Sochi2014: BU opinion and involvement in the Winter Games

A number of Bournemouth University academics are poised to get involved in the Sochi 2014 Winter Games – using their expertise to contribute to stories and add to knowledge.

Dr Bryce Dyer is a Senior Lecturer in Product Design at Bournemouth University and is currently researching the effects of technology in elite sport. He says of the Winter Games:

Competing at the Winter Olympics is arguably about assembling the best athletes to compete against each other. There are always stories of human interest- of those battling against the adversity of just getting to the games in the first place. Some of us will no doubt remember ‘Eddie the Eagle’ or ‘Eric the Eel’. However, the sad thing with tales like these is that whilst many of us may think of them to be a novelty, the problem a lot of the time is that some of these athletes are being unfairly penalised because of their lack of access to equipment and facilities. The Jamaican Bobsleigh team, (immortalised in the film ‘Cool Running’s’) have got their sled this time from Germany, but will only have got hold of it merely weeks before the games start whereas others have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds testing and evaluating theirs. They are not the only ones – Shiva Keshavan is competing for India in the luge event. YouTube footage shows that he has been training extremely hard – at home on steeply banked local open roads on a homemade wheeled luge – hardly the best conditions for a run at the medals. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether technology is ‘part of the game’ or is it just about going athlete to athlete. Is this fair ? Such is the importance of the best equipment, the Sochi games experience will ultimately have been decided for many, long before they’ve even crossed their start line.”

Additionally, Dr Richard Shipway, Associate Dean: International Engagement in the School of Tourism has been asked to join a panel of academic peer reviewers to assist with the assessment of applications for the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme, recently launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The main objective of the programme, which operates from the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, is to promote advanced research with a humanities or social science perspective on priority topics identified annually by the IOC. Further information on the 2014-2015 Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme is available on the Olympic Studies Centre web pages at

Dr Shipway’s current research focuses on the impact and legacies of international sports events, distance running, sport tourism, ethnographic research methods, and various aspects of Olympic studies.

Another BU researcher involved in the Winter Games is Rami Mhanna, a PhD student conducting research into mega-sport events. Rami’s research focusses on stakeholders’ perceptions of legacy outcomes of different sports events. This research focusses on The London 2012 Olympic Games, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014.

All academics are available for press comment and journalists should contact or 01202 963963 to speak to a member of the Press and PR Team.