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The CHS of Harvard University at the IOA 8th International Scholars’ Symposium “Sports, Society, & Culture”

June 19, 2019

The International Olympic Academy, in cooperation with Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC (CHS DC), and with the support of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece (CHS Greece), organized the 8th Annual International Scholars’ Symposium on “Sports, Society, and Culture” in Ancient Olympia, from July 10 to 14, 2019

As in previous years, the Symposium brought together more than seventy students and professors from universities in Greece, Cyprus and other European countries, as well as USA and Canada. The topic of the 2019 Symposium was “Language and Athletics: The Many Discourses of Sport” and examined the multiplicity of discourses pertaining to language and athletics from antiquity to our times.

The Symposium commenced with welcoming remarks by Dionyssis Gangas, Member of the IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission and Advisor to the IOA President, and by Stamatia Dova, Professor at the Hellenic College Holly Cross, and Charles Stocking, Professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, both Fellows of CHS DC and Academic Coordinators of the Symposium.

The sessions consisted of the following lectures:- Gregory Nagy, “Thoughts about Poetic Language that links Heroes to Athletes”- Stamatia Dova, “Who Needs Words? The Chemistry of ὅμιλος and the Universal Language of Sport”- Charles Stocking, “Ancient Athletics and the Language of Mind-Body Dualism”- Damian Stocking, “The Ecstatic Community: The‘Logic’ of Athletic Victory and the Poetics of the Ode”- Michael Joseph Gross, “Stronger: The Meeting of Muscle and Mind”- Maša Culumovic, “Εἰ πόνος ἦν, τὸ τερπνὸν πλέον πεδέρχεται: the Language of Athletics in Pindar’s Epinicians”.For the first time in the Symposium series, a call for papers through submission of abstracts to postgraduate students and PhD candidates for participation in a student panel was announced, and three students were selected to present part of their research work. The graduate student session consisted of the following lectures:- Efstathia Athanasopoulou, “Satyr Drama’s Rival: Sports”- Charisios Efstratiou, “Sport metaphors in The Persians of Aeschylus” (original research and related results belong to the research project developedby Dr. Ioanna N. Papadopoulou, Tenure Assistant Professor of Classics, Department of Greek Literature, Democritus University of Thrace, under whose support the respective candidate conducts related research)- Panagiotis Viopoulos, “Defining gender in sports competitions: the Caster Semenya award of CAS as a social and human rights issue”All abstracts of presentations are available at

A visit of the archaeological site and the Museum of Ancient Olympia was the starting point of the Symposium’s works, where participants benefited from a specially designed tour that enhanced the themes of the lectures and conveyed context for the sessions of presentations. During morning and afternoon workshops, an indispensable part of the Symposium’s program, participants were divided into smaller groups and engaged in discussion, developing and broadening the thematic components of the Symposium, anddrawing connections with contemporary issues.

The Symposium ended with closing remarks by Gregory Nagy, Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies and Professor at Harvard University, Professors Charles Stocking and Stamatia Dova, Academic Coordinators disciplinary, and multicultural environment that allowed them to engage in meaningful dialogue with faculty and fellow students, as it was expressed in the assessment at the end of the Symposium. The IOA and the CHS have established an ongoing collaboration and are working together in the design of future iterations.The travel from Athens to Ancient Olympia, stay and academic works are kindly offered by the IOA and the CHS.

“Τhe Symposium brought together more than seventy students and professors.”

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