featuring the secretary of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Mikhail Terentiev.
Lessons involving Olympic champions were held in the regions, too. A Middle School in Sochi received a visit from Tatiana Bazyuk, who competed at the London Olympics in the Russian sailing team. In Kazan, a bronze medalist in the shooting at the London Games, Vasily Mosin, came to see the pupils. Tatiana Chernova, who won bronze in the heptathlon, paid a visit to schoolchildren in Krasnodar. In Rostov, fencing master Larisa Korobeinikova told schoolchildren all about winning her silver medal, whilst pupils in Saransk were treated to a visit by the racewalking champions from London, Elena Lashmanova and Sergey Kirdyapkin.
The President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, noted:
“Olympic education goes hand in hand with the Olympic and Paralympic Games and promotes their values. In Russia the Olympic education is especially important because it makes it possible to change people’s mind, eradicate the stereotypes that exist, in particular, in our attitude to people with disabilities. It is very important for the youth to see a vivid example of enthusiastic and purposeful persons, and Olympians as well as Paralympians are people of this kind.”
Yuri Vyazemsky, the presenter of the TV show "Umniki and Umnitsy" ("Clever Clogs") and a Sochi 2014 Ambassador, commented:
"The Sochi 2014 Education Program demonstrates a fundamentally new approach to providing an Olympic Education. It not only familiarizes people of all ages with the world of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but is also making it possible to alter society's attitudes towards people with disabilities, encourage a more responsible attitude to the natural world, and increase the esteem in which the volunteer movement is held. The Olympic Education system will be one of the key elements of the legacy left by the Sochi Games."