Mission: set a personal best
Olympic Solidarity for Vancouver hopefuls
Leyti Seck, a 28-year-old Senegalese Alpine skier, was his country’s only representative at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, where he finished 55th in the Super-G. For the season of the 2010 Games, Leyti was able to step up his training programme in Austria thanks to an Olympic Solidarity scholarship. In Vancouver, he wants to show the world that there are skilled skiers from all across the globe.
Training hard“If I am being honest, there is no real chance for me to win a medal, but I go to the Olympic Games looking to set a personal best and to represent my home country” tells Leyti, adding: “Since July 2009 I have been in the Olympic Solidarity programme and it has been possible for me to really start training hard. It allowed me additional training sessions in summer in Austria and made possible a very intensive programme on snow from October to the beginning of the Games.”
On skis all year roundThe Senegalese athlete is based in Austria, studies at the University of Salzburg and thus has access to excellent training opportunities all year round: “During the summer I trained with a regional ski racing team from Austria in the ski hall near Hamburg as well as several days on the glaciers in Austria. The rest of the time I kept fit by doing conditioning training.”
Leyti, who has already qualified for the Vancouver Games, says: “Qualification for the Games is very fair, especially for the small countries, who can show the world that there are skilled ski racers from all over the world.”
About Olympic Solidarity
Olympic Solidarity is an IOC organisation, and the body that ensures that athletes with talent, regardless of their financial status, have an equal chance of reaching the Olympic Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena. It is responsible for administering and managing the National Olympic Committees (NOCs)’ share of the revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games. Working in particular with the most disadvantaged NOCs and their Continental Associations, Olympic Solidarity uses this money to develop a range of assistance programmes. Besides individual scholarships for athletes, there are also “Team Support Grants” to support ice hockey and curling teams likely to qualify for the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
The total budget for the 2009-2012 Olympic Solidarity quadrennial period amounts to USD 311 million. Within this budget, USD 61 million is earmarked to provide support to athletes.