After winning a third canoeing gold medal at last year’s London 2012 Olympic Games, Tony Estanguet will be hanging up his paddle to focus on his new role as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.
Tony, who served as an Athlete Role Model at the first Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 mentoring young athletes and participating in the Culture and Education Programme (CEP), will join a number of other Olympians representing the athletes’ interest at the IOC for the next eight years.
After attending his first week of events as an IOC member in Lausanne, Switzerland, during which Tony voted on the host city for the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2018, we caught up with the four-time Olympian to ask him about his new role and the YOG.
What will you do as an IOC member?
My role will be to listen to the athletes, and to facilitate communication with the IOC in order to reinforce the Olympic magic. I’ve dedicated 20 years of my life to my sporting dream. I’ve lived an incredible career, and I am now extremely motivated and committed to ensuring that the Olympic dream continues for future generations.
What did you love about the Youth Olympic Games?
For me, participating in the first YOG was very enriching and inspiring. As an Athlete Role Model, I experienced a sense of responsibility and gratitude. I very much enjoyed this aspect of sharing or relaying experiences between the different generations of athletes. I remember returning home pumped. The YOG in Singapore in 2010 personally inspired and helped me progress and get that gold medal at the London Olympic Games last summer, after a disappointment in Beijing, in 2008.
Buenos Aires was elected to host the YOG in 2018, and Nanjing will host the YOG next summer. What can athletes expect when they go to the Youth Olympic Games?
The young athletes are passionate and overflowing with ambition. The YOG allows them to channel their Olympic dream and acquire a unique experience, as well as important points of reference for the rest of their careers.
Given the chance when you were a young athlete, would you have liked to compete in the Youth Olympic Games?
I would have loved to take part in the YOG, and it is now up to us to ensure that the next generations are as envious of this evolution as we are. The YOG are for young people and must continue to evolve.