27 Oct 2014
During the 12 days of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, 38 Athlete Role Models helped out at the Learn and Share Zone, an initiative that formed part of the IOC’s Culture and Education Programme.
Located in the heart of the Youth Olympic Village, the Athlete Role Models were on hand to share their experiences and help guide the young athletes.
Equestrian show jumper Samantha Lam from Hong Kong, China explained: “I’m here so that the young athletes can come and talk to me, ask any question they want about our experience, and to offer tips to help them in their careers. I think it’s really helpful for them.”
A huge range of topics were covered, ranging from injury prevention and career management to the risks of doping and illegal betting.
According to Philippe Furrer, head of the IOC Culture and Education Programme in Nanjing, “there are a huge number of critical subjects for young people starting out in their careers.”
Three-time modern pentathlon world champion Amélie Cazé of France described the Learn and Share Zone as “a great experience for the young athletes”.
“They can learn so many things thanks to the IOC,” she explained. “I would have loved this when I was 15! There’s the idea of Olympism, the atmosphere… This can only be positive for their future.”
Expanding on this theme, Furrer says that the ambassadorial role is very much something that will continue beyond the YOG. “They themselves will become model athletes. They’re aged 16, 17 or 18 and when they go back to their clubs, communities and schools after Nanjing they’ll become our ambassadors,” he explains.
“We want them to take away this knowledge, these skills, this passion and inspiration. The Learn and Share Zone should have an important impact on their lives,” he concludes.