The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a list of Athlete Role Models (ARMs) who will support the young athletes going to the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games from 12 to 21 February 2016 in Lillehammer, Norway. They are presented individually through a short interview. Today: Wolfgang Linger.
How/why did you start your sport?
When I was young I did many different sports. I just liked to do sports, it didn´t matter which sport. One day I tried to do luge, but just totally by chance and I had a lot of fun. So at this age that was probably the reason that I really started doing luge. It´s great to have to physical skills and the speed, and on the other side with the sleds it´s a high-tech sport. That’s the main points for me.
What achievements are you most proud of in your sporting career?
For sure the two Olympic gold medals were very special. But I am very proud of winning the overall World Cup in 2012, because there was big pressure on us.
What achievements are you most proud of outside your sporting career?
When I was 19, in sport my big goal was qualify for the Olympics in Salt Lake City. In the same year I graduated at school. That was a tough year because sport was very intensive and took lots of time, and then school also took much time and needed hard discipline. But it worked, I was successful in both of them.
Favourite moment at the Olympics? A special memory of one of your participations?
In 2006, when we were on the podium and they were playing our national anthem. We were not in Turin as favourites, so everything was really just like a dream. And the race itself went so fast, even after the race you are still so focused. So the day after the race we really had time to enjoy our special moment when we got the medals in Turin.
What made you want to participate in the Youth Olympic Games?
Kids are amazing. It is amazing to watch how good they are even at this age. But I also think I can help them. They have good coaches for sure, so they are good in their sport, but I can give them some advice, for example how to deal with stress, how they can focus on the Olympic race, how they can optimise their development.
What do you like most about the Youth Olympic Games concept?
Young people need big events and special events to be well prepared when they come to their senior national team. For them to win at the Youth Olympic Games is for sure an amazing victory. But I don´t just see the result, I also see what the kids are learning at the Youth Olympics for their future. When they come for the first time to the “real” Olympics, in their mind they will be better prepared.
What are you looking forward to the most in Lillehammer 2016?
I think the Opening Ceremony is going to be a great event already. And there the kids will realise that these events the following days are not normal, they are something special. And then I can “go with” the athletes to their race and be there for questions and give them some small advice to be able to give the best in their Olympic race.
What’s next for you in your career?
I have started my second career. After I stopped sliding in 2014, I started working with the Austrian luge federation and with Austrian TV. And I started studying economics and sport.
What are your hobbies?
Still every kind of sport. Biking, skiing, hiking, reading a book. And for sure playing with my kids, which I do most of my free time ;)
Anything else you want to add?
It makes me proud to be part of this project. Kids are always the future. And to work with them is great because they can still make big steps forward with their skills. And when I think back to when I was a kid, it was always a great moment when I met a successful sportsman. So I hope I can bring some of them some special moments and help them a little bit in their development.