Archive

Archive for January, 2016

Djokovic or Murray: who will strike first on the road to Rio?

January 29th, 2016

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Rio 2016

Girl power! Rejuvenated, freestyle wrestling arrives in Rio for all-women test event

January 29th, 2016

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Rio 2016

Meet the Athlete Role Model: Dominique Gisin

January 28th, 2016

Name: Dominique Gisin
Sport: Alpine Skiing
Country: Switzerland

 

How/why did you start your sport?

My whole family loves skiing. I love winter, the snow, the cold, so it was an obvious choice 😀

What achievements are you most proud of in your sporting career?

I’m proud, that despite many tough moments, with lots of injuries, I never gave up and made it to the top of an Olympic podium.

What achievements are you most proud of outside your sporting career?

Well I think I’m super happy that my knees were able to recover always from all the injuries. Partly that was hard rehab work, but on the other hand also lots of luck, so hard to be proud of I guess.

Favourite moment at the Olympics? A special memory of one of your participations?

As a spectator, I remember the marathon in Beijing a lot. It was super emotional, I was cheering for Vik Röthlin, but in the end it was simply amazing to see the ability of all these athletes to even finish such a tough race.

What made you want to participate in the Youth Olympic Games?

I remember vividly the excitement at my very first international race. It’s simply amazing to be part of all those emotions.

What do you like most about the Youth Olympic Games concept?

It’s great to see young athletes compete against each other but also live the Olympic spirit. Having this possibility is a lot of motivation for these young athletes.

What are you looking forward to the most in Lillehammer 2016?

I have never been to Lillehammer and am looking forward to meeting a lot of motivated young athletes, fellow Athlete Role Models and also having a look at this memorable host city of the 1994 Olympic Games.

What’s next for you in your career?

I retired last spring, so I’m looking forward to becoming my sibling’s greatest fan.

What are your hobbies?

I love to ski and fly, and I love mathematics and physics, no kidding.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

On verge of qualifying for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Brazilian powerlifter Joseano Felipe passes away

January 28th, 2016

Public to help choose Rio 2016 Olympic Games fair play awards on social media

January 28th, 2016

Franziska Preuss shoots for the stars

January 28th, 2016

In January 2012, just two years after being encouraged by her parents to try her hand at the biathlon at a training camp that “changed her life”, Franziska Preuss (GER) became the star of the show at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Innsbruck 2012. Earning no fewer than four medals – more than any other competitor – at the inaugural gathering, the then 17-year-old prevailed in style in the sprint, mixed relay and biathlon/cross-country relay, and finished second in the pursuit.

“I learned a lot in Innsbruck, like how to win over a big crowd, and how to manage the media. I also met a lot of new people,” recalled the young biathlete, an admirer of French Olympic biathlon champion Martin Fourcade. “I decided after that to improve my skiing and shooting, and to really push myself hard at training, because in my mind the Olympic Games are a constant focus.”

In 2013, she established herself in Germany’s formidable women’s biathlon team and made her debut in the IBU Biathlon World Cup. Another medal haul followed at the Junior World Championships in Obertilliach (AUT), where she claimed a bronze in both the individual 12.5km and pursuit, and a gold in the relay. She was subsequently selected to represent her country at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, where she participated in three events without making a significant impact.

Relay gold at Worlds

It was not until the 2014-2015 winter season that Preuss began to truly fulfil the enormous potential she demonstrated at Innsbruck 2012 on the senior international stage, as she racked up enough World Cup podium appearances to land the small crystal globe in the mass start category.

Going from strength to strength, she then teamed up with compatriots Franziska Hildebrand, Vanessa Hinz and Laura Dahlmeier to clinch the world 4×6 km relay crown in Kontiolahti (FIN), where the German quartet finished one minute ahead of France. A couple of days later, the Bavarian athlete was again in medal-winning form, picking up a silver in the 12.5km mass start by crossing the line only six seconds behind Valj Semerenko (UKR) and making just one shooting error.

“First I celebrated my 21st birthday earlier in the week, then there was the gold in the relay, and now this – it’s been perfect!” exclaimed an emotional Preuss after the race.

The versatile German is one of a number of athletes for whom the Youth Olympic Games have served as a veritable springboard for future success. The second Winter YOG in Lillehammer is sure to shine a light on a host of new exciting biathlon talents who will be hoping to follow in her footsteps.

 

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Heavy metal coming to Lillehammer 2016

January 28th, 2016

For the next two weeks, the athletes getting ready for Lillehammer 2016 can have sweet dreams about winning one of these shining spheres and be inspired to give their very best when they finally get onto that field of play.

One side of the medal has been designed by 20-year-old Romanian designer Ciprian Burzo who won the IOC’s prestigious Medal Design Competition last autumn, beating over 300 other entrants from 65 countries with his entry titled “To the top”.  The design depicts the Scandinavian mountains, winter, ice, skates, skis and the podium.

The reverse face of the design has been brought together by the Lillehammer 2016 organisers who took their inspiration from the four young Norwegian designers who created the visual profile and logo of the Games in the early stages of their organisation.  As a result, all the medals have youth design and creativity cast into the very precious metal that will adorn the necks of the best young athletes in the world.

 

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

YOG coach to young athletes: “Win or luge, keep on smiling”

January 27th, 2016

“They are both beginners in luge so I don’t expect them to place among the top finishers; but what I do want to see is two good runs from each of them and a big smile on their faces after they finish,” Maija says. “I want them to enjoy the atmosphere and this amazing event, which is a great place to find motivation for their next goals in their sports careers.”

She should know. While Lillehammer 2016 will be Maija’s first Olympic Games as a coach, it will be her fourth Olympic experience, after three trips to the Olympic Winter Games as an athlete. Maija can also point to two World Championship bronze medals and one European gold medal. Not a bad haul for someone who didn’t even start playing sport until she turned 14.

