Georgia Southern to be present at Rio Olympic Games

Jozsef Papp

This upcoming summer, the eyes of the world will be on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games and Georgia Southern will be well represented at the games. Grigory Dmitriyev, a professor of curriculum, foundations, and reading, will be a volunteer at the Olympic Games.

Dmitriyev, a 66-year-old man, will be a translator at both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic games in Brazil. He can speak a total of eight languages, but he is only being required to speak English, German, French, and Spanish.

“I will translate for both officials, sportsmen, the media, and all kinds of people that would need my general translation in eight languages,” said Dmitriyev.

The application process took a year to complete since he had to take a total of seven test in order to be able to volunteer as a translator. However, the application process was not difficult, according to Dmitriyev

“It took more than a year because I had to take seven tests,” said Dmitriyev. “I was asked to take tests in four languages. I passed the four languages. The fifth language, which was Russian, I was not required to take it.”

Although Dmitriyev already has his position set, there is still a couple of steps left before the games begin that he is required to do in order to be able to volunteer. 

“I will go through several sessions of training on where I need to go, what office, what people to talk to, how to find them, and what would my time schedule be. All the details will be sent to me,” said Dmitriyev. “I will go through accreditation in July. They will send me accreditation papers, so on the first of August, I will be there.”

The Olympics doesn’t pay for air tickets, tickets to different events, or any other accommodations required for the trip, so Dmitriyev will have to pay everything out of his own pocket. He doesn’t mind doing so, but already has some ideas on how to cut down cost. In addition, he will be traveling alone to the games and hopes to meet new friends from different parts of the world.

Dmitriyev is excited to volunteer at the games and hopes to have time to attend different events, such as tennis, gymnastics, and volleyball, which are his favorite sports.

“I’m excited about both games because they are important for both categories of people that are eligible for Olympic Games and those who are eligible for Paralympics Games,” said Dmitriyev. “When I volunteered before, for example, for the World Championships in Heavy lifting, I barely had time to attend a lot of events, because I helped with translation for other people.”

This won’t be the first time Dmitriyev will attend the Olympic Games, but it will his first as a volunteer. He has also been a volunteer at various international competitions. 

“I was a guest of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, then in 1996, I attended the Olympic Games in Atlanta. I volunteer for various international championships, like the Junior World Championship in Savannah that took place in 1999 and this year in Houston during the World Heavyweight Lifting Championship,” said Dmitriyev. “I volunteer many times in my life for various organizations and various reasons. Volunteering is not something new for me.

Dmitriyev’s decision to volunteer for his first time at the Olympic Games came as a result of the fact that he will be retiring at the end of next spring semester. 

“I think that, since I’m going to retire, I would like to prepare for the life after retirement and decided that going to Rio for the Olympic Games and help people in understanding different cultures and ethnicities would not be a bad idea,” said Dmitriyev. 

A 25 year professor at Georgia Southern, Dmitriyev has left a mark at the university, especially in the international curriculum, and he doesn’t regret any of it. He was the founder of the Center for the Study of International Schooling at the College of Education and the director of the center for eight years. 

“I have worked at Georgia Southern for 25 years and there was not a single moment where I regret it because I like the students, I have very good relations with them,” said Dmitriyev. “I believe I contributed a lot on the internationalization of the curriculum at Georgia Southern University.”

During his time at Georgia Southern, Dmitriyev was able to build good relationships with his colleagues and thanks them, especially Olga Amarie, Lucy Green, Horst Kurz, and Alma Stevenson, for helping him refresh his knowledge of French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese to be able to volunteer at the Olympic Games.