Role models whose commitment goes beyond their careers

The International Olympic Committee has today announced the names of 12 new Athlete Role Models (ARMs), who will support, advise and inspire the young athletes taking part in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018. They join the 42 ARMs already in place.

Picture by Courtesy of Buenos Aires City Tourist Board

The role of the ARMs at the Youth Olympic Games is to act as a mentor for the young participants. They will be there to share their experience and offer advice. They will support the young athletes during training and at the competitions, as well as in the Youth Olympic Village during a series of educational activities and workshops.

All of the 12 ARMs announced today share a common desire: to give back to sport what sport has given them, either through their actions or by setting an example! Janet Arcain (Brazil) offers a perfect illustration of this. After being a four-time WNBA champion, double Olympic medallist and the highest female scorer in the history of the Olympic Games, the basketball star has now gone on to create her own foundation, which promotes human development through sport. More than 10,000 young people have so far benefited from these programmes in Brazil. 

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Danell Leyva (USA) also inspires respect from his peers and young athletes alike. This three-time Olympic medallist is a model of perseverance. After an accident at home, he missed out on the national qualifiers for Rio 2016. But despite this huge disappointment, he refused to give up and continued training hard. After one of his team mates dropped out, he was asked to replace him at the last minute, and went on to win three medals in Rio de Janeiro!

For their part, the two gymnasts, Jessica Lopez (Venezuela) and Nuno Merino (Portugal), have chosen to go into coaching. Jessica trains a team at the University of Denver, and Nuno is the head coach of the US trampoline team. They are really keen to support and prepare athletes, and are passionate about contributing to the sporting and personal development of the youngsters in their care.

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Another example of engagement is offered by Ron Darmon (ISR), the first Israeli triathlete to compete for his country at the Olympic Games. After deciding to end his competitive career fairly young, he now devotes his time to studying and speaking at schools, sports clubs and companies, where he talks about his experiences and inspires young people to believe in their dreams and their ability to achieve them.

This was what he said when learning about his ARM appointment: "I believe that sport is a way of life from all its aspects, and it has given me so much through my career. Being a role model will be a great honour for me and another great chance to give back to sport. I will be extremely proud to contribute from my life experiences to the younger generation of athletes in the pursuit of their dreams."  

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A great example from these athletes, who want to give back to their communities, to young athletes, their region and their city through sport, and provide inspiration that goes far beyond their own sports performance.

Click here for the full list of ARMs.

For more information on the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, visit