GW students go behind the scenes in Sydney

The Olympic Games. It is the single biggest sporting event in the world. The name alone demands respect. Most people have childhood dreams of attending the Olympics, but few actually get the chance to go. Those dreams are coming true for 30 students in GW’s School of Business and Public Management.

Thirty students studying tourism and sports management are headed to Sydney, Australia Sept. 12 for a behind-the-scenes analysis of the Olympic Games. The 10-day trip is part of Professor Lisa Delpy Neirotti’s course, 2000 Summer Olympic Experience in Sydney, Australia: Behind the Scenes.

Attending the Olympic Games and being exposed to the people who are intricately involved in this mega-event will provide students with an ideal learning experience, said Delpy Neirotti, an associate professor of Tourism and Sports Management. It not only will reinforce material learned in the classroom, but it will allow students to network and make valuable connections for the future.

The goal of the course is for students to acquire an understanding of what producing the world’s largest sporting event entails. In Sydney students will meet with top executives from the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Sydney Olympic Committee, corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Xerox and Visa, and Olympic athletes. Students will study the organizational and financial requirements involved in hosting the Games, and will conduct on-site market research related to spectator spending, satisfaction and sponsor recall, Neirotti said.

It is important to get students to understand how large an event the Olympics is and the impact on the host city, country, for corporations, sponsors and variety of professions required to host the games, Neirotti said. Everyone dreams about going to Olympics or being an athlete and now they are being a part of it all.

Students registered for the class on a first-come-first-serve basis, and a waiting list for the class started more than a year and a half ago. Each of the 30 students on the trip must pay $1,850 for airfare, $500 for lodging and anything additional for other purchases, including food, souvenirs and tickets to sporting events that range from $20 to $300.

Neirotti’s students prepared throughout the summer for the trip. They downloaded reading material and assignments for the class using Prometheus and will write a term appear about what they learned after they return from Sydney.

Taking students to the Olympic Games has been a GW tradition since 1992. Neirotti took business students to Nagano in 1998, Atlanta in 1996, Lillehammer in 1994 and Barcelona in 1992.

Neirotti said her most memorable moment at the Olympics occurred in Barcelona. She was walking down the main drag in Barcelona and she heard someone call out her name. To her surprise Neirotti turned around and saw all of her students at a sidewalk caf? eating, drinking and hanging out with the U.S. basketball team.

The biggest challenge of the Olympic trips is being at the whim of many different people, Neirotti said.

The big word is flexibility, Neirotti said. You have to just go with the flow.

Neirotti serves as a consultant to CNN and the Baltimore-Washington Regional 2012 Olympic Games Coalition. The coalition is bidding for the Baltimore-Washington region to be the host of the 2012 Olympic games.

D.C. is the perfect location because it meets all the criteria, Neirotti said. It has beautiful landscapes and vistas, there is a good transportation system, the city is used to visitors and we already have the security with the president here.

The 2000 Olympic Games take place in Sydney Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.