Earlier this month, Augustin Maillefer was given the all-important task of handing the envelope with the name of the winning host city of the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2018 to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge.
Having competed at the first-ever Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore in 2010, it was an opportunity for the 20 year-old Swiss rower to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the YOG and the IOC. Since 2010, Augustin has also competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and finished 5th at the 2013 European Rowing Championships. Ten days ago, he was crowned Swiss Champion in men’s double sculls, and in-between training and competitions, the young athlete took the time to answer a few questions.
What do the Youth Olympic Games mean to you?
The YOG are a unique occasion to participate in a sporting event that brings together athletes from every continent. Many things resemble the Olympic Games, but on a smaller scale. Yet there is an area where the YOG surpasses the Olympic Games, and that is with regard to the interactions between the people: athletes, volunteers, spectators, journalists, residents of the host city, etc. At the Olympic Games, the absolute priority is placed on your performance. We take part in the YOG also to perform at our best, but there are in addition many opportunities to discover and experience new things. I have great memories of my participation at the YOG in Singapore in 2010, and loved giving it my all in a good-natured and friendly atmosphere.
You were invited to handover the famous envelope to the IOC President during the election of the YOG 2018 host city. How did that you make you feel?
I felt extremely honoured and lucky. I was able to follow the day’s events, meet people from the IOC and see the presentations of the three candidate cities, which I found very interesting. When the moment came to bring the letter to the President, you could sense the importance of the upcoming decision. I was really impressed, and the simple task of handing over an envelope required all my focus. I didn’t want to ruin the moment! The Argentinians then exploded with joy when Buenos Aires was announced as the elected city.
What advice would you give to young people hoping to participate in the YOG in Nanjing and Buenos Aires?
I would tell them not to be afraid nor to put any pressure on themselves, but to simply give it your all during the competition all the while making the most of the healthy, good-natured atmosphere. After giving it your best shot, there should be no room for regrets. All that should be left to do is to meet new people, make new friends, and discover what the host city has to offer.
Thank you Augustin for your help! And for those who missed the announcement of the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games host city in 2018, check out the video here.