Dr Gregory Ioannidis, Sports Lawyer, has been appointed as a member of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Pro Bono Mentoring Scheme, responsible for anti-doping matters in relation to the Olympic Games. In addition, three students of LLM International Sports Law in Practice have been selected to shadow the work of Dr Ioannidis during the Games - Liberty Miller, Graeme Poole and Matt Kirk. We asked the students about their thoughts on their appointment to the shadowing team.
How did you feel when you found that you had been chosen to shadow Dr Gregory Ioannidis during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
LM: Really excited and slightly shocked! I applied for the placement hopefully but knew, as it was such an excellent opportunity so there would likely be a lot of competition. I’m very grateful to Dr Gregory Ioannidis for involving us in this experience and having such confidence in us.
MK: It was a great feeling to be chosen to be part of the legal research team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Sports law is something that I have long been passionate about, and this opportunity is something I was very keen to take part.
Is there anything particular about this opportunity that you are looking forward to?
MK: Having done a significant amount of studying and reading into this area of the law and being able to put all of that to practice in a flagship event such as the Olympics, is an incomparable opportunity. I am looking forward to being able to put my studies into practice at the top end of the sporting world.
GP: Putting into practice what I have learned during the Anti-Doping elective on the Master’s degree; working under Dr Ioannidis – a renowned Sports lawyer – and benefitting from his expertise and feeling a tangible involvement in the Olympics alongside being an avid spectator of the Games.
How do you connect your studies with preparation for shadowing the Pro Bono Legal Team of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
LM: During our first two online sessions with the team in Tokyo, we were able to directly apply what we had studied in the Anti-doping module, particularly in providing assistance in the application of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s updated Anti-Doping Code, which came into force at the beginning of this year. As the Games progress, our knowledge from the course of the Anti-Doping Code, applicable case law, and procedural aspects will be extremely useful.
MK: The theoretical backdrop of the world anti-doping code is the main part of the preparation for the Olympics. This, therefore, creates a direct link between my studies and the practice during the Olympics.
Do you think that this could be a life-changing experience?
LM: It is certainly going to be an amazing opportunity that will provide a great learning experience and has the potential to impact a future career path. I really look forward to what I will learn and take from it.
GP: In Rio, in 2016, there were 13 cases handled by the CAS Anti-Doping Division, so it’s possible we will be quite busy during the Games. I expect it will prove a great learning experience, potentially on some high-profile cases which make the news, and will no doubt help in developing my legal expertise and future career post-Graduation.
How do you think it could influence your future career?
GP: I think it can only be a positive. I’ll be working on Anti-Doping cases at the Olympic Games. It really doesn’t get bigger than that – even for established Sports Lawyers – so to be able to do this whilst still a student is really exciting and has further confirmed my passion for Sports Law and commitment to working within the sports industry in future.
MK: I hope that this experience will be the stepping stone towards a full-time career in sports law. It will certainly motivate me to push towards a career in sports law as the masters studies is also doing.
Do you enjoy the clinical aspect of your degree?
GP: Absolutely, that was the main reason for choosing Sheffield Hallam for my Master’s. It has afforded an opportunity to put into practice what I have learned and allowed me to work more closely with other students on real-world ‘live’ examples of legal challenges that people face.
LM: Yes definitely. It was something I was quite nervous about beforehand, but by throwing myself in it has helped develop my confidence more than I ever could have expected. Getting to have a practice at applying the substantial and procedural aspects of sports law has been invaluable.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are going to start on the 23rd of July. We are looking forward to it and hearing more from our students and Dr Gregory Ioannidis about their experience of being part of the Pro Bono Legal Team.