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Cool runnings - Castle students help develop Olympic heritage project

Students at Leicester Castle Business School (LCBS) are getting a push start in their sports heritage module thanks to a project with the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association (BBSA).

With less than a year until the next Winter Olympics, MSc Business and Management in Sport students are developing the history of British medallists, gaining real-world experience in this growing area.

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Dr Heather Dichter with Richard Parker, CEO of the BBSA

The plan is for their work to be built into the BBSA's website as well as used in visual, transportable material for events, which could include the City Push Track Championships in London.

This valuable link with the high-speed sport - Team GB's second most successful in terms of Winter Games medals - is thanks to Principal Lecturer Dr Heather Dichter.

She said: "I've worked with both the US and British teams, most recently supporting the USA Bobsled & Skeleton communications team at a World Cup race at Lake Placid, New York and the World Championships in Königssee, Germany.

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USA bobsleigh driven by Steven Holcolmb

"I have brought my contacts from the sport into teaching at LCBS.

"The BBSA is a smaller governing body, so our support for this history project is valuable. It is also something our students can point to at job interviews."

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Dr Dichter worked in sports media in the US and Canada and she also made industry contacts while researching her PhD into how the Allies used sport to democratise Germany after World War II.

"I transferred that to opportunities for my students and the federation," said Dr Dichter, who is also affiliated to the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

It was the content of the course that attracted Dr Dichter to teaching at LCBS, with students learning about governing bodies, spectators, marketing and communications through a combination of theory and visits to important sites of sports heritage.

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Dr Heather Dichter standing in the kreisel – a turn on the bobsleigh track

"The idea of thinking of sport as culture is recent and sports heritage is an area of growth and an exciting part of the Castle programme," said Dr Dichter.

"Our students learn how to build the sport heritage that gets the message of that organisation to the public. It can be monetised - for example stadium tours are a way of bringing in additional revenue to a club on non-game days."

Students have recently visited the National Football Museum in Manchester. As well as enjoying the trip from a fan's point of view, they went behind the scenes to meet the interim director and a member of the collections staff, who talked about putting the heritage together along with the business side.

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Castle students at the National Football Museum

Upcoming opportunities include volunteering at the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield in April and a #DMUglobal trip to Germany in May.

Dr Dichter is also hoping students will get to watch a bobsleigh and skeleton race. She added: "It is fun and an amazing experience. Once people are exposed to it they are hooked for life!"

Posted on Monday 10th April 2017

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