A dancer, a pianist and a violinist growing up in her native Latvia, Maija lacked the motivation to even try luge, which she considered to be a “crazy sport.” But at the urging of her father, she gave it a go. “Just once,” she recalls telling him. “And after I did it, this one run, I thought, ‘It’s not so bad and not so crazy at all.’ After that I enrolled in a sport school and thus began my 15-year journey as an athlete in the sport of luge.”

It was during these “15 beautiful years” that the now 32-year-old says she discovered her love for exploring and learning new things, something she now encourages her students to embrace as well. “I met so many great people, and most of them are still my friends. I have seen so many countries, learned so much about other cultures, learnt other languages – these years made me the person I am today,” she says. “My love for exploring and trying new things is a never-ending process that began when I decided to become an athlete.”

She also coaches her young athletes to be sensible when approaching their athletic careers. Rather than being austere, Maija suggests that the best route to becoming a top athlete is simply to live a healthy lifestyle: eat well, get enough sleep, exercise and be passionate and smart about what you do. And above all else, enjoy what you are doing.

Maija became the head coach of the Club de Bobsleigh Luge Skeleton de Macôt La Plagne in France after her retirement as an athlete in 2013. Like her transition from music to sport in her early teens, Maija was initially sceptical of her transition from athlete to coach, but in the end it also brought her unexpected joy.

“When I was a slider, I always said, ‘I could never be a coach because it is very hard’, but here I am,” she says. “I really enjoy my work, but I was right – it is hard. But when I see the happiness in my athletes’ eyes after a good run on the track it makes me feel amazing! It is much better than winning a medal myself!”

In Lillehammer, Maija will continue to inspire, guide and support her two athletes while attempting to keep the smiles on their faces. As a coach, she says, it is important to do everything she can to help her athletes become the best they can be, to be a light hand to push them towards their goals and to believe in their dreams. And don’t forget the enjoyment factor!

“My biggest goal is to bring my athletes to a level where, when they slide, they enjoy the run from start to finish,” she concludes. “It takes a lot of effort – physical, psychological, technical – to reach that level of confidence, but it is a very interesting way which leads to big success.”

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Get to know the Athlete Role Model: Stéphane Lambiel

January 26th, 2016

Name: Stéphane Lambiel
Sport: Figure Skating
Country: Switzerland

How/why did you start your sport?

I used to watch figure skating competitions on TV as a kid, and I remember being really captivated. My older sister was also a figure skater, and I think that she opened the way for me to try.

What achievements are you most proud of in your sporting career?

Stepping onto an Olympic podium was such a unique moment, and I guess it would be one of the proudest of my career. I had dreamed about it since I was a kid.

What achievements are you most proud of outside your sporting career?

After I retired from competition, I took some time to step back and think about my future. I have founded the Skating School of Switzerland, a training centre where skaters can find all they need to improve and compete at the highest level. I also created, produced and skated in my own show, Ice Legends, which first took place in Geneva in December 2014. It was a fascinating experience that I had the pleasure of sharing with my closest friends. So I’m quite proud that I went for these challenges.

Favourite moment at the Olympics? A special memory of one of your participations?

Carrying the Swiss flag during the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver is also a really special memory. I can still hear the crowd cheering our team on. That was an incredible feeling; I still have goose bumps remembering it.

What made you want to participate in the Youth Olympic Games?

I was honoured to be appointed as an Athlete Role Model during the first Winter YOG in Innsbruck in 2012. As an ARM, I get to share my experience with the young athletes, and it’s really fun. I hope that, through my engagement, I can give back some of what I received from sport.

What do you like most about the Youth Olympic Games concept?

The YOG embody the true spirit of the Olympic Games that athletes should be celebrated and credited for their efforts and performances. The youth movement encourages both tolerance and personal growth. It emphasises the development toward personal excellence, not just medals.

What are you looking forward to the most in Lillehammer 2016?

I look forward to meeting the athletes from all around the world, with different cultures and backgrounds. It’s going to be fun to spend some time with them and share experiences and stories. And of course I also can’t wait to see them all in action!

What’s next for you in your career?

First and foremost, I would like to continue to perform in shows around the world as long as I can. I also plan on further developing my skating school and continuing to take every opportunity I get to help the young athletes.

What are your hobbies?

I love travelling, especially to Portugal, my mother’s country of origin. I like cooking for my friends and family, and when I have the time, going skiing in the Swiss Alps. 

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Looking to the future in Lillehammer

January 25th, 2016

Considering life after competitive sport is a must for all young athletes. Already immersed in sporting pursuits that call for many hours of training and participation in demanding major national and international competitions such as the Winter Youth Olympic Games, youngsters also need to keep up with their studies and give serious thought to their future careers.

This is why the International Olympic Committee has teamed up with Adecco, to implement the IOC Athlete Career Programme, which offers resources and training to develop their life skills and maximise their education and employment opportunities.

Educating young athletes, both on and off the field of play, is one of the fundamental objectives of the Youth Olympic Games, and the Athlete Career Programme will make an invaluable contribution to their future professional lives.

The programme is built on three key pillars: life skills, education and employment. And YOG competitors will be able to make full use of the initiative during the Games in in Lillehammer.

Incorporated into the Learn & Share programme at Lillehammer 2016, the project was first trialled in June 2015, when students at the Norwegian College of Elite Sport (NTG) got a preview of what lies in store for the YOG athletes next February. As well as completing a variety of challenging practical tasks, they were introduced to various key aspects of the programme, such as learning the value of professional skills and understanding the benefits of planning for the future.

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games