A member of the Ukrainian rhythmic gymnastics team that competed at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, Vira Perederii was a Young Ambassador at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lillehammer 2016, and is now part of the IOC’s innovative YA+ programme – a social entrepreneurship through sport programme.
How were you selected as a Young Ambassador for the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer?
My story began when I retired from gymnastics and finished a Masters Degree at the National University of Physical Education and Sport of Ukraine. I was chosen to join the NOC Scholarship Programme and sent to the Russian International Olympic University, from which I graduated , having the dream of working at the NOC of Ukraine. I started to work at the Olympic Department and then, one day, I received a proposal from my NOC to become a Youth Ambassador in Lillehammer. It was just a fantastic feeling to be given such an amazing opportunity.
What did you role in Lillehammer involve?
I was responsible for building team spirit, encouraging the young athletes to get to know each other better and to be open to the possibilities that the YOG provide. I also shared my own Olympic experiences from Beijing and promoted and organised team participation in all activities within the “Learn and Share” area.
What is your favourite memory of the Games?
It was the day when Ukraine won its first-ever gold medal in biathlon, in the women’s pursuit. Every member of the Ukrainian team was so happy and so proud.
What did you learn from your YOG experiences?
Sport is a special environment where all athletes from different countries can become friends, and where your team is your family. And of course, sport can open new doors for anyone who is ready to knock.
When did you become involved in the YA+ programme?
I submitted my project #OlympicLab for the YA+ programme in November 2015. My project was aimed at youth self-development and based on the “Learn and Share” programme, which was offered in Lillehammer in 2016. #OlympicLab includes six modules: Mental Training, Olympic Chat, Healthy Lifestyle, Eat Smart, the History of the Olympic Movement and Volunteering. The idea is to demonstrate to young people that, through sport, they can enrich themselves in other parts of their lives.
Why this particular programme?
The #OlympicLab is a unique opportunity for school children to learn more about the Olympic Movement and the Games, meet famous athletes and coaches from Ukraine, learn the secrets of an active and healthy lifestyle and get an exclusive chance to join the education programme of the YOG.
How do you deliver your message?
In 2016, the #OlympicLab involved more than 5,000 children from over 60 schools in 25 regions of Ukraine, with more than 80 Olympians helping to present the project. My job was to design and provide the teaching modules to be presented to the children. I started with a technical seminar for the NOC Regional Divisions and then sent video material and other materials to them to help with delivery. All the information that they needed was also uploaded to the NOC of Ukraine website.
What are your ultimate goals for the programme?
My aim is to produce sustainable results with a sustainable project. I want to involve students from as many schools in Ukraine as possible and inspire a new generation who will be loyal to the Olympic Movement and sport in general. At the same time, I want them to be able to apply this knowledge and understanding to their wider lifestyle in a positive way.
What are your plans for the future?
The project is scheduled to continue through the whole of 2017. At the end of the year, I will receive reports from the Regional Divisions of the NOC of Ukraine. Of course, I would like to find a new stage for #OlympicLab because it has been hugely popular with the stakeholders of the project.