An ice hockey skills challenge athlete from Latvia; a curler from New Zealand and a Belgium alpine skier were among the young athletes who got the opportunity to ask the IOC President Jacques Rogge their burning questions on Saturday afternoon at the Youth Session. What's more despite his grueling schedule which factors in a visit to all 15 disciplines, the President even remembered them by name or achievement recalling the Latvian had shot an impressive slap shot of over 140km an hour; the Belgium athlete's name was Anna and the ball of energy from New Zealander was the pint-sized curler with the big voice!!
There was no shortage of hands in the air as the athletes seized their chance with both hands, questioning the President, who represented Belgium in sailing at the Olympic Games, on everything from the new sports and doping regulations to how he balanced school and competition as a young athlete.
Of course, above all the audience was keen to know from the man himself just how he thought the Games had gone. Smiling, he took a moment, before saying: "It was better than I ever imagined my dreams and it is because of you the athletes, for the way you behaved on and off the field of play, and for that I thank you. Thank you." Adding later: “I could not be happier.”
So with his time at the helm coming to an end, what's next for man behind the YOG asked one athlete: "My future career?" the President pondered. "Well, it's very simple. I will come to the end of my mandate here in September next year and then I will be an honorary President of the IOC and still attend the Games but without responsibility, without worrying about transport, security and weather which I do now. I will have time to enjoy the sports I don't have time for now and I will give a good CEP to my grandchildren."
And with that the session concluded to a standing ovation for the man who started it all.