Volleyball and badminton might not require ice, snow or even a track, but they still require as much determination, drive and dedication as any sport on the Winter Games programme. And these are just some of the qualities which Cuban volleyball player Yumilka Ruiz and Guatamalan badminton player Pedro Yang will be sharing with the young athletes at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in January, as Athlete Role Models (ARMs).
For Olympians Yumilka and Pedro, this will be their second Youth Olympic Games, after serving as ARMs for the first Summer YOG in Singapore in 2010 – an experience that they are looking forward to repeating.
“I win every time,” said two-time Olympic gold medallist Yumilka. “I am really looking forward to new experiences that will stay with me forever, meeting young athletes full of unrealised dreams, making new friends and continuing to work with and for the world of sport.” Pedro is equally excited about being involved in the Culture and Education Programme again.
“The CEP will give them that added value which will make them better human beings, hence superb athletes and undoubtedly future role models,” he said. “The interaction with other young athletes from different parts of the world will create bonds, regardless of diversity.”
And, as someone who has had his fair share of ups and downs like all professional athletes, Pedro will be on hand to teach the next generation of champions the benefits of positive thinking. After all, to quote Pedro himself: “When life hands you lemons, make some lemonade”.