Training of Volunteers for Attending Major International Competitions


K.G. Tomilin, associate professor, Ph.D.
Sochi State University, Sochi


Key words: Sochi 2014, disease incidence, psychological preparedness and physical fitness of volunteers, “Volunteer sport games”, program “Spectator volunteer”.

Introduction. The XXII Winter Olympic and the XI Paralympic Games “Sochi 2014” were successful thanks to the efforts of technical services, judges, and more than 25,000 volunteers, whose work has been repeatedly noted positively by Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, and Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee.

According to statistics, 200,000 applications filed from 83 regions of Russia (for 25,000 planned vacations for the Sochi Olympic Games volunteers) included 70% of women and girls, and only 30% of men. The majority of them were young people aged up to 30 years old (the average age of the Sochi volunteers – 23 years old, while the age of the volunteers for the London Games 2012 was 41 years, and and 37 years for the Vancouver Games 2010).

About 5% were represented by the so-called «silver» age – older than 50 years old. Volunteers from abroad equaled 2,000 people.

It will be impossible to hold major international sport events (races of «Formula 1», World Football Championship, etc.) in the coming years without the involvement of a large number of trained volunteers. For example, more than 1,200 volunteers who have been involved in the Sochi Olympic Games, are already in Minsk to help hold the Ice Hockey World Championship 2014.

However, the experience in participation of Sochi volunteers in the Olympic Games 2014 has shown some features that must be considered in the preparation of major sports events.

Diseases among volunteers. During the period from 07.02 till 16.03.2014, cases of diseases were observed among volunteers. According to statistics [2], large crowds of people from different regions of the world contribute to the disease distribution (Table 1).

Table 1. Infectious diseases caused by mass people gathering

City, country, year


Infectious diseases

RSA, 2010, Australia 2013, France, 2013.

FIFA Cup, Festival “Hip Hop”, February carnival

Measles spreading to other countries (New Zealand, Brazil)

Salt Lake City, USA, 2002, Vancouver, Canada, 2010.

Winter Olympic Games


Acute respiratory disease

Sidney, Australia, 2008,

European countries.

International Youth Day,

Winter Music Festivals

Flue in off-peak period spreading to European countries

Philadelphia, USA, 1976

Anniversary Meeting of American Legionnaires

Legionellosis (new infection)

Springfield, USA, 1998.

Triathlon competitions


Saudi Arabia, 2000-2001.

Islamic Holiday Hajj

Epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis


This will require advance vaccination of volunteers involved for attending major international competitions.

Psychological training of volunteers. World-level competitions involve a large number of spectators, including those attempting to burst into the arena without tickets. According to the experience of “Olympic Games 2014”, the unfair spectators:

– pretend to be a “Big Boss”, “Specialist”, who urgently needs to enter the stands;

– use their official position (civil services employees);

– appeal to better feelings of volunteers, due to different situations (ticket loss, expired ticket, great desire to attend the event, pregnant women);

– use personal acquaintance with a particular volunteer, etc.

This requires special psychological training of volunteers (“psychological immunization”).

Physical training of volunteers. According to the experience of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, the volunteers had to get up at 5–6 a.m., it took two hours for them to get to the competition by train, then be briefed and distributed for their sector-specific volunteer functions. They had to perform their volunteer duties for many hours (often in adverse weather conditions), dealing with a large number of guests. This means that a volunteer should have good health and physical fitness, and, above all, general physical stamina.

Volunteers need physical and psycho-physical stamina as a basic element of disease prevention due to the large volume of load they experience not only as a result of the participation in organizing and holding major sports events, but also in assisting people affected by natural disasters and catastrophes, when dealing with other ecologically related problems [3]. It is more efficient here to focus on the volunteers previously engaged in sports activities.

According to the test of the questionnaire (“Questionnaire for volunteer – his/her attitude to physical culture and sport”, developed in ARSRIPE (All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Physical Education) by professor L.A. Kalinkin) held among the first-year students of the physical culture department with a major in «Physical Culture» showed that the volunteer students would like to take part in the Volunteer sport games upon completion of the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The sports which the first-year respondents of the PCD of SSU proposed for inclusion in the program of the events in the "Volunteer sport games" in Sochi in 2014, included: martial arts – 26.3%; rhythmic gymnastics, aerobics – 21.0%; football – 15.8%; alpine skiing – 10.5%; biathlon – 10.5%; track and field (running) – 10.5%; ice hockey – 5.3% [1].

