Youth empowerment in the spotlight at YOG
To kick off the first day of Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, the IOC President called in on the inspiring young representatives involved in the Games for a wide ranging discussion on how to empower their peers to use sport to make a positive impact in their communities.
The eleven young leaders from different youth programmes launched by the IOC and the Lillehammer 2016 organising committee highlighted the projects they are leading in their local communities in Norway and around the world. Together with President Bach, they exchanged views on the power of sport to change their lives and the lives of others.
The discussion round took place just before the opening of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, as part of the Learn and Share programme of the YOG. Beyond the sporting competitions, the YOG places a strong emphasis on athletes to develop key life skills and provide learning opportunities on how to become responsible role models and play a positive role in their community.
In the discussion, Vera Perederii, a Young Ambassador from Ukraine, noted how being an athlete had opened her eyes to the power of sport. “I got involved in the Games in Sochi. This is when I saw the attraction of the Games and how the Olympic values were going beyond sport. It was an eye opener for me.” Vera, who is also an Olympic rhythmic gymnast, recently received funding from the IOC to deliver her own project bringing lessons on Olympic Values to young school children based on the YOG Learn and Share programme.
President Bach commended the young leaders for their commitments. “The Youth Olympic Games are a great opportunity to inform and educate young athletes and to show what contribution sport is making to society.”
At the preceding press conference to mark the start of the 2nd Winter YOG, the IOC President invited young Change-Maker Sajandan Rutthira, YOG Ambassador Kjetil Jansrud and IOC Coordination Commission Chair Angela Ruggiero to join him to talk to media. Kjetil was asked on the impact the Youth Olympic Games has on young athletes and fans, he commented “I consider sports to be one of the best educational places you can have, and this (the Youth Olympic Games) is important to bring the Olympic values to younger athletes.” Kjetil spent the afternoon meeting young athletes, talking about his experiences as an Olympic champion and live social media chats with fans around the world.