- 20 Oct 2011
- IOC News
Ambassador Vonn talks Youth Olympic Games ahead of World Cup Opener
Having missed out on her fourth straight overall World Cup championship last season by a scant three points, American Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn has returned to the slopes this season with a renewed sense of purpose and determination. To say that she is eager to reclaim her title ahead of the FIS Ski World Cup Opening in Sölden, Austria this Saturday would be an understatement.
Yet despite her singularity of focus on training ahead of the upcoming competition, the reigning Olympic downhill gold medallist was only too happy on Thursday to devote some time to talk about her role as Youth Olympic Games Ambassador for the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck from 13 to 22 January.
In between gym sessions and practice runs, Vonn took part in a press conference designed to give the assembled media reps a better idea of what her role is as YOG Ambassador and what it means to her to be a part of the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games.
“It is part of my responsibility as an athlete to give back to the kids,” Vonn said. “When you are growing up, your brain is like a sponge, you absorb so much information. And when you have someone to look up to it can really have an impact. I feel it in my heart that I want to contribute and help young athletes.”
Vonn currently shares her ambassadorial duties with two other winter sports stars: figure skater Yuna Kim and Alpine skier Benjamin Raich. Their role is to inspire and mentor the athletes competing at Innsbruck 2012, while encouraging young people from all over the world to become more active in sport.
“The Youth Olympic Games are a great opportunity for the athletes to learn about the Olympic values and other sporting principles like fair play, friendship and good sportsmanship. This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to be part of it,” Vonn continued.
“There will be incredible cultural experiences (for the athletes) as well during these Games. The fact that the athletes will be able to compete internationally at such a young age is a fantastic opportunity. I remember coming to Europe for the first time when I was 9 years old and it had a huge impact on me. Hopefully spending two weeks with other young athletes from all over the world will have the same impact on them. They will learn so much about all the different cultures of the athletes attending the Games. At the same time they will take part in some really fun activities that will teach them new skills and help them with their future careers.”