Five years after the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 2012, we catch up with five athletes who competed in Austria and find out what they are doing now.
The British athlete raced in the women’s Super-G, combined, giant slalom and slalom in Austria and was then selected for the 2014 and 2015 World Junior Championships. Since 2016, however, she has been training to qualify as a commercial airline pilot at the Flight Training Europe centre based in Jerez, Spain. “The Youth Olympic Games were a really great experience and I won’t forget them for as long as I live,” she said. “I learnt so much from the Culture and Education Programme and from just talking to other people from other countries. Being exposed to Olympism at such a young age helped me equip myself for life beyond my athletic career and lay the foundations for my professional attitude. From the Youth Olympics I learnt respect for others and how to be an ambassador for my country and sport.”
The teenager was a member of the Swiss mixed curling team along with Michael Brunner, Elena Stern and Romano Meier who claimed gold in 2012. Switzerland beat Japan and Sweden in the knockout stages en route to the final, where they beat Italy 6-4 in the Innsbruck Exhibition Centre. Gisler still curls – she came fifth in the 2017 Swiss Championships – and now works as an intern at a sports marketing company in Bern.
Competing in the biathlon mixed team relay with the USA helped Mooney realise her long-held ambition of becoming a full-time Alpine athlete. The American won bronze in Innsbruck and is now a cross-country skier with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project team. “Ski racing professionally has been a dream of mine since I was in elementary school,” she said. “I grew up in a skiing family. My parents met while racing for the University of Vermont and my father competed in the 1976 Innsbruck and the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games.”
A competitor in both the women’s biathlon 6km sprint and 7.5km pursuit, the New Zealand athlete is currently studying for a degree in Law and Commerce at the University of Otago. She was appointed an IOC Young Ambassador for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, acting as a mentor to the young athletes. Back home she also acts as secretary to both the Wanaka Biathlon Club and Biathlon New Zealand.