Olympic & Paralympic Research Centre (OPRC)

Victoria University's Olympic and Paralympic Research Centre, established in 2021, is endorsed by the Australian Olympic Committee. It is also recognised by the IOC Olympic Studies Centre as an academic Olympic Studies and Research Centre (OSRC), actively engaged in Olympic studies, and is a member of the worldwide network of OSRCs (PDF, 1.1 MB)

There are also centres in Sydney and Brisbane. All three work collaboratively to foster academic insights into the Olympic Movement.

 Tokyo Olympic rings

About the Olympic & Paralympic Research Centre (OPRC)

VU is only the third university in Australia and the only one in Victoria to receive approval after a rigorous selection process. Some 30 countries worldwide host 71 Olympic research networks and Olympic studies centres as a focus for Olympics education, and for research topics related to the Olympic movement.

A distinctive feature of the OPRC is that it encompasses social science research, writing and informed critiques associated with the Paralympics, the Winter Olympics, the Youth Olympics and other closely related mega multi-sport events, such as the Commonwealth Games and the Gay Games. The OPRC is also closely aligned with various research groups and programs in the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University.

Members of the OPRC include academics, postgraduates, adjuncts and alumni directly associated with Victoria University, along with external domestic and international Research Associate members.  The OPRC is also an official exchange partner with the Olympic Studies Centre at the German Sports University, Cologne, and the International Centre for Olympic Studies at Western University, London, Canada.

Our areas of expertise

Socio-Cultural & Historical

  • History and development of the Olympic Games (Summer and Winter)
  • Australia at the Olympic Games
  • Legacy and the Olympic Games
  • Philosophical and ethical aspects of the Olympic Games
  • History of women at the Olympic Games (gender aspects and inclusion)
  • Sociological aspects of the Olympic Games
  • Socio-cultural aspects and impacts of sport, with a particular focus on the intersections of diversity, social cohesion and sport, terrorism and the Olympic Games
  • History and development of the Gay Games, including aspects such as Human Rights and LGBTQ Rights at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Leadership & management

  • Olympic organisation management, including strategic organisational development for women as athletes and administrators
  • Olympic organisational management, gender and inclusion policies, human resource management
  • The application of international business and governance principles to the workings of the IOC and the Olympic Games
  • Information and management systems related to mega-sporting events
  • Legal aspects of mega-sporting events.

Sport performance

  • Data analytics for Olympic Games performances
  • Sport Performance in Olympic sports
  • Sport Technology in Olympic sports.

Objectives/ Mission Statement

Objective 1 - Communication

The establishment and nurturing of informed communication with members, associates and partners with an interest in Olympic-related teaching, education and research, with relevant notable activities and achievements by Victoria University students, staff, adjuncts and alumni collated and highlighted in a regular Olympic and Paralympic Research Centre newsletter.  

Objective 2 - Engagement

The fostering of internal and external engagement via means of in-person and virtual seminars on Olympic-related themes, suitable for, and featuring, students, staff, adjuncts, and external personnel (including visiting scholars and high performance athletes) working on, or associated with, Olympic topics.

The Olympic and Paralympic Research Centre aims to support the teaching of Olympic-related education content and units in the College of Sport, Health and Engineering and the College of Arts, Business, Law and IT as well as externally. To assist engagement with media organisations and the public, the expertise of members and associates will be displayed on the Olympic and Paralympic Research Centre website. 

Objective 3 - Outputs

The production of scholarly research outputs on Olympic-related themes, produced by students, staff, adjuncts and visiting scholars, and the generation of internal or external income by, for example, supporting internal and external grant applications, undertaking commissioned works and/or research, and hosting conferences. 

Olympic Research by the VU OPRC

News & upcoming events

Contact us

For any media enquiries or for information about finding a media expert, please visit the research news & publications page.

Olympic and Paralympic Research Centre
Room PB 211, P Building
VU Footscray Park Campus
Cnr Geelong Road and Ballarat Road, Footscray, Victoria

Mailing address:
PO Box 14428
Melbourne, Victoria 8001

Contact Dr Richard Baka for any enquiries about the Olympic and Paralympic Research Centre:

Dr Richard Baka
Email:  [email protected]
Phone: +61 3 9919 4358 or mobile +61 403 031 295

View Dr Richard Baka's profile on The Conversation