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Students pose with professor Scott Martyn in the Lake Placid arena that hosted the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.”Students pose with professor Scott Martyn in the Lake Placid arena that hosted the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.”

Trip provides Olympic-calibre education for Windsor students

Ten University of Windsor graduate students from the Faculty of Human Kinetics received an Olympic-calibre education last week. The group, led by UWindsor professor Scott Martyn, travelled to Montreal and Lake Placid, New York, to experience the modern Olympic movement first-hand.

The group met with Dick Pound, former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee and former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency; staff at the US Olympic Training Centre in Lake Placid; members of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games organizing committee; the World Anti-Doping Agency; and Olympians at the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Montreal office.

They also visited the home of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games, Montreal’s Olympic Park, and various venues in Lake Placid from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games, including the Herb Brooks Arena, home of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey game which saw the United States men’s team beat the favoured Soviet Union. Students also watched a bobsled event in Lake Placid, an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most.

The annual trip is part of Dr. Martyn’s course, “Crises, Politics and Commercialism in the Modern Olympic Movement,” offered to graduate students focusing their studies in the area of sport management. The course explores persistent issues facing the Olympic Movement, and places a heavy emphasis on experiential learning.

“I am a true believer that the experiential aspect of learning inserts itself more significantly in an individual’s worldview than classroom learning,” explains Martyn. “I feel a great joy in seeing students’ visions and worldviews change through this opportunity.”

Students agree.

“One reason I was interested in the program offered at UWindsor is the focus on experiential learning at the graduate level,” says Sarah Sherk. “We had the opportunity to study key members of the Olympic Movement such as Dick Pound during our lectures before the trip. Sitting at the same table as Mr. Pound and exploring Olympism brought everything we learned in the classroom to life for my classmates and me.”

The trip’s reputation in the faculty has students looking forward to the learning and networking opportunities it provides.

“When I was accepted to the graduate program, this trip was one of the dates I immediately circled on my calendar as I had heard grad students speak about this trip while an undergrad student,” says Austin Roth, a former Lancer track and field athlete. “I have discussed the issue of doping with many Olympians, however nothing compares to sitting around the board table at the World Anti-Doping Agency’s headquarters in Montreal and learning about the programs and efforts of the organization to combat doping.”

Learn more about the graduate program in sport management at www.uwindsor.ca/hk/.

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