The first two months of 2020 saw the IOC’s inspirational Young Leaders come to the fore at both the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020 and the inaugural Global Sports Week event in Paris, promoting the Olympic values and the power of sport as a global force for good.
The International Olympic Committee announced a 53-strong group of Young Leaders for the fourth cycle of its social enterprise programme in August 2019. In January and February this year, a number of them took time off from planning and delivering their projects, supported by seed funding of up to CHF 5,000 from the IOC, to volunteer as the public face of the Olympic Movement.
The third edition of the Winter YOG in Lausanne in January welcomed 11 Young Leaders to the Olympic Capital. Based in the IOC Dome in the heart of Yodli Park, the volunteers worked tirelessly in a bespoke space featuring educational videos, activities and displays to spread the message of Olympism to visitors. The public area was designed by the 53 Young Leaders themselves at the inaugural IOC “Createathon”, an innovative gathering of IOC ambassadors, virtual reality specialists, social media experts and designers held in Lausanne in September 2019.
“Our role was to present the IOC’s various projects and its diverse work to the general public,” said Estonian Young Leader Laura-Maria Tiidla. “We had more than 30,000 schoolchildren visiting us and learning about the Olympic values. This was my fifth time witnessing the youthful energy of the Youth Olympic Games, which bring together thousands of young athletes from all over the world.
“The message throughout the Games was ‘For Youth, By Youth and With Youth’. The most enjoyable aspect was the special youthful vibe surrounding the event.
“You could feel that from the smiling faces of the volunteers, thousands of schoolchildren running around, music concerts in the city centre and the celebration of excellence by athletes in the mixed NOC events.”
Young Leader Babacar Dieng from Senegal was another of the 11 volunteers at the Winter YOG. “The IOC Dome promotes the Olympic values and the Olympic Movement as a whole,” he said. “To people who don’t know exactly what the IOC does – especially children – it shows them the sorts of values they should develop by practising sport. My job is to get that message across to people.”
Whilst in Lausanne, the Young Leaders also attended IOC commission meetings to discuss the future development of the global social initiative.
In February, seven IOC Young Leaders were invited to Paris to attend the first Global Sports Week, a new event focused on fostering innovative sports-led solutions for societal issues. More than 2,000 delegates from 70 countries met at the two-day gathering in the French capital, and the Young Leaders were prominent, with Dieng delivering a speech on international diplomacy and development on the first day. He was joined on stage by Panama’s Young Leader Carolina Joly, whose speech was entitled “Education & Integration”.
View this post on Instagram
#repost @iocyoungleaders ・・・ IOC Leaders rocking the Global Sports Week in Paris! The GSW's main purpose is to connect diverse Change-Makers to imagine the future of the sports economy and help shape radical, sports-led solutions addressing the biggest societal challenges. IOC Young Leaders are being Change-Makers in their respective countries and are creating solutions through sports. #GSW #paris #changemakers #iocyl #iocyoungleaders #ioc #olympics #sports #youngleaders #socialbusiness
The IOC Young Leaders were part of a 50-strong new group aged 18 to 25 called Young Sports Makers. Selected from among 200 applicants from 51 countries, the first ever Young Sports Makers were chosen to be the voice of the next generation, and organisers drew heavily on the experience of the IOC Young Leaders to create the initiative.
“We met the other Young Sports Makers who are now working on amazing projects around the world to also build a better world through sport, and we were able to share our projects to inspire and be inspired by them,” said Spain’s Adrian Ruiz de Magdalena.
“Global Sports Week had a really rich programme with numerous talks where we could ask the highest representatives from the world of sport about our concerns. We heard the inspiring stories of people who really changed their lives through sport and overcame big challenges.
“People talked about global warming, sport and urbanisation, and social inclusion, and a lot of different topics that can benefit from sports-led solutions.
“It was another world of opportunities open in front of us to learn, to help and to think about how we could make a better world through sport. Global Sports Week was an incredible experience for us to connect with a lot of interesting people and learn from the best inside the sports industry.”
The Winter YOG and Global Sports Week in 2020 were the latest examples of the IOC Young Leaders making an impact on the global stage. In 2019, over 30 of the social entrepreneurs made speeches and participated at international events.
For the fourth year running, the IOC is delighted to welcome the support of TOP Partner Panasonic, whose generosity has made it possible to further develop the IOC Young Leaders Programme.