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Kim Yuna joins IOC President for YOG roundtable

06 Mar 2014
Lausanne, Switzerland: During the final hours of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, IOC President Thomas Bach already had one eye on the next event on the Olympic horizon: the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Looking to make the YOG an event “by young people, for young people”, he took the opportunity in Sochi to meet YOG Ambassadors and athletes who had competed at both the Innsbruck 2012 YOG and Sochi Games to get their ideas on the world’s premier youth sports event.

Around the table with the IOC President sat YOG Ambassadors Kim Yuna, the Korean figure skater, and Chad le Clos, the South African swimming sensation, who will be in Nanjing this August to support and give advice to the participating athletes. 

Joining them were athletes Adam Lamhamedi of Morocco, the first African to win a winter Olympic medal at Innsbruck 2012 and the flag bearer for his nation at Sochi 2014; Australian Greta Small,  who competed in all five alpine disciplines; and Katie Summerhayes from Great Britain, one of the pioneers of the new discipline of ski slopestyle.

While the athletes were in favour of innovations they also stressed that high-level competition should remain the heart of the YOG. 

“We don’t want to make it too much a festival environment as the YOG still have to be serious,” said Chad le Clos. “We need that Olympic spirit. Have some fun elements, but we want to get to the business end of competition as well.”

Kim Yuna, Olympic champion in 2010 and silver medallist in Sochi, was in Innsbruck for the first Winter YOG as an Ambassador in 2012. She added: “After going to the YOG I could see it was a big event for the young people there. It is a good opportunity for them to pursue their future careers, but - as everyone is around the same age - there is also a lot of fun to be had there.  It also is a good way of inspiring other young people to get into sport and try out something new.”

The IOC President concluded the meeting by saying: “It is one of the objectives of the YOG to equip young athletes with the knowledge and skills to be ambassadors in their own communities, and you are shining examples of this. After Nanjing 2014, we will get together again for more idea-sharing, as your input is vital to the future of the YOG.”

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