As Athlete Role Models, Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj and South Korean taekwondo athlete Dae Sung Moon are looking forward to passing on the baton to the next generation of Olympians at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in January.
But back when Olympic dreams were just a twinkle in their eyes, these two had their own role models to whom they looked up for inspiration. Ahead of their work in Innsbruck, the YOG team asked them about their heroes.
Double Olympic gold medallist Hicham, nicknamed the “King of the Mile”, told us: “I would say I had a lot of sporting heroes as a kid. I would list Lord Sebastian Coe and Said Aouita in track and field, especially middle distance, which I specialised in. I would also talk about Mohamed Ali in boxing; he was a real legend. I loved also Pele and Maradona in soccer. All those names marked the history of sport, and they all excelled in their fields.”
OIympic champion Dae-Sung revealed: “I vividly remember, as a kid, admiring the Olympic champions who could tell about their victory as a fruitful result of their hard work. Growing up watching my Olympic heroes on TV, it became my dream to compete in the Games and to stand on the podium waving the medal with pride, enjoying that great sense of achievement. I am so glad that my dream finally came true, and I hope I can be an inspiration to many future athletes.”