“There’s so much experience that I can share with you!”

As an athlete who has competed in four Olympic Games, I’m really excited about being an Athlete Role Model at Lausanne 2020. This is going to be the first time that I’ve been at a Games edition as a non-athlete, so I think it’s going to be a whole different perspective, and I’m really excited to meet all of you and see how far along you are in your careers. I can’t wait to get started!

  • Swiss ice hockey star Florence Schelling is a four-time Olympian who won bronze and was named tournament MVP at Sochi 2014.
  • She will be attending the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020 as an Athlete Role Model and is looking forward to sharing her experiences.
  • In particular, Florence knows what it’s like to balance a sports career with education and has tips and advice on how to make it work.

I wish I’d had the opportunity to learn from Athlete Role Models

I think the Athlete Role Model programme is a great programme. I wish I’d had something like this when I was your age, as I would have loved to have someone to talk to, someone I could ask questions, so that I could hear about the experiences of what they went through in their careers. It would have been great to get advice like that at the start of my career, but I never had that opportunity. You should really make the most of this chance to learn during the YOG!

I want you to ask a lot of questions

I don’t know what exactly you’re all going to ask me, but I hope that you have a lot of questions. I want you to open up and not worry that what you ask might seem silly. At the same time, I’ll be trying my best to make you all feel comfortable, so that you really do feel like you can ask me anything that you want to. When it comes to offering you advice, there’s so much experience from my career that I can share with you. I’m really open about everything, so I’ll try my best to answer any questions you have and give you some useful advice.

Helping you find the right balance

I know most of you are still in school, while also training at an elite level, and I know that balancing schoolwork, your private life and your sport is incredibly difficult. But that’s definitely something that I can give advice on. It’s ultimately about communication. I’ve had my fair share of schools that definitely weren’t sporting schools, but we always made it work. The key was always communicating with the school and the teachers and professors and being open about what the situation was. So if I knew at the beginning of the semester that I was going to miss an exam due to travelling with the national team, then I would always go up to the teacher as soon as I found out, and then would offer to do the exam in advance. I was able to show the teacher that I was actually not trying to just get away with not taking the exam.

Dealing with bumps in the road

Whatever path you choose, there will obviously be bumps in the road along the way. Some of them might be bigger, some of them might be smaller, but there are definitely going to be bumps in the road. It’s all about being able to deal with them so that you can continue along the path that you want to go down and never lose sight of your dream. I always say, “You should dream big, but work hard for it.” The working hard part is the most difficult bit, and in a way you never know what to expect. Some days might be great, but there will be other days that are going to be awful, and it’s all about dealing with them and continuing on your path, working hard to achieve your dream.

“You should dream big, but work hard for it.”

Make the most of this opportunity you have

For sure the competing part of the YOG is amazing. That’s definitely what you’re all going there for. You want to be successful, and that’s what you should focus on. But, at the same time, you should take the opportunity to be part of the Youth Olympic Games and experience all of the other things around them. What’s very important in my opinion is building a network and connecting with people – especially people from different sports and different countries. So when you arrive in Lausanne, make sure you have an open mind and in some ways an empty mind. There’s going to be so much that you’re going to experience, so many new people that you’re going to meet, and that needs a lot of space in your head. So being able to clear your head before you come is really important, so that you don’t get overwhelmed with all the experiences that you’re going to get.

Make sure you talk to me!

My message to all of you is to really just come see me. Come on up to me and start talking to me. Tell me your name, tell me where you’re from, tell me what sport you do. Let’s have a conversation and really just be open about everything!

In the build-up to Lausanne 2020, we will be hearing from an Athlete Role Model from each winter sport. Follow @Athlete365 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.