Lillehammer 2016 fire still burning!
All across the globe, Lillehammer 2016 inspired many young leaders to use sport to make a difference and lead the way for other young people to do the same. Under the name “Young Ambassadors+”, a variety of projects have come to life to promote the Olympic values.
Three months after the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), the flame continues to burn brightly for a group of empowered young participants, who are delivering sports projects in their own communities inspired by the Olympic spirit.
Ranging from introducing underprivileged young people to roller-skiing in the favelas of Brazil, to encouraging women and visually-impaired people to practise karate in Moldova and organising access to sport for refugees in Austria, these projects are being supported by an IOC pilot scheme offering seed-funding to Young Ambassadors (YAs) seeking to make the world a better place through sport.
YAs are nominated by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) ahead of each edition of the YOG to ensure that their athletes get the most out of their YOG experience. Aged 18-25 at the time of their nomination, the YAs come from all walks of life but share a passion for sport and its values. Since Singapore 2010, the programme has amassed a global network of 203 impassioned YAs from 105 NOCs.
The YA+ pilot scheme was launched in September 2015 to encourage the international community of YAs to activate their learnings and experiences and pass on their knowledge and passion to others. The initiative invited the YA alumni to submit their own projects or provide plans to extend existing projects based around four themes of Olympism, i.e. Peace & Development, Healthy Active Living, Sustainability and Inclusion. An IOC panel met to review the applications last December, and 11 projects received funding of up to CHF 5,000 each. All projects are subject to a thorough process of review and accountability.
To date, two projects have been delivered: Lucie Tuzova (CZE, Lillehammer 2016) organised a public event in one of her capital city’s largest shopping malls, introducing young people to ice hockey and the Olympic values; and Valéry de Falbaire (MRI, Nanjing 2014) held an educational team-building day for athletes from his country’s national federations, inspired by the Learn & Share activities of the YOG, featuring workshops on nutrition, injury prevention and doping.
The remaining nine funding recipients are in the process of researching, developing and delivering their projects. All projects must be delivered by the end of the calendar year. The early results of this trial period clearly illustrate how young people can help deliver the IOC vision for the YOG of “inspiring more young people to participate in sport and adopt and live by the Olympic values”. Based on the success of this pilot scheme, the IOC is now considering opening up the programme and inviting other champions and change-makers (Olympians, YOG athletes, Athlete Role Models, etc.) to submit projects for consideration for 2017.