Young ambassador Lara Teixeira: “This is what I’ve always dreamed of”
Lara Teixeira has been the poster girl for synchronised swimming in Brazil for many years. After competing in the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012, she created an academy to develop the sport for children and help to share her knowledge. That made her a logical choice when the Brazilian Olympic Committee was looking to appoint a young ambassador for the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, and she was delighted to accept the challenge.
How did you become a young ambassador for YOG 2014?
I received an invitation from my National Olympic Committee and then I had an interview with the members of the IOC’s Culture and Education Programme.
What does it mean to you to be a young ambassador?
It has one of the most rewarding experiences of my Olympic career. I’ve always dreamed of helping young athletes by sharing my experiences and the positive values that sport has given me over the years.
Can you tell us a bit about your Nanjing experience?
It was a marathon! I accepted the mission knowing it would be a lot of work. I tried to pass on all of the important messages that athletes should take on board and took part in as many events and activities as I could with the 95 athletes from the Brazilian delegation.
What was the highlight for you?
I was really touched when I saw an interview with one of our handball athletes where he said that he felt honoured to be a Young Olympic athlete, and that the most important thing he learned at the YOG was that he should be an example for the other athletes by demonstrating the Olympic values. He really got the message, and I was very proud of him for that!
More generally what will you take away from the YOG?
I’ll definitely remember the spirit of the YOG and the energy of the young athletes.
What’s happening in your athletic career just now and what are your plans for the future?
I’ve taken part in two Olympic Games and after London 2012 I started working for an international sports marketing company. It was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot. Now I’m thinking about getting back into the national team and competing at Rio 2016.
What would it mean to you to compete at the Rio Games?
It would be a new challenge, leading a young [synchronised swimming] team in their first Olympic Games. Apart from that it will be the chance to show everything I’ve accomplished in my athletic career in front of my friends and family!