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An Olympian for Life: keeping the flame alive beyond the Games

IOC/Dave Thompson
Recognising that the Olympic spirit lives on well beyond an Olympian’s competition days, the World Olympians Association (WOA) honours five winter Olympians in PyeongChang as part of its Olympians for Life project.

“Once an Olympian, always an Olympian,” stated International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. He was speaking at the official opening of the WOA’s Olympians for Life exhibition at the Olympic Club in PyeongChang yesterday. A fitting closing remark as the Olympians alumni association honoured five retired athletes who have made incredible contributions to society.

There is no question that the Olympic spirit lives on well beyond an Olympian’s competition days. Some go on to have illustrious careers in sports administration, turn to coaching, promote peace, fight for gender equality and inclusion, or seek to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people.

As part of the winter edition of the Olympians for Life exhibition, five winter Olympians have been recognised for not only representing, but also helping spread the Olympic values in their own country and around the world beyond the Games.

WOA President and Olympian Joël Bouzou said: “All have earned the honour to appear in this exhibition through the inspiring work they have done, both as athletes and as role models in society. Being an Olympian doesn’t end when you stop competing, it is a lifelong badge that is carried with you. Our project highlights just a few of the thousands of Olympians worldwide who are working every day to help make the world a better place.”

IOC/Dave Thompson

The five winter Olympians on show in PyeongChang are:

  • Tracy Evans OLY (Freestyle Skiing, USA) – for challenging gender stereotypes and championing the universal right to play through her charity Kids Play International
  • Manuela Di Centa OLY (Cross-country Skiing, Italy) – for her endeavours climbing Mount Everest
  • Chiharu Igaya OLY (Alpine Skiing, Japan) – for his efforts through a lifetime of giving back to sport
  • Devon Harris OLY (Bobsleigh, Jamaica) – for dreaming the impossible and inspiring others to never give up
  • Johann Koss OLY (Speed Skating, Norway) – for using the power of sport to change lives and build a better, more harmonious world through Right to Play International

Originally launched during the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the exhibition honours Olympians who have made a significant impact on the lives of others both during their athletic career and after.

The exhibition was officially opened by WOA Patron HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco OLY with IOC President Thomas Bach OLY and other high profile Olympians and IOC Members in attendance at the Olympic Club in PyeongChang on 17 February.

Find out more about Olympians for Life at

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