Dr. Niki Koutrou, Department of Sport & Event Management-Bournemouth University
Dr. Geoffery Z. Kohe, School of Sport & Exercise Sciences-University of Kent

Empowering communities through volunteering is one of the IOC priority fields in
fostering the Olympic Games’ wider civic contributions. In 2004 Greece hosted the
summer Games at a time when volunteering was not widespread or well understood.
The Athens 2004 Olympic Games volunteer programme is anecdotally portrayed as
the catalyst for the current volunteering bloom in Greece. Legacies of volunteer
investment cannot be guaranteed however, and empirical data on the current
volunteer, sport-volunteering and wider civil society landscape in Athens and Greece
are lacking. Subsequently, this project aimed to revise understanding of the current
experiences of civil and volunteer sector stakeholders. It employed a qualitative,
mixed-method, research design comprising strategically targeted semi-structured
interviews and surveys with 19 civil society professionals and Athens 2004 volunteer
programme administrators and participants. Findings reveal that the Athens 2004
Olympic Games was aided by existing sector expertise and resources, eventually
encouraged further third sector development in the country, and inspired individuals
to continue wider volunteer-related work. Additionally, while broader social, political,
economic factors and a lack of post-Games strategy hindered sector development,
new collaborative opportunities were also created. Ultimately, these findings provide
a critical appraisal and guidelines for enhancing future Olympic volunteer legacies in
host cities.
Key words
Legacy, volunteering, community engagement, Athens 2004, cross-sector
partnerships, knowledge-transfer