When your training finishes at 1am in the morning, no-one can question your commitment to your sport, and for Verity Lewis (GBR) it was the chance to compete in the innovative Ice Hockey Skills Challenge competition at the Youth Olympic Games that kept her going through those long nights on the ice. It was a commitment that paid off, and one the 15-year-old did not take for granted.
Speaking about her experience at Lillehammer 2016, she enthuses: “A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that’s what it felt like 24/7.” Much more than just a competition, the YOG opened Verity’s eyes to the possibilities that sport offers. “It’s definitely got me prepared for bigger things, and I want to play hockey to the highest level I can,” Verity explains. “Soon I’m going to Canada to go to an ice hockey academy there and I think the YOG helped me because there were people from Canada that I could talk to about their experiences and people who were already playing.”
The YOG spirit touches all participants – athletes, Young Ambassadors, Young Reporters, Athlete Role Models, staff, volunteers, the local community, YOG fans – in different ways; whether as athletes they continue to pursue a competitive career or if they choose to stay in sport in other guises as a physio, coach, nutritionist, journalist, the YOG leave a lasting impact. And that spirit reaches far beyond the participants, as the recent YA+ programme has demonstrated, with these YOG agents going back to their own countries and spreading the Olympic values.
All of these athletes are going back to their countries and they are positively impacting the others youths around them. So it’s not just a few thousands of kids, it’s millions.Lindsey Vonn USA
As YOG Ambassador Lindsey Vonn says: “All of these athletes are going back to their countries and they are positively impacting the others youths around them. So it’s not just a few thousands of kids, it’s millions.”
Do you have a YOG story to tell? Did watching an event inspire you to try sport? Did the YOG give you the courage to pursue your own career in sport? Have you felt the YOG spirit? Tell us your story at yogger.olympic.org by clicking the green button.