The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are about more than just what happens on the field of play.
Between training and competing, there are a range of fun activities and workshops for the athletes to take part in, and at the heart of this programme are the Young Ambassadors. Aged between 18 and 25, these impressive young leaders have demonstrated a desire to live by the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, and to use their role to inspire others to do the same.
Now in its third cycle, many graduates of the Young Ambassadors programme have stayed within the world of sport, drawing on their experience at the YOG to help shape their careers. In fact, we bumped into quite a few familiar faces from the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Speaking about his experience, Pedro Cavazzoni, who now heads the technical department of the Brazilian Snow Sports Federation, said: “My experience as a Young Ambassador was very productive to my career. I gathered a lot of knowledge - both personal and professional - as it offered a very intense exchange with so many different people, different backgrounds and expertise.”
Charlie Paddock, Young Ambassador for the USA, who was in Sochi working for his National Olympic Committee and who will serve as the Chef de Mission during Nanjing 2014, said: “The Youth Olympic Games are so unique because they provide a very important opportunity for the younger generation to be exposed to multiple cultures at one time. The fact that this happens in an Olympic setting is an even more important opportunity because sport naturally brings people together in a peaceful fashion. Through the Youth Olympic Games, athletes are not only competing at a high level, but building lifelong friendships at the same time.”
Looking forward, the next batch of Young Ambassadors will arrive in Nanjing at the end of this month for four days of workshops and team-building to prepare them for their roles during the 2nd Youth Olympic Games this summer.
Do you have a Young Ambassador from your country? Check out the list here.
And for more Young Ambassador news, we will be bringing you a behind-the-scenes look at the seminar next week.Young Ambassador for Nanjing 2014 Elisa Santoni (ITA) (first on the left) is happy to be going to the YOG!