Learning to share at Lillehammer 2016
By Young Reporter Vegar Anders Skorpen
When the second Winter Youth Olympic Games kick off in Lillehammer this coming February, and the Olympic flame once again lights up the skies, the 1,000-plus young athletes travelling to the Norwegian city from all over the world will be accompanied by an enthusiastic group of young Olympians, Olympians, professionals and students known as Young Ambassadors (YAs), who will be there to help them get the most of the 10 days of the Games, on and off the field of play.
Last weekend, this inspiring group of 39 young people, aged between 18 and 25 and nominated by their National Olympic Committees, gathered in the host city for the Young Ambassador Seminar: three intensive days of workshops, excursions and team-building exercises to get them ready to fulfil their mission as the Learn & Share experts for their delegations.
Joined by five of the 15 Athlete Role Models (ARMs) who will also be present during the Games, another key objective of the seminar was for them to provide feedback on the L&S activities they tested to the IOC and LYOGOC, to ensure the athletes not only have an amazing experience but also get the educational take-aways intended from each workshop.
Together, via these activities, the YAs and ARMs debated important matters such as healthy lifestyles, anti-doping, illegal betting in sport, injury prevention and life after sport. They also received motivational and inspiring talks from key speakers including the President of the Norwegian Red Cross, Mr Sven Mollekleiv, who delivered a moving speech about dignity in sport, and the President of the Norwegian Parliament, Mr Olemic Thommessen,
The attending ARMs - Olympians Shelley Rudman, Molly Schaus, Ross Powers, Christine Nesbitt and Eric Alard, whose role during the Games will be to mentor the athletes and share their wealth of international experience, also participated in a Chat with Champions session, which will be a regular feature at the YOG. This was broadcast live on Periscope for YOG fans to tune in and listen first-hand to their Olympic stories and advice on how to be a role model.
And the introduction to what to expect in February certainly had a positive impact on those who participated in the weekend seminar. In the words of Team GB skeleton athlete Shelley Rudman, who won silver in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin: “[The Youth Olympic Games] is setting a really good example of the principles behind sports, so enjoy it and make some really good friends. Be a good competitor and a fair competitor and try your best to achieve in the nicest way possible.”