GS professor goes to Rio

Skyler Black

He can speak a total of eight languages, has been a part of Georgia Southern for 25 years as a professor of curriculum, foundations and reading, and he volunteered at the Rio 2016 Summer Games.

Grigory Dmitriyev, Ph.D., decided to volunteer to assist in an atmosphere of more than 11,000 athletes from 207 National Olympic Committees.

Countries from around the world gathered together in a celebration of sportsmanship and the worldwide love for competing. Dmitriyev was able to experience the enormity and splendor that was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer as a translator of English, German, French, Russian and Spanish.

“Since I have visited and lived in 40 countries, speaking to people from various countries in their own language people feel that they are not aliens at the Olympic games. It makes them feel that there are other people that know about their culture and understand it,” Dmitriyev said.

Creating these connections between individuals of different lifestyles and cultures is something in which he prides himself.

As a dual citizen of Russia and the United States, volunteering in situations such as this create a fantastic way for Dmitriyev to spread his ideals and the ideals of the Olympics to those around him.

“I am a very good supporter of volunteers. We paid for our own tickets and accommodations and we are very dedicated to the Olympic values and ideals which are friendship and cooperation around the world,” Dmitriyev said.

While working in the main press tent, Dmitriyev had the opportunity to work with a variety of journalists, organizations and individuals that were volunteering and working the Olympic Games.

One such interaction was with Sports Illustrated for an article in their magazine issue.

“Sports Illustrated wanted to write about the Russian champion and found an interview online, so I spent an hour and a half helping them to translate the interview with the champion. I think it was an awesome opportunity as a citizen of both Russia and the United States, to help this link between the two countries.”

Volunteering is not a new thing by far for Dmitriyev after helping out with the Junior World Championship in Savannah in 1999 and last year’s World Heavyweight Lifting Championship in Houston. He wanted to continue that trend of volunteering this year.

After years of helping the students of Georgia Southern and the individuals within the multitude of events and championships, Dmitriyev retired and one of the main reasons for this trip to the Olympics was to see what he wanted to do after his life in the university.

Dmitriyev said, “I needed to plan what I wanted to do after I retired to make my life meaningful and rich. So a year and a half ago I applied to be a volunteer at the Olympic games.”

Photo courtesy of Grigory Dmitriyev.