Almost a half of the volunteer students surveyed (47.3%) liked rhythmic gymnastics, aerobics and martial arts.

Aerobics is the most effective means of stamina development for girls. Team competitions among volunteer girls in aerobics could be an ornament to the “Volunteer sport games” and attract the largest number of participants. We believe, team competitions among volunteer young males in Tae-bo in “Volunteer sport games” may also attract a large number of volunteer participants [1].

Motivation of volunteers. The study of the motivation of students of the physical culture department of Sochi State University for professional activities (n=127) [4] showed the promising outlook for involving, first of all, young people with good achievements in sports to attend the “Games 2014” (and subsequent major international events). During the five years of study at SSU, Sochi students go through a transformation of needs, interests, values and attitudes to their future careers in the field of physical culture and sport.

A significant factor of introducing first-year and second-year students to healthy lifestyle and active physical exercises is positive emotions they get at sports fields, the desire to strengthen and preserve their health, maintain their physical fitness at the appropriate level and improve their body-build, form, body posture. Besides, the sufficiently formed confidence in the necessity of systematic physical exercises and interest they have in a variety of sports programs and extreme sports. The negative impact rendered on physical activity is: the lack of desire and interest, own inactivity, the increased volume of energy-deficient recreation, frequent attendance of public drinking places, restaurants and cafes.

During their third year of study, students reconsider their attitudes towards the role of physical culture and sport in their personal life. However, this reconsideration is in most cases not in favor of healthy lifestyle and professional training level of a future specialist in physical culture and sport.

During the fourth year of studies, physical education classes bring satisfaction to students simply because of communicating with other people. The number of people experiencing the emotional lift and good mood as a result of physical exercises increased. Students with active lifestyle have almost decided on their future profession, some of them have worked in summer. During the fifth year, the number of married couples grew; many students started to earn money at different sports, recreational and health facilities of the Sochi resort.

Interesting programs and unusual sports (r= -0.217–0.221; p<0.05), as well as winter sports (r = -0.518; p<0.05), water sports and activities (r= -0.515; p<0.05), and even outdoor recreation sports games (r = -0.360; p<0.1) gaining popularity by the 2014 Olympic Games almost fail to encourage the students who are older than normal student age for training activities [4].

The special program “Spectator volunteer” (besides the “Volunteer sport games”) would stimulate strongly the constant interest of young people in volunteering. It’s idea is the following: persons involved in regular volunteering could have a free pass to certain sectors of stadiums during major international competitions in their spare time using their accreditation card (and wearing volunteer uniforms).

Conclusions. The Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi were visited by millions of foreigners; the Olympic Games were watched on TV by at least 4 billion people globally. The manner in which this main event of the Olympic four-year period was organized, and the warm welcome of foreign visitors by volunteers will largely shape the world's opinion about Russia and the Russians for the next 20–30 years.

In Sochi they understand the importance of not only the Olympic Games, but also the post-Olympic legacy when the developed “technology of goods”, Olympic values, Olympic smile on the faces of volunteers and experts in the sphere of physical culture, sports and tourism, their personal and business qualities will attract millions of tourists to this city.

The “Volunteer sport games” and the special program “Spectator volunteer” would stimulate strongly the constant interest of Russian young people in volunteer activities.


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  2. Bryukhanova, G.D. Training of tourist industry personnel on relevant issues of travel medicine in international mass events / G.D. Bryukhanova, S.M. Romanov // European Journal of Physical Education and Sport. – 2014. – Vol. (3). – №1. – P. 8–11. (In Russian)
  3. D.K. Malashenkov. Physical culture and sports component in volunteer training models / D.K. Malashenkov, T.N. Arsenyeva, L.A. Kalinkin // Training of personnel for the XXII Winter Olympic and XI Paralympic Games: challenges and prospects: Proceedings of the V International theoretical and practical conference, Sochi, 30 October – 2 November 2012 – Sochi: PPC FSBEI HVE SSU, 2013. – P. 27–28. (In Russian)
  4. Tomilin, K.G. Interests and preferences of volunteer students of the Olympic Games "Sochi 2014" / K.G. Tomilin // Collection of studies SWorld: Proceedings of the International theoretical and practical conference "Modern problems and ways of their solution in science, transportation, manufacturing and education 2013". – Issue 2. Volume 40. – Odessa: KUPRIENKO, 2013 – P. 82–85. (In Russian)

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