Olympic.org takes a look at what some former Youth Olympic Games (YOG) athletes are up to by diving into their social media posts.
Malaysian diver Pandelela Rinong – who won two silver medals at the YOG Singapore 2010 – put in some extra effort at training this month so that she could mark the Mid-Autumn Festival with some delicious mooncakes, posting: “Train hard, spin more, so I can eat all the mooncakes.”
The Mid-Autumn Festival – also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival – is the second-most important holiday in the Chinese calendar (after New Year) with a history dating back 3,000 years, when China's emperors worshipped the moon for bountiful harvests. Tradition dictates that the holiday must be marked by eating mooncakes - round pastries with a sweet, dense filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste.
Hungarian tennis star Timea Babos – the doubles bronze medallist at the YOG Singapore 2010 – marked World Smile Day by urging all her followers to grin a little more.
“Smile,” she posted, “it's the key that fits the lock on everyone's hearts and makes everything easier.”
German short-track speed skater Anna Seidel – a bronze medallist at the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 – shared her disappointment with her followers after hearing that the ISU World Cup events scheduled for Seoul (Republic of Korea) and Beijing (China) later this year had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Of course, it’s really frustrating and I’m angry and disappointed,” she posted. “But, it’s the same situation for everybody, for every athlete it’s a big motivation killer and a tough period. Not knowing what competition you’re training for, still pushing yourself beyond limits every day. At the same time, it’s something outside of our control and we can only control the way we respond. So, I’m going to try to see this time as a challenge to grow, learn to perform even in tough times and make the best out of everything.”
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Disappointing news: our World Cups in December, planned to be held in Asia, got cancelled as well. That means no ISU competitions anymore in 2020. Of course it‘s really frustrating and I‘m angry and disappointed. But, it’s the same situation for everybody, for every athlete it’s a big motivation killer and a tough period. Not knowing what competition you‘re training for, still pushing yourself beyond limits every day. At the same time it‘s something outside of our control and we can only control the way we respond. So I’m gonna try to see this time as a challenge to grow, learn to perform even in tough times and make the best out of everything. To use those upcoming month useful, work on things you‘re normally too busy for and to stay focused. We‘re all in this together. Stay healthy.🤍 #noworldcupsin2020 #cancelled @isuspeedskating
Czech figure skater Anna Dušková, who won two silver medals at the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016, showed her sense of humour as she channelled her inner Nick Carter on Instagram.
“I’m ready to be cast in the music video for I Want it That Way by Backstreet Boys,” she posted, while posing in an all-white outfit reminiscent of the US boyband’s clothing choice for their 1999 hit song.
YOG gold medallist Marloes Keetels, of the Netherlands, proved she’s got skills in more sports than just hockey, as she showed off her unique golf swing on Instagram.
“Pay attention,” she posted. “New golf technique: the hockey stance!”
German ski jumper Katharina Althaus – a gold and silver medallist at the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012 – shared how excited she was to say, “Goodbye” to the summer months as she posed with a heart-shaped snowball on Instagram.
“Finally snow again,” she posted. “I was as happy as a little child when I was in the snow today!”
Norwegian swimmer Henrik Christiansen, who won two bronze medals at the YOG Nanjing 2014, may have won a social media gold medal for “best scenery” as he posed in front of the spectacular Northern Lights – or aurora borealis – in Tromsø.
“Welcome to Norway,” read his simple caption.