Sport leaders with a vision on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

At Johan Cruyff Institute we know that sport is a powerful driver for education and development. Our students, from elite athletes to young business professionals, have one common goal: to become the next generation of leaders in sport management. They share the same passion, and with the right education and coaching, they’ll be prepared to take leading roles in the sport business.

Johan Cruyff said: “My vision on the management of sport is quite simple. I think people with a passion for sport should lead sport organizations”. The unique mix of students in our classes enables sport minded people from various backgrounds to share their unique sport and business perspective, and learn from each other.

To check out the future generation of sport leaders, Johan Cruyff Institute students were asked to share their opinion on “The Road to Rio, dealing with failure and success”, the theme of our Forum, an event that unites the students and alumni of our network. Henk Verschuur, manager of Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam: “We value the opinion of our students. Each of them has their own view on sport and sport management. We are excited to give them a voice regarding the Olympics in Rio.”

Some students of the Master in Sport Management at Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam are convinced the success of Rio 2016 will not only be shown on the pitches and inside the stadiums, but above all in the organisational efficiency. Another issue that moves our students is how the Olympics can survive in a radically changing global society. Next to that, our athlete students discuss failure and success from their own experiences. “We trust you’ll enjoy these statements of the next generation of leaders in sport management, and invite you to comment and share your opinions with us via #RioTalks on social media.”

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Rowin Bouwmeester: “Organising the Olympics will of course be a different challenge for Brazil than organising the FIFA World Cup 2014, since the Olympics takes place in one city and not throughout the whole country. But I have seen the various videos of the Olympic Village and all the infrastructural changes and I must say that I am impressed. Brazil might well be the perfect organiser in terms of her natural beauty and the different cultures. But in spite of this cultural diversity there is one thing that all Brazilians share: their love for sport. And I am sure that the 2016 Olympics will prove that to the world once again!”

Anri Kaca, from Italy, describes the challenges for the Olympics in Rio: “Before the last FIFA World Cup, Brazil was growing quickly and they expected to become a superpower, but hosting the event didn’t affect their economy positively. The FIFA World Cup left many expensive football stadiums, most of them are useless now, corruption scandals and big protests. The big challenge for Brazil is to learn what didn’t work in the organization of the FIFA World Cup, especially as they need to focus more on long-term goals.”

Max Borchert: “In my opinion, the national sport association must be careful with creating a certain level of expectation for the Dutch Olympic athletes. Although it is good to be ambitious, it is dangerous to speak about ‘winning a certain amount of gold medals’ to the media with the fact there is less money available for the athletes to prepare. If you are able to keep the expectations low, with supporting arguments, there is a higher chance of satisfying the nation’s public.”

Jaehoon Cho, from South-Korea: “My favorite sport is wake boarding. It should be added to the Olympics because these days, extreme sports are becoming more popular. Especially wake boarding is one that would represent them well. It would make the Olympics more popular in the future.”

Justin Reid-Ross, a South African elite hockey player: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

Tessa Veldhuis, former Dutch rugby player, agrees with Justin: “We lived the dream towards Rio 2016 and unfortunately we didn’t make it. In my opinion, fail is a word to discuss because behind every athlete, the champion or the participant, there is a beautiful story. We gave rugby a solid base in the Netherlands, wrote a little piece of history and I have no doubt that new young rugby-ladies will qualify for future Olympics. We followed our dreams, we gave our best and so we can look at ourselves in the mirror and be proud. That is a success!”

Guido Kauffeld, Dutch billiard player: “The Olympic Games is not only about winning that golden medal. Elite athletes at the Olympic Games can have a big influence on the society as well. They are living examples of what the possibilities are when you dedicate your life to something in order to achieve your dreams. This can be either in sports or another sector.”

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Wouter Stoltz, sport professional: “The value of success is determined by how you deal with success and failure. And I believe true success comes through a lot of failure. I risked a lot to reach my top level as an athlete and lost it all due to a career-ending injury. This was a failure but as a person I developed myself in ways I would not have done if I stayed fit. Dealing with such a huge disappointment changed me in a positive way!”

Mark Thies, business professional: “Although there are a lot of differences between the sport and business world, there are also many similarities. I want to suggest business professionals should learn from sports. Start acting as an Olympic athlete! Set your goals, celebrate successes, face disappointments and if needed redefine your goals and try to learn from it.”


Do you prefer to study in a mixed group with elite athletes and sport managers? Enrol now for the Master in Sport Management!

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