Te-An Lien, 19, from Chinese Taipei, was among the world’s best young athletes to compete in the first Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), in Innsbruck in 2012. Now, he is hoping to qualify for next year’s Olympic Winter Games in Sochi; a dream that is nearing a reality, in part thanks to the Olympic Solidarity Programme.
The promising sportsman benefits from an Olympic scholarship, which offers technical and financial support for the final preparation and qualification stages to international elite athletes and teams, nominated by their National Olympic Committee (NOC). Te-An Lien tells us how the Olympic scholarship is helping him prepare for Sochi and what role the YOG have played in his life.
How did you get started in luge?
I first took up the luge during the summer holiday of my second year of junior high school, when I was 14.
What has been your greatest sporting achievement so far?
Competing in the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, where I finished 20th. We stayed there for 14 days and it was really cold! It was so exciting and I was thrilled to compete with the world’s best young athletes. There were many interesting memories; I remember there was a guy from Bulgaria who didn’t have his right outfit, so I lent him one of mine. He was wearing my clothes when competing out there!
What would it mean to you to compete in Sochi 2014?
I am doing my best to qualify. It would mean a lot to be in Sochi in 2014 and of course I very much want to be part of it. I am still young and it would feel so different to participate in the Olympic Winter Games. It would enable me to see different things and broaden my horizons – an opportunity that many of my peers will never have.
What are your targets for the future?
First of all, I want to improve my world ranking in the luge. Then, in the future, I would like to be a sports director or a coach, or to serve on a sports committee.
How has your Olympic Solidarity scholarship helped you?
Most of my training is done in Europe or America, so it can be very expensive. Any support, no matter how small, can be very useful, so the scholarship has definitely helped me in terms of financial support.
Who are your sporting heroes and why?
At the moment my hero is Tommy Chen [ultra marathon runner]. He always has a super positive attitude whenever he’s facing challenges. He is tough yet modest. Around two years ago, when I was trying to qualify for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, I was nervous. I asked Tommy on Facebook what I should do to ease my fears. He told me, “Treat fears as part of your life, then you won’t feel the fear anymore”. Because of this motto, I worked hard and qualified for the YOG as the only Asian luger. That’s why I appreciate and admire him so much.