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About us

The World Academy of Sport originated in Australia in 2003 and has offices in Melbourne, Manchester, Dublin, Athens, Vancouver and Geneva with its main office in Manchester, UK. We work with partners in order to create a learning pathway for those involved in sport from high school through to on-going professional development and executive education programmes.

Executive Team 

The executive team of the WAoS is listed below:

Name Title
Chris Solly
Director, World Academy of Sport
Chris is Director of the World Academy of Sport, as well as Managing Director of IF Education. IF Education is an education service provider, in partnership with a number of International Sporting Federations, establishing educational courses for athletes and sporting administrators.

In 1999 Chris was instrumental in the conception and creation of Olympic Games Knowledge Services (OGKS), a joint venture with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Chris was a member of this company board until late 2004 when the IOC acquired the joint venture company shareholding which he represented.

Prior to this Chris was the inaugural Chief Executive of the Australian Ski Institute as the forerunner to the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, an internationally recognised high performance centre of athletic excellence. In addition, he has represented Australia at five Winter Universiades, on four occasions holding the position of Chief de Mission. He has also held prominent roles in the University sporting world on the board of directors of Australian University Sport for a number of years during his academic career.

Based in Switzerland, Chris holds a BSc (Hons) and is regularly working with many of the International Sporting Federations on their athlete and executive education programmes. He was an executive committee member of the 2004 and 2008 Australian Prime Minister's Olympic Dinner Committee.
Michael Cary
Director, AFEC and Brand, World Academy of Sport
As Director of Athlete Friendly Education Centres (AFEC) and Brand within the World Academy of Sport (WAoS)Michael is responsible for expanding the connection and affiliation with schools through this innovative project. He has been a founding member of the WAoS team and therefore instrumental across all aspects of the organisation from fostering its many partners, developing each of the product and service areas through to developing its overall brand.

Michael developed his technical skiing skills through coaching and ski instructing in both Australia and Canada having completed a BSc Human Movement (Sport Science). He moved into administrative and management roles across several industry sectors and assisted Ski and Snowboard Australia on a voluntary capacity throughout 2001 and 2002.

Since 2002 he has focussed on the creation of World Academy of Sport and has been at the forefront of developing industry focussed education programmes for its many international sport federation partners, often working on bringing concepts to fruition. Through its partnership with the International Baccalaureate WAoS has developed over several years an international approach to increasing access to education for high performing student athletes so they can better balance their demanding sport and education commitments. This initiative has been a particular rationale for the original establishment of the WAoS and Michael passionately believes in the invaluable contribution such a project can have on many student athletes’ lives in the coming years.  

Professor Gordon Mandry
Director, Strategy & Special Projects
Gordon was educated at Oxford University and from 1973 through to 2007 was at the Manchester Business School where he lectured in Strategic Marketing and directed the International Business Programme. He has lectured extensively for many other leading business schools, and is currently Visiting Professor at Cyprus International Institute of Management.

From 1974 to 1982, he served as European Director of the PIMS programme, a large, multi-company research activity aimed at identifying the relationship between market strategy and profitability.

As well as consulting for a host of impressive multinational companies throughout his career, he is now Director, Academic & Research for the World Academy of Sport. In this role he has developed and delivered many practical and inspiring programmes to various International Sport Federations and Organising Committees.
Lin Zhang
Director, Strategy, Finance and Central Services, World Academy of Sport
Rachael Church
Director, Editorial and Communications, World Academy of Sport
Rachael Church is Director of Editorial and Communications for the World Academy of Sport. Her responsibilities include producing and managing content for WAoS' educational programmes and for the company's international portfolio of clients in the sports industry. She is also in charge of Communications for the company, promoting key WAoS messages and liaising with the media about WAoS' products and services including the IPC Academy Campus, the unique educational programme offered to sports professionals during the Paralympic Games.

With over 23 years experience in the publishing and sports industries, Rachael has worked with a wide range of sports properties, government entities, cities, sponsors, broadcasters, venues and gaming companies both as a journalist and consultant.

She is the author of several widely-acclaimed business reports including Sport on the Internet (2000), The Global Business of Sports Television (2003), Bidding and Hosting: The Guide to Successful Sporting Events (2003), The Global Business of Poker (five editions 2006 to 2013), Ultimate Sports Cities (six editions 2006 to 2016), Bingo in the Digital Age (2009), Ultimate Sports Websites (2009 and 2010), The Global Business of Skill Gaming (2010), The Global Business of Online Casinos (2010 and 2012), Online Sports Betting: Strategy and Outlook (2011), Social Gaming (2011), Digital Strategies for Sport 2011-12 (2012), Digital Sports Betting (2012 and 2016) and The Global Business of Lotteries (2014). 

A regular conference chair, moderator and speaker who has often appeared on radio and television, she has been an annual lecturer on sport and technology at Liverpool John Moores University and has also lectured to students at Liverpool University and also in Milan as part of the FIFA Masters programme. She is part of the lecturing line-up at the World Academy of Sport for the organisation’s postgraduate certificate course.

She has organised many sports industry conferences, seminars and briefings over the years for a range of clients including BT, Sports Video Group, UKTI/DIT, the Financial Times and SportBusiness at venues including the Stade de France, Lord's Cricket Ground, the Oval Cricket Ground, BT Centre, Inmarsat HQ and the Institute of Directors

She has a BA Honours degree from Queen’s University Belfast and an MPhil from Exeter University. She is a season ticket holder at Exeter City Football Club and the former chairman of Bromley Common Football Club.

Riikka Rakic
Director, IF Relations, World Academy of Sport
Craig Morris
Manager, Digital & IT Services, World Academy of Sport
Maria Dablin
Senior Manager, Educational Partnerships & Government Projects
Maria graduated from the University of Manchester with a first-class BSc (Hons) degree in Management.

As Manager of the Programme Services Team at the WAoS, Maria oversees the wide portfolio of programmes (Executive Education, Train the Trainer and Online) and is responsible for servicing all activities efficiently and in line with WAoS Quality Assurance procedures.

Maria joined WAoS in 2008, and since then has worked in London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 as the Operational Lead for the Games Experience Programme and Inclusion Summit as part of the IPC Academy Campus.
Joe Lewis
Co-ordinator, Programme Services, World Academy of Sport
Ramone Cooper
Associate Director, Education Services

To contact any of the World Academy of Sport Executive team via e-mail, please use firstnameinitial+lastname@worldacademysport.com 

Contact details

Address World Academy of Sport
52 Granby Row
M1 7AY
Telephone +44 (0)161 639 0950
Fax +44 (0)161 228 7140
Email info@worldacademysport.com


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