EYOF athletes learn about Olympic Values through European Young Olympic Ambassador Programme
The fifth edition of the European Young Olympic Ambassador (EYOA) Programme is taking place in Banská Bystrica this week, during the 16th Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF).
Organised under the patronage of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Culture and Education Commission, the EYOA programme aims to promote the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship, and respect amongst the young athletes participating at the EYOF.
“Our goal is to help young athletes understand the meaning of the Olympic Values. Excellence, friendship, and respect are key components of sport at any level,” explained one of this year’s ambassadors, Tamila Holub, a swimmer who competed at the EYOF Utrecht 2013 for Portugal. “Our programme teaches athletes about the history of the Olympic Games and explains how these values have helped create an environment that focuses on more than simply winning or losing” added EYOA alumni Alfred Varnik from Estonia, who has been part of the programme for three years.
The EYOA programme recruits a group of young people aged 18-25 who are inspired by sport and the Olympic Values and wish to contribute to building a long lasting, value-based foundation for the international sporting community. In Banská Bystrica, there are 22 ambassadors and 5 alumni involved in the programme, with multiple alumni also present. The ambassadors are new to the programme and are responsible for creating and implementing activities, which the alumni oversee using their experience from previous editions.
The EYOA ambassadors and alumni are passionate and motivated to encourage the next generation of athletes to follow the Olympic Values on and off the field. They are hoping to one day work alongside athletes at the European Games, as they believe the Olympic Values should be promoted to all athletes, regardless of age.
“We feel that the Olympic Values are not only something that young athletes should know, but also the professional athletes,” explained Varnik.
Claudia Moreno, who is an alumnus from Great Britain, stated, “We try to bring the Olympic Values to life through social channels, physical activities and educational programmes for the benefit of the athletes.”
A dedicated location in the EYOF Banská Bystrica 2022 Sports Park is used for the EYOA programme. This allows the young stars of the event to participate in fun activities, whilst also engaging with athletes from other countries and learning valuable skills both as an athlete and person. Activities include quizzes such as Olympic Silesian and human bingo, where athletes learn past and present facts about the Olympic Games. All young athletes receive prizes for participating in the programme.
The EYOA programme also helps develop the skills of the alumni and ambassadors, many of whom wish to pursue a career within the Olympic Movement. “We created an EYOF podcast where we interview different people within the international sports community such as athletes, ambassadors and even the EOC President Spyros Capralos, so that people can learn more about what the Olympic Values mean. This experience has increased my desire to work in marketing within the Olympic Movement,” said EYOF alumni Sintija Misina from Latvia, who has been part of the programme for two years.
The programme is led by Clea Papaellina and Natasa Jankovic, respectively Vice Chair and Member of the EOC Culture and Education Commission, who are motivated to continue developing the EYOA. “We want to continue to grow the EYOA so that more European countries are represented in the programme for future EYOFs,” said Papaellina.