Rising to the challenge
Olympic Solidarity for Vancouver hopefuls
Croatian biathlete Andrijana Stipanicic grew up in the mountainous Gorski Kotar region, and taking part in the Olympic Winter Games has always been her dream. Since March, Olympic Solidarity has provided the 28-year-old athlete with a scholarship to support her in her preparations for the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. And her dream looks set to come true.
Olympic Games as highlight
“The season will surely be highlighted by the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver” says Andrijana, adding: “The most important thing to me is to prepare to the best of my ability because the Olympic Games are the greatest and the most important competition for every athlete, where he or she wants to give their best. To be in good health, and physically and mentally fit is of crucial importance to me.”
Having competed in Nordic skiing as a youngster, Andrijana took up biathlon after university. At that time, it was a relatively new sport in Croatia, but she was attracted by the challenge.
Training: greater quantity and better quality
The Olympic Solidarity scholarship helps Andrijana cover her travel, training and coaching costs during the preparation and qualification process. She explains: “Since I live in Sesvete, a suburb of the Croatian capital, Zagreb, and my training takes place 130km away, the scholarship makes it easier to organise my travelling properly. Now, I participate in many more training sessions; the quality of the training is higher, and this results in better performances.” Andrijana adds: “Also, biathlon equipment is relatively expensive, and therefore the scholarship has enabled and facilitated the purchase of equipment needed for training as well as competitions.”
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.