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Date
19 Aug 2010
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IOC News

Tony Estanguet blogs on his experience as an Athlete Role Model


Tony Estanguet, double Olympic gold medalist shares his experiences on being an Athlete Role Model at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

I arrived in Singapore feeling really geared up for the Youth Olympic Games, for several reasons. Firstly, I was curious to experience a new kind of Olympic event. Secondly, I was curious to meet and share my experiences with new young athletes that I have not met before. Finally, I was keen to meet the challenge of being an Athlete Role Model for the International Canoe Federation.

As soon as I arrived, I could feel a genuine Olympic atmosphere that felt just like my experiences at the last three Games. First, I met some Canoeing athletes, tomorrow's Champions! I imagined they would be young and seem inexperienced and I was completely wrong! They are already strong; their minds already like an Elite Athlete. For sure at this age and with so many nationalities, there are differences in their sporting performance, but probably the best of them will compete in the London 2012 Games. Right from the first training session they were focused 100% on the race and their technique. They are here to win the first YOG!

So, I've trained on the water with them to give them some tips. For example, I coached an Armenian athlete on the starting ramp, a Tunisian athlete on turning round the buoys on the course and a Canadian athlete offered me a race, which was great fun. Even if some of them don't speak English, luckily the universal language of sport can take over and I can see their progress after just two or three sessions.

At my first visit to the Olympic Village, a symbol of an Olympic Games, I discovered yet again that genuine Olympic atmosphere with the mix of athletes from all over the world. I took part in some games which gave me the opportunity to chat with the athletes about my career, Olympic titles and the difficulties I found when I was their age. They asked me for some tips because they want to improve faster than their competitors.

At the “Tile Mosaic” workshop, I created a little souvenir. This was a difficult exercise, my artistic side is well hidden! But it gave me the opportunity to meet athletes from Denmark and Algeria who were joking around making their own tile creations. After some photos and autographs, it was time to meet other Athlete Role Models and ask them how the YOG experience is for them; a valuable and worthwhile exchange.

To sum up, I am loving this whole experience. I have developed a YOG DNA!

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