The first Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO) Continental Athlete Forum took place from 23 to 25 May in Miami, to exchange best practices and enable athletes to better serve their National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Athletes’ Commissions. IOC Athletes’ Commission member Pedro Yang, who represented Guatemala in badminton at the Olympic Games Athens 2004, was on hand to provide his knowledge and experiences. We caught up with Pedro to ask him how things went.
How did you become a continental athlete representative for PASO?
When you become a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, you are automatically given a spot on the Athletes’ Commission of your NOC, International Federation (IF) and also the Continental Confederation that your country is part of.
How did the historic first PASO Athlete Forum go?
The PASO Forum was great. There was a lot of passion from the athletes, who raised many interesting issues. The athletes were surprised to see just how organised the PASO Athletes’ Commission is, and they are motivated to be more active in helping to spread awareness of the programmes that the PASO Athletes’ Commission provides. They were also happy to see the many tools the IOC Athletes’ Commission has in place for the welfare of athletes around the world.
Was it all work and no play?
We held a beach activity after a long day at the Forum. We improvised a volleyball match that included most of the Forum participants. We didn’t have lines, and we basically made our own rules. We were not the greatest volleyball players: if people at the beach saw our performance they would doubt we were elite athletes at all; but hey, we had a lot of fun!
We also went in for a dip in the sea and ended the night with a barbecue just next to the beach. We worked really hard during the Forum, but thanks to the United States Olympic Committee and PASO we also had the chance to spend amazing moments socialising with our peers here.
How should athletes go about getting in contact with PASO Athletes’ Commission Members, and why is it so important that they do so, in your opinion?
Athletes can get in contact with the PASO AC through the PASO website, or they can contact their athletes’ representatives in their countries and ask them to get the contacts for the AC. We are looking into creating platforms or even using social media to create groups to keep feeding athletes information about initiatives the PASO AC has in place.