Although the Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympics concluded this August, graduates of the University of Delaware’s International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP) and International Coaching Apprenticeship in Basketball (ICAB) are still basking in Olympic glory.
Coaches Raimonds Feldmanis, Class of 2019 ICAB graduate, and German Medina, Class of 2019 ICECP graduate, were successful in leading athletes to their Olympic dreams in Tokyo. Feldmanis led the men’s 3×3 basketball team from Latvia to a gold medal and Medina had athletes earn silver and bronze medals in BMX cycling for Colombia. Along with Feldmanis and Medina, there were five other ICECP and ICAB graduates who coached athletes competing in the Tokyo Games.
“We are very happy for and proud of Raimonds and German,” Matthew Robinson, professor of sport management in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and deputy director of UD’s Community Engagement Initiative, said. Robinson served as the director of both programs and collaborated with Jeff Schneider, senior instructor in the department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology in UD’s College of Health Sciences.
“Both are exceptional professionals and it was an honor to share with them and learn from them during their participation in the respective programs,” Robinson continued. “Their success demonstrates the power of the Olympic movement. Both received scholarships for participation in the program and those funds came from the broadcast rights fee revenues generated by previous Olympic Games.”
Through the ICECP and ICAB programs, Robinson and Schneider have worked with 350 coaches from 125 countries in 25 different sports. Both initiatives are funded by the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity Fund, which designates money generated from Olympic broadcast rights to sport development and education programs around the world. UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies administers the ICECP and ICAB certificate programs.
“ICECP and ICAB are both prime examples of interdisciplinary cooperation that have a global reach, which are important components of the strategic vision for the university,” Robinson said.
“I am grateful to the ICAB program for helping me to see the wider vision in basketball, especially basketball analytics, which I easily integrated into my basketball coaching,” Feldmanis said. “We committed to work hard over the last four years, and at the games, our team spirit was like a family. We deserved Tokyo Olympic gold.”
Medina said, “I will be forever grateful with the ICECP Program, as it was a superb experience and for sure something that impacted in an unimaginable positive way in my work as the National BMX coach of Colombia and as a person.
“The Games were a great experience considering all the circumstances that happened before the Games, the global situation and the Games itself,” Medina continued. “This is a one of a kind event, and many things were on the line. It is not just the physical and technical preparation, but many other aspects that need to be considered to achieve great performances.”
Since its inception in 2008, the ICECP program has inspired coaches to return to their native countries and implement programs that have positively influenced thousands of athletes. Many programs have led athletes to national championships and records, as well as participating and excelling in world championships and the Olympic Games.
“German was open minded to the ideas that were presented and appreciated the science behind the coaching. He was respected by his peers in the ICECP and was a model student whose final project was exceptional,” Schneider said.
ICAB, which launched in 2012, is designed for advanced coaches and is offered in conjunction with Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). The program involves lectures, visits with NBA franchises and the participants being embedded with NCAA Division I basketball programs for four weeks. Feldmanis completed his four weeks with the Davidson College men’s basketball program where he was mentored by the legendary coach Bob McKillop.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ICECP program was offered virtually and the ICAB program was not offered in 2020. Both programs will relaunch this fall with the intended goal of sharing and growing friendships through sport with hopes of working with the next generation of impactful coaches. Coaches are nominated to receive the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship by their countries respective Olympic Committees.