One of 39 Young Change-Makers (YCM, formerly known as Young Ambassadors) at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, 26-year-old Lucie Tuzova is now part of the IOC’s Young Change-Makers+ programme (YCM+), delivering her “Live your Dream” initiative in her native Czech Republic.
How were you selected as the Czech Republic’s Young Ambassador for the 2016 Winter YOG?
“I was already working at the Czech Republic Olympic Committee when I was chosen. I had previously studied sports management in Lausanne and was selected to go to Norway.”
Describe what your role as a YCM in Lillehammer involved.
“It was my job to provide support to our athletes to enable them to produce their best possible performance at the Games, while absorbing new, critical skills for their future career. I was also there to help them access and participate in the ‘Learn & Share’ activities that were on offer, which was an amazing programme that encouraged mental and physical development. They were able to meet role models and professional athletes, sharing experiences with someone from their own sport. I think you could describe the role as a team manager.”
What is your outstanding memory from the YOG?
“There were 43 Czech athletes aged 15 to 18 in Lillehammer, and 20 of those were ice hockey players. I remember the coach of the girls’ team told us they were there to win a medal and, for the first time in our Olympic history, the girls’ team achieved this dream and won silver. It was an amazing moment and made me feel there was a reason for all my efforts.”
What did you learn from your time in Lillehammer?
“The importance in team sports of gathering athletes together before the start of the Games. It makes them feel part of the Olympic Movement even before the Games start and builds team spirit.”
How did you become part of the YCM+ Programme*?
“Each YCM can apply and submit a project to get the IOC’s support. We alumni of YCMs and we are invited by the IOC to develop and to deliver community projects which leverage on the power of sport to contribute to a somewhat better world! My story is perhaps a little different because I became involved in the YCM+ Programme before going to Lillehammer. I organised my first event, called ‘The Czech Republic Olympic Foundation Day’, two months before the Games, which was attended by our young ice hockey players. The goal was to encourage young people to try the sport.”
What have you done within the programme since Lillehammer?
“Through the YCM+ Programme, I have been delivering my second project - a seminar entitled ‘Live Your Dream’- to high school students in the Czech Republic. It is about the parallels between competitive sport and a future career in sport or beyond. The main goal is to demonstrate to a group of students the importance of having their own dream, believing in themselves and striving for excellence, and these qualities are also needed for a successful professional life.”
Tell us about Panasonic’s contribution to the project?
“Panasonic has been a leading partner of the Olympic Games for 20 years and is now supporting the YCM+ Programme. It is thanks to its support that YCM+ projects can become a reality. Panasonic also funds the ‘Kid Witness News’ [KWN] initiative, which encourages children to share their vision of the world by making inspiring films with Panasonic equipment. Some Czech children who were part of KWN filmed my seminar and were able to meet and shoot images with some YOG athletes.”
How many youngsters were involved in this?
“There were 80 students, seven YOG athletes and six students from the KWN initiative. They were all aged between 15 and 18.”
How did you deliver this message?
“I was lucky because I was helped by experienced people from many different sporting and professional fields, who came to speak with the students. For example, Martin Doktor, who won two gold medals in canoe sprint at the Olympic Games Atlanta 1996 and is now the sports director of the Czech Republic Olympic Committee, was one of those who was kind enough to come and talk about Olympic values and his life and career. We also had a sports psychologist to discuss the importance of discipline and hard work.”
What are your ultimate goals with the “Live Your Dream” programme?“I want to organise as many events as possible. I want students to have a dream and inspire them to work hard to achieve that dream. With the support of local sponsors, the NOC and the media, I believe the programme has a bright future.”
* The YCM+ Programme is a social entrepreneurship through sport initiative. Applicants can submit a project to the IOC, using sport for a better world in their community and the best projects are allocated a maximum of CHF 5,000 of seed funding. Themes cover Healthy & Active Living, Inclusion, Sustainability, and Peace & Development.