Mr Isidoros Kouvelos

Mr Isidoros Kouvelos
Full Name
Mr Isidoros Kouvelos
IOA President
Date of birth
Mr Isidoros Kouvelos

Mr. Isidoros Kouvelos has been elected President of the International Olympic Academy by the Hellenic Olympic Committee's Plenary Session for four consecutive terms since 2009. He has been married since 1998 to Dora Bakoyannis, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mayor of Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games.


Isidoros Kouvelos was born in Athens, and during his undergraduate studies, he was involved with sports as an athlete of the "Ethnikos Gymnastic Club."In 1972 he went to London, where he studied Shipping at the London School of Commerce, and later he specialized in Shipping and Shipbroking at the "City of London Polytechnic."

During his studies (1974-1976), he worked in a Greek Shipping Company in London, which recommended him to the Baltic Exchange, where he continued working till his return to Greecein 1976. Upon his return to Greece, he founded in partnership with a shipping company, "SOUGERKA MARITIME CO. LTD," in the field of chartering, purchasing, and sale as well as the general management of ships.

This company operated until the end of 1998 and managed 67 cargo ships at the same time; it concluded hundreds of sales and purchases and chartering on behalf of Greek and foreign exclusive clients.In 1998 he founded his own shipping company in Piraeus in the same field of business, ISK SHIPPING LTD., which he continues to manage today. In 1999, he founded ISK SΗIPPING AND AGENCIES LTD based in Thessaloniki, in the field of shipping Greek ships and ships of foreign interests.


President of the International Olympic Academy since 2009.Isidoros Kouvelos has upgraded the physiognomy and the role of the IOA within the Olympic Movement, expanding its relations with many National Olympic Academies, well-known Universities, and other Educational Institutions, thus creating a network for the continuous dissemination of the Olympic Values through numerous Seminars and Conferences.

He is a Member of the Hellenic Olympic Committee since 2005, representing the Hellenic Equestrian Federation. Vice President of the HOC and the IOA Ephoria from 2005 to 2008.

He was elected Chef de Mission of the Greek Delegation for the Olympic Games of Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio de Janeiro 2016.

President of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation from 2001 to 2012 and 2016 to 2021.

In 2011, IOC President Jacques Rogge appointed him an International Olympic Truce Foundation member. The current IOC President, Dr. Thomas Bach, has renewed this position.

Member of the IOC Commission for Culture and Olympic Legacy (2011-2018) and the IOC Commission for Olympic Education (2018-today).

President of the Hellenic Olympic Academy from 2009 – 2017.

In 2009, he was elected Secretary General of the International Committee for the Mediterranean Games, a position he held until 2017.

In 2007, he was appointed by the Greek Government, President of the "Volos 2012 Mediterranean Games Bid Committee," which, in October 2007, in Pescara (Italy), won the bid.

From 1989 to 1995, as Vice-Chairman of the "Panionios" Basketball professional team, he led the team to win the National Cup (1991) and to qualify for "Corac Cup Final Four.During his youth, Isidoros Kouvelos was involved in sports as a basketball player and was the founder of "Theseus S. C. Basketball Club," succeeding in leading this team to the Top Hellenic Championship.


Throughout his Presidency, Isidoros Kouvelos has managed to secure very significant financial support from the IOC President, Dr. Thomas Bach, who believed in the IOA President's vision for an upgrade and enhancement of the IOA educational work and a complete restoration of the IOA premises in Ancient Olympia took place from 2020 to 2021.

From the beginning of his Presidency (2009), the IOA opened its doors and extended the operational period from three to eight months, inviting several Olympic institutions to visit and use the premises for their programs. Most importantly, through a very successful promotional project, he attracted the interest of various NOCs and NOAs, and other educational institutions and Universities, which organized, in collaboration with the IOA, many educational seminars and Conferences in Ancient Olympia.

In collaboration with the University of Peloponnese, he established in 2009 the International Master's Degree Program in Olympic Studies entitled "Olympic Studies, Olympic Education, Organization and Management of Olympic Events."In 2022, Isidoros Kouvelos promoted Olympic Education in Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Saudi Olympic Academy, through a specially designed educational program implemented with the participation of visiting professors from all over the world.

Since 2012 until today and in collaboration with the Hellenic Studies Centre of Harvard University, he introduced an annual education Symposium at the IOA premises, dealing every year with the historical development of Olympic Values and Sports Ethics from antiquity to the present day.During his Presidency, several other educational programs were organized at the IOA premises in cooperation with Georgetown University, Yale and St. Andreus Universities, Fullerton University, the Panteion University of Athens, and the MAiSI.

In 2014, along with a non-profit organization, the "Historic Archive ATHENS 2004", he initiated a permanent exposition of the ATHOC 2004 archives collection, offering a specific area in the IOA premises to be used by students and researchers who wish to enrich their knowledge on the structure and the organization of the Olympic Games.

During the Greek austerity period (2010 – 2015), the IOA faced a dramatic reduction (over 80%) in the State's financial support. Nevertheless, Isidoros Kouvelos managed to keep the IOA alive, using exclusive donations from eminent personalities.

In 2014 and 2015, he succeeded in ensuring the smooth operation of the IOA with the donation of over 1M Euros by the Ministry of Sports and Culture of Azerbaijan.

Furthermore, since 2015, some local donators have been approached by Isidoros Kouvelos to assist the IOA in various projects and keep the institution alive. The "John S. Latsis Foundation," (2010-2015), "OLYMPIAKOS F.C." (2016-2017), and "M/MARITIME" (2019-2022) are the corporations that financially supported the IOΑ's Master's Degree program, with significant donations and sponsorships.

In 2016, he ensured a 5-year donation of over 2,5m Euros from the Chinese "Gordon Tang Foundation" for the operation of the IOA as a return for a well-drafted education program planned to be implemented at the "Olympic Sports Academy" in Shantou, China.


President Kouvelos was honored for his dedication to the promotion of Olympic Education and the dissemination of Olympic Values.

In 2014, with the "Honoris Professor" title by the Kazakh Academy of Sports and Tourism.

2011, with the "Doctor Honoris Causa" title by the State University of Physical Education and Sports of the Republic of Moldova.

2010, with the "Doctor Honoris Causa" title by the National University of Physical Education and Sports of Ukraine.

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