The University of Western Ontario has made an interesting appointment:

No stranger to the Olympics and its remarkable history, Classical Studies Professor Nigel Crowther has been appointed as the new director of Western's International Centre for Olympic Studies (ICOS).

For almost 30 years, Crowther has taught a course on Sport in Ancient Greece and Rome, forging a sterling publications record on sport themes relating to Greek and Roman antiquity.

"I am excited and honoured to be the Director (elect) of the oldest and most prestigious Olympic Centre in the world," says Crowther, who begins his new position July 1, taking over from interim and founding director Bob Barney.

"I feel that an appointment from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities will add an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to the centre that will be of benefit to all involved."

Although the Centre's primary focus will still be the Modern Olympic movement, Crowther says one should not forget that the Ancient Games in Greece lasted for more than 1,000 years, ten times longer than the Games of today.

The spectacle of the Ancient Olympics was brought to life in a 2004 CBC hour-long documentary/drama produced by Crowther. Ancient Olympics: Let the Games Begin revealed a pivotal moment in the early history of this ultimate sporting event - a time when the purity of the great Olympic ideal was just beginning to be tainted. Crowther spent more than 160 hours on the project, which appeared again this past February during the Winter Olympics.

Crowther says his predecessors, Barney and Kevin Wamsley, "have given so much to the centre" and he is happy they will remain a part of it in the future.

"I especially look forward to organizing an International Conference in Beijing in 2008 at the time of the Olympic Games and editing the Centre's world-class journal Olympika," says Crowther.

Crowther, a long-time board member of the ICOS, will continue with his teaching duties in